Good sunny, arctic morning to you from Michigan. It’s 8 degrees today and with windchill…it is bitter. So the Christmas season is about at an end with people looking forward to the coming year. I have to say that 2017 was a pretty good year. I loved our U.P. trip exploring the upper reaches of our great state. We also had our challenges like anyone else such as our furry boy who faced a few medical issues once agin. I’m glad to say he’s now doing great aside from despising the chilly cold. I lost some beloved friends from childhood, mentors and others close to me this year. They will no longer need to debate or navigate the small issues of life. They rest at peace while the remaining group of us look forward to 2018. I hope 2018 can be a year of better communication between people. Better could be translated to say respectful communication. I saw so much negative operating outside our sphere while at the same time being impressed by our positive approach to our endeavors.
Again if someone has a different culture, religion, viewpoint on something indulge it. It might not change your stance but it might refine your reasoning. I said it last week, practice not saying anything in text/posts that you would not say to that person directly. And if you’re a person who says you would – SAY IT TO THEIR FACE – do it. Communicate with someone, interpersonal communication. It was an odd course in college but I can see where that is now lacking. I get asked for advice often about our filmmaking endeavors. Become a good communicator and try to always keep your word. Good communication goes for everyone. The better a director can communicate to his keys the better. Conversely you must become a good listener as well. With decreasing attention spans that is hard for many. This is also a good hint to actors. I see many what I call 50% actors. By that I mean, don’t be a great actor when speaking and go blank when your listening. By truly listening you are reacting which is at least 50% of acting. Look at your own work and see if this is a problem you might have. Do you keep missing that casting opportunity? Take an honest look and see if this is something you need to do. It is an easy correction but just requires awareness and acceptance.
Last year we worked hard to bring our films to you. Forty Nights and Chasing the Star – parts 1 & 2 of The Quest Trilogy hit the holiday scene hard. As we head towards Easter I think the push will be towards Forty Nights. The Christ Slayer – part 3 will be going into music and sound design. We’ll be releasing a new poster and trailer heading into Feb. I got to see 75% of the new trailer and I was floored by what I saw. Everything we’ve learned shooting the trilogy really comes full circle in the last chapter. It was also a huge joy to see Forty Nights and Chasing the Star playing together on Parables TV. I see the day of all three playing together during the holiday season.
WILD FAITH – The 2018 year will kick off with this mid-Western tale. As a treat we released this PR with a link to our new theatrical trailer.
We’ll be meeting more in the new year to talk premiere, theatrical and home video. It will be exciting. For everything that the trailer IS it is not the best of this film. The movie really excites me in a way that is hard to do after 50 movies+. I think it will become a favorite especially for lovers of the time period and genre.
Speaking on the genre WICKED SPRING our 2000 Civil War film will be getting a new release with Bridgestone Multimedia Group. Other CDI films will be getting new life in 2018. We’ll also continue our march into foreign territories.
It’s now time to push hard and bring on the last of our investors on our next CDI project which is MBF (man’s best friend) a powerful tale about our military vets and shelter dogs. You’ll be reading about more cast and crew and updates as we move forward.
I’m going to cut this short. We’ve got a few things to do around here before we welcome in the new year. We’ll be spending time with a few friends tonight likely with some chill music, cards and some good eats and drinks. I will not be waking up with any hangover. Leave that to you young bucks. Those of you who do blow it out party style get a ride. You don’t want the legal or additional results from an accident.
See you all next year! Be good to one another.
I’m waiting for the coffee to finish as I start typing. I have a full day today and so I wanted to get a jump on it. As usual I want to welcome all our international readers from Poland, Argentina and more. Part of the balance of an artist is to navigate all the elements life presents. Since returning from filming ‘The Christ Slayer’ I’ve been working on getting the entire operation in order. That part as I’ve stated before is not the most fun part. While others seek their next role on camera I’m recording, tracking and remitting on other films. This week was important because as “Forty Nights” is fully entering the flow and thank you too all those of you who have watched the film. It is a business and that work must be done. Also ‘Chasing the Star’ will soon be heading into the national/international market so getting this “business flow” set up is the smart thing. Being that I’ve not yet had a sip of coffee my thoughts are still a little scattered so maybe we’ll have a shotgun news day with no exact order. I call this 10 UPDATES/LESSONS OF THE WEEK.
- “Forty Nights” had 4 nominations at the #ICFF and WON ‘Most Inspirational Movie’ and we’ve got an internal process of PR. I did notice that the film experienced a lil’ hate with the nomination nods and more when it won. I know this comes from the frustration of actors/filmmakers/screenwriters who despise seeing other projects move while their passion sits stagnant. (Coffee is ready – time out) (OK – game on) A few facts are that some of our projects have failed to launch. I’ve discovered that we often get stuck in a rut of trying to push something that is not ready. If you get better at reading momentum that helps your endeavors. Some people want to push with everything and not back down but if it is not meant to be, it will not come to pass. Patience is a bitch.
- I had a meeting this week where it was pointed out that many in the local community don’t love the isolation attitude of our company. The truth is that I work hard on TO DO’s everyday. I turn it off everyday with things to do tomorrow. I could spend time at various industry mixers but it comes at the expense of something I need to do. I could spend $100 on food and drinks to discuss other people’s endeavors but it comes at the expense of writing 10 pages of script or not reviewing that international sales agreement. It was easier when I was a nomadic film warrior in my 20’s but I have domestic activities that I enjoy – yard work/tinkering is one of them. So it is not that I don’t care what others are doing industry-wise (I’m actually quite informed) but I just love what we’re doing more and know fully the hard work required to move those pieces ahead on the board. Talk to anyone who has participated in one of our endeavors and the response is usually very different versus the person who has not yet done business with us. Again I say, DON’T HATE, CREATE. That should go on tee-shirts.
- Again Cannes Film Festival is underway and I’ve done that Hollywood scene and it is a fun world to visit. But it will devour your time and financial resources and again you can visit trendy places with your resources or you can create art and content. Many of those parties cost thousands of dollars to attend. I also said that I will consider attending only accompanying a piece of art we’ve created. Maybe one day. I have no problem with those who love to attend those events – I’m just working steadily towards goals.
- Dennis Therrian our main composer, sound designer and post supervisor is prepping ‘Chasing the Star’ for delivery to our distributor for the national launch in September. He’s also just finishing sound design on “Wild faith” and will soon start the music. He recently was nominated for ‘Best Music Score’ at #ICFF with “Forty Nights” which also was mentioned as winning ‘Most Inspirational’ so if like several of us out there you like to write/work to music scores this is a great one to buy and listen to. – BUY HERE https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/40-nights-soundtrack/id1114858978 More of the scores are going to be releasing to sound track including “Chasing the Star” another beautiful collection of music.
- I touched on patience and reading momentum. I am subject to these laws myself. Some great production developments are moving a touch slow due to factors outside myself. They are great opportunities it just requires me to be accepting and have patience. A great opportunity for a TV series behind “Wild Faith” exists and development has begun. I would have LOVED to roll cameras in 2018 but the main national roll out for the feature will be in 2018 and so the series production will likely fall to 2019. Not what I had first wanted but that is the business of it all.
- A new biblical trilogy to follow THE QUEST TRILOGY is being developed and one of the scripts is done. The other two are in development. Right now the name of the trilogy is THE CONQUEST TRILOGY. Old Testament, No Jesus, No Angels/Fallen Angels and they do not tie into the first trilogy. That group of films is complete. The last film in THE QUEST TRILOGY entitled ‘The Christ Slayer’ is almost done with the first edit. So I’m not sure if the 1st film in this new trilogy will film in 2018 or not. I have a few other business pieces to put in place.
- Since I’ve accepted the flow of development for not what I want but what is – I’m finishing a script this month that just might go into production this fall in Michigan. It is a story that I’ve had my heart into for a year or two but just needed to finish the story. A first draft will be done at month’s end. #MBF
- The Michigan theatrical run is complete on “Chasing the Star” and this week we’ll be discussing new destinations for this film to play. This week our time on this project got devoured by delivery work. The final film will be sent off for final DVD mastering. We had a few bumps in flow because we changed a few things in the process on this film. Lesson – If it isn’t broken don’t fix it:) All is good just a small amount of additional time spent which could have been avoided with a bit stronger management. (I’m speaking to myself:)
- Some exciting things happening with the CDI website (www.cdiproductions.com) which has been in discussions for several years. The entire CDI library is digitized so that was a key element to what we’re doing. The site will be getting a major upgrade that will include the ability for people to purchase and stream past CDI films. Will we stop at CDI films? We will see – one step at a time. I also have had interest in doing some major merchandising so that is something we will explore.
- Speaking of spin off’s – BOOKS. E-Books to be more exact whereas several our films/scripts have been written into books. Those are about to come to market. That deal is underway and like everything else takes time to put the pieces together.
So in conclusion, every week is a busy week. I am open to discussion on new business but with how crazy everything is I’m not likely to get to another town to pub it and talk shop. If you truly think we have some good business reach out. We’ve done many associated films. I can promise that you will get truth from my perspective. I will not BS you and while I don’t always tell people what they want to hear I will tell it to you straight. I do consider acting in outside projects but all I ask is that its at the true pre-production stage and not dreamer stage. I had a phone meeting Friday whereas a NYC production had reached out wanting me to act. Sent me the script, the book it was based on etc…I read two chapters and knew in my gut that the film was nowhere close to shooting. That was two years ago. I’m glad those hours of reading were spent elsewhere. I’ve also participated and was paid (thank you) on a couple of projects that have never finished. Years have clicked by and still no finished film. The artist in me is what hurts on those projects. I was paid for my time, my art but we do it to share. If it was just about shells and beads ($$$) there is easier ways to make it. I’m going to go fill the coffee cup and get on with a few morning activities. I have a soccer match to play today if we don’t get cancelled because of storms. Some relax time with friends and family and tomorrow we go after the TO DO list again. I hope you all have a great day and a productive week.
Be good to one another.
We had a nice day of sunshine yesterday and that allowed us to get outside and do a little bit of yard clean up. Today the weather is back to wet and overcast but tis the way in Michigan. In a few short weeks we’ll be back in Yuma, AZ to film our third installment in THE QUEST TRILOGY. Let’s examine those films and the journey that these projects take.
The Christ Slayer
The bank account is open and the finalizing of people’s paperwork and getting their investment into the bank is always a task. People are busy but we work on tight timelines. We only have a few units to assign before we’re a fully functional battle station. Paperwork between crew started this week and next week some paperwork on talent will begin. Right now rooms, flights for the pre-prod team are the priority of the production office.
On cast we’re waiting for our schedule this week so we’ll know how many days talent will be required. Casting has been mostly a joy but you always get to those few hard choices. This past week we came to a few casting decisions after some healthy back and forth. We finalized casting on one of our last co-stars, a supporting role and a few featured roles from the AZ area. Each artist brings their unique talents to the screen. I’m so excited about the casting choices that were made.
I’m also happy that because of distribution being in place we don’t need to drop any ‘lure castings’ as I call them. That’s less than ideal casting but it’s done with the possibility that it may help grab the attention of a distributor. I understand why this is done but it can have a backlash. Distributors we’ve spoken with will tell you that certain names are known but they’ve become known for less than inspired product. They spoke of the flood of films that basically takes (Insert animal) and (Insert Holiday) add (Insert lure casting) and repeat. Now, I respect the fact that it’s a business model but I need more to invest myself in. I need a story that means something to me deeply.
“On schedule, on budget and our projects bring high artistic value.” That’s how we’re described by distributors and why we’ve been developing our ongoing business. I’ve said it before, you need to streamline your operation so that you can work with marketing teams whose job is to put the film into the marketplace. No excuses.
As I’ve done before I’ll give you a hint to the upcoming casting along with a story. First one of the roles WAS hard to find because it possesses a quality you can’t easily manufacture. In this case it was the “innocent role” which in “Forty Nights” was our T-Rex/Moses and in the upcoming “Chasing the Star” was filled by the amazing actor Logan Kishi. Thinking outside the box led me to looking at a certain spectrum of talent. From there I saw an actor who shared by last name. I looked at his materials along with dozens of others actors but kept coming back to the one with the famous last name:) His humor was right on point with the writing and he had that IT factor people talk about. In moving down the road in the casting process we discovered this talent had a sibling who also is an established actor. Another read for another role and BAM it has become a family affair. I’m excited that these two siblings will get to share in this journey together. People may assume I’m casting from family but I’ve never met these two brothers with the cool last name:) If we are related it’s buried up in the in the limbs of the ole family tree.
Two local actors who’ve participated with us before in Yuma, AZ have landed featured extra parts that while small are very important. (As all roles are) I’m sure they’re excited to be participating and we’re excited to have them.
In summary – We’re moving forward strong. I’ve been spending time with the story and it’s a joy to be able to imagine the talent in the roles on the page I’m reading. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. I am also looking forward to a little sunshine and Mexican food!
Chasing the Star
I’ve been assembling information for our end credits. This week we’ll also start moving over photo elements to the distributor. We should get our street date set in the coming weeks. I’m excited for audiences to get their first peek at the film. I’m trying to make it possible for our friends at Champion Church to see the film before we roll cameras on “The Christ Slayer”. They’ve helped us in so many ways as part of our Yuma team and I like to give them a special treat as a thank you.
The Easter stuff is slowly making its way out and that brings us closer to the 4/4/17 release date. The nice part about this release is that we’ll create a nice flow between the releases of the three films.
Once “The Christ Slayer” releases around Easter 2018 my hope is to see the three films play together or over three nights on television. I’m anxiously awaiting the new artwork which I hope to see this week. Fingers crossed.
Lisa Lauren Smith drives the drama as Haddie in #WildFaith
We’ve had many people reaching out about this film. I sincerely think we’ve got some gold with this film. The energy while making it was just powerful and cast and crew alike brought their A game. This week we’ll be seeing the first full cut of the story. I would say I’m excited but that would be an understatement. Keep following us and I’ll keep you updated after the first watch.
I’m not going to wax on about development at this time. Truth is I have much to turn my attention to and so I will cut this short. All of us artists appreciate your time and attention and in a few short weeks and months ahead we hope to entertain, educate and inspire you with your stories. That is an artist’s hope.
Be good to one another.
Sipping some dark coffee with that hazelnut goodness added as the outside looks like giant snow globe. Yesterday was spent on several shopping trips, a nice meal out and stocking up on food items. Today will be a belated bday gathering for my step bro so at least one trip out. I’m gonna fire up the wood stove at the office and do some organizing. Most of my time lately has been prepping for end-of-the-year and new year business. Let’s look at some updates.
The Quest Trilogy –
“40 Nights” new deal is complete on our end, signed and awaiting countersigned paperwork. What this will mean is a new push into the market in 2017. A possible return to theaters plus we’ll target a new 2nd quarter Easter 2017 national rollout. A possible festival or two as the film was invited to showcase.
“Chasing the Star” deal is being done as we speak. We’ll be doing premieres including a Yuma, AZ showing when we’re there to film the 3rd movie. A theatrical run plus event showing will follow the premiere(s). The talk is the national release will be in September 2017 on the run up to Christmas 2017.
When “Chasing the Star” is releasing nationally the third film will be finishing post. I think the idea is for 1st of the year 2018 theatrical and event showings on “The Christ Slayer” with a national release targeting either Easter or Christmas 2018.
On “The Christ Slayer” – I’ve been in talks with a handful of directors and I might be close to a decision. Also get those dramatic reels updated especially if you are on the west coast as that is where we will be filming. We announced some of the returning cast and more exciting announcements lie ahead!
This has been an exciting run on this trilogy of films. I hope audiences can enjoy these films for many years to come.
Wild Faith – The feature is in post and will likely be done next Summer (2017) and we’ll plan a fall release. The film is designed to be the pilot feature for a TV series so we’ll see how that plays out. I am doing some prep work on this endeavor which would be quite the undertaking. I’m thinking we might show the 1st teaser trailer on NEW YEARS DAY. This 1800’s tale is going to be powerful and I’m proud to have it counted amongst our product.
I’ve continued to get updates on projects like Sunn Classics “C.U.J.O.” and have a few films I acted in that still have not released “Dead Quiet,” and “Division 19” but that is often the way.
I’m going to cut it here as I have a string of things to get done before the Lions play and we have our family gathering. We might have to hook the dogs up to a sleigh. Have a great day and be safe on those roads.
Welcome December! I’ve got the hazelnut coffee brewed and I’m ready to have a little chat with the “Clawing My Way to the Middle” readers. First I want to say it is an honor to have each and every one of you take the time to read my journey. I try to present lessons that can help others on their own journey. I wanted to let you all know where many of our readers are from. Of course the USA, Brazil, Mozambique, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Norway, Thailand, Australia and Netherlands. How great is it that we all reside within our boarders of our country but we are all on this planetary journey together. Storytelling as been helping to shape society and artistic expressions while various all share common traits. I’ve always been drawn to culture that is different. I think that is what is uniquely special in all of us. That is why I could never get the concept of unifying. No one art is better – it is uniquely different. My mind even goes to food and drink when I look at that list of countries. I know all the unique traditions that surround great meals prepared in all those lands. USA is the hodgepodge for sure and that is our thing. But I’m deeply appreciate of food, song, culture, religion (as an expression) and storytelling. I’ve been honored to have worked with a handful of international filmmakers and I plan to work with more. I think my interest in ancient history, martial arts and even the culture of futbol/soccer has driven me to explore and enjoy the diversity we have on this planet. I want to thank all of you readers for your precious moments. I also will make it a goal to get more and more of our films into your territories. Some of them already are but with distribution growing as they say at Disney world “It’s a small world after all.” True words:)
I’ve had a great week both personal and professional. The Thanksgiving family time is past us and now the Christmas tree is up. While not yet decorated it has been a welcome sight each day. The tree will become the fuel of the transformation fire (Fire pit) that will help burn up the winter clutter once spring arrives. I’ve been gathering gifts for family since I will be gone the week before Christmas week. I’ll be in Nevada playing space cowboy in the Valley of Fire. I was informed that as a young child I went there and even saw a few old photos yesterday. I look forward to gathering with these artists and performing with a few actors I admire and have not yet worked directly with. I’m ready save my packing so soon it will be time to shoot in the WASTELAND.
2015 Distribution Updates
ASHES OF EDEN – Feel free to read a great review of the film. More of these will be releasing leading up to the 2015 national release. I have a goof vocabulary but I had to look up the word they associated with my name. I thought it might mean “Loud and Opinionated” Ha! But I was happy to see that it meant “marked by outstanding strength and vigor of body, mind or spirit.” So please do take a read on the review and we will be getting the film on the market and out to you very soon.
DONORS – Also will be releasing nationally in 2015 – more on this in the weeks to come
WICKED SPRING – produced under Lionheart Filmworks when that was our southern sister company. The companies split ways a handful of years ago and now “Wicked Spring” is under the CDI banner and is getting a 2015 spring special edition release. Also on BluRay!
We will see a 2015 re-release of KNIGHT CHILLS with a novelization release. Likely fall 2015. Also work on a sequel script has begun.
HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS and FIGURE IN THE FOREST rights are back at home here at CDI and a domestic release set up will also happen. “Figure in the Forest” can be seen on TBN and Parables TV.
BESTSELLER – Early look at FX work is very exciting! I know music work is in full swing. We are looking at a 1st test showing of this film early in 2015. We are getting some early interest from distributors. It is going to be another film that proudly showcases Michigan filmmaking at its finest.
NON-CDI RELEASE INFO
I have a few co-starring/supporting roles in THE TERRORIST & DEAD QUIET and make appearances in DIVISION 19 and SMALL TOWN SANTA (Released now).
Several VERY exciting projects are in development some with partial funding. We’re hard at work with some script work and prep that will lead to more production in 2015!
My last advice pulled from recent events. ALWAYS, ALWAYS give more by way of effort than what you are paid for. NEVER be one of the people who does just the absolute minimum. Maybe at some boring desk job but in an industry that moves on passion you never want to be seen as just a functional piece. Your passion is what makes you an artistic contributor. It is what will get you re-hired. A great example taken from BESTSELLER film shoot. I like to ninja about and just observe people at work. I came up to the grip truck one day to find our key grip Paul Burt busy organizing. Most people were just trying to stay warm and get the shots as this was a wet, cold day on a remote dirt road. I watched him move and arrange. Wipe down and clean C stands and such. When I revealed myself to his surprise – I was met with a smile and asked if I needed anything. My response – “I need an entire crew with an attitude like yours.” I said, hot coffee was ready and he explained that he would go up in a few minutes. This was HIS responsibility. HIS grip truck for this shoot and HE wanted to make sure it was clean and orderly because it was a reflection on him. WOW! I want people like that on our team. That is a reflection of us as a company. That is a reflection of us as an industry. Character is what you are when you think nobody is looking. Pride starts with yourself and extends outward like a pebble thrown in water. Paul Burt’s phone will ring again. Will yours? With only so many people making narrative features and with the way producers get referrals on performance. How many times can someone give just the bare minimum before one of your peers with passion takes that hire away from you? Let me answer that for you – not many. This goes for actors. This goes for vendors. I’ve had companies mad because I continued to get my gear over the years from LOWING LIGHT & GRIP. I even had a trash talking vendor from Detroit once ask how she could steal my business. Her choice of words alone made me say, NEVER. David (Lowing) was there when I first stepped up to fight monsters in IN THE WOODS. He has always been there for me. Like I said about cast/crew, he always gave more goods or service than the dollar amount on the check. That intangible is where loyalty lives. The actor who gives every ounce of themselves – I immediately think of Melissa Anschultz freezing in a warehouse under rain machines while filming “7 Stones”. I already spoke about Paul Bert and David Lowing as examples of crew and vendors. If you desire loyalty from people you better give them a reason. I know people out there get mad (of course at someone else) if they get passed over. We know sometimes it’s just a casting thing or a key crew position that was already in play – but look at yourselves. Are you respectful to those above and below you? Do you give your best effort, always? Do you spread positive energy in your wake? Would you be an example for others to follow? If you can’t answer YES to all of these your time could be limited or your advancement may stall. Stand accountable and watch your career and life experience amazing growth.
Happy Full Moon!