I’m sitting here sipping some hazelnut coffee and pondering the great week we had. We celebrated our second week’s success with a bit of laughter, discussion, drink and music at our guest house. I will try to put a few of the recaps down here for everyone to enjoy but again I will have to keep it brief as we have a wonderful sponsored meal today on our day off by Smithfield Foods. Following that is a theatrical screening of BEST YEARS GONE (BYG) for our cast, crew and guests. While the films are very different in tone, style and content it shows the attention to quality our artists give while storytelling. BYG will always represent “that film” we did between Michigan’s two Covid lock downs. It was an added little thing we were able to gift our tribe of artists on their day off. In hindsight we did realize that the showing did create a lot of additional communication work for our office folks but we’re happy that we are able to share the story. It was directed by our own Shane Hagedorn and features some of the usual suspects in the CDI tribe. Several cast and crew here shooting now on ‘Silent Night in Algona,’ also worked on BYG and will get to see it for the first time. I love the cameo scenes with Jim Greulich and Victoria Jackson and also Lana Wood and Terence Knox. Jim and Terry are here on location so they will get to see it for the first time. The others get to see a CDI film on the big screen.
My random updates –
- A BMG promo starring Josh Perry promoting our ‘BIGFOOT, UFO’S and JESUS’ was filmed. It was so much fun to watch and get to be back with Josh again. Josh is such a natural but he has a very challenging dramatic role in this film.
- This week I’m suppose to film a BMG promo promoting THE QUEST TRILOGY that consists of our three biblical features FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER shot in a very ‘Star Wars’ looking way. Now that I’ve mentioned it you might be able to see the influence. This is the season for these films all the way up to Easter and I love the fan mail I get every year as families enjoy these stories on TV and streaming. We might do a theatrical marathon one Sunday in Michigan.
- Thank you to all the fans of MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND who took a watch on the film in honor of Veterans Day. I’m so happy that I’ve gotten to shake some of your hands. Our sponsored meal today is at the VFW which also provided us with the two locations used in our ‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA’ and so if military/veteran films are your thing you might enjoy a watch. I still find it fitting that when the RV broke down on the way here to film it was a Marine that went out of his way to help us. Semper Fi!
- With the large amount of extras and community helping us all the CDI films have been getting a good watch. WILD FAITH, LOST HEART (also known as BUJ), ASHES OF EDEN, WICKED SPRING all getting love. I enjoy the daily comments I get from new folks discovering our stories. Everyone has a personal favorite but I think they are really enjoying our overall style as storytellers. You can leave a review on our Amazon Prime page and/or the http://www.imdb.com movie page. On behalf of all the artists we thank you deeply.
- We do have a Facebook page for ‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA’ (SNIA) so please join us and follow along for more pictures and updates.
- This week we really got to see the German actors start to tell their part of the story. Our first week focused on our Tietz family story and introduced some of the town folks. But now we are moving into our camp scenes and the scenes have been beautiful, moving and even frightening at times. We examine the good, bad and ugly of the war, but also show how ultimately love, compassion and forgiveness can win the day. In this true event piece those attributes did outshine the darkness.
- We had to plan, pivot and work with a few spots of rain and even some snow but we did and created some amazing art. Some of the stills are so beautiful they look like a painting. That is kudos to the entire team.
- BEST YEARS GONE will be playing the Celebration Cinema in Lansing, MI over the Thanksgiving week. So another great opportunity for people visiting home to watch the film.
I’m wanting to expand upon the great scenes I saw unfolding this week but I have to get ready to shower up for this sponsored lunch. MSU plays again today and so I hope they get back on track. It would be great to see them play in a good holiday bowl. My next blog will be posted at the conclusion of our filming. Once back in Michigan and I go back to Sundays for releasing my blog and have more time to reflect and post more pics and we prep them. Until we sit for another coffee chat have a safe and productive week and be good to one another.
The first sips of the hazelnut coffee taste so good on this chilly Michigan morning. Yesterday the sinus were a bit stuffed due to the weather changes but this morning I’m feeling good. We watched my alumni school Michigan State University put another win up for the season. If only our Lions could start doing the same. Either way, football, hot cider and the harvest has been a great welcome to Fall that is now officially here.
This past week was great for tying up loose ends on BEST YEARS GONE that played Owosso, MI NCG all week. I was able to sneak into a day show on the last day with my dad. It was nice to have no pressure or expectations to meet and greet. It was nice to just relax into the story and just enjoy. The story is well put together with such great comments on the camerawork (DP Travis Hayward) the creative editing (Nathaniel Nose) – the music (Dennis Therrian and all our great guest artists). We know all of this includes the entire crew and cast. I heard lots of compliments on how the film walks the line with strong drama and outrageous comedy. And big kudos to Shane Hagedorn our director who kept the vision and created the fine blend story. NOTE: A BTS of the premiere event is on our IMDB.com page and we’ll go up on our FB page soon. Great job Dan Chipman.
We started with a two show screening premiere and that went great! We’ve been dripping out pics from that night on the BYG Facebook site. What a wonderful night and it was great to see the story on the big screen. The film was granted an extension playing all last week in Owosso, Michigan. Now we are looking at other cities both with NCG and other theatrical chains. We hope to bring it to our home town of Lansing, Michigan. Possibly Grand Rapids and the Detroit area and even Nashville, TN is being considered. This week after the theatrical we made a few adjustments to our mix and we’ll do a final review Weds before uploading the master to our distributor. I’m excited for people around the world to enjoy this story.
Today we are having a meeting for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA to review our schedule and lock that so that cast agreements and flights can be booked. We’re working hard to get all our ducks in a row so that many things are done before our pre-production week on set. Algona is not a big city so we’re working with all the resources we have. The best resource is the people of Algona who are excited to have this story of theirs told, keeping it from being forgotten. This week I’ll do some PR about our product partners and we’ll announce a few more cast. I had a few great conversations with folks this week and that is what is nice about these adventures. I get to see some dear friends that I usually only see when filming. But today is a big day as we lock up the schedule and collectively look for problem/issues in advance. We have some of the best problem solvers working to tell this story so I feel very confident.
WILD FAITH is about to hit 5 million views on Encourage TV taking us even deeper into the tens of millions who have watched the film. I had a few more conversations with parties that could assist in getting the TV series launched. Creative Control has been the main goal for me as I’ve had a few projects derailed by “experts” on what a story needs or doesn’t need. We have several paths we could take to production and as I’ve always said it is not IF it is WHEN. Have you seen WILD FAITH? If not, please do.
MANS BEST FRIEND is playing new TV channels such as Charge TV which seems to be targeted at action and macho films by Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal and DJ Perry, what? I have continued to encounter many more folks who love that film. I’m very proud of the film and the action sequences which are modest. I’ve had several people ask about ‘Paul Landings’ outcome and could there ever be a sequel. You never know and yes, I’ve thought about it. I have a good story in my head but we’ll see about that some other time. I’ve got a full plate.
LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFOs and JESUS – I had the pleasure of hearing from many who saw CDI’s last release under two different titles. I love this film and it always leaves me feeling good. Feeling down or just needing a boost of ‘feel good’ take a watch. Melissa Anschutz commands the screen and folks like Josh Perry turn in performances that will have people talking for years. This is the perfect time of year to watch this film.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Once we get past the beloved Halloween-fare it will be the holidays. I’m excited to continue the tradition of our trilogy. I again at the recent premiere got to hear from the fans of these films. Many are still learning about them and learning that there are three films in the series. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. See them in order. See them all.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the final polished cut is getting close. This weekend the audio narration was being done. A pre-mix and a final mix and we’ll be ready for a premiere. Maybe just before Christmas but after Thanksgiving for sure.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS – Our short concept film that sprung from a commercial endeavor is completed. We’re in discussions about the various possible premieres for this film using it to also help the historic Dodge Turner House. We are exploring a virtual premiere also but getting together and seeing this on a big screen would be fun. It is roughly 14 minutes so not a long film. A few festivals could be in the future for this short film story. I have been working on the feature script which I’m calling ‘OF SMOKE & MIRRORS’ to add a slight difference between the two.
ODDS & ENDS
This week I got to throw some of my dialog off Curran Jacobs who is playing the lead in our next WW2 film. I’ve been having such a great time emerging myself in the 1940’s and preparing to tell this great story. We also had a great meeting with our director and the VFX supervisor and we identified all the VFX shots or shots that would utilize CGI additions or subtractions.
I had an offer for a lead in a short which I don’t typically consider but offered to look at the script and the details which I asked for. I got a script with no details and had to pry any info out. But to be honest when I saw the email with just the script (poorly formatted) and no information – it was a polite pass. I had another call about engaging as a work-for-hire writer. On the other end of the spectrum from the no detail communication mentioned previously- this email came with a great pitch/breakdown. Success will follow the hard work. One person did the bare minimum and the other had spent some real time in organizing and preparing for their endeavor. I will likely enter negotiations this week for a wonderful writing endeavor that I’ll do over the holidays. I’ve had a handful of these opportunities approach me which is what led me to consider representation. In time I may explore the representation aspect but for now I’m happy to handle the details.
I’m going to bring this to a close. I have a few yard tasks to accomplish and I need to get ready for two groups of folks today. The ‘schedule’ meeting this afternoon and later my brother and few amigos will visit. I think the first fire might have to be lit today. I hope each of you have a wonderful day and good week ahead. I’m excited for all the developments happening and also happy to be enjoying the Fall with the family. This shoot will be the only extended leave I took this year. But it will put us into post-production on another beautiful story. This story is built on the real history of Algona and we’re proud to be telling it.
Be good to one another and coffee cheers!
I’m sipping my coffee and thinking about what a beautiful week it has been. It has been busy and will continue to be as we move towards the premiere of BEST YEARS GONE (Sept 18th tickets can be bought for that date 6pm and 8:15pm at the Owosso, MI NCG – Come Join the Fun!) and we also keep prepping on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. (Shooting in November) We will explore a few theatrical opportunities with the film but we’re looking at Q1 2022 likely Feb for the streaming/DVD home video release. We have all kinds of important work being done as we look to finish end of this new week. As huge amounts of data is being moved about for credits and thank you’s I also worry a touch. Because almost without fail we miss someone or have a name misspelled. It is the worst part of the final process. And changes are not easy and once delivered near impossible to change. Please know that on the rare occasions where this happens it has never been intentional. I know director Shane Hagedorn is excited as is our composer and sound designer Dennis Therrian. The daily updates are growing with excitement and enthusiasm. We want to bring this story to you. If you want to read the book that the film was adapted from you can google up and purchase “Hope from Heaven” by author Karl Manke.
Last night was special because I got to celebrate the wedding reception of Jackson Kennedy. He is the son of my business partner Jeff Kennedy, who directed several of the early CDI films. He was the young boy in KNIGHT CHILLS (CDI’s 1st feature film). Jackson was only like 3 but a bigger kid more the size of a 5 year old. Later it was discovered he was dealing with some hearing loss. Audiences even back in the day could be cruel with their words in reviews. He never asked for any of that so I’m so happy to see how well he has done in school and life by getting his Masters degree and working for a university and now married. Actually he and his wife Abby married a year ago during Covid and this was the anniversary. They had a wonderful reception for family and friends. For people who don’t know, my partner in CDI Jeff Kennedy, has dealt with severe back issues since before even his work on ‘Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town’ which would be his last CDI film he was directly involved with. It was good to see both he and Juanita so proud of their son Jack. I too was so proud of this young man and what he has become. Looking at him as a grown man illustrates again for me that indeed CDI has been storytelling for 25 years this year!
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA
Here is an interview piece from our scout trip to Algona, Iowa.
This week we’ll announce a few more of the German actors and we’ll also be announcing some of the amazing product partners and sponsors joining us in the telling of this powerful story based on true events. We are starting to put paperwork under our cast and crew. We will also start more intense work with various departments in the coming weeks. The 1st steps towards the production insurance is underway as of Friday. We will need it for locations, picture vehicles and more. Aside from all the business I’ve been working my lines and I’m excited to start reading off a few of my fellow actors.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – We had the pleasure of watching the 1st cut of the documentary on the history of wrestling. It was informative, entertaining and really educates anyone interested or curious about the history of the grappling arts. I’m very proud of the entire team and I think it could be the first of many. Director Curran Jacobs is also the lead actor in our upcoming WW2 film. He previously had roles in WILD FAITH and MBF but this will be his biggest challenge.
SMOKE & MIRROR – Our VFX artists had a few delays but this funny and hauntingly moody short film will be done mid month. I’ve also been working on re-tooling the feature film that were looking to have Nathaniel Nose direct. This will give audiences a good peek at the world we intend to create with the full feature.
WILD FAITH is a branding and I’m considering WILD FAITH: Hastings Season 1 as the more official title for the TV series. The interest is there now we just need to pull all the business together and look to a season 1 shoot likely 2022 if all goes smooth. I might get some artwork underway during this 4th Q of the year.
The window for THE QUEST TRILOGY will kick in after we get past Oct 31st – speaking of that spooky month – BESTSELLER the dark thriller by author Christopher Knight and starring Melissa Anschutz as literary agent Anne Harper will be getting a new campaign soon. I think most of the business has been delivered so I will keep you updated. Also an HD version of THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ is suppose to release in a new campaign. It was our first CDI associated animated film but will not be our last! The new special FX division is in the planning stages and I’m excited by where that can take us. LOST HEART aka BIGFOOT, UFO’S AND JESUS is growing a nice audience and WICKED SPRING HD version is about to get a new release. And we’re also looking at what films in the CDI library could also be introduced to a new larger audience.
I smell the bacon and eggs almost done so I’m going to wrap this up and get a fresh coffee. After breakfast I’m going to go put a mow on the lawn. We are having the mom’s over for a late lunch that will have me manning the grill. I’ve been grilling with hickory chunks vs charcoal and that has been a switch. It burns much faster and hotter it seems. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your extended holiday weekend. Our MSU football team started off the season with a great win Friday night. Now if only the Detroit LIONS can do the same.
Be good to one another and have a great week ahead!
Welcome to all our new readers from Germany, Uganda, China and several others from around the globe – coffee cheers! Watching the storm approach New Orleans and hoping for the best for whomever stayed behind. We all know of the tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan and Covid is continuing to be an issue in some areas of the country. This humidity has been brutal yet I got the lawn mowed up one day and even had our last soccer match for the season in this heat. I’m ready for wood stove, chili, Lions/MSU football and everything that comes with that. It has been a very active time here at CDI and with me personally but that means good things are happening. Lets look at a few of the top updates-
- BEST YEARS GONE – the film is being polished up with some color correction tweaks and a few music beds to be worked in. The tickets are open for anyone to buy for Sept 18th at the NCG Owosso theatre with shows at 6:00 pm and 8:15pm with an afterglow at ROMAS patio starting after the first show and will continue after the second showing. Get your tickets now as they are going fast! No charge for the afterglow/cash bar and we’ll be doing pictures and such so come on down and meet many of the cast and crew.
- Also a just finished shooting the music video for ‘Off to the Races‘ the song by Vertical Bridge that will appear in the film as winners of the ‘Battle of the Band’ – we plan to show the music video either before or after the film. It depends on what film footage is used/shown in the video but we’re excited to see this premiere also.
- SMOKE & MIRRORS our short concept film is almost done. We had a slight delay in the VFX but I hope to get the finished film so we can look at maybe a small premiere as a fund raiser for the Dodge Turner House we shot at. I’m excited to finish the retooled feature script that we plan to shoot in the near future with Nathaniel Nose directing.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film about the history of wrestling has a first full cut which we’ll review this week. Once BEST YEARS GONE has moved out of post we’ll move this film in once picture is locked to have an audio mix done on the project.
- WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – as the feature film keeps climbing in views via the numerous streaming sites that means good things for the TV spin off series. This coming week I have more meetings over this project. I’m excited about what this could mean for so many cast and crew in the Michigan area. CDI has been building a strong team for a while now and this project could mean some consistent work. Giddy up!
- New release campaigns will be underway for a newly up-rez’d THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ, which was CDI’s first animated feature collaboration but I will say it won’t be our last. Also Christopher Knight’s BEST SELLER based on the book of the same name has been delivered and will be rolling out in the near future. This R-rated (language and intense situations) feature is the closest to a Hitchcock like thriller that we’ve produced. I’ll be in talks this week on a few other projects from the CDI library.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has most of the cast and crew in place minus a few still being discussed. We will be getting ready to go to paperwork this Sept for cast, crew and vendors. Most of our crew is driving in so we can take more equipment and gear. Some flights for west coast folks will be needed so those will be arranged. Wardrobe is starting to gather sizes (don’t lie actors:) * A famous story with my dear departed actor costar Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty who might have fibbed on his waist size. This led to a frantic last minute adjustment on set. We’ll be having some round table discussions with art including guns with our armorer Mr. Robert Bradley. The town of Algona is so appreciative they don’t want CDI to be just coming to work in Algona they want the crew to be their guests. Once you meet the kind people of Iowa you realize why a story like ours actually happened. I’m excited and ready to tell what we hope will become a holiday staple along with your other favorite classics.
- We are having some great success with our product partners on our upcoming WW2 Christmas film mentioned above. We have another great brand joining us in our endeavor and their history/story plays into the script in a few places. Stay tune for some announcements and if you have a brand and want to align it with our story please do reach out. Smithfield Foods is our newest joining Lerma Transportation and The Candleberry Co. We are appreciative of all our product partners.
- I had a call last week about a film I was approached about a few years back and it seems they have momentum and wanted to resend the script and see if I was still interested in the role. I LOVE that they offered to send a paper script to me. Things always get read faster by me when they come to me in paper form.
- KNIGHT CHILLS – I’m just going to set this right here. This was CDI’s first film. It was both a test of ‘could we’ tell a story. We were too ambitious, under experienced, under funded but had a boatload of passion and enthusiasm. This story has stayed with audiences for many of the nostalgic reasons we love it. There is a world at play here and with the surge in fantasy role playing including new D&D movies, it might be the time for SIR KALLIO to arise. If you go and watch Part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY, The Christ Slayer…well watch all 3, imagine that world building applied to Knight Chills. The story exists in two places – the fictional here and now and the fictional inside fictional world of the imagination. This 2nd film is a transitional piece to get us into the world we always wanted to do but were unable to. This second film will be an EVIL DEAD 2 to Evil Dead 1 with the 3rd being the Knight Chills (Army of Darkness) – No. I’m not saying Knight Chills is on par with Evil Dead, I’m just pointing out the story arc. The second brings back some nods to the past and sets up for its future. We’ve had so many people interested in the story and this RESTART not REBOOT will draw some artists into our story on subject matter alone. Just something developing in the dark of the night as the cold wind starts to blow…
I’ve given a good run down of some of the happenings over here at CDI. I’ve been watching my hops which are close to harvest. The rhubarb needs another cut. The chickens are kicking the eggs out. Veggies are ripening weekly and we’ve been storing some tomatoes. The plants are doing well with water but the humid just has it feeling like Jurassic Park around here. And the mosquitos are the true beasts around here. Although the bats are trying to keep them in check there are just so many. I think the mosquito should become the new Michigan bird:) Okay. I hope everyone has a great week ahead. Keep focused on what you can control and don’t let static and noise steal your attention and time. In many endeavors you must believe first. Click on Owosso links BELOW to go to BEST YEARS GONE premiere ticket site or just google it up. See you there.
Good morning – hazelnut cheers!
I want to welcome our new readers from the Netherlands, Brazil and Austria! It was a busy yet productive week. I wanted to start with a cool giveaway on the new book that I’m a contributor on. I want to once again thank Callie Smith Grant for allowing me to participate. This book has a fun story dealing with our queen ‘Lulu’ and I hope you all will check out this and the many other stories.
RETAILERS carrying the book!
Barnes & Noble –
Baker Book House –
LOST HEART – We had several great meetings over this next CDI film. We have something unique planned. We’re excited that it got approved by our distributor BMG. Now the planning will start in earnest this week with a planned CAST & CREW premiere. This one will be different but such is the way and I think it will be fun for everyone. October will be a big month! We’re also exploring several drive-in’s and theaters to play the film.
We’ll be wrapping up the last few delivery pieces and the short BTS promo will be assembled this week perhaps to share next. We are also looking at a few merchandise options so fans can support the film.
BEST YEARS GONE – Our development here is full speed ahead with sponsors and camera tests on deck. We’re about to comb through the script and see what scenes can be pulled off the main schedule and shot. This includes a few VFX shots and sequences that might need or benefit from added attention. I will say that as my ‘Gil’ as a character, is coming along nicely. I cannot wait to share him. We are still looking at end of Oct pre-prod and shoot in November.
The cast of ‘Smoke & Mirrors’
SMOKE & MIRRORS – David Gries stars in this short film that is a precursor to the feature. We’ll have a locked picture this week and music discussions with Dennis Therrian have begun. We plan to develop this into a full feature. The short was shot by Jesse Aragon and he’ll be color correcting it. We also hope to have something to show in October.
Wild Faith has been seen by millions of viewers and the powerful story has created an interest to see this continue. The groundwork is being laid to shoot a season 1 (8 shows) all set in the Wild Faith world. The TV show is currently titled ‘Hastings’ and may shoot in 2021. If you have not seen the film please do. It is inspired by of course ‘Little House’ but also the old Disney movies like “The Apple Dumpling Gang” which is reflected in the humorous moments.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – After filming the trilogy I kept my full Jesus garb save the sandals which were borrowed. When I was looking at character shirts for our new film at the thrift shop I found the same make of sandals in my size. Heaven sent or good luck? But I think my Jesus days are done save if a film was ever done about a return. I think we have some other great biblical tales if we want to return top that genre. I’m excited to see the new trailer for the trilogy which will launch likely in October. Did I say Oct might be a busy month?
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Our event/theatrical/festival showing of this film was hampered by the virus. We will continue to seek a few events to play the film at even into 2021. But the response to the film has been great. We just need to get more visibility for it so if you watched it and enjoyed the story, share it. I was asked recently if I had any plans to play Paul Landings again and the answer is not right now but never say never.
We are about to go walk another flea market. I have grilling to do later today along with a few yard tasks. I’m happy to report that I got both the batch of AUTUMN ALE and the ROTHGA (Return of the Hoppy Grape Ape) started. They started fermenting yesterday and so the fall will have a nice harvest. I was sad that last week I posted a picture of the MSU Spartan helmet and later that day the BIG 10 cancelled their football season. That leaves the LIONS as our only hope. Come on LIONS!
The garden is growing now with fall cold weather plants in which include beets, carrots, beans and more. I’ve been doing some caulking in the office getting ready for winter and to help keep even more heat inside. Soon the wood stove will be kicking again. Viking Thursdays with wood cutting will also begin in a few weeks. I’m going to leave all this here. Time to fill the coffee cup and get some oatmeal. I hope you all have a great week ahead. Be kind to one another!
New readers from Samoa and China joined us last week. I know that the filmmaking experience (resources, distribution, audiences) changes slightly from culture to culture. But at the heart of it we are passionate beings who love engaging in the storytelling experience either as listener/watcher or teller. I love being a creator and being an audience member. So yesterday basically two years to the day we finished the final elements to THE CHRIST SLAYER. Our director Nathaniel Nose came in and we polished the final mix/design with our incredible Dennis Therrian. His musical score is absolutely one of his best. The complexities and grandiose arrangements take you back to the classic days of Hollywood. We worked with Mr. Sundberg on our color correction, conforming and final composition. Last night at the office we shared a few beers and looked at the wide-screen, color corrected final master. A few of the final VFX shots have to be rendered into the timeline but I was blown away. Jesse Aragon, our DP did a wonderful job. This was the final film in The Quest Trilogy and is likely the largest scale production to date. CHASING THE STAR had more animals but the VFX in THE CHRIST SLAYER makes it the largest scope to date. Both the director and I liked the epic inspiration of Lawrence of Arabia and that soundtrack was with me in Yuma, AZ when we filmed.
The previous day we tweaked a few Mother Mary lines. This film has some powerful female characters in it. Especially the roles played by Melissa Anschutz and Christine Marie, who appear as they’ll be co-starring in a CDI film this spring. Brittney Risner and Carl Weyant give a classic Hollywood love relationship. And Josh Perry, will simply steal hearts. Amazing supporting performances across the board by Dean Teaster, David Gries, Bob Shepherd and more. Taymour Ghazi, Shane Hagedorn and my departed mentor Rance Howard brought the power one last time. Rance’s performance might be his last feature film role he ever performed. The final scene we share together in the film was our swan song to working together. I’m very proud of it. We talked for hours about that final scene. He made notes and adjustments – just two costars working out our motivations. I recall being so proud of Rance and feeling how special it was, never guessing it would be our last story together. Now all the elements will start to be pulled together for an upcoming delivery to our distributor. We’ll soon get to see how audiences enjoy this film as it travels to theaters and to home video. Stay tuned for CDI’s most epic adventure yet this Easter season.
I’m excited for everyone to get back to the office in 2019. I will be ready for a slight rest from the intensity of final post. You work end credits so hard knowing that by Murphy’s Law some misspelling or missed ‘thank you’ or name will take place. If your ever on the receiving end of that – know the filmmakers likely did not intend that. I had one situation that was suspect only because the misspelling came after working on a project whereas one producer on that project was NOT brought back on a film CDI was hired to reshoot. Either way, it showed a disregard for my brand ability to draw my audience to that film. No business reason why, so perhaps it was a true mistake or maybe it was personal. I don’t hold a grudge, but it makes me less likely to work with that company again. I passed the second time I was invited but it was partially timing, pay rate and the role also.
When in post this week, I was sent a news story that a Detroit-based – I struggle for the right word. I will use filmmaker, because he has made films. But in a promotional news story for FOX he claimed to be a producer on our CDI Ghost Town movie, our 2006 Lionsgate film. SMALL ISSUE – he wasn’t. He did not exist in pre, prod, or post production and was caught trying to do some head shaking actions in conjunction with this film. I didn’t really like, nor trust this person from day 1 and tolerated him out of respect for one of my producers until that head-shaking point. After that, I was done with him. Easy enough. These people burn themselves out as their true nature is revealed. But I would never go on a TV interview and openly lie and use it to promote myself. I was questioned if I should have legal bring it down. I might. But the justice in all this is I get calls on people about their character, integrity and true place in the film community as I see it. Yes. My opinions and sometimes my direct knowledge of someone’s actions. I’m always honest. I warn or endorse people simply by saying if I would work with this person or not. I’ve been contacted often. It’s a small film community and I do know many people who trust me to shoot them the straight skinny. And I have.
I recently had a great discussion about what another peer filmmaker is developing. All of it was heavily tainted in my mind all because one of his close partners. I’ve had first hand experience with that person and actually let them go. Not a bad person at all. I just would not risk any further capital on his efforts. Would you re-enter a situation with negative elements/variables? This fellow filmmaker lamented the often true statement of how every set he’s worked on has had the cancer of negativity. I’ve had a few “negative” situations like this over the years but those elements were isolated and corrected or dismissed.
Bottom line. This is not some vanity game for me but a noble tradition of storytelling. I’ve been blessed to have several great crews working with us but that all starts at the top. That means conducting good business, constantly streamlining your communication and having a solid battle plan. I believe in our artists and I’ve grown as an artist with many of them. We don’t participate in these popular film challenges, although they teach new crews excellent finishing skills. One friend, had his possible award-winning short disqualified because run time ran over by seconds. He could have either A) Organized a social media gripe that his team was treated unfairly for petty seconds of overrun or B) Accept responsibility that as team leader it was a costly mistake made by their team or him. In football they say it’s a game of inches. So start taking accountability as a new year’s resolution and watch the new growth happen.
I’m in hopes to discover a few good projects, properly funded to come act on this year. I also have to connect with the script/role as you always should. Aside from that, I plan to produce 2-3 features with CDI this year. I’ve had many new folks reach out about financial involvement and we’ll entertain those interested parties once I’ve addressed my current backers with opportunities. Beware of any investors that also bring too many strings attached. Sometimes those strings can be the downfall of a project. I’ve seen it happen.
We’re around the 1.3 hour mark on MBF and should have first cut in a few weeks. I would love to lock a cut by the end of Jan. we will see where we sit very soon. I think many of you enjoyed the behind the scenes MBF short we released on Christmas Eve.
WILD FAITH new art, theatrical dates and more should be announced soon. It’s heading back to big screens in March across the country. Home Video dates follow close behind. Those dates can be found on the FB, official Wild Faith or IMDB sites.
I’ve been in the trenches hard-working on these new films to bring them out of post. Once I get a few days rest here while our tech guru’s assemble and deliver – development will continue full ahead. I also plan to set my goals in writing for the new year and see how close I came to last year’s goals. Have a great wrap up to your year. Be safe and plan your 2019 approach. If you would be so kind you can take a watch on our past and forthcoming films. Handcrafted from our family to yours.
Have a great Sunday!
New York Time Square – I’ve had success and setbacks. But taking a group of sailors/artists out to sea is always an adventure. Every great thing ever done started as an idea. I’ll tell you something that I see around me that I really like. And this kudos centers on my state of Michigan but extends beyond that. I see DOERS. I see people finishing. I see people reaching. I’m not a better artist. We’re all artists who either create or derive some pleasure from the art of others. Active is always more conditioned than observer. The football player will always be in more condition versus the watcher of football. The artists who stretches his imagination, cooperation and does will always be more conditioned than he/she that watches.
It is hard to make any movie. A bad movie requires lots of work. Try organizing four of your family or friends to go bowling. Scheduling. This happens because of passion and compensation. Being compensated for something you would do for free is golden as a goal. When someone is required for a lengthy stretch of time/days/weeks compensation with agreement is better than free even when you can get it. Bad cold. Flu. Fever. I’ve had it on sets before. But everyone of those artists is working towards the common goal. You take a vitamin C packet. Rest, best you can and wait to be called to set. People not fully committed can and do flake. But I carry a zero tolerance for that. Too much benefitting too many artists at stake. I’ve missed a grandma’s funeral being on set. She encouraged me all through my career, she can and did understand. It is a total commitment to process. I hear horror stories of crew attitudes and walk off’s. I’ve only dealt with those issues in the easiest of days where the rigor of “war/filming” can test everyone’s limits. We at CDI try to be a fertile creative ground to grow within. Not perfect but we strive individually and collectively. Negative folks can allow the positive flow to align them or they are removed from the circuit of energy.
I’ve recently seen a few debates between film producers I know and commercial crew members who dog his hiring practices. Both tried to argue their points while the negative slings and arrows flew. Producing commercials (production service) is very different than film production (investment). Again with said producers, I disagree with his model of business creatively and otherwise BUT he might also disagree with mine. I’m okay with that. I think that producers who produce for profit – narrative story in a VERY competitive field, are entitled to set an offer however they wish. I think compensating will draw more experience to the project. That in turn effects the timeliness, quality or both. But getting that experience is the catch 22 for crew and talent. Who is going to trust a 500k film on the back on a first time actor? How hard is it to land in the director or DP chair of a financier feature film? Sometimes these smaller projects help develop people for the path ahead. You can star in a story without the stress. You get to shoot a film versus being the clap board 2nd AC.
Some productions are in that middle ground because of budget. Yes. I’ve done 4 min automotive commercials with larger budgets than a feature film. Meetings, notes, tweaks…not as exciting as a narrative story. When you mix experience level the goal is to raise people up and not have it brought down. This requires the right leadership in the right place. All this? Maybe bowling would have been easier:) So if you’re making good money in commercial production don’t try to apply that to narrative filmmaking. LOYALTY is what brings crew into the bigger game. It is a two way street. They work to help tell a beautiful story with audience changing power. Those few filmmakers that grow are smart to take their team with them. Some producers do sell out and take this composer who did this or that…this designer is more…they worked on…TRUST ME on this one. Stay with the team that got you there. Now they might need to keep growing with the collective. Soldiers all gotta march. But if someone likes what you’ve built they should respect the builders.
I’ve had a strong week of film business mixed with good times with the new puppy Finn and family. I made beef jerky for the studio and worked on dehydrated apples now. This week I’m going to rack the GRAPE APE wine to the secondary. I put a deer worth of venison into the freezer. Wood cutting for the office stove will continue this week. Let’s do some bullet point film updates.
- The Christ Slayer artwork is just truly beautiful. We’ll be announcing Feb streaming purchase, March DVD, April EVENT SHOWINGS on the big screen across the country. Post work is full steam ahead for the next couple weeks.
- Wild Faith artwork for the theatrical and DVD has begun. Wild Faith will be hitting theaters across the US in 3/1/19, TV cable 4/1/19, digital purchase 5/6/19, DVD 5/27/19
- MBF is now re-focused on the film edit and we’re working to have a first cut by end of the year. The trailer has been getting a great response. Please follow our Facebook site and watch the trailer. https://www.facebook.com/pg/MBFthemovie/videos/
- Tis the season and feel free to take a watch on our other films. FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR are the two previous films in The Quest Trilogy.
- LOST HEART is slowly moving down the tracks and will start to pick up steam 1st of the year. Stay tune for more opportunities. Also follow http://www.cdiproductions.com
Okay. It’s time to cap off the hot hazelnut coffee. Make some breakfast and get ready for a good day. Yesterday we went up North for a belated Thanksgiving fest and today is a family bday party. Go Lions!
I’m listening to the icy rain outside – thankfully I got most all the yard winterized. I had a GIANT branch larger than most trees, trimmed. (Ruby’s Tree Service in Lansing) It had grown over the house and path to the office. It was big enough that the roof and house might slow it down if it fell. That said, it is now down and while part of the yard is littered with logs I will have lots of firewood for the coming seasons. I had a Viking Thursday that started early with stowing all the yard stuff under the deck and ended with a little whiskey sipping around the wood stove with a few ole friends. Let’s look at a few updates from a week of business.
- AFM (American Film Market) is over and we had both FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR being pushed. We have deals underway with several foreign companies/networks for release. Asia, UK, Netherlands and more…stay tuned for news as they close. I have to say it is nice to have good reports coming in vs the sad song many past distributors would cry about how bad the market was…blah…blah… It’s all about the people and the integrity of doing business.
- Amazon likes Chasing the Star as a possible featured film in December. Here is their directions to assist us – Ask as many people as you can (who have Amazon Prime) to watch CHASING THE STAR on Prime’s streaming service (here’s the web address: https://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Star-Yancy-Butler/dp/B074PWRYWF/ref=tmm_aiv_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= ) … if they’ve already watched it elsewhere, they can just play it all the way through while they do something else (no fast forwarding), then write a positive review and rate it highly. They don’t need to get carried away with their comments – just be truthful and positive. Those end to end views of the film, followed by positive reviews, help drive the Title to locations on Prime’s homepage which make it easier for others to run across it and (hopefully) watch.
- Forty Nights is playing on the BIG screen TONIGHT in Bedias, Texas TONIGHT Nov. 12th see INFO here – https://www.facebook.com/events/177914439433028/
- The NEW Collective Development Inc. website will be launching Jan. 1st and we’ve got lots of great things developing with that endeavor.
- Development talks at one of my favorite studio/networks has begun. We will see, I don’t want to jinx anything but initial pitch had some initial interest.
- Discussions on development with CDI and certain Indian/Bollywood entities continues. Both to release CDI product and create new film product.
- Wild Faith VFX work is in full swing and the first low res drafts were VERY good. I’m happy to report that in the next week or two that the visual will be locked up including VFX. End credit work has also started.
- The Christ Slayer VFX work (much more) is moving right along and I got to see some of the newly altered scenes. It looks like major studio work and I’m excited to see if finished.
- Staying on The Christ Slayer film- the first official poster is almost done. I’ve seen all the previous versions and so I’m excited to see our final.
- MBF (Man’s Best Friend) solidified another investor unit this week and we announced three of our actors. One being a tried and true we’ve worked with many times (Dean Teaster) and two young actors that will be working with us for the first time. Shooting is still targeting March 2018. A shout out to all those who served in our armed forces.
Aside from that, it was a week of disappointment in my alumni school Michigan State University. In football we’ve been doing good but Ohio hit us like Mr. T’s Clubber Lang in Rocky 3. We will see if the Lions do better today. The house Halloween stuff got put away and the Thanksgiving stuff is out. Soon the Christmas tree and I for one can’t wait. I love having a tree in the house. I find it inspiring. So those of you in the reach of the cold, stay warm. I hope you have a productive week and spend some good time with friends and family.
Be good to one another.
The morning chill made it perfect to sip the hot coffee and talk about my past week. The week was busy with every source of communication jammed with “checking in,” “catching up,” and other “forget me not’s” that have become the pattern when we’re casting and crew a new film. Let’s talk on these two things – CASTING and CREWING.
Casting – One thing I never understood when I did in-state castings. It was people always saying “They don’t want to see a reel(s)” to which I was always thinking WHAT? In football terms – what coach thinking of recruiting to his team would not want to see game footage? Performance when it is game time. Look at that production value and often an entire production trusting on this individuals performance. I said it before, so few people have their materials around and so agents don’t use them because it makes all the non-reel people look bad. So let’s ignore the most experienced talent because all these others don’t have a reel. We watch, identify and try to keep the hoop jumping to a minimum. I hate cattle calls like everyone else and luckily have not attended one in many years. But we try to focus on what we really need so not to waste anyones time. Make the most of every opportunity.
Crewing – like acting – if you accept a job at that point the pay becomes non-important. If I’m paid $100 or $10,000 I will still give everything once I’ve committed. Don’t be one who notices problems but be one if offers solutions. Every crew member is a paid PROBLEM SOLVER. We pay for SOLUTIONS. Never QUIT. Quitting is a character flaw and that flaw will hinder you for a lifetime if you don’t outgrow it. All we ever ask is professional from call to wrap. If you’re being housed – professionalism is further required. I will note that because we try to do things right on our projects – it is much harder on staff. It’s harder to do things right. Understand and sympathize with your fellow crew and cast. Because at the end you’re working together on something that will stay with you for a lifetime. The friendships, the hardships and the final story. The best way for crew to find their way to a CDI project is to be introduced by an existing crew member who will vouch for your work. By work I mean not just what ends up on the screen but how that happened. Stressful, unorganized, behind schedule, attitude – you will not remain part of the crew long-term even if the work was acceptable on-screen. The journey is as important as the destination for the people on the journey.
Casting is almost complete and we’ve already starting talking to targeted crew. Soon we ride!
OTHER DEVELOPMENT & POST
“Knight Chills 2” this project has some good business forming up behind it. We plan to do some camera rolling this winter. Also look for the 2017 release of the book and original film.
“The Christ Slayer”
I’ve recently sat down with several key individuals that could help bring this trilogy to a conclusion. We’re about to start location scouting in AZ with our ground team. I’m very excited to be returning to this world one more time. I think this will be a great end piece to “Chasing the Star” now in post.
My body has about repaired from a brutal soccer season. Now I’m enjoying watching the Lions and MSU Spartans beat themselves up for the victory. I’ve been doing my company and production work and getting prepared to bring a new character to life on-screen this October. Many of those that have been cast I’m proud to call friends. I also look forward to adding new friends to my circle. Today is more end of summer yard work getting all that ship-shape before I go playing cowboys with my friends. Spend some time with family and friends and enjoy the long weekend. Our staff continues to pass reels, reads and resumes between our team.
USA, Australia, Brazil and China are the top four countries where our readers are from. I’ve not been to any of the last three but I’m appreciative to you all. I’ve had films released in all three of those territories – following the USA. What I do love is the community of artistry. We’ve had a lot of rain this week but also signs of the coming fall. MSU football is getting close to kicking off and that is excitement. With my boy Luke on recovery the squirrels have come in force stripping roughly a third of my apples off the tree and making a play for the garden harvest. I cannot blame theme but we’ve got more than enough for them to eat without their garden raids.
This week was full of ups and downs but steady movement forward especially with post work and development work that is about to go full pre-production. I will speak briefly about one encounter. I had a business intro call that was set up to make introductions and set the foundation for future business. This was to be with an executive at a well-known company. Just because you are dealing with a larger corporation does not make them BETTER organized. It had been many years since I had to deal with attitude from someone. But, I always go in with respect and professionalism. That said, when someone line steps you sometimes have to put them into check. But, you must be willing to lose the business. The best business is not when someone tries to discount a property to leverage the best deal. I love when they are honest with what they really like and express a wish to do some same-side of the table negotiation and create a WIN-WIN. That is the difference between true leaders and those who were in a position and gone in 8-18 months. These people also represent the BRAND. I take great pride in our artists on both sides of the camera. I would rather develop the right personality versus working with an ass that may be talented but makes the journey sour. This one individual had a couple of possible reasons for their odd behavior but most stem from low self-esteem. He had another young female executive on the phone call and was trying to be manly by being confrontational. Well, that conversation did not go exactly how he planned it. Remember this people.
YOU MUST EARN RESPECT.
YOU MUST EARN RESPECT.
Many think that a name tag, door plaque or desk moniker will automatically give respect. Initially people will respect the office but if the personality is unfit they become a joke. That only enhances their need to try to feel powerful by treating people poorly. I’ve had many people over the years treat me well only to have me observe them treating others they feel below them, poorly. Don’t be this person. I respect everyone on our projects from DP to he or she who makes the coffee. This person will likely continue to hurt their branding. Don’t hurt YOUR branding.
THE QUEST TRILOGY
40 Nights – As we move towards finishing Part 2 “Chasing the Star” more people are introduced to our biblical world in “40 Nights” – Also had the pleasure recently of taking several meetings over our third upcoming film “The Christ Slayer” which despite the attention grabbing title is a beautiful story.
“Chasing the Star” – some amazing new stills will be rolling out. A poster, a trailer – all these great promotional items will start rolling out as we close in on the finish line.
“The Christ Slayer” – The returning cast are very excited by the third installment. I’ve been looking at and developing some of the important foundation elements of this story. I will enjoy the final trek into this world one more time as Jesus. A swan song to a beautiful role which has brought smiles to many people. I thank all of you audiences for that.
“Wild Faith” – Our team has started to line up our cast and crew for this 1800’s story that takes place in Michigan shortly after the Civil War. I’ve been engaged in discussions with key artists and we’ll have many more announcements soon. This week we announced Melissa Anschutz and Lana Wood joining the cast. I’m excited about the additional announcements. I love Michigan in the fall. I love westerns. I love my fellow artists who will join in telling the story. Each cast and crew is unique. I’m excited to be prepping to play a role in this film and to work with all these fine people telling this story.
I’ve got much more I could ramble on about but instead I’m going to pick from the garden and do a few things around the homestead. Be good to each other. Keep following your dreams. Keep clawing.
It is raining here in Michigan as the heat wave is still moving past us. Soon will be Fall, MSU football and cookouts. We might even have a film, or two – to shoot:) Let’s look at some of those developments but let’s take a moment for me to illustrate something from my life balancing work with living.
It has been an interesting week (or two) as we have been promoting the films now released, post-production on those to come and developing the new. It’s a lot of work and much more than what most people see or realize. It’s funny that when I was first starting out the naysayers were mad that I thought I could. Now I occasionally get those that are upset because of what I’ve actually done.
Unrelated to movie-biz – I turned down a personal request because it wasn’t possible and even if it was – not something I could just decide on a dime. It also concerned a third-party and so I politely said – No. Well, that set off an explosion of misdirected anger – that I didn’t do it because I was a “big shot” – Wrong. I’ve always stayed humble – it was because it wasn’t within my rights to make that call. Anyways, a few hurtful things said by someone I once enjoyed and considered extended family. I simply responded that the years grow shorter, life goes fast – be the best person you can be, always. Did that kind response help? No. More hate from somewhere deep that directed itself at what I do – who I am.
Bottom line is that when you have these toxic elements around you – they can have an effect on you – because you care. I have kept the toxic relationships off the board because I don’t tolerate that. It allows me to climb the steep hills. So, I’m closing a chapter and wishing this person the best. I’ve shared laughter with this individual on many occasions but have no time to deal with drama and others insecurities. I will choose to remember the good times, the good person and move on. Learn this lesson and you will be more productive and happy.
Onto some film updates?
“40 Nights,” “Bestseller,” “Ashes of Eden” and “Donors” continues to expand their availability. Many artists work very hard on these stories so if you get a chance to watch On-Demand on add our DVD to your collection we would be appreciative.
“Chasing the Star” – I watched the first full cut and I was pleased. This week I will watch cut 2 which has been tightened and music beds are being worked on. I’ve been pleased how our director Bret Miller has been collaborating with our post team. This movie will be enjoyed and we hope will become a mainstay around Christmas. The story is powerful and heartfelt. I’m happy that we’ve been given this opportunity to tell such a dramatic story versus fast-buck, feel-good movies. I always say, if JUST chasing the dollar is what you are about there are many easier ways versus filmmaking. But if you want to leave a lasting message our medium is second to none.
A few months ago we talked about CDI’s 1st film, “Knight Chills” shot around 1996 – hence our 20th Anniversary DVD release. We will be going On-Demand with it. But most exciting is the releasing of the book by author David Hayes. The soundtrack might also release if we can resurrect it.
Sneak a peek at the new trailer before we announce this in the coming week.
Speaking of resurrection – the sequel development is underway. We’ve been pulling all this together and we will release the sequel a few months after the re-release of the 20th Anniversary. Stay tuned!
We are also making some last script tweaks to a western film that we’ll be shooting with Jesse Low (40 Nights) once again in the directors chair. Some PR will be rolling out soon along with some possible casting opportunities.
In 2017 we are also planning to shoot the final chapter in The Quest Trilogy. The earlier locations ground work will be starting soon.
Today if the many storms don’t wash out the fields we will once again be battling on the soccer pitch. So keep working hard my friends at whatever you’re striving for.
Until next week.
I have finally landed back in my comfy chair and will take a few moments with all of you. MSU plays football in a short while and I enjoy that time. We will watch and enjoy some Mexican eating as the night falls and the air turns cold. We had a streak of beautiful weather and only a short year earlier we had major snow. I’m not sure how Michigan will be this winter but we’ll deal with it. I think an oil change before the snow hits but other than that we will be ready. I need to do a final mow and put away certain things until spring. I’m ready to enjoy the season and continue to prep for the 2016 season ahead.
We’ve been all hands on deck with post production trying to bring “40 Nights” to a close. Many people are VERY excited including our marketing people with Lightworx. Sound design and music at one studio, VFX at two studios and color correction awaits at the end. The distributor wanted to know if they could get screeners now (work in progress) but the film is in layered pieces. But soon the pieces will all be married together into one final film. If you are just starting to hear about “40 Nights” check it out.
Theatrical showing events will take place before our April 1st release and that is no joke:) Some may know that “40 Nights” is the first in our QUEST TRILOGY. The second is entitled “Chasing the Star” and we’ve just announced our director and some of our returning cast. Take a look at the press release below.
I’m excited to once again play in this powerful, moving world that we’re exploring. Jesse Low, our “40 Nights” director will likely be ready for some R&R before moving into our CDI mid-“western” that he’ll direct. I purchased something today that will either be a costume or set dressing. It was a bear skin. Now I’m personally not for hunting predators. I think these sport hunters who kill at some silly distance with a rifle are disgraceful. It isn’t like you used a bowie knife. Anyway, I knew that this could be an awesome prop that fit our period. So this animal skin is now in the office. I have also been looking for something long to hang on a wall beam in the office. I had someone approach me with a trade that was just too cool. It was a 7 foot long whale harpoon mounted on this beautiful aged wood plank covered with nautical rope. Again, I’m not a supporter of whale hunting in this age of easier food. I know religion, beliefs and other traditions factor into the practice of whale hunting. But those who did this by hand were obviously also putting their life on the line. So today I took possession of a whale harpoon and a bear skin. I don’t say that too often. Okay, I’ve never said that.
“Bestseller” had a great showing in Owosso, MI last Sunday and I want to thank everyone who came out. I want to thank filmmaker buddy Nathan Quinn for coming out and supporting. It was good to catch up and I appreciated the beers. CHEERS! Chris Knight aka Johnathan Rand had a great signing earlier that day for his young fans. Next stop for the film might be Detroit area following Grayling, MI. It was fun to once again watch the audiences be scared. It’s worth a watch with a group in a theater but I know it will also play great in that small dark room late at night. Did you hear something? Boo!
We are so close to announcing our TV premiere with “Ashes of Eden” – I can’t get ahead of our distributor’s PR so I have to wait. But that film will be getting out to audiences worldwide every soon.
The Nov 19th CDI film mixer at Sanctuary Spirits in Grand Ledge, MI will be showing “An Ordinary Killer”. Now if our transfer worked correct from the D5, I intend to make DVD’s to purchase also. We’re planning on doing new runs of all the classic CDI films.
We’re passing contracts back and forth on the book/DVD re-release of “Knight Chills”. I’m excited to revisit this world in the many formats. The sequel film and comic book adaptations could be happening sooner versus later. Stay tuned!
Well, I’m going to wrap this up and do a little work while watch MSU. Enjoy your weekend.
I’m sitting in a nice silence after returning from a family birthday event that featured MSU TV. Now my father and I both graduated from MSU and so I like the tradition. I’ve always liked that MSU could beat anyone on a given day but most of the time were underdogs. In the recent years they have become the team to beat. I do like how they keep their humble class and whip ass. I’m proud of how they represent. I was sitting outside on the porch of the office watching the night sky. I see some comparisons to filmmaking. I’ve always wanted to wear pride behind our company name. I try to run a fair ship and make dependable, creative content. I know that many that have worked with Collective Development Inc. have felt the teamwork and professional respect we try to extend. Many haphazard production entities can whirlwind a location or town and create an unwelcome environment for future productions.
The other part of my MSU comparison was just the tenacity that the teams are known for. I feel like that attribute, which existed before MSU, but was further honed by a university that exemplifies these traits. I think MSU has been playing up and down to their opposition. U of M has looked good but the Spartan mentality is not like others. Also with those few seconds I noted those who did not go to MSU start to waiver tonight when the chips were down. But those that went to MSU knew not to mourn until the battle is over. To the last second you fight to move forward. Breaking into the film industry is a battle and one that many lose. But for those who stand at the last twilight of a battle and go that last round – sometimes a foe falls. An obstacle is removed. A challenge is overcome. As I sat looking at the night sky I took several deep breaths and embraced that spirit. Along time ago I drew my sword and started my march forward. Other like-minded people asked if they could walk with me. Respect one another. None of that drama that follows so many of these powerfully, creative egos were allowed to walk with us. If you feed on that strife your path is elsewhere. Films are hard enough and should never be made worse by those variables. So a good team of people who don’t QUIT and you never know.
ADVICE: don’t quit.
It’s a really big read into the character of a person. Before trusting any budget upon an artist you have to know you aren’t dealing with a quitter. I know some talented artists that I just can’t hire. They quit on a task – large or small it doesn’t matter. Only the risk changes. If you give up easy – you’ll be working in some field outside filmmaking – just a matter of time. Filmmaking is not for quitters. They are a breed to themselves. They all have some internal, creative calling. Some will engage creativity where they can and try to keep the storytelling beast in a cage. Others will go full tilt. Here is where you must have a good plan of action or you’ll moth to the flame. For some this is just an illustration for a lifetime of frustration and for others it is literal. See you on the other side Smiling Joe.
In summary – good job MSU!
“Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” kicked off our screening arts mixer every 3rd Thursday at Sanctuary Spirits in Grand Ledge, MI. It was a good look back at our first western with CDI. It was released with Lionsgate and was the #1 western rental for 7 weeks. Top 10 for 17 weeks. More than all that it featured some great talent on both sides of the camera and was one of the most beautiful places I have ever shot a movie. Maggie Valley/Cherokee N.C. – We will announce the November movie on Monday. If you have any requests send me a shout out:)
“Ashes of Eden” is preparing to announce some news about TV broadcast but you can still catch it in select theaters. It played today and will play again tomorrow at the Sun Theater in Grand Ledge, Michigan. If you have not checked out “Ashes of Eden” on the big screen this is a great theater to watch it in. Classic!
“40 Nights” – I’m waiting to hear this week about VFX updates. Also the film INTRO is soon to be underway. More sound design and dialogue clean up has been done. I’m excited for the musical score to begin. I’m ready to share this film with the world audiences.
“Chasing the Star” – the script is in the hands of several actors. The feedback has been wonderful. We’re looking into locations and preparing to film in Feb 2016. We will start hiring in December once the film is up and running. Our “40 Nights” director Jesse Low is attached to director our western in 2016. This has us looking at several possible directors. The second script in our deal with Lightworx is essentially about the quest of three magi.
“Bestseller” is gearing up for an event Nov 1st in Owosso, MI. I enjoyed this week at a dental cleaning – my dentist was all smiles when he told me he saw one of my films. I asked which. He said that he and his wife saw “Bestseller” at Celebration Cinemas. He said, “you were really intense – we loved it.” I thanked him for taking the time to go see it and promised him not to trash his office Franklin style. He was happy.
I’ve been closing in on finishing two scripts. One being the 3rd in the biblical film series. The other is Knight Chills 2. Two VERY different film scripts to be sure. I enjoy the writing and look forward to finishing those two up. Additionally just doing some budgeting work and we’re finishing up some other sales work. But I’ve also been enjoying the fall. It is getting frosty and I saw my first snow flakes today. Winter is Coming (CUE Game of Thrones music)
I’m sure I missed maybe an update or two but I need to kick my feet up. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Another beautiful Saturday. The coffee is now gone and we’ve moved into watching MSU football. I’ve grown to enjoy the game over the years. It is a series of short-term goals versus my game of soccer that is a constant flow with a goal. Our soccer season ended and I really enjoyed the play. Now I let the legs heal and start my strength training. Okay many of you here are tuned in to hear about the films and the challenges making them. Let’s look at some of my recent decisions I’ve been faced with.
Our “Chasing the Star” script (version 1) is done and out to several key players. This is the second biblical film in our 3 pic series. “40 Nights” was the first and that film should be done late November. Now due to script it will mostly shoot in AZ. This film has the commits to finance and so pre-production work will be starting. But due to the heat of the desert that dictates when we shoot. We are looking to shoot a few weeks earlier than “40 Nights” to make it easier on cast and crew.
We have a western-era film we want to shoot in Michigan. It has a good amount of money committed to it but we will only move forward with full funds in place. This is a good policy but required when you have distribution in advance. You want to be reliable for delivering your product. Now we have X amount of producer pre-prod work and also on-location pre-production before the shoot. I wanted to get the film in the can (hard drives) by the holidays. We are getting closer to that decision-making deadline. It is hard because the artists all like to work and the biz of it is everyone getting a final paycheck before the holidays. That’s ham on a table that toys under a tree for people, but the best choice has to be made for the film.
Now if our date comes and we don’t have all the filming fuel we need we will push the film to the other side of “Chasing the Star” in May. That would be a nice time to film and give ample time to close the financing. That is happening but can it happen in our timeline? We will see.
As noted “40 Nights” is moving down the post production line. “Bestseller” is getting ready for the Nov 1st, Owosso, MI shooting. It is also being delivered to the national distributor as is “Donors”. I need to call Jon Osman, our director on “The Terrorist”.
In other news I came off “Chasing the Star” scriptwriting and flowed right into the third film script. It was there and I almost couldn’t stop it from flowing. I’m grabbing legal pads and just scribbling notes at all times. I’m excited about these three but also excited to go finish out a few other scripts.
I will have news here soon on “Knight Chills” book and film reissue. Sound track deal still needs my attention. So I have crossed a lot off my TO DO list but many things still remain. We have “Ghost Town” getting ready to play at Sanctuary Spirits in Grand Ledge, MI and we will be doing this once a month. It is a meet and greet for fans and fellow filmmakers. I’ve been trying to get out and meet some of the other fine talent in our state. This helps in casting and crewing when required. We’ve been reviewing reels for several weeks and are excited by some of what we’ve seen. REELS! Make those reels actors!
I hope to see some of you Oct. 15th (Grand Ledge) we are digging out and selling some classic “Ghost Town” swag. We had an entire product line for a few years at Ghost Town in the Sky theme park in Maggie Valley, N.C. so that should be fun. Also I will be in Owosso, MI November 1st and I heard author Chris Wright will also be doing an appearance/signing for his Johnathan Rand children’s books (“American Chiller”) earlier that afternoon.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and go MSU!
It is half time of the MSU game and we’re teaching the Air Force team a thing or two about football. It has been rainy but we are getting back to the nice fall weather. We’re still pulling good from the garden and BLT sandwiches have been great. Tomorrow we have our first round of soccer play-offs. Last week we had a tough game but beat the team 6-4 after losing to them prior by a goal I believe. I had my first goal of the season which was great because I play defense. So we will hit it hard tomorrow and see what happens. We play a very good team. Beatable but very good.
This week was very productive. First, I’m very happy to announce my official first draft of “Chasing the Star” is done. It is the 2nd film in our 3 film deal with Lightworx Entertainment. The 1st movie in the series is “40 Nights” it’s now in post sound. I’m going to start doing some video updates at our distributors request.
The “Chasing the Star” script has the same depth and power that I loved about the first one. And I’ve almost got the third one mapped out. I thought they might be stand alone films and they are BUT…they do connect. I’m excited for a few people from “40 Nights” who might bring roles back in this second film.
A couple of actors who had small parts might be given larger roles in this follow up. We’ve also been looking at and discussing many actors for this film. We are looking mainly in the AZ and CA area whereas talent can drive to our location. Many more crew people will get a 1st look at the script this coming week. Anyway, I’m happy this draft is complete and now some scheduling/budget work can be done.
“Bestseller” is gearing up for an event showing in Owosso, MI take a look here please.
We also have an October 15th event showing of “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” in Grand Ledge, MI just outside Lansing. An event page will be forthcoming. We will be doing a movie a month and use the time to interact and meet some of the local film community.
“Ashes of Eden” releases nationally Oct. 13th and we should have word on some of the foreign territories we will be releasing to. Here is one retailer releasing it Oct. 20th
I hope to have home video release dates for everyone on “Donors” and “Bestseller” but we don’t have those yet. “40 Nights” would like to welcome THE GARMAX GROUP for their platinum sponsorship.
You will see their logo in front of the film. We might seek one other promotional sponsor for that opening billing. We are starting to look at some marketing. The licensing management deal is done. Also trying to lock distribution on soundtracks. Always something that needs to move forward on the TO DO list.
We also are closing in on finalizing the financing on a western era script. We have to get it done within a certain timeline or else we have to move it to the other side of “Chasing the Star” but we are pushing. I would love to be playing a rugged role in the fall/winter here in Michigan. It just might happen. We are prepping to play as we speak.
I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend and proceed on to a great week ahead.
It took me a while to sign in to my blog here. There are so many media communication sites. I get communications coming from all sides. Email is still the best way to contact me but even that is getting more complex. This morning we had a great breakfast in what use to be a train station in the late 1800’s early 1900’s. The chill today is perfect for all the football on deck. MSU, my alumni school plays in a few short hours. Lions on Sunday plus last regular season soccer match before play offs. It was another grinding week but extremely productive. Let’s look at a few of the wins this week.
I’m working the last few pages on “Chasing the Star” our follow-up biblical drama. I was so happy about how the “40 Nights” script evolved and how it translated to the screen. This follow-up has distribution and it appears all our funding commits are in place. So we are looking to return to AZ and film our second film for Lightworx Entertainment.
“40 Nights” has been exciting because we are now seeing dialogue cleaned up/balanced and environmental sound design. I got the signed paperwork on our licensing deal for management of merchandising. This movie should be complete end of November.
Now we have a partially funded western also being distributed worldwide by Lightworx. Not only will it be a feature film but used as a pilot for a TV series that we hope to shoot in Michigan. We have been in talks with several actresses over a lead role. Also some great Hollywood celebs may come out to participate. Funding talks continue and we have a real strong shot at doing this film before the holidays hit.
Development talks for films beyond April 2016 are underway but I also have a few projects to act in that I’m watching to see when their schedule lands. The C.U.J.O. movie has been talked about prior and also my management is targeting a strongly anticipated TV series. Not sure if we’re looking at a guest starring or being a regular but I would be happy with either one.
WASTELAND poster is being sent and the director has been trying to target festivals that focus on Science Fiction. I also want to get updates on THE TERRORIST (Release dates) and DEAD QUIET (Premiere dates).
“BESTSELLER” is having an event showing at the Wrought Iron Grill in Owosso, Michigan on November 1st. An EVENT PAGE coming soon! “BESTSELLER” is also being delivered to our distributor as is “Donors” so when I have release dates I will let everyone know.
In Lansing, MI we are kicking off a monthly CDI film screening starting in Oct. 15th at Sanctuary Spirits in Grand Ledge. I think it is $5.00 cover at door and the opening film is “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” – a smoky mountain western. It pits the two mountain men from DELIVERANCE – Bill McKinney & Herbert Cowboy Coward against one another.
I think Sanctuary Spirits will have some great whiskey specials. They have an apple and maple whiskey that is really good. I love their gin also. Not only can you have drinks there but you can buy bottles to take home. EVENT PAGE COMING SOON!
“Ashes of Eden” is gearing up for a release in less than a month. Here is a pre-sale link for BEST BUY
We will provide more ways for you to see this fine film in the weeks ahead.
In summary…working hard to finish up and deliver our current slate. We have some of the next slate funded and working on the ones after that. We are at a good place – working with distributors and making films to release directly into the marketplace. I’m really enjoying this new work flow. We will finish up this slate of films and look at moving to a few larger films. Patience is a virtue.
Have a great weekend and spend some time with friends and family.
GO MSU! Go LIONS!
Another beautiful Michigan Saturday seems a great way to top off a productive week. The last couple days have been much cooler (Good for grilling/smoker) and brings to mind thoughts of fall football. Go MSU. Go Lions. That said, I will try to recap some of the past week updates.
“Ashes of Eden” may get a few more theatrical showings prior to the October 13th national release. I’m very proud of this film and the folks who participated in it. Shane Hagedorn and I have had many development talks as of late. I have a sit down with him this week and a new course may be plotted. Hold tight:)
“Bestseller” – we are in talks on some other theatrical locations but more importantly we signed a domestic US/Canada deal. These are the deals that get the film to your Wal-Mart brick and mortar retailers and to your Netflix and VOD rental sites. The movie will also be available through Mr. Chris Knight’s (Johnathan Rands) Michigan Chiller Thriller store. We will be looking at a few sales to foreign territories also as we more forward.
“40 Nights” has been a wonderful experience. We released our 1st official trailer which was exciting. Just to give people a first look and from all the feedback it has been well received. I know everyone worked very hard in the desert of Yuma, AZ to make that film happen. I’ve had communications of support start to come in from all over the world. I’ll say again, the film is so much more – versus what you see in the trailer. The talent involved on both sides of the camera really brought it and it shows. I was reviewing our most recent cut of the film which had also been sent to our distributor. I was waiting to see what they had thought about the naked film. (No music/sound) They had loved the trailer and so now we had to see if they also…AH! satisfaction! They loved it.
I’m excited by the growing buzz over the film. Having multiple watches of the film under me I can say, I’m very happy with our translation from script to the big screen. I was so inspired by the responses that my writing on our follow-up biblical film (“Chasing the Star”) is close to having a first draft.
We are working some FX/credits and this week we plan to finalize the edit. From there it move to full music and sound design. Other business surrounding this film is moving right ahead – like licensing. This is now moving forward with a deal- our distributor will manage these licensing rights. What would you like to see with 40 Nights branding? T-Shirt? Lunch Box? I can see this on a coffee cup.
So, I let you blog faithful in on my writing progress with my new “Chasing the Star” script. I will say that we’ve also been working development on a western film. First step – the schedule and budget, both are almost done. We’ve also done some location scouting. We’re getting ready to launch a few new CDI film projects and I’m ready. Are you?
“Donors” is working DVD artwork with the new distributor for the national release. I’m still waiting to hear something on “Dead Quiet” as I know the haunting season is approaching.
We are also finishing up a CDI Commercial project for use in Washington DC. We do take on select commercial projects so feel free to reach out if you have a budget and want professional work.
I also want to welcome CDI Associated directors Anthony Hornus (Standing Post/Outside the Wire) and Tom Norton (7 Stones) for recently joining the ranks of Jeff Kennedy (Figure in the Forest) and Kevin Hershberger (Wicked Spring) on the Parables Network.
This week I had some great in-depth conversations with several business associates. I love that many of the talks I have are also framed by discussions of life. The journey has to have meaning and the business needs to evolve. This week was a mix of highly focused computer work on the hot humid days and a smooth mix of yard work and business talks on the fall-like cool days. As I work all this business I have started to look ahead to characters and roles. Some projects are finishing and so new ones must begin.
I hope each of you are enjoying your summer. I hope you are spending time with some loved ones.
I’m sitting here relaxing and thinking back on the busy week. It was truly a busy, busy week but I’m happy with all the new developments. I’m happy to report that almost all these business actions were all done against the backdrop of our emerging fall. Let’s look at some of the things that happened this week and let’s hope that I don’t forget any.
ASHES OF EDEN – We just concluded our theatrical run in Canton & Novi in Michigan. No sooner had we concluded and we have more good news concerning this film. I know that PR is about locked and loaded to share some of this good news with all of you. I enjoyed the nice comments from all the people who came out to see the film. This film has been a strong showcase for Lansing, for Michigan and for some of the best emerging talent in the region. There may be some new opportunities to see this film – stay tuned.
LOCKED IN A ROOM is getting a new Halloween season release from Echo Bridge Entertainment packaging us with some classics.
BOOK OF RUTH, Journey of Faith is now selling in a 2 pack at major retailers.
“GPS The Movie” that played CHILLER TV is getting a new release in November and heading to the foreign market.
BESTSELLER has started sound work and CGI/Graphic work. We are all excited to have this moving down the post production line.
THE TERRORIST is another film that is in post sound and we hope to have done at the year’s end.
I also was informed that my 1st feature I starred in called IN THE WOODS is having a theatrical screening to celebrate 15 years since the video release. That is the film that put me on the map first. While it does have a good cheese factor it has become a favorite of many fans out there. For all of you – some special news will be forthcoming! Stay tuned.
I think one of the biggest questions I get is WHAT’S NEXT? My management has been in talks with several casting agents as we try to find the right projects to showcase my acting craft. I’ve been introduced to some amazing production groups working on some amazing films. But I did have one extremely exciting project come to me. In the period of a week this film just seemed to just come together. The ink is dry, flight and hotel booked and I’m excited to announce this week my involvement in a SciFi/Western. I’m playing one of the leads and will be assisting in distribution via a CDI association. The official press release will be coming this week. It will be shooting out west in a famous State park and I’m beyond excited. The 7-year-old in me who wanted to be Han Solo is excited:)
I’m sure I missed a few updates – mostly development talks. We’re close to launching a few other films. Upcoming 2015 will be a BUSY year I can tell already. This weekend will be some fall clean up, football and archery. I’ve bottled up the TROPIC THUNDER wine and I think next week some hard cider might be in order. I’m also almost through my STAN REED SUMMER BREW and so time to get another batch of that going. Michigan folk know how to stay warm.
Have a great weekend!
A quiet morning of sipping coffee and reflecting on the past week. On the domestic front this week saw Lions and MSU football kick off to victory. The garden is giving tomatoes, peppers and some beans in abundance. I bottled up the fall brew beer that I’ve named AUTUMN AMBER and is tastes good and with some age it will get even better. We used the smoker on some chicken and it came out great! So on the personal level I’ve been enjoying the slow transition from summer to fall. Let’s discuss some business shall we.
First I’ve noticed that some of the things happening in the our local film community will evolve on their own. My personal “community” is composed of doers from every state and other country’s creating art and telling stories to enlighten and educate the masses. We’ve discussed many of the issues that our state faces and I’m sure that is represented in every film community in every state. There are some that are chasing fame and working cons to try to grab a foothold. As I’m about to shoot a thriller this Oct. that is a complete re-shoot due to mismanagement I see that some of the individuals responsible are just moving to the next “mark”. Some are following their same game of deceit and bamboozling. I did step in to give warning to one young man who seems bent on getting ahead by any means. I just saw his attempted involvement with two other filmmakers that I call a friend. So I had to bring that to light because I don’t want to see others have their passion films damaged. Be real and build a real career on real effort and work. Not claiming “uncredited” work on studio projects or falsely adding or promoting yourself as being part of something you are not. I gave my warning but for you out there hiring or collaborating – you must also beware. Talk to people who have worked with these people prior. Remember like a job interview they are looking to say what they think you want to hear. A good speaker can bullshit a lot of people and you often won’t realize until it is too late. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way earlier in my career as well. I’ve got a finely tuned bullshit meter but we all can be a victim.
We are about to start signing deal memos on “Bestseller” in the coming weeks. We’ve been in talks with vendors and I’m excited about what this group of artists will create. I’ve been spending some time with my character role and looking forward to bringing this to life. Some of my contacts in Hollywood are now becoming aware of what we are shooting and we will be bringing a few actors in to work with our mid-west talent. They have had some great feedback on our revamped script and we are doing our production breakdowns. This should be a very smooth shoot and a great way to end the year. So prepare for a new website and PR on some of our great talent attached.
ASHES OF EDEN! The film is in final sound design and scoring and we are on course for a November Michigan premiere. Before that audiences will get a strong look at our film via a theatrical trailer which will release tomorrow! I’m excited about showing people a peek of this powerful film. I’m going off survey responses from our test audiences. We also have submitted and may have a few known music artists joining our talented local music acts. I’m excited to again show our interested distributors our new marketing piece. I also excited to show all of you!
BENJAMIN has been re-cut with distributor feedback and retitled THE TERRORIST. All the talk from over there in that camp is that we also have something very special. So this is another film that I’m excited to get out to audiences. Another riveting drama.
SUPERMODEL SHOWDOWN. The question of if this TV series is going to strike a fancy has been answered. We did a promo piece and that was shown to 3 different parties all of which responded positive. One responded so positive that it was a board room showing in London and we have an offer coming in next week. The negotiation process starts but we do have a fun, entertaining show and this might be a great start for CDI TV. Will I end up producing a few reality shows? Maybe. We will see.
I also have a TV series in development with a major studio that could be great fun. This is my first time working within this TV studios development process but I will learn from it I’m sure. If it happens it would have me co-starring in my first TV series. I know I’ve avoided that prior but this would have me on the writing/producing team so I re-considered. It still could fall apart or get shelved but so far so good.
Many of our scripts are in development pipelines being evaluated by money sources. I think 2014 will surely see a handful of these get made. I’m enjoying this time of productivity. Some is from work previously done finally coming to and some are new growth. EVOLUTION is the word I’ve been in meditation on. I can roll with whatever the universe brings because I know that it is all just evolving energy. I see great storytelling ahead.
So as you can see I can be concerned about issues in our local circles but I cannot get overly invested. Those overselling themselves to the inexperienced will continue to do so. Those chasing that 15 minutes of fame by the “fake it to make it” technique will continue for some. Others will continue to not see true opportunities presented to them and do things half-ass so they can move quickly to the next venture out of desperation. I was inspired watching a PBS doc yesterday on the torch passing between film and digital. The passion of storytelling by storytellers is the underlying golden thread. That is where I belong. That is who I am. The same child like artist who first picked up a camcorder to start telling little stories. I’ve matured in business from good mentors and experience good and bad. My wanting to bring our art to the wider world that only happens with distribution and dependent upon good business has pushed me forward. So I do care a lot about those around me. But I can only be a compass by example alone. I cannot and will not take part in a bunch of drama that I read about daily on all these social media outlets. While others talk I’ve always been one taking action and I have to stay that course. The artists that work with me will always get my best. I don’t understand and can’t try to understand those others. So I will keep tending my garden, loving and laughing with true friends and family and telling stories. That is all I can do. So I implore those out there to always give more than someone paid you for. Always give your best and use the passion inside you. Don’t sell yourself out for shells and beads or lures of fame. That is all fleeting but the stories you tell. The art – that can live on and on.