Awards, Updates and the Rise of ‘AI’
Coffee cheers on a rainy Sunday morning in Michigan. We awoke to the rumble of thunder as a storm approached. I smiled because I had just put down additional clover seed and all the new plants will enjoy the passing rain. This past week was a wonderful mix of desk work and business calls while doing tasks in the yard. The start of prepping wood for next years winter has begun. I was also happy that I was able to get so much done even after my first soccer match of the season. We played the champs we dethroned last year. They beat us by one goal with us having multiple opportunities to take the lead but it was not meant to be. I LOVE that battle on the soccer field and after I was only mildly sore on day two from the amount of running. I trained for this season with the exception of running. I did cardio but wanted to save my knees for the season. My flat feet puts more pounding on the knees but I was really happy with the first game. As I’ve said before, playing is a great meditation too. For 90 minutes it is just teamwork with a singular goal. I’m just happy that I’m healthy enough to play and be competitive. I’m looking forward to our next game. We have many things underway with our film projects so let’s take a look at a few of the updates.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – Last night the film which has been playing theatres since December 9th won the AWARD of ACHIEVEMENT at the 32nd Iowa Motion Picture Awards. Our Algona coordinator Donna Kitzinger was there to receive the award and I hope she had a grand time. The theatrical run will be coming to a close soon just as the film will be delivered to our distributor for worldwide licensing. The film going to home video (DVD/Streaming) will have enhanced audio and visual improving upon small things we noted in the theatrical version that we could tweak before millions around the world get to watch it over the upcoming holidays. Congrats to our director Anthony Hornus and the entire CDI Tribe of artists for their hard work. We might play a few more event festivals before we release to home video. I will keep everyone informed but we are looking to film in the Los Angeles area. We’ll know more this month.
HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE – Following our wonderful scout trips we’ve got things moving on all fronts with this next CDI film. Lodging and catering is being worked out and locations are starting to be locked down with location agreements. Casting and crewing is going great and we’re working to fill in the remaining parts. That will likely be completed at the end of the month. Our schedule is underway and we’ll be feeding the AD department some additional info to assist that effort. Once we know when our talent will be needed we will start to lock down their agreements. We’ll be rolling cameras in Sept/Oct and all this prep time will make things run very smooth.
(Sponsorships and Product Partners) I want to welcome our first sponsor UAS whose support helps us provide those extra added touches to our production. We’ll be announcing many more as we move forward. We tackle some very ambitious projects and could not do it without the community help and our supporters. If you want to align your brand with us and be seen by millions reach out and let’s see if we can make something work.
We’ll be doing some exciting new things with this film and I’m so excited to see this story materialize. We are working on the teaser poster and should have something shortly. Let’s look at some other updates.
- We are starting to have talks over the set up for a future TV series spin off of WILD FAITH. This film has been performing well on several platforms. On our distributors platform (Encourage TV – free with ads) the movie has been leading the pack. We all love this world and will see it return to the screen.
- IN ASSOCIATION – We have our third project that has come to the CDI table to be looked at for a possible “in association” project. In these situations the funding is there and they want the experience of the CDI Tribe to assist in making the film as powerful as it can be. I’m looking forward to a script read maybe today or another day this week. What TV network would you like to see WF: Hastings be at?
- In the next two weeks I need to pull together the final extra interviews for the KNIGHT CHILLS BluRay being mastered. I’ve had some additional talks on the development of the video game which could expand into a few video games for other CDI films.
- I’ve been working on narration for another audio book for which has been fun. I enjoy doing those from time to time and love when they add all the sound design and such to it. I will share when it is all completed.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2: Battlefield – the documentary is finding its way to more platforms and we now have the foundation laid for the follow up sequel that will go more in-depth on the military’s involvement and the inclusion of Catch-Can into their hand-to-hand combat training. Director Curran Jacobs is working on his outline and we’re gathering support for the new endeavor. Again the Red, White & Blue Project Inc. will be the main company with CDI producing.
I’m sure I could muster a few additional updates but you get the picture. We’re working to bring some of the older films back into the spotlight and developing new content for the future. The wheel keeps turning. I smell bacon and beer pancakes so that means it is almost time to get some breakfast in the belly. The storm has passed and we might be able to get some outdoor work done yet. I’ve also been having fun assisting in the search for props for our next film. Above is a picture of me with one of them. Good find Dane DeFord. We’ve come a long way in phone technology.
One question I’ve been asked as of late is my take on AI or artificial intelligence in filmmaking. I don’t worry about it just like I don’t worry about other filmmakers. We have a unique storytelling ability and all our stories are special in their own presentation. I do think AI can assist on some areas of filmmaking. We welcome all aboard the CDI experience so even AI is cool with me. All good tools that we’ll learn to use in our work flow.
Until next week be good to one another.
‘Harsens Island Revenge’ Scout Trip + ‘Silent Night In Algona’ Home Video Prep and More…
(Michigan beauty on our scout trip)
INTRO and HIR SCOUT TRIP:
A Monday morning hazelnut coffee hello! For those loyal followers – most saw my FB post that I was up North location scouting Harsens Island Revenge, with part of our advance team. The trip had a few goals and they were achieved. First, we’ve had good development work and enthusiasm but this weekend we had synergy starting to work. Our director and AD team was shown the many great locations we previously found and got approval. We also have enough of our locations found to put together a first schedule. That is underway and once we have that it will allow to move forward with car and boat needs and also giving cast their scheduled days. We also were able to weave together a few moments/scenes after existing in the locations. Lodging and catering exploration has also started and we’ll be locking that in the coming month. We also have several reads coming in from MI agencies on a few key roles. We are also soon to announce our first sponsors coming on board to help this project get made with more ease and comfort. BIO-CLEAN is once again on-board to assist with the heath and safety on our sets. They have been with us for several projects and we are appreciative to have them with us again. We have some good opportunities to have several products and services promoted with our film. This week we’ll digest all the information and put it into action.
(Dir. Anthony Hornus and composer/sound designer Dennis Therrian at final home video audio mix)
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA: The final film watch on the improved digital effects and color correction was happening this weekend. Last week we also watched/LISTENED to the new improved audio mix for the home video delivery. The theatrical run allowed us to see a handful of things for us to correct. The added sound design and audio mix had us all so excited. The home video audience will see and hear an even better film this autumn. We will be delivering all elements including the wrap book that I have to get digitized this week and all marketing assets. I’ll be looking into our ongoing theatrical to see if it will continue or if we’ll bring it to a close. It was playing last week as folks keep requesting it and the bookers keep booking it. I’m excited to have millions be able to watch it from the comfort of their own home. Yes. DVD’s will be for sale!
Misc. Film Updates:
- WILD FAITH last month was the #1 film on Encourage TV for views per hour. And last week was Encourage TV’s top viewed film being watched 110k times. You can watch Encourage TV or Tubi free with ads or any of the numerous other platforms from Amazon, iTunes, Googleplay and more. We are working on some new positioning to see if we can get season 1 funded and green lit to move forward.
- KNIGHT CHILLS – Blu Ray – The distributor is trying to tie up all the extras for this project mid-month. We have been trying to get interviews where we can. It will be the best version of this film that has ever been to market. We have some cool fan art that we got permission to use either on cover or menu.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2– We are exploring several avenues and individuals for sponsorship on this next doc in our series. We will be doing a sit down soon to see where we are with things. We’ve got the foundation paperwork in place so now we’ll start moving into the next stage.
- My first starring film IN THE WOODS, is getting a new remastered life and to go with it will be some great merchandise and swag. I know a new theatrical will be planned so get ready for that. Blu-Ray, streaming and action figures? Just maybe:) Check out the Making of book and script on Amazon.
(“Harsens Island Revenge” scout team locking up locations)
WRAP UP: This month we’ll be highly focused on getting everything on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA delivered to our distributor. Once they check and accept everything they will set home video release dates and start work on release art. My goal this month on Harsens Island Revenge is to lock all our main cast and get our schedule set. At the same time I’ll be working to get the homestead cleaned up and looking zen. My planted clover is coming up nicely and if we are past any freezing the veggies and plants can be started. I’m excited that this week is our first soccer match and I’m going in as healthy. We have to play the dethroned champs first game out of the gate. We will see how that works out. Last year we lost to them during the season but won in the finals. We are exploring the new deck and some wood splitting for next winter will be on the schedule. I’m also going to talk to our tree folks about a few trims around the office. As the new growth starts also allow new energy and motivation to find its way into your endeavors. I’m looking forward to an amazing Spring and Summer leading up to telling our next CDI story. Until we meet again next Sunday, have a great week.
(A quick photo by the water- putting in the prep work)
Past, Present and Future – The Cycle of Creating and Living
(Getting a 2024 re-release – Ghost Town)
I’m sitting here now after having taken a trip down the road to the first Mega Mall flea market. I love going to look for future props either for a character or the film as a whole. I came home empty handed but that is sometimes how it goes. Yesterday we celebrated my niece’s bday with some morning bowling which was fun. I did pretty good for not bowling in several years. I now have soccer on the TV and I’m excited to start playing with our first game the first week of May. I’ve also enjoyed the spurt of warm weather whereas I re-planted some clover seeds and started doing clean up on the yard. The old hop vines cut down which the birds LOVE for nest building. It is nice to see the bees getting busy to work and the birds active with their activities. We are prepping to grow some veggies and such and even the apple trees are looking really good this year. It won’t be long before the yard is full of berries and rhubarb. I do have the materials to make a Mexican-style light beer and some berries from last season to maybe do another multi-berry wine. We drank up most of the other during the long winter. We had a record temp day in Lansing, MI of 85 degrees but now we have a cold front passing that could put snowflakes in part of the state. Only in Michigan.
Last week I had a great meeting with fellow CDI founder Jeff Kennedy. He has been sidelined for several years dealing with some health issues but also has been enjoying retirement. Retirement doesn’t mean not creating art. They have wonderful artwork everywhere inside and outside their home. We shared a beer in his backyard garden and discussed the classic CDI films and their forthcoming re-releases in HD. We were making plans for CDI to march on for another 25 years. Yes. It’s a long ways off but still you have to plan for such things. The new films are doing quite well and we’re very happy about how many people we’ve reached with our stories. We are always looking ahead and we’ve got a lot of great projects developing. CDI is a multigenerational company and we’re proud of all the growth.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA continues to be played in theaters across the Midwest. It will also be playing as part of the Iowa Motion Picture Awards next month where it has been nominated for BEST FEATURE FILM. We are awaiting to see if we’ll be invited to play at a few other events. The new improved home video version of the film is also being pulled together as we start delivering our master and materials to Bridgestone Multimedia Group. The film will be delivered in May and we should have our hard release dates for home video announcement in June. My guess is an Oct/Nov release.
HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE is full speed ahead and we’re still reading talent and interviewing a few remaining crew spots. We’ll be traveling up North to do some location scouting with our team. With directors approval we can start locking in locations and seeking the final few that we need. Lodging and catering are being explored and we should have all the info we need after the trip to get our schedule completed. That allows us to move forward with cast agreements, vehicle and extra breakdowns and more. Excited by all the cool locations, vehicles and props we’ve found so far. It will be a great shoot and so looking forward to seeing some of my artist friends that I only see when filming.
WILD FAITH: HASTINGS, SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE and FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 are among some of the projects in development. We will be having more discussions on these new projects and start to put more pieces in play. After we wrap Harsens Island Revenge in October we’ll be looking to see what project is next up in the Spring 2024. We have a few possible “in association” projects also developing and so we’ll have to see what happens in the coming months.
We also have several projects being prepped for re-release in 2024 with KNIGHT CHILLS being the one we’re focused on right now. The Blu Ray is in the works and we’re all excited about that.
WRITING – I have several scripts that I’ve been working on and I’m going to try and settle into some daily writing. Even working a little each day all adds up. Once we get SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA delivered that will help free up some time.
ACTING – I have been aware of a few projects casting in the area and even saw a breakdown that had a character or two I found interesting. But for me to be invested I like to read the entire script. I considered a few projects but for now have chosen to focus on the next role of AXEL, Ex WW1 officer and now an outdoorsmen just trying to live the peaceful life. I LOVE to create a role layer by layer. I love to watch and read about the time period and to try and adjust my perspective of that time. I do have to say that following BEST YEARS GONE, I am looking forward to more comedy.
THE SELF – Partially for the next role and partially for the upcoming soccer season, I’ve been working to get myself in even better shape. Tai Chi, heavy bag work, meditation and even some weapons (stick, staff and sword) practice. I’m just taking it all up a notch and I’m really enjoying it. Laughter and music also play into my plan of keeping the self healthy. I additionally had some great conversations with some old friends this past week. It is always a pure joy to catch up with people and share stories.
WRAP UP – This coming week we’ll be finalizing plans for the forthcoming scout trip. I’ll be focusing on sponsorship talks this week since we have some great opportunities for cross marketing. I’ll probably put some more clover seeds down this week. I want to explore a few tree trims and still want to explore the building of a new deck. The tree trimming helps refill the wood box for next winter. Cycles. It was just a great week of embracing and celebrating the past while also motivating oneself for the future-thus charging our present endeavors.
I’m going to sign off here and get after a few tasks. We have a cold front coming in and so I’ll likely prep the wood stove for a few final wood stove fires. I’m excited for the seasons and tasks ahead. I’m so appreciative for the path I’m on and work each day to achieve balance and momentum moving into the next endeavor. Until we speak again next week please make an effort to be good to one another. Many good folks out there are dealing with their own issues seeking balance.
NATURE, MUSIC, FELLOWSHIP and More – Happy Easter!
Hazelnut coffee cheers. Happy Easter! Today truly feels like a first spring day. I started cutting all the old hop vines and cleaning up the deck. I might explore again the building of a new deck. I found a great spot to just meditate and listen to the various birds calling and wooing each other. Some mates loved the cut vines and are using them to build their new nests. I spent some time the day prior to fix our windmill that the storms blew down. I think it got going so strong it tried to take flight. But I’ve enjoyed being able to take part of my day outside. This week I’ll be doing much more of that clean up. NATURE really does bring a peace of mind so make sure to get yours. I’m 3% Danish/Swedish and love my Viking roots and even the ice and snow but I’m ready for the other seasons. We have buds of flowers coming up and a few have bloomed. Soon the violets and the morel mushrooms. I’ll be prepping the ground soon for the sprinkling of more clover seed. We are now using prairie type seeding which produces food for the chickens when they free-range and gives us a beautiful carpet of clover. I’m going to construct a new compost bin. We have a plastic bin that rotates a good amount of compost into rich soil. The garden beds will be the home to new herbs and veggies. I might get a new batch of beer and wine going although my consumption of such has decreased greatly. Wait! Is this a gardening blog? It is about balancing your inner garden your work and dreams moving together until they become one. It becomes a balance of the external manifestation of art and the balance of the self. The self can be brought into balance but what you feed it physically, mentally and spiritually. Sleep is the big imbalance I see in many people and when mine is off, I am off. Diet and what and when you feed your temple body can greatly affect your balance. Spiritually I try not to fill myself too much with the negative things of this world. Not only do people lose hours mindlessly scrolling on their phones they fill themselves with others negativity. These can be hours of productivity lost. Even a nap is more productive to your body. MUSIC. I have always been into music as a powerful tool of tuning oneself as you would a guitar. I find when I take a few moments apart from whatever might be trying to put me off balance to play or listen to music, I can restore the balance and give myself a recharge.
(Maybe 1/5 of the main crew for CDI’s upcoming Harsens Island Revenge)
I’m a person who is quite content with much of my time being alone allowing me to focus on my tasks. But we all enjoy the visits and the FELLOWSHIP of others. This past week I had some great conversations with old friends by phone and in person with friends stretching back to 1st grade. I also enjoyed a few hours at the local Capital City Film Festival party with several #TribeCDI members. It was great to be around so many artists and to see their art also displayed about. We are in pre-production on our next project so it was nice to gather in-person and chat over a drink. We do many meetings by phone but there is an energy that arises from people together working on an idea. I’m a strong believer in that – Knights of the Round Table versus Knights of the Zoom or Teams. My humble opinion is that you might experience greater strides if you actually meet with your circle in person. Brainstorming. Accountability. And setting down a definite TO DO list will help your projects to grow. Great things require great planning. Thank you CCFF for allowing us to have artistic fellowship because of your great planning.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – Our box office run continues and we’re preparing to deliver the film for home video prep in May. In May, we’ll have someone from our team representing the film at the 32nd Annual Iowa Motion Picture Awards. We are up for BEST FILM, which we’re appreciative for. The new home video version of the film will have enhancements not seen in the theatrical version. A few things enhanced we just needed more time for and a few things are corrections from what we saw on the BIG screen. I’m just beyond excited to bring this film to so many more folks now that BMG will be representing it worldwide. Here is a good read on this new development – https://www.prlog.org/12958246-silent-night-in-algona-signs-with-bridgestone-multimedia-group.html
Harsens Island Revenge – The pre-production is going great. As mentioned above many departments are up and working already on breakdowns and gathering of needed items. We have a scout trip at the end of this month and I’ll be setting a few other key meetings. We are starting to look at the office now that works directly under the producers. A two person team that manages and coordinates the day to day business on set. We are in talks with various parties and will be looking to put a team in motion that can journey with us into the future. Cast and Crew are getting close to full with only a few we’re still working on because we have some time to do so. But it is also nice to have all that set up in advance. This week I’m excited to get back at it all. We have the new polished script and so I’m going to be re-doing my actors breakdown for my role of AXEL. It is fun to start building a role. He is a WW1 ex-officer who now resides on Harsens Island. I discovered something new about the character yesterday – he is a bird watcher. I’m excited to discover new things about Axel as we go along.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2– Documents are being signed up on the new chapter of the series. If you have not watched the first one rich with history you are missing out. I love the part about the big match Abraham Lincoln had before his political days. We are in talks with sponsors on this project that we hope to film this Summer.
KNIGHT CHILLS 4k 25th Anniversary – CDI’s first film was ironically about role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. The film had competing offers to put out a BluRay edition. I plan to do a PR release about this soon. We have been reaching out to cast and some crew about doing interviews reflecting back upon filming. Some have moved on from acting and others we are still trying to reach. Others might not wish to participate but I will say that that little film made with with less money than our hotel cost now was an achievement of pure will. I think we are going to do a 25th anniversary poster. More on this soon.
We are prepping a few other projects for a new re-release. Also a slew of ideas on merchandise and such. I need to find a few artists that have the skillset we require and we can put them to work. As I type, I hear the egg song of our hens. I think I might need to go have a few eggs. We are having just a small Easter meal and I plan to do some things in the yard. The office needs a real spring cleaning and so I might do that. Whatever your faith is, allow this to be a day of renewal. Renewal of vows to take care of yourself thus allowing you to help take care of others. I’ve spent the week asking people who want to embrace the season to watch CDI’s trilogy of biblical adventures FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. I will add BOOK OF RUTH, that I helped produce years ago to that list. Some will be playing on TV or have been to celebrate the passover weekend. I hope you all have a wonderful day. A wonderful week. And I’ll see you next Sunday for another coffee chat. The pot of coffee is now gone and I’m going to get a few things done on this beautiful day.
Be good to one another!
Casting and Crewing Updates -Plus Talks on Seeking Balance in an Unbalanced World
(In 2023 Tribe CDI will be storytelling in the 1920’s)
I’m happy to report some sunshine this morning in the mid-Michigan after several days of clouds and rain. It is still chilly but the warmth is coming and I see birds making nests and buds starting to sprout. The cloudy cold and on-going rain was conducive for my desk work I needed to get done. We concluded a few weeks of polishing on our Harsens Island Revenge script. It was adapted from a book of the same name and the difference is a more condensed version where you try to show more versus tell more. Dialog was strengthened, removing lazy or lingo that wasn’t befitting the time period. The opening of the film that starts in WW1 was adjusted to match talks with the art department and our director.
I also was able to finish some developmental work on an epic 1800’s tale that tells of the conflict between the Iowa settlers and the resisting Lakota Sioux. We are now starting finance talks and we’ll see if we can get this story off the ground. I just finished watching a mini series on Amazon Prime called THE ENGLISH that had some of the same tone in beauty and brutality. The last Iowa-based project took North of a decade to bring to the screen. Our hope is that this one might be a little sooner.
(SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – COMING to home video later this year!)
Speaking of that last Iowa-based film, SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– it has played theatrically non-stop since it premiered Dec. 9th and this past week we had even more theaters reach out to book the story. But even more exciting news is that our home video deal is signed with Bridgestone Multimedia Group, who has done a wonderful job getting our other films out to the world. We’ll do some PR on this in the coming week. We’ll have until the beginning of May to get all our materials delivered and once approved they will assign hard release dates for the fall release to DVD, TV and streaming. Foreign sales talks will start even sooner and we are excited to share this story will millions around the world. In the meantime, if you get a chance to see it on the big screen do treat yourselves. I’m thrilled to hear that classrooms of children are watching the film. There are many lessons that history can teach us.
(The power of casting – much care was taken in the casting of our Germans)
Back to our Harsens Island Revenge film – we’ve added several great actors to the cast. Randy Spence takes on a dynamic role. Ian Griffin will once again loan his talents to our story and this week we’ll be adding Josh “the Ponceman” Perry who is always a joy. We also started reaching out to a few MI agencies looking for a few roles. A wheelchair bound stroke victim, a young lady 7-10 who plays young and a few others. We’ve also received some great reach out reels from some actors and we’ll be discussing them more. While the actual island will be featured, we will be shooting most of the scenes at another small coastal town that fits our needs on set and off set. We’ll be going on our second location scout end of this month to lock in locations we found and seek that final locations required.
(Scouting in Iowa for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA)
Last film had us aligned with several great sponsor and partnerships, some worldwide like Hershey, Smithfield Foods and Hormel. We have started talks with some new potential local sponsors. I love to see local, regional, National and worldwide companies all come together. If you want to have your company or business included please do reach out.
Our crew is getting close to a full boat only missing a few folks which we’ll find in good time here. I’m beyond excited to tell this story and the enthusiasm of our team makes it all the better.
- We will be doing a PR announcement about the Knight Chills 25th Anniversary Blu Ray release. We are going to have some new interviews from some of the main cast about this experience long ago. A few have been hard to track down. And some might have gotten a red rose and won’t be participating. Damn Sir Kallio!
- IN THE WOODS, is also going to get the anniversary Blu Ray release. This was my first starring role in a feature film and this new release might contain some new scenes. The film was re-transferred from the film stock (Yes, we use to shoot film:) and will be remastered. I think I mentioned that in addition to new swag like the cool Making of ‘In the Woods’ book on Amazon- other cool things are in the works like action figures.
- I have another Ron Knauss audio book from his FOR GENERATIONS TO COME series to record narration for and this week I’ll look to get that done. If you love history, this is a great series of books and audio books.
- We do have a few other films from the CDI library being prepared for new releases. It all just takes time.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 foundation paperwork is almost complete. Director Curran Jacobs is working on the outline. Also a new teaser poster should be coming soon. Exciting stuff!
I feel so bad for the people this past weekend affected by the tornado and storms. Some lost their lives and others all their belongings and homes. Mother Nature can be brutal. I’m looking forward to gathering with some of the #tribeCDI at the Capital City Film Festival mixer later this week. It is a great time to stop and just be in the presence of artists and filmmakers working towards their dreams. It is such a great event to have for those struggling to have their work seen. It has really grown over the years and some congrats to all their staff.
I’m going to finish this up here and get to a few other Sunday activities. With the sun shining outside and it getting warmer, I look forward to some yard work this week. As the cold gives way the need for firewood is lessening. But that means more splitting and letting it season for next winter’s chill. I want to replace the compost bin which is in bad shape after several years duty. I’ll be looking at quotes for a few projects around the premises. I saw a small greenhouse yesterday that I just loved.
In our meeting last week I think will drank the last of the Frankenberry Wine. I have the needed materials to do a run of beer and I might even have enough random rhubarb and berries for another wine run. Our chickens have been back to egg producing which is what I just ate in my small break in my writing. I love doing all these side things in nature as they help give balance.
(Rance Howard – he saw much change in his lifetime – I miss our talks)
Balance – That was a main discussion in one of our meetings this past week. That should be the goal everyday for everyone. Extreme ideology has people thinking that you need to dominate others to win. To me that is a miss. We all have things important to us, our priorities. Just like others have their priorities, important to them. For one group to have everything, means another will be at a loss. But good citizenship is giving up some priorities for the good of others. Your fellow Americans. To strike a balance, whereas you may have a different ordering of your priorities compared to your neighbor, friend or family. In love you can support things outside your priority list.
I think more of us are moderate and hold middle ground with our beliefs. I don’t think you can put people in a box and call them just one thing. We all have those things/priorities that mean something to us but that doesn’t solely define us. I go into every conversation knowing I could be wrong. Knowing if I listen, I might learn something new. The emptying of the cup allows this. There’s a great strength in that ability. The loudest voices in the room seldom reflect the wisest voices. Sometimes the quiet one, who will not shout or yell over someone, has the truest point of view. They listen. They discuss in a friendly, open manner not an aggressive condescending tone. Respectful communication breeds new understanding and ultimately balance. Seek balance and you will find happiness.
Be good to one another. Disagree. But be good to one another. I have things I agree and/or disagree with but none are worth losing the laughter and cherished friendships I have. The world is changing and we cannot stop that. But we can control how we live and act during a time of change. Women now can vote and show off more than their ankles in public. Segregation had its day and is now gone. Military animals such as horses and dogs were once deemed only Govt. property and destroyed once service ended. Change is inevitable and can be good. Change is hard, but many things worthwhile are. I can barely keep up with technology on a good day. I miss things from the good ole’ days but I’m proud that some good ole’ ways we’ve moved past.
I have no real point to all this reflective pondering only to ask you to ponder these things on your own. Not what anyone tells you to believe but your own sincere thoughts. I’m aware of all the wild speculations out there and some contain a grain of truth inflated to unbelievable levels. Conspiracy was a fun thing we pondered as kids but to see it everywhere in everything becomes a sickness. It takes away your balance. If you have balance you can respond to actual events and regain your balance when something effects it. But to live in fear is an imbalance. What is the old saying that anticipation of death is worse than death itself. The human race has been brutal and beautiful to one another. That is likely why people are afraid of AI – if our actions and deeds are evaluated and judged that could be scary because we fail as often as we succeed. I will seek to live in balance. I will seek to know thyself and understand others. We’re not a perfect nation because the human race is not perfect but we are a good example of a society striving for balance. We have a long way to go but it starts with individuals.
Happy Sunday to you all!
APRIL AHEAD – 7 NEW Updates
Hazelnut coffee cheers on this sunny morning in Michigan. Welcome our new readers from Ireland, France and North Macedonia. I will have to look that last one up on a map. We had rain all day yesterday but compared to the storms and tornados others faced we were lucky. I usually like snow vs rain but the rain is nurturing the emerging buds springing up from the ground. I’m humbled this morning as I drink my coffee. A few days ago while eating some bread with seeds, I got a few trapped in a tooth pocket. I’m so good about my dental care and avoid such seeds but I got careless. I got the seeds out so I thought but one must have remained. The result was a multiple day toothaches that reached up into my ear. I’m a relatively tough individual but funny how we can be humbled by something so small. I felt like the lion with a thorn in his paw. It is almost back to normal after lots of salt swishes and pain meds. I usually try to avoid pain meds and tough it out but as I said, I was humbled. So to awaken to birds, sunshine and the tooth feeling close to normal is a true blessing.
I’ve been made aware of many people dealing with tough situations that makes the toothache seem minor. I’m renewing my focus and diligence to stay away from seeds and such. The pain is bad enough to make one want to stay on a diet of applesauce. My thoughts go out to the many people I know having their own issues. But everyone is facing something and if you are not, enjoy that time, embrace those moments. My alumni school MSU finished their basketball season. That last game of theirs was such a nail bitter I’m not sure I’m cut out for watching sports. You have no control over the outcome. Soon soccer season will be starting and that is more to my liking, and I have some control over the outcome.
As we close out this month let’s look at the updates from last week-
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has had continuous theatrical play since Dec. 9th but they are slowing down. Unless a third party engages it could come to an end. We might play a few festivals and events like the Red Letter Awards in TN. Talks with our home video distributor have gone great and everyone is excited about it. Our home video distributor is Bridgestone Multimedia Group. They’ve done a very good job with our previous releases. The plan is to release on home video this fall on the run up to the holiday season. Once I get some paperwork returned we’ll do some PR on the deal. I’m excited to have this story be seen by millions. Thank you to everyone who has reached out with such beautiful words.
- HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE – We’ve been full speed ahead on our next #tribeCDI film. Our cast and crew are filling up fast and we’re 85% there. Last week we announced more cast attached such as Taylor Nichols, Garry Nation and Christine Marie. We’ll be doing a Michigan casting call here soon for some of the remaining roles. Various departments are hard at work and next week a new polished version of the script will be sent around. The opening of the film is very powerful as it starts during WW1 before jumping ahead a few years. We needed a powerhouse German actor to open the film and thankfully SNIA gave us a good selection of excellent talent. Mr. Bejo Dohmen landed that role. Anyone who saw SNIA will immediately understand our choice.
- SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE is in development and I’ve been doing some breakdowns on that film to present. Like all projects it could move fast or slow. SNIA took almost 15 years to come to the big screen. This project is much larger in scope and so we’ll see how fast or slow it develops. A project seems to happen when it is the story’s time. We will see said the wise man. But it would have us back in Iowa. We have built a family there much like anyplace CDI goes to film a story.
- SHJ– The supernatural thriller is looking to be targeting a Spring start versus Winter since the script needs an update. I watched NOPE, this weekend and I saw some aspects/scope of the film to be akin to what we are looking to do. Prep. Prep. Prep.
- KNIGHT CHILLS Blu Ray- CDI’s maiden film was a low budget film about role players playing a Dungeons and Dragons like game. I’m excited to see the 4k version of this film. We are starting to collect interviews for the upcoming release. It is fun to be preserving these films and putting them back out there. Several CDI films will be getting that treatment. It is just time consuming because of everything else going on.
- My first film I led, IN THE WOODS is also getting this treatment. The film stock was retransferred and a new version is being put together. Director Lynn Drzick is talking about adding a few scenes back in. There is talk of a new anniversary release into the theaters and more. We already had “The Making of ‘In the Woods'” original script released in book form with lots of extras. Look it up on Amazon. Even more exciting to me is the line of collectors toys being put together. Devil Dog, The Tall Creature and even Alex Kerwood, monster hunter. That’s right. I’m going to finally get that action figure. I will be making plans to go get 3D scanned in the near future. I’ve also been working on outlining a sequel script. It will be a while before that comes together but plans are in motion.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2– Director Curran Jacobs is busy working on his outline as we talk with potential backers. The first doc film is really starting to move out into the marketplace. Curran is attending different wrestling events with Mike Chapman, where the doc is being well received. It should be. Here is the history all pulled together into one place. If you have not watched yet do yourself a favor and go to Amazon and watch it. We plan to have a good planning session this week.
This is a nice snapshot of things going on in the film world. I think CDI will make an appearance at our local Capital City Film Festival mixer. They do such a nice job putting that event on. I love the energy of all the young filmmakers and artists. I have a handful of meetings this week as we continue our pre-production work.
Today is the birthday of someone very special to me so we’ll be celebrating today. At least today is warmer, sunny and not raining so we won’t be contained to the indoors. It was nice to wake up to the birds singing and sunshine. I hope you all have a great day and get ready for a good week ahead.
Until next week! Be good to one another.
Casting and Crewing Updates- Improving Communication, Time Filters, and Iron Sharpening Iron
I’m sipping on the hazelnut on a sunny but still chilly morning. We had a snow storm hit and start to melt the next day. Spring and Winter are in a wrestling match with one another. It won’t be long before CDI meetings will also include some outdoor hanging. I want to welcome all our new readers from Spain, UK and more. It has been a nose-to-the-grindstone week and I’m happy to report it was very productive. On the broad view – I got all the CDI film taxes done and thank you to our amazing team. My own taxes are submitted just need to review and send when completed.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– The film is still opening new screens based on fans calling in and requesting the film is booked. We even have some new April bookings forthcoming so stay tuned and keep calling your theatre. We’re also starting to put our home video deal together for later in the year. We’ll be delivering the final film for home video on May 1st. I’m excited because it will open the film up to millions.
Harsens Island Revenge – This is the next #tribeCDI film and it is in full pre-production mode. We had some great meetings last week that included our director and DP. We discussed crew on the next film focusing on camera and G&E. (Grip & Electric) We already have a few of those people falling in place. #1 GOAL is to have fun and really appreciate the rare opportunity that we get to engage in with our storytelling. We have a new department leader for Production Design and we’ll likely be announcing an Art Director next week after a few final talks. CAST – We’re awaiting a dozen reads from folks CDI has worked with on different projects. We review these each week and will be making some hard choices on casting soon.
After many reads we think we’ve identified our film leads. This is such an important part of the process. You want people that are truly dedicated to the story, the process and appreciate the opportunity. These two have been developed inside the CDI Tribe. This film requires actors to not only appear natural in their moments (scenes) but in 1926. This is a world where Civil War vets were still alive. Cars were replacing horses for transportation. So many “time filters” to put into ones performance. We know that you can’t get it perfect out the gate but it is something you work into. My role in this next one is not camera ready yet. I will work on his look, attitude and his time filters. I’ve done a lot of digging into the period as the screenwriter. But, you put these filters into play to create a complex and rich performance. In the past we’ve done PR on individual or pairs of actors with promo cards but I think we might do something different. Like what? Like a group mug shot or…
I want our proposed lead talent to hear first from our director. If I hear back while doing this blog I will make a BREAKING NEWS update:) But we are looking forward to seeing many new reads this week. I see a few have direct messaged on the CDI FB page and we’ll be reviewing those. Every week we’ll be pulling for cast and crew onto the film. I’m looking forward to watching more reads this week and solidifying more of the cast.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – The script is now a first draft lock allowing me to start to rough budget and make a production plan. 2024 was the shoot plan but it will all depend on how fast it all comes together. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA only took 14 years so I think we can beat that in less development time. I’ve had the film out to several Native American friends and associates to get their perspective. I also want to thank Lynn Kueck for his historic input. More as this develops.
MISC. UPDATES FROM THE TRIBE
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 is being outlined and groundwork is being laid. We’re talking to interested parties to once again help us tell this more in-depth follow up doc.
2) THE MAKING OF ‘IN THE WOODS‘ – I’m awaiting this book that is suppose to arrive today. It was delayed by the storm but it details the journey of my first starring role. This ambitious film by two young and rather in-experienced filmmakers will entertain you. The film got strong penetration into the domestic and foreign markets being a favorite at Blockbusters, Hollywood Video and more. Released on VHS and it made its way into many foreign territories. It is a fun romp and this book is the start of a new campaign that will be coming together. This film made me a B-Movie star in the late 90’s and while some critics tried to kill it – the film has a loyal audience. Drinking games have been formed around the movie and soon we might have a new 4k enhanced movie with lots of merchandise extras. I could even see a Con appearance or two to celebrate the 25th anniversary. Click and buy it below.
3) KNIGHT CHILLS – The first CDI film is also getting a new enhanced version. I am going to be collecting some interviews from people to include on the new release. I need to get extras around by June so I’m guessing an end of year Blu Ray release. In 2024 we’ll go to DVD and streaming plus start licensing foreign. If you are a fan of fantasy role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, this might be for you. We were back to the original source without any film-look filters that were all the rage. I’m excited to be re-releasing some of these classics in new format that will allow them to survive moving forward.
4) GHOST TOWN, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and AN ORDINARY KILLER will be getting the updated treatment but it takes time. It has been really interesting to walk back and work on these projects.
5) I’ve been working on a few new stories for those national books on animals, that I have contributed too for the last several years.So far, so good. We will see if the editor likes them once she takes a read. One of the books I contributed to his above. I believe that one has a story about my boy Luke Brown. I really do love doing these side stories and I might get more involved at some point but for now film script, producing and acting keeps me busy enough. Look up “Callie Smith Grant” and any of the books from the last few years will likely have stories contributed by me.
6) This week I’ll be starting work on another chapter of an audio book series I narrate. The book author Ronnie Lee has several works for sale in this book series. The audio version is coming right along and will be available soon – https://www.amazon.com/Generations-come-Book-Classroom-Copy/dp/B09RM7LBWV/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2H09KBLP4QV3V&keywords=Ronnie+Lee&qid=1678029492&s=books&sprefix=ronnie+lee%2Cstripbooks%2C161&sr=1-4
7) While waiting for Spring, it is a great time to re-watch your favorites. BEST YEARS GONE, WILD FAITH, LOST HEART, MBF, ASHES OF EDEN, and as Easter is upon us – take a watch on The Quest Trilogy. Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer all deserve a good watch even if the faith isn’t your path. The films can speak direct to your faith or as a parable tale with messages to ponder. I’ve said before, that the trilogy, was shot with a Star Wars heroes-myth style at the heart of it. The translation between the two works quite well. It really is noticeable in the photography and the music. PLEASE DO take a watch. I promise you it is a fresh take on what can often be confusing stories.
My personal goals going into these new projects is to try and make the communication even more efficient. We have some really large opportunities looming on the horizon in the not to distant future. I’m trying to develop our team so they will be ready. Positive Problem Solving attitudes. Clear Communication. Respectful Communication. Gratitude. I want to develop our team for that next level. I want to work with good folks that I truly enjoy. That is the journey.
I’m looking forward to soccer season. I’m looking forward that that weekly competition you get doing battle on the pitch. I have really learned to appreciate our opponents because iron sharpens iron.
Once this snow goes away for good it will be time to get the yard cleaned up. Tree trimming and planting clover again this year. Soon the yard will be full of hops, berries, veggies and herbs.
The chickens are back laying eggs steady so we are now rich. Rich with eggs:) The birds are returning. The squirrels and rabbits are about. I love all the wildlife about.
CDI will probably look to support the Capital City Film Fest by attending the mixer kick off. Several years ago ASHES OF EDEN was the closing film to 600 people. That was a great night. We would have played SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA there but they wanted only MI premieres and the film has its theatrical run underway. I love that our home town has two festivals. The ELFF is still running after many years also.
That is all I have for this morning. I’m going to drink my last cup of coffee and get on with my day. Until we gather again next Sunday – have a productive week. I think I will watch Manchester United play while getting a few things done.
NEW Theaters, Director’s Screening, NEW Development 2023
A beautiful light snow is falling in Michigan. I’m sipping on my hazelnut coffee and reflecting upon the past week. Again, a kind lady, a friends mother that I’ve known since I was 5, passed away. She was 94 and did many great things in her time with her family being her pride. Her son who was one of my oldest friends, passed away unexpectedly when I was out filming THE CHRIST SLAYER. It was nice to see so many people I’ve not seen in many years. It is sad that is often takes a tragedy or loss to bring some folks together. I was happy to hear all these beautiful comments about the films we’ve done. The lady who passed really loved Man’s Best Friend. Several talked about The Quest Trilogy (Our three part biblical adventure). Many wanted to know what the latest and greatest was- that is SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. Some saw it in our home town but the film was extended for two weeks and we were not told. We could have promoted the added two weeks more had we known. But the film did quite well, hence the extended screening.
My own family has not seen the WW2 drama which is marching all across the midwest as people request the film and bookers are reaching out. We’re heading into Nebraska and soon Minnesota – also in the director’s hometown of Owosso, Michigan we’ve secured a run with the NCG theatre. We are pushing to get it into N. Lansing at the NCG in February. Dates TBD. We’ll be starting the Owosso, NCG run on Feb 4th (Sat) with screenings at 4:00 and 7:00 and the film will play until Feb 9th playing at 4:00 and we’re trying to get a second show during the week for those who work. The photo banner will be up on the 4th and our director Anthony Hornus will be welcoming folks to both shows. After the 7pm show we’re going to go to Romas next door to meet and greet with guests. I’m giving the advanced notice here and on Monday we’ll start releasing PR about the showing.
It doesn’t matter what state you are in – contact the managers and request their bookers bring it in. We’re having classrooms of kids, retirement home trips and church groups, all going to the film. Many are seeing the film more than once and we’re getting lots of requests for DVD and streaming which will be 4th quarter of the year after we’ve marched around the country doing screenings. We are trying to get it to a major military base theatre in Germany and are looking at select festivals to play.
BEST YEARS GONE – This is our previous comedy drama and we’re looking at some comedy fest and also a few cool marketing ideas. I still want to look at sponsoring a race – The Gilles Cup:) If you haven’t had a chance to watch this film, please do. I think you will laugh and find some sweet moments in the film.
Harsens Island Revenge – is in full on development and will go into pre-production next month for a post Labor Day shoot. Cast and Crew discussions will begin soon. Location scouting has already begun and another scout trip will be in order soon.
For the Love of Catch: Battlefields is the second collaboration in a series of doc films focused on the grappling arts. We’re in the budgeting stage and talking to potential donations as the project is produced through the Red, White & Blue Non-Profit with CDI supervising the production. If you or your company have interest in supporting this project via donations please reach out.
SHJ – The meeting for the in association film went really well. The biggest issue is schedule which needs to land after Harsens Island Revenge. This film is an action mystery thriller with a supernatural twist to it. I’ll have follow up meeting this week to iron out more details but things are looking very promising.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – The first draft of the script is done and I had a select group looking it over for historical tweaks. It is not a biopic but historical fiction. If the script gets approved, I’ll fine tune the budget and we’ll look at the builds we need done this year before 2024 proposed shoot. The key is not too many cooks in the kitchen. CDI is excited to tell another Iowa-based story. I will be looking to see how many 1800’s cabins exist still in the Algona, Iowa area. Stay tune for more updates.
This week I will continue to feed our accountants the information they need to do end of year taxes. I have started working on personal taxes and will have that material pulled together very soon. I know that the CDI website is about to get a few updates to it. If you haven’t visited our website – http://www.cdiproductions.com
We are going to be discussing merchandise for the lead up to Christmas 2023 but SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, posters could become available for sale in Feb if things go right. They might be for sale at the Owosso, MI afterglow. What CDI merchandise would you like to see?
Lastly, we’re moving towards a SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, final film to deliver to the home video distributor. It’s now like a 4 piece puzzle that needs to be put together. On the big screen we were able to see a few polishes needed either to the color, VFX and subtitles, in a few places.
In addition to all this – I do have a few writing projects I’ll be returning to. One is a comedy and one a Sci-Fi piece, I do love writing. I’ve got many sponsors to touch base with to discuss the home video release of SNIA and also discuss them coming on board Harsens Island Revenge. I’m going to have some company later so I’ll be getting the wood stove roaring. I hope you all have a recharging weekend and prepare for a productive week ahead.
NEW ‘Silent Night In Algona” Screenings, Updates and Improving by Review
Good morning! I hope your 2023 is off to a great start. I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee while reflecting on the very full week I had. We have had a few peeks of sun but it has been bitter. The Christmas tree and decorations are down minus the few outdoor things, but they’re next. I’ve been making great progress getting all the end of year stuff around for the accounting firm.
- These are the most updated list of theaters playing, SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We have more theaters opening this week and a slew in Feb. thanks to all of you reaching out to your theatre houses, speaking with management and requesting our film. Bookers have been reaching out to our FB page and we’ve been processing those. Right now, we’ve got about 40 cities we’ve played and the number will increase. The new theatrical division of CDI is thriving and should provide a nice advance revenue flow. We are working hard to set up a special Owosso, MI screening in the coming weeks. It is the home town of our director, DP (Camera) and young male lead. I’ve got family that has been waiting to see it on the big screen. We are also trying to get it to the Detroit area, where we have many fans. We’re also preparing to pull the film together for the home video release/delivery prior to the run up on the 2023 holidays.
2) FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is now starting to appear on ad based video on demand, also subscription based video on demand. Meaning you can watch it free with ads or with certain subscriptions. TUBI is carrying it as is ENCOURAGE TV and more. WATCH HERE: https://youtu.be/GLjMjIxZuk0
3) Harsens Island Revenge – Next month we’ll be putting the foundation business in place on the project. We’ve started adding this into our weekly meetings. We will be preparing to start looking at actors and keys in the coming weeks. We are all very excited to tell this story right after Labor Day. We have started our search for certain period needed props and vehicles required to make this film soar.
4) Spirit Lake Massacre – The first draft of the script is complete and it is being reviewed by a few historic sources. If the script gets final approved we’ll put the agreement together and start into serious development including some possible builds in 2023 prepping for a 2024 shoot.
5) SHJ-Development Talks – will take place today! The film is to discuss a project that would be an associated film. I’ve said before that the film is a supernatural thriller/mystery. Today, we’ll discuss just how that collaboration would work and discuss timelines and more.
6) FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 – A new documentary direction has been set and we will meet Monday to discuss this project more in depth. It will be done again with the Red, White & Blue Project Inc. non-profit. Fans of the first film will really enjoy as we go more in depth on various topics covered in the first film.
THE CDI TRIBE– I like to say that it is easy to be happy with team performance when things are going really well. But it is how your team handles issues or crisis. At CDI we pay people to solve issues and handle crisis quickly and quietly. Read those lines a few times. In all walks of life/business you have “loud workers,” who work loudly, and often in a distracting manner. Why is that person scowling? Talking loud on a phone. Many think that this behavior demonstrates, look how hard I am working. What it really says to the people who evaluate and hire, might be a totally different thing.
We had a great producer/director debrief on the entire SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, shoot. We look at what can be improved without casting blame. As the supervising producer I take accountability, so now let’s just look at how we can run even more effectively going forward. People. Pressure. We all occasionally colored outside the lines, I had one apology I made on this film, for communicating something poorly. Most issues can stem from communications issues. If you can improve on those issues, everything improves.
I’ve been made aware on a few occasions, because of the “work quietly” policy, that many don’t see the real work we do. It often starts a year or two in advance. We as a team make it look easy, when it truly, is not. CDI, has a very good team and it shows because the proof is in the pudding. But lots of prep and hard work go into trying to provide a smooth production. Many crews don’t even realize the work unless they themselves have tried to do even a short film. 97% right and 3% off and some want to focus on the off. We do, to improve and correct. But, some point out the obvious. If you know of an issue, we usually know. Although, I can only think of one situation whereas the truth on a damaged grip van came to light a few years after. I wish someone would have spoken up sooner on that one. Thing sayings come to mind, Karma is real. You can’t squeeze blood from a stone. And, it’s fear that makes us lose our conscience- it’s also what transforms us into cowards.
This takes my mind to key crew members- soon we’ll be in discussions about various keys to approach. Directors have some input in crew with producer approval. Producers place certain crew because they have become pillars of success. People who really know me, know I like to develop people but they have to want it. Growth. It has been said, I work people hard. I work hard. That is how I got where I am starting from ground ZERO. I’ve dedicated my life to being a storyteller, and I expect dedication to the project while we are working on it. If you don’t work hard you will not be able to keep up with this team. But once the final project is seen, most are happy to have pushed themselves. CDI does historic pieces and so many of our artists need to be on top of their research. That is like an actor, who preps first by immersing themselves in the time period. How did they dress, slang, haircuts…At CDI on both sides of the camera are great artists. I feel as though we focus that energy and collectively create something greater than ourselves as individuals. That is pretty amazing.
One film is fresh out of the gates, playing more and more theaters and we’re starting to plan to produce even more. We have a great library of films to explore by this creative troupe of artists. I’ve gotten a good amount of fan mail over the films. Yes. Paul Landings is still in serving time. Ben Lily is still lost in the woods. Niles Cass is still hunting Bigfoot with Chip. But seriously, I do so appreciate and love how the millions around the world have embraced our little stories. We cannot give enough heartfelt thanks. I’m going to go let the chickens out and start to get ready for my noon meeting. I hope you all have a refreshing and recharging Sunday allowing you to get after the new week.