So this morning the coffee grinder was set on a lesser setting because we were low on coffee yesterday. So today I had to run the grinder twice and I overdid it slightly, resulting in coffee that can hold a spoon straight up. Anyway, it should give my bones the kick I need. We had another soccer match on Thursday and again brought home a win. The two days after usually have a good amount of sore and stiff but my need to try out a few new chainsaws, including a pole-saw, added some time to my healing. But I love that weekly challenge of battling for position, possession and of course goals.
The nice part of this week’s blog is that we had a nice CDI recap PR release – (READ BELOW)
This has the most updated news on these films-
I did see that Hoopla, which is the national library distribution is carrying BESTSELLER as well as Walmart stores. Please take a look at your Walmart and snap a pic!
This week was a productive one with a few unexpected calls that were very positive. What I’ve realized is that as people get older they realize the more the precious aspects of time. How we don’t know how many grains of sand are in our hourglass so what and when we do something is important. What we leave behind us is important. DJ Perry the actor (on screen) will live on longer than DJ the artist. I’ve had a few very successful business associates reach out and express their desire to go deeper into artistic and meaningful endeavors. I will keep creating because that is what I do. It is like breathing. The dreaming and visualizing of the who and what that happens before you breakdown the story into where and how. I’m so appreciative of all our partners.
I know what rambling I can share-
I am a Star Wars fan. Being seven when the first original ‘Star Wars’ hit was like living childhood in a sweet spot. That’s why George Lucas can make some mis-steps in my liking or taste but he is and always will be a king. A dreamer who sold an idea off an out-there (far, far, away) script to a studio, cast and crew – and captured every child’s grand imaginative adventure and put it to the big screen with ground breaking, jaw dropping FX. And after George marketed that film to the world in a way only rivaled by WWE’s Vince McMahon. Vince, another manI would love to have a few drinks with and get his unique insights. Those two men (Vince & George) ruled their franchises in very different ways. Vince, seems aggressive with a PT Barnum-like public attitude, working to control several Alpha stars and their sharks (lawyers). And George, a seemingly quiet and reserved man but other artists could visualize what he was dreaming and they got sucked into his imagination that would be turned into an exciting world. So add George to that invite list. George, Vince and I chilling and having a few Red Stripes.
Okay, back to topic- I like millions, have watched the newest ‘Star Wars’ franchise show. After two shows I found one performance to be lacking for me. Surprisingly, this character was the recipient of major public negative feedback and counter-feedback defending an actress who is black. When I watch, I watch performances not color. But that defense was being thrown up. Now I’m sure that some audiences disliked the role for the wrong reasons and communicated this poorly and with offensive words. I had a few deep conversations about this topic this week and for me I saw the pensive internally conflicted side of this character (ironically great when not speaking, but feeling) and the other side I saw was like an evil ‘Maverick’ from Top Gun. Watch out. They’re reckless! Dangerous! What am I going to do? Okay, I realized that is actually a ‘cool steal’ (taking influence from someone else’s performance as a respectful nod) ala my ‘George Jefferson’ walk used by Gil Gilles in BEST YEARS GONE. But what was not sitting right for me was 1) – transition between the emotional HIGH (I’m reckless) and LOW (I’m misunderstood) and that can be the editor too. An actor is often at the mercy of the director and editor and if they piece together a disjointed emotional scene it can not sit well with viewers. 2) The other is the cadence of voice that somehow snapped me from “far, far away” and brought me to a Tyler Perry film and I say that loving me some Tyler Perry. It just sounded like attitude slang. I want to try and explain myself properly-
In one of my discussions on the topic above, Samuel L. Jackson’s involvement was brought up as a counter-point. Again, I LOVE me some Samuel L. Jackson -but, I had the same fear of his cadence being too modern (Our galaxy:) reflective. He succeeded even though he made me walk a line. I saw mostly a non-swearing Jackson doing what Jackson does best and I kept waiting for the train of obscenities to come flowing out- “Those #$@@%# Sith #$%#%#W are getting on my last #@#@!@$% mid-chlordan nerve.”
I have several issues with the prequels with Samuel not being one of them. It’s like when we do a period piece and you have to get into a mindset from another time period. Star Wars has an even wider fictional range to create within but ultimately it’s how we perceive it. I mean most of the Empire officers sound British and we know there is no audible sound in space – but it’s just fun. So keep it fun. Ultimately I’m on board with all the series and I’m routing for this one particular talent to succeed. And last I checked she’s co-starring in a major ‘Star Wars’ TV series and so in my book, she is succeeding.
I can’t buy into any subconscious racists filters or anything like that because I loved actors Billy Dee Willams, John Boyega (Han: That’s not how the force works), Giancarlo Esposito and let us NOT forget James Earl Jones. We are left with a two-sided issue – Can you criticize someone of race without bringing race into it? AND Can you take criticism without spinning the blame to something that might not be the root cause? When you blanket everything with absolutes you ruin open communication. When you speak from a place that blames/mislabels the wrong issue again communication is ruined.
Have patience with one another as the world learns to communicate proper again. Instant communication and the documentation of communications has created a new environment of accountability. Think before you speak has always been good advice but now with emails, twitter, tictoks, ……………………. they all have a new accountability. I’ve always tried to be thoughtful in my communications so the changes in society are fine but many are challenged. For many who speak emotionally off the cuff are now often regretting their word, texts, tweets and wishing they could edit- they are facing new challenges. We’ll catch up eventually this is just a major time of change for mankind. But isn’t it always…breath.
I could talk more about Polar and Grizzly Bears mating because of the warming weather but I’ll save you that. Bringing this chat full circle, we have to acknowledge that many of you are finding yourselves in this new age. After all the immense digital scrolling, bit-coin obsessions and other short-cut seeking life-filler that usually deposits people further down the path but with not much done – lost time. And some who reaped a few additional shells and beads no additional happiness was gained and with the lost time maybe a tad less happy. I’m not losing time, I’m living. Many days the joy of any new film release is trumped by watching the little song birds feed their new young. Watching the baby rabbit ‘Simon’ and his jumping antics bring as much a smile as some festival wins. That is life. Study life, digest it and some of it can be re-introduced onscreen in a future story.
This week will be more BESTSELLER promo. Let me know what you think of it. I think it is one of my most intense roles in a film that I think captures the right haunting mood. The BEST YEARS GONE promo engines will be started. I’m so excited to give the same laughs we heard in the theatrical run to living rooms and dens everywhere. Lastly, working steady to get even closer to our goals with the upcoming HOT ROD LOVE film. We had some new people last week commit to join us on this next film adventure and this week should bring a few additional ones. Keep moving forward is the mantra. Keep dreaming. Keep creating!
Hazelnut coffee cheers!
Hello new readers Uganda, Brazil, Singapore and more – I’ve got my hazelnut coffee beside me. I spent the morning watching/reading some random news. I went to bed as LIVE video of Grand Rapids, MI protest/riots/chaos unfolded. Whatever happened in GR was not on the national radar. Only the big cities are covered but every community has been touched.
My history is that I was brought up upper-middle class by a stay-at-home mother, from kindergarten on and a father who was raised a part-time foster child by a kind family who helped raise him on their family farm. He put himself through college at MSU serving in the National Guard and worked hard to build everything he ever had.
We lived in a great secluded neighborhood nestled in the woods outside of Lansing. Our neighborhood had several various nationalities, religious denominations and such. But I do recall one of the fine African American neighbors going around before moving in and talking with all the neighbors. Even at a young age it seemed unusual but this was the early 70’s. Even interracial relationships were seen as rare back at that time. But our neighborhood picnics were great and we all felt like one community. This was a rare and beautiful thing.
I went to the public schools and my elementary school included all the children from the nearby projects. I got to go to school with children of all races. In 5th grade we also had a big influx of Mong children. I cherish those days and many of those classmates are still friends. We learned to appreciate one another and the differences between us. In the days of the afro a distinct advantage was given when playing eraser tag in class. We often were treated to food and music from different places. I have to point out that teachers have the greatest opportunity to plant these seeds. We had some wonderful teachers who loved everyone equally. They worked to make sure barriers were broken down.
Middle School brought all the kids from various surrounding communities. Many of these pre-existing elementary relationships moved forward with us. Some grew apart but individually we all carried those lessons from elementary school onward. Fights and situations occasionally arose but most were over non-racial issues. Jealously as young hormones develop and the war of words that would go too far. But here new friendships were made some that carry on to this day. Off the top of my head – my friend Dwight, bi-racial who now is into politics. Donny now a police officer that I see occasionally at a mutual favorite Chinese restaurant. Community.
High School – “Should have been a Big Red” again saw an evolution as an even more diverse group was brought together. The biggest fights I ever saw was over someone cheating in TONK, a card game. The fight was not over difference in skin color but over cheating. Jealously fueled a few more scuffles as young hormones led people even deeper into new emotions and feelings. I continued to have friends in many circles from my interest in martial arts, soccer and yes, filmmaking. Friends were gathered by common interests and conversation.
I spent time during several summers in Denmark as part of an All-Star soccer exchange program. Living in the homes and participating in daily activities gave a wider view of the world to everyone involved. I went to LCC the community college while on a waiting list for MSU. My growing interest in film was pulling my attention from certain studies to scripts, storyboards, cast and crew organization. Lastly, I attending and graduated from MSU in a cobbled together degree that was attempting to fill in for a lack of a film program.
I’ve been a camp counselor, soccer coach and player here and overseas and a martial arts instructor. I’ve always looked at the PERSON. We are all gifts that are each wrapped a little different. Isolation and lack of exposure to different groups is what leads to or continues to extend the perceived difference. I can say that having friends of all colors and creeds keeps one from purposely speaking harmful words. And it makes it harder to sit by and listen. I have spoken up in kindness on several occasions to offer a different viewpoint to someone speaking ill.
I’ve found that an entire race often gets blamed for the actions of a few. Our impressions grow from our experience. Good or bad experiences will shape these attitudes one way or another. It is why – me personally, am not a fan of “school of choice” which while you may or may not save your child from some childish harassment you are also taking away the opportunity for that young person to have a science partner or gym class teammate that could instill lifelong perspective moving forward in life. A view that we are all one people. That we are same on the inside with interesting and colorful differences on the outside. Don’t leave a past of segregation only to enter a present day self-segregation. Cross the isle and be surprised at what you can learn and take away. Thank you to the TEACHERS who planted the seeds of harmony.
FILM UPDATES –
I enjoyed a great week of fan mail on our past film projects like THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer), WILD FAITH (Very timely) and MAN’S BEST FRIEND (Thank you). If you want to watch thought provoking and positive stories please do take a watch. If you like what you say leave a few reviews and share with others. That is happening and the fan base to this movies keeps growing.
LOST HEART – This amazing film is in the final stretch of sound design and music. We’ve been putting a fine tooth comb over the credits trying not to make any errors of misspelling or missed credits. I had a good discussion with our distributor over this film. We’re all very excited to share this with everyone late summer/early fall.
LOOKING AHEAD –
BEST YEARS GONE – This week we announced the addition of Victoria Jackson. This will be the second time she has worked with CDI. You can read about it below.
Director Shane Hagedorn and I have been going over the script reworking some dialog to bring the “Racing” elements in the script out stronger. The character I play Gil, had his best days when he was chasing his dream of being a race car driver. This movie will have some great elements of music and such in in. We have a few more actors to announce and next week we’ll be looking at our new proposed shoot dates in August.
- We’ve also been pulling together the business on the 2021 WW2-era film and made a few more great steps this past week. Only a handful of units to move on this project and we’ll have this one ready to go.
- Also some great talks over ‘Hastings‘ the proposed WILD FAITH tv series. I had talks with our distributor over pre-sales and a few possible investors. This series is growing stronger by the week.
- We are still looking at the animation division – evaluating our scripts.
- Merchandise site is going to be going up – we’ve got some great things to offer our fans. I have a meeting over that this coming week.
- Soon I should be announcing the new home for some of the CDI associated projects. We have some agreements to review but things are almost all set up.
I’m sure I’ve missed a few updates but I’ve got some work to get done today so I’m going to end this. I’m not sure what any of you might take away from all this but take the time to get to know one another. Embrace the differences between us. Know that within our hearts and minds we are the same. Excessive force is real as is the danger that those tasked with enforcing laws. The athlete, soldier and law enforcement can all fall victim to adrenal flow. But someones pre-existing perceptions can breed compassion or excessive force. Protest is a great show of unity but rioting can cause those negative seeds to root even deeper.
As an artists I believe in the power of the story to enact change in people’s thought, actions and deeds. I believe we are all wired to love a story and when engaged we can enlighten someone to a different way to think or feel. The confinement due to the virus and the economic damage to so many has only served to fuel this fire. I would support the peaceful approach to protesting but understand the power of feeling in control when the world seems to leave many feeling powerless. The power of the mob ruling the night is addictive but is wasted frustration that could be better channeled. I am not one to judge but I see more positive paths to change.
Be safe and we’ll chat next week.
So I’m balancing my laptop as I sip my coffee and try to type. Lulu our cat has taken an interest in our new little furry boy Finn. Daphne our other dog is taking her time to warm up. It took her 3-4 days with Luke before he was totally accepted and it was a lifelong love affair from there. Little Finn has all the same courageous and brave attributes. He was his puppy pack leader. He’s slept great for two nights now and has had zero accidents. He had the outside potty down from his two visits. Play, sleep, explore and eat. Repeat as needed. It was an emotional tear to put this bundle of joy over the pain of losing Luke too soon. I joked that Luke’s ‘force ghost’ is coming to Finn and teaching him all the fun stuff as we sleep. He is his own little man but he will definitely be the new cuddle king and will grow into the protector. Even last night on the back porch Daphne was barking at the top of the stairs at whatever critter was wandering the yard to collect food. Finn ran up beside her to give his support. They shared a sniff as if to say, “I got this” and Finn bounced down the stairs first. No lack of bravery. After a hard month of loss in October the month of November is shaping up to be a thankful one.
This past couple weeks has been extremely busy with the movie business. I remember being in the midst of the storm, working five projects with different artists. Finishing sound design, listening to musical score, VO and title credits approvals, new trailer, new posters, finalizing deals, development but before frustration could ever sit in, I felt blessed.
I get to work with all these fellow artists creating beautiful stories. I get to watch such talented actor friends become these roles. I know the hard work that our crews gave each day so that we could assemble the pieces. I was moved by the music that just injected the scenes with hair-raising emotion. What are these developments? A few early spoilers before the PR releases.
- The Wild Faith phase one deal is done. An actual purchase of the property will take place before a TV series moves forward. But that has to wait because as the kick off film in a new partnership/division WILD FAITH will be going into theaters in March 2019. This will be a wider release vs our limited showcase that did very well. We’ve added a new narrator that will start and end our story. He will be well-known to almost everyone and our own Melissa Anschutz got to be in-studio with him in Nashville. There is your hint:) We started delivering elements to the distributor and we’ll deliver the film later next week. The theatrical screens could be tens, hundreds or even a thousand plus as that is what is in their network. They LOVE the film and we know that this film is very timely so I hope many get to see it on the big screen. But any number of screens over our 10 or so we did on our own will be viewed as a success.
- THE CHRIST SLAYER is looking and sounding so powerful. It had a great response at mipcom and AFM markets. The new poster art is beautiful. We’ll be announcing that with our release dates that will include 2/4/19 broadcast/digital, 3/4/19 DVD and national “special event” Easter theatrical showings in April. This is all being done through BMG with their theatrical partnership. I’m so EXCITED to see this film on the big screen. Model building, digital matte paintings and more make this one of the largest scale movies we’ve produced.
- We have a batch of new teasers inviting families to watch FORTY NIGHTS and already CHASING THE STAR is being add to many Christmas line ups. I encourage you to take a watch or purchase for your collection. If you enjoyed the experience leave your thoughts on IMDB.com or Amazon. Both are on Amazon Prime along with many other great platforms and networks.
- MBF also made an early appearance at the film markets. We’ve had major interest including in the theatrical. A rough trailer made an appearance at AFM and we’ve polished it up and will announce Tuesday when and where audiences can see it. Also the first official poster will be released. Here is the bottom half of it above. MBF was one of my, if not my most vulnerable roles emotionally. After seeing the trailer and about 30 minutes of the rough cut I think I’ve succeeded in honoring the most important people, our vets. Dog lovers will also enjoy this story because it rings of truth. So much that ANIMAL PLANET is making it one of their featured shows on “Amanda to the Rescue” on Sunday nights. I’m told it’s one of the later shows.
- Development. LOST HEART. Often when I write I sometimes have someone in mind. I know literally thousands of actors and that gives good imaginative fuel to me as a writer. That doesn’t mean that the casting always falls that way, sometimes my imagination gives the better read. But often it works out and that leaves only a few castings to find. We’ve started to get in a few requested reads. The response to the script has been very good. I had good talks about it with our distributor. I’m excited about the upcoming slate of movies that CDI will produce. The theatrical aspect will be incorporated into this new production deal. Yes. PR will be coming out on this as we enter into the new year. 2019 will be exciting.
My last point that can be applied to your own situations. First, vet people, companies and projects. Valuable time can be wasted from your personal or business time on unrealistic or unattainable goals. I’m an optimist for sure but no matter how high I train to jump the peak of Everest will still remain out of my reach. But a path. Many, many steps. Good prep and planning and the goal of reaching the top is possible. Others profit from your time or efforts if you make it or not. These are dangerous people and performance is key. Actions vs words. I see many more projects getting launched and finished. At my various meetings I still hear the horror stories and they often include the same names over and over. So do yourself a favor and be careful where you put your trust and energy. This weekend while concluding some business with an executive I received this added note which I have to say made my day.
“BTW – thank you for the business partnership and friendship. It’s relationships like ours that I can point to as the reason why I love what I do.”
Generations of Collective Development Inc. directors
People have often looked for an agenda in me because of my kindness. It’s real. I can be tough when required and the trick is not to be tough on a new contact because of scars from old business wounds. I am proud of what I’ve done with others in this lifetime. I hope I have many more stories to tell before someone adds a RIP next to my name. The truth is we don’t really know. So how I get to my goals is more important to me versus just getting them at all cost. My goals will not be obtained by stepping on people or screwing people over. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not perfect. I’ve made unpopular decisions. I’ve miscommunicated before. I’ve unintentionally hurt feelings. But my actions on this path tell people I’m sincere. This is my path. Like me. Dislike me. Nobody can question my dedication to the hard path.
Furthermore, If several projects that your associated with keep having issues, is it bad luck that you keep stepping into? Or are you part of the issue as a common denominator? Passing blame is weak and poor leadership. Accountability is power, take it. We’ve had various small bumps while working on all these projects associated with several films. Any bad communication is always my bad. I spend a good amount of effort trying to keep the communication lines strong and proper. Some days it can be difficult managing but once a good flow is established things really do flourish.
Enjoy the harvest of November. Be grateful for what came to be. Reflect and take accountability for what did not. How can you make a positive change and increase the harvest next year? Do the kind of business you wish to receive.
Have a great week ahead. Watch for those PR releases.