The hazelnut coffee, is tasting great on this snowy Sunday. I see where many folks elsewhere got 5+ feet of snow! Parts of Michigan, saw a large snowfall and even here in Lansing (Center of the State) we got a good amount. It is pretty to watch fall and it makes everything bright, which has been nice. But, it has been bitter cold for sure. The several days of arctic freeze gave me the time I needed to start catching up on all my biz paperwork.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – We have been working on getting the end credits around and from the list we’ll be double checking against our Algona, premiere list. This week, we’ll get a chance to review the film, with most all the elements inserted. The film will release first in Algona, Iowa on Dec 9th and the Fridley Theaters. Our hope is that they will open the film in all the cities they’re in. We are looking to see when the show times will go live, so folks can start getting public tickets. The trailer will soon be playing in front of other films. We plan to show the film into 1st quarter of 2023 in the theatre chains. We hope to have it expend across Iowa, and the midwest. An LA/Hollywood and German showing via theaters or festival is also being planned.
We also have some exciting things coming together for the 2023 home video release. I really do think that this film could create a “Field of Dreams” effect – whereas once a year the film returns to Algona, theaters and people travel to the town of Algona, to see the museums. We will also be working on the Michigan premiere, that might happen first of the year, due to all the crazy Christmas hustle and bustle. Many will have to have patience, if you miss the select theatrical showings. But come, the run up to Christmas 2023, the film will be getting a major push. Between the theatrical and the home video, we hope to show it in Germany/Austria. Thank you to everyone for your support.
We’re also going to be working with our sponsors and product partners, moving forward. Note, the period wraps on the Spam, Hershey’s bars and more. We are honored to have such wonderful partners in storytelling. We have had many great companies join us over the years. I look forward to many more, as we move ahead in our storytelling adventures.
Silent Night in Algona, will be the 5th release this year. Who has seen all five films? Who can name all five films? OK. It’s early and the coffee is still kicking in for folks. 1) BESTSELLER 2) BEST YEARS GONE 3) SMOKE & MIRRORS 4) FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 5) SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – if you end up watching all 5, you are truly a CDI fan. I’ve had someone talking to me about a CDI fan club. You can SUBSCRIBE TO THE TRIBE at http://www.cdiproductions.com and we’ll be doing some updates there soon. I use to have a wonderful fan club ran by a fine lady named, Pepper. I think she is still with us, loving her dogs and spreading joy. She and several friends, use to travel to different CDI premieres. She did interviews and highlighted co-stars and leading ladies. She reviewed films and really did many great and wonderful things. Her health, hasn’t allowed her to keep up with the webpage and it went down several years ago. I will check in on Pepper, over the holidays. I hope she has been doing well.
Once SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, is finished, we will be all caught up on production. We have been slowly prepping 4 films in the CDI library, for re-release with BMG. In 2023, we hope to bring KNIGHT CHILLS, FIGURE IN THE FOREST, AN ORDINARY KILLER and GHOST TOWN to the marketplace. Two are in the wrong aspect ratio and were shot in standard def so they’re all being digitally enhanced to HD. I will readdress all this once I get this current film locked.
But, I will say- I’ve seen the first draft of the new uprezed trailer for Ghost Town, and it looks beautiful. I need to watch and provide some notes. We are also working to get distributor back ups of all the films. KNIGHT CHILLS, we are trying to get the best source version. But this will get done. We are also working on a few cool extras, maybe even an interview from our director Katie Hicks. I might do a sit down, with Jeff Kennedy, to talk about those days. The sequel and video game became even more exciting, when I got to check out some of the new software and LED walls. Not only, will CDI keep working to enhance of VFX sequences in our films, we will be doing some films that are completely animated films. I have a few people in Michigan, I’ve been watching, about some possible collaborations. Ideas-forming.
Harsens Island Revenge – Get those acting reels together. Yes. CDI is an acting troupe of actor/producers, but we have several friends of the tribe, that we often collaborate with. Like, many projects, we have many more friends of the tribe, vs roles open in a film. But, we have some time, so we’re going to really use the time to cast, and look at talent for future endeavors. I use to travel to more film gatherings, events, networking. Oh, I feel a ramble coming on…
The truth is, with how busy my film work is, my daily hours are pretty full. I unwind, mediate, visualize, the week ahead. Refuel, relax and get good rest (Three R’s) to attack it all again the next day. Staying out late partying, isn’t really on my planner. Now, let me say for the record, I’ve certainly been there, done that and got that tee-shirt, but I’m at a different place on the path. I have a domestic life, that brings me peace and balance. It allows me to better focus my energies, achieving dreams. But, just like at one time, I knew every bar in my town, now, I do not. I was a work-a-holic, binge drinker, in my youth. The binge drinking (Viking drinking) was taught to me, from those glorious nights out, after games in Hornbaek, Denmark, playing soccer as a teen. What a great time that was for three summers. I love those good folks to this day.
Okay, back at it. So, I had unrealistic dreams (Acting) but, once I set my sights, there was no plan B. I worked, and lived in studios, we made our hours, working for days on end. Sometimes forced to using TV stations in the middle of the night to finish films. Often jumping on a jet planes, with my amigos, to go pitch ideas and finished films, around Hollywood for a couple weeks. Days full of 405 driving to meetings, parties in the hills. Hard partying, after, hard work, to try and turn our obsession off. But, the tequila would often just spur even more exciting dreams and ideas. I LOVE those days. The CDI crew was like pirates, we rolled hard, building. But, the journey will burn some out. I’ve seen so very many break, and fall. If I could have made myself fall into regular steady employment, I would have long ago. But, my simple mantra of putting everything into the film I’m working on, so it results in one more opportunity to tell a story, remains. So far, that has worked. I think because, there are so many stories, in every town, in danger of fading away, gone. But, a group of artists like CDI, can bring a story to life, for generations. That is what we do. That is what we are doing.
And back to development- this week saw a few really great steps. The script for Harsens Island Revenge (HIR) is going through that writer/director phase. Each character, action and line, discussed. I can say, every scene improved through long conversations. Motivations. Moments. I love this process with directors. All directors who have directed a script I wrote, have been through this process. It is fun, playful and enjoyable. We got through another 25 pages in a session and have likely 1-2 more sessions to get all the way through. Once the script is locked, the writer part of me steps back. All work from there will be between actors and director. But once you leave the director at the end of the process, they should have a deep understanding. It is an exploring, something even more important with period pieces.
HIR, will start looking at cast and crew, with our director, over the winter. We have a good idea of the look, tone, work flow and our scout trip has us all very excited. So, wrap up your year by getting your highlight reels together. CDI is mostly all actors, so pick and lead with your strongest material. If something is subpar consider leaving it off. Less can be more. At the same time, if someone is interested, they will watch a lot of your work. Especially if they are thinking of working with you.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – After nearly two full days of polishing, I ended my week, with my first draft of the new Spirit Lake Massacre. I’m very proud of the final piece. I’m going to do even more research to add a sprinkling more of the historical gems, to this already powerful piece. In December, I’ll be able to have some more discussions on the locations for this 2024 project. Next year, might consist of some construction, and some prep work.
CDI HOLIDAY WATCHING – With snow and cold, forcing many inside- it’s a good time to watch some of the CDI classics with your family and loved ones. WILD FAITH, MANS BEST FRIEND, LOST HEART, THE QUEST TRILOGY! Encourage TV, Tubi, Amazon Prime, Google Play– check your platforms. I’m going to go do some holiday shopping both online and at the store. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving week. I’m always happy when I get to see family and friends. We are all thankful at CDI, to all of you fans.
Sipping the hazelnut coffee on this fine October morning. We have had a last spurt of warm and midweek it is suppose to go chilly again. Yesterday, I got my final mow on the yard. We harvested the last of the plants including a few more decorative gourds. I’ve been cutting and splitting wood for the winter ahead. Yesterday afternoon we got to have a nice outside fall gathering with my brother and his family. Pumpkin carving, apple crisp, cider and soccer plus add in a bit of leaf fun. I love this season!
Our development of the film projects continues on. Let’s look at a few of the updates from last week.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is a wonderful feature length doc that fills in the missing history of this grappling art. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. It was presented by the leading authorities in such an entertaining way. The DVD is open to pre-order now for a Nov 1st release and/or you can rent/buy it now. https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/amzn1.dv.gti.3bc38d35-d79e-49e9-82a6-e87ff63b4040?autoplay=0&ref_=atv_cf_strg_wb
- BEST YEARS GONE is another release from this year. An award winning dramedy that will make you laugh, cry and ponder. You can buy/rent from here – https://www.amazon.com/Best-Years-Gone-Lana-Wood/dp/B09R4KDXGJ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2JUJIK4KVPU9K&keywords=best+years+gone&qid=1666530725&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIxLjIzIiwicXNhIjoiMC45OSIsInFzcCI6IjEuMjUifQ%3D%3D&s=instant-video&sprefix=best+years+gone%2Cinstant-video%2C118&sr=1-1 – And…if you want to read an in-depth review, you can do so here – https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fronnielee.rocks%2Fbest-years-gone-movie-review-by-ronnie-lee%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR1AL4lf8DCIxzPwRgU-0p4je7kNIFHj1KfKNw0avyDR25NjxRbbRkvawvM&h=AT0-ucPZlOsNalVICvt7_1cyBe5Gh38thIaNrYSscZu5PfJ70KPxjGT2vokU2piIUPgdERcaa3G2t1PFyH1CpyLmJpbn6c-l00Dv0qMxMNVs3vxrnDIUbiH4CmtNVUP-wVieTKcYrnFuQcaf1SQufAg&tn=H-R&c=AT3LjCNz1EGR425orlMSHaN9h6RT070C39M9yk8LNKiwmb8xkHJ-aw1wuBh55Vu6UebSWPuIOzGWKGvAs1kKXmjL3gsizF9MOoNfAChhLVI9r8o5LkYvVlMzXhTf-aEQ_wsBEqsiKqbs1ySEMZXHpocAEHuNgyPWmrpbF0Xlme0Q-rNUmz6gfir3gikxLQqgJW3Llr1VjV90qkC9YRZs6moJ – We look forward to your reviews too!
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – This is the last project for us to finish and release this year. We’ve sent an email to our cast and crew asking any of the team planning to attend the Dec 9th Fridley Theatre premiere in Algona, Iowa to RSVP by Nov 1st. We’ve got a list going and every ticket will be gone. Once we get RSVP’s on cast and crew we will start looking at extras. For those not part of the Iowa premiere – it will play to the public that night and for two plus weeks pending demand. We will also be setting up a Michigan premiere in the hometown of our director Anthony Hornus. This will be at the NCG theatre in Owosso. We might play the week after the Iowa or jump to after Christmas if we get too close. I know Celebration Cinema will be bringing it to Lansing and Grand Rapids. We will be looking to play the Detroit area and would love to have a Hollywood run. The film is looking and sounding amazing thanks to the hard work of Dennis Therrian. The VFX and color grading is getting close to done. Mid November we’ll be pulling all the elements together into a final film. Some exciting news, I saw the rough cut of the new trailer on Friday. I am so proud of all are artists and cannot wait for people to see.
- HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE – I’m so very excited that the #TribeCDI will be moving from one epic period piece to another. We have been preparing documents to assist in bringing onboard our product partners and sponsors. Our scouting trip was very successful last week. While a few days may be shot on the actual island we need interiors and such that we can control. We also need to not be dependent on a ferry or the few stores on a small island. So movie magic will be happening but it will all be shot in Michigan. We had some great meetings this last week and we’ll be making some exciting announcements soon. One of those exciting announcements just might be our director. I will be starting the writer/director script polish this week. Once I sign off it is up to the director and talent. We will be shooting in October of 2023! We are already hard at work.
- SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE is in script development. I am happy to say that I’m about 1/3 of the way through the first draft. There is a lot of research with this project and that is something I’ve immensely enjoyed. It has been an intense journey and the drama of it all is brutal and enlightening. I’ve had several times that after writing for a few hours I had to go work my hands in the dirt for a while. I will have my first draft by Jan 1st and from there we will start to look at production development.
- WILD FAITH just passed the 6 million mark on Encourage TV. This will can be found on countless platforms to enjoy. We have many fall themed films from SMOKE & MIRRORS, BESTSELLER, LOST HEART, BEST YEARS GONE and MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND. Enjoy them all with your family! Thank you for all the fan mail about these titles! Amazon Prime has most all of them.
- I had a great call out of the blue about another film project. This call took me back almost to the very beginning. A project that was in development many moons ago has interest and a proposed budget. This film is in the horror-genre with a large dose of mystery/investigation at the heart. Discussions were on how things have changed in the 25-30 years production-wise. I gave my interest in moving these talks forward. It takes time to develop things so the earlier you can start the better. More on this project if it becomes active. By active, I mean funded:)
- That is not the only project that was discussed in development this week. Following the release of FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, our team is discussing both another doc feature and a feature film. In the wake of projects I always get a rush of pitches on scripts and projects. I tell my tribal folks to be ready for this rush. It can be a time killer 95% of the time. People are wanting badly in this industry and it can be truly maddening. Every outsider is a variable that can rock the boat. It is why we are so careful with how we build our projects and with whom. Life is too short to be wasting time. If you have a funded project we might look at it but we are at no lack of stories, scripts or endeavors. I can say with confidence that we’ll be doing more docs in the FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH series. Thank you to everyone who has supported the first one. It is really powerful and informative and I’m proud of it. Take a watch!
- This week I’m going to be sending KNIGHT CHILLS materials off to the Blu-Ray folks and check on the up-rez and progress on the new Ghost Town trailer. Both should be available next year as HD and streaming. After those get underway we will be working on FIGURE IN THE FOREST and AN ORDINARY KILLER. Classics:)
- PONDERING/TIPS/OPINION – This week was interesting due to various conversations. As we start the process of looking towards future projects, sometimes as far ahead as two or three projects, we examine ENERGY. Positive energy manifests in how people are in their day-to-day. There are people who are just always a joy to be around. They make a journey enjoyable. They are CAN DO people not CANNOT do people. They look at the glass half FULL versus half EMPTY. They work hard and EARN the opportunities, by giving their BEST EFFORT. I laugh to myself when I hear some people think they’ve paid enough dues and they are deserving of….it would be like a martial artist telling the sensei when they feel ready to test for a belt. These positive people don’t seek short cuts or to get ahead by stepping on others. That is a VERY common thing is the outside world for sure. While common there, it doesn’t thrive here at CDI. Some people are just not cut out for long form media like movies. They do better with smaller, simple short format endeavors. Or they cannot positively interact with people for that many weeks. I heard someone else make a statement that they will deal with whatever for the sake of using some artists, even if they are negative and a pain. They can have them! I will take a positive, good person with talent and develop that versus drag some negative person along. It is about the journey and not just the art. Ideally you want both but the journey will be long remembered. So work with good people you like. Develop the people who respect and have gratitude for the opportunity. We have big things ahead and so we want to develop our team even stronger. Lots of things happening behind the scenes. Just be that person that producers want to have on board.
I want thank everyone again for stopping by. Subscribe here and perhaps our website http://www.cdiproductions.com and our CDI Youtube channel. I love that you all come from various places around the globe. I’m going to finish up here and do a few more things around the yard and get ready for a busy week ahead. I hope you take all these updates as an inspiration of what a group of artists can achieve when they work together in a positive manner. Have a great week and be good to one another!