Hazelnut cheers on a nippy Michigan morning. I’ve got the fire going by my chair as I sit and reflect on a very busy week of life and work. Last night we gathered at the NCG theaters in Lansing to debut our new CDI film BEST YEARS GONE, directed by Shane Hagedorn. We had a strong crowd for the 1st show which they moved into the bigger screen to handle our sales. Also they extended the theatrical run until Oct 21st, so have day out going to see a movie. It really did play great there and I was happy to see so many family, friends and fans of the films. I love that every day more folks will get to see the story we told. The feedback has been strong ands I know the ‘haters’ always find their way but so do those who appreciate the stories. And at a kick off event I get to shake hands, take pictures and meet some of these fine people.
(Shane Hagedorn and DJ Perry greeted and chatted with many folks at the Lansing premiere)
My dad still wonders how I’m able to weave the story and all the dialogue into a script. I told him all those times of being assured of not paying attention or having my head in the clouds – THAT – whatever it is – IMAGINATION – it allows me to get lost in the story and manifest it. I’m awaiting word on another deal that would have me writing a script this winter and produce it next year with CDI. Add in the TV series of HASTINGS that is gaining momentum and 2022 could be a fun year of storytelling. Here are the Lansing showtimes- https://www.showtimes.com/movie-times/best-years-gone-156830/lansing-mi/
But before we get to 2022 we have a very exciting and important story to be told – SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA! I cannot believe that the pre-production caravan will depart next Saturday. Producers, director, art, AD, office and transportation will be doing final prep for the shoot that kicks off on Halloween. I had a wardrobe fitting last week and between the scene study which is feeling on point and the dapper WW2 uniform – game on.
We have some additional sponsor support from the Iowa State Bank so we want to thank them. This past week we filled several of the few cast and crew spots remaining. Just one or two cast/crew to go and that will work itself out. We had a few changes from illness or unexpected commits but our team will go and end the year with one great story. This week I need to pull together final props and production stuff traveling with me. I have to finish packing my clothes which needs to include cold weather gear. The nice part is this film I have like one uniform and a few hats unlike the multiple wardrobe pieces worn as Gil in BEST YEARS GONE. I am going to enjoy this final week of prepping things. There are several friends I only get to see while filming so again I’m excited to tell this story with our artists.
I know that this is the perfect season to release BESTSELLER, our thriller getting a campaign reboot but I do not have dates yet. My favorite film of the season is the animated ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and Hitchcock’s PSYCHO, which I’ll be watching to this week. WICKED SPRING HD is heading out to streaming and might be playing on certain platforms. I need to circle up with our distributor on a few projects but I’ve been quite busy with one film releasing and one going into production in under two weeks. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH feature-length doc is in the post-mixing phase and I was thinking of premiering SMOKE & MIRRORS with it at the same time. Like the cartoons you use to get before a show.
I’m putting the coffee away this morning because of the chill. I just poured the last cup and I’m going to finish this up. My next update will be from Algona, Iowa! Today we might hit the flea market seeking prop items and a stop at Tractor Supply to get some food for the chickens. They are putting on winter weight and still giving the eggs out. It is nice to always have that abundance of eggs and you do taste a difference. My alumni MSU had another good game yesterday but our Lions still struggle. I want to again thank each and everyone of you who attended our showings. If you want to leave a review you can go to our BEST YEARS GONE page on http://www.imdb.com and vote and leave your thoughts. I hope you all have a productive week ahead. Be good to one another.
The first sips of the hazelnut coffee taste so good on this chilly Michigan morning. Yesterday the sinus were a bit stuffed due to the weather changes but this morning I’m feeling good. We watched my alumni school Michigan State University put another win up for the season. If only our Lions could start doing the same. Either way, football, hot cider and the harvest has been a great welcome to Fall that is now officially here.
This past week was great for tying up loose ends on BEST YEARS GONE that played Owosso, MI NCG all week. I was able to sneak into a day show on the last day with my dad. It was nice to have no pressure or expectations to meet and greet. It was nice to just relax into the story and just enjoy. The story is well put together with such great comments on the camerawork (DP Travis Hayward) the creative editing (Nathaniel Nose) – the music (Dennis Therrian and all our great guest artists). We know all of this includes the entire crew and cast. I heard lots of compliments on how the film walks the line with strong drama and outrageous comedy. And big kudos to Shane Hagedorn our director who kept the vision and created the fine blend story. NOTE: A BTS of the premiere event is on our IMDB.com page and we’ll go up on our FB page soon. Great job Dan Chipman.
We started with a two show screening premiere and that went great! We’ve been dripping out pics from that night on the BYG Facebook site. What a wonderful night and it was great to see the story on the big screen. The film was granted an extension playing all last week in Owosso, Michigan. Now we are looking at other cities both with NCG and other theatrical chains. We hope to bring it to our home town of Lansing, Michigan. Possibly Grand Rapids and the Detroit area and even Nashville, TN is being considered. This week after the theatrical we made a few adjustments to our mix and we’ll do a final review Weds before uploading the master to our distributor. I’m excited for people around the world to enjoy this story.
Today we are having a meeting for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA to review our schedule and lock that so that cast agreements and flights can be booked. We’re working hard to get all our ducks in a row so that many things are done before our pre-production week on set. Algona is not a big city so we’re working with all the resources we have. The best resource is the people of Algona who are excited to have this story of theirs told, keeping it from being forgotten. This week I’ll do some PR about our product partners and we’ll announce a few more cast. I had a few great conversations with folks this week and that is what is nice about these adventures. I get to see some dear friends that I usually only see when filming. But today is a big day as we lock up the schedule and collectively look for problem/issues in advance. We have some of the best problem solvers working to tell this story so I feel very confident.
WILD FAITH is about to hit 5 million views on Encourage TV taking us even deeper into the tens of millions who have watched the film. I had a few more conversations with parties that could assist in getting the TV series launched. Creative Control has been the main goal for me as I’ve had a few projects derailed by “experts” on what a story needs or doesn’t need. We have several paths we could take to production and as I’ve always said it is not IF it is WHEN. Have you seen WILD FAITH? If not, please do.
MANS BEST FRIEND is playing new TV channels such as Charge TV which seems to be targeted at action and macho films by Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal and DJ Perry, what? I have continued to encounter many more folks who love that film. I’m very proud of the film and the action sequences which are modest. I’ve had several people ask about ‘Paul Landings’ outcome and could there ever be a sequel. You never know and yes, I’ve thought about it. I have a good story in my head but we’ll see about that some other time. I’ve got a full plate.
LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFOs and JESUS – I had the pleasure of hearing from many who saw CDI’s last release under two different titles. I love this film and it always leaves me feeling good. Feeling down or just needing a boost of ‘feel good’ take a watch. Melissa Anschutz commands the screen and folks like Josh Perry turn in performances that will have people talking for years. This is the perfect time of year to watch this film.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Once we get past the beloved Halloween-fare it will be the holidays. I’m excited to continue the tradition of our trilogy. I again at the recent premiere got to hear from the fans of these films. Many are still learning about them and learning that there are three films in the series. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. See them in order. See them all.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the final polished cut is getting close. This weekend the audio narration was being done. A pre-mix and a final mix and we’ll be ready for a premiere. Maybe just before Christmas but after Thanksgiving for sure.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS – Our short concept film that sprung from a commercial endeavor is completed. We’re in discussions about the various possible premieres for this film using it to also help the historic Dodge Turner House. We are exploring a virtual premiere also but getting together and seeing this on a big screen would be fun. It is roughly 14 minutes so not a long film. A few festivals could be in the future for this short film story. I have been working on the feature script which I’m calling ‘OF SMOKE & MIRRORS’ to add a slight difference between the two.
ODDS & ENDS
This week I got to throw some of my dialog off Curran Jacobs who is playing the lead in our next WW2 film. I’ve been having such a great time emerging myself in the 1940’s and preparing to tell this great story. We also had a great meeting with our director and the VFX supervisor and we identified all the VFX shots or shots that would utilize CGI additions or subtractions.
I had an offer for a lead in a short which I don’t typically consider but offered to look at the script and the details which I asked for. I got a script with no details and had to pry any info out. But to be honest when I saw the email with just the script (poorly formatted) and no information – it was a polite pass. I had another call about engaging as a work-for-hire writer. On the other end of the spectrum from the no detail communication mentioned previously- this email came with a great pitch/breakdown. Success will follow the hard work. One person did the bare minimum and the other had spent some real time in organizing and preparing for their endeavor. I will likely enter negotiations this week for a wonderful writing endeavor that I’ll do over the holidays. I’ve had a handful of these opportunities approach me which is what led me to consider representation. In time I may explore the representation aspect but for now I’m happy to handle the details.
I’m going to bring this to a close. I have a few yard tasks to accomplish and I need to get ready for two groups of folks today. The ‘schedule’ meeting this afternoon and later my brother and few amigos will visit. I think the first fire might have to be lit today. I hope each of you have a wonderful day and good week ahead. I’m excited for all the developments happening and also happy to be enjoying the Fall with the family. This shoot will be the only extended leave I took this year. But it will put us into post-production on another beautiful story. This story is built on the real history of Algona and we’re proud to be telling it.
Be good to one another and coffee cheers!
Good morning my friends – coffee cheers. (Above: Movie lunch pails – one day:) I loved seeing all the readers that dropped by last week and from so many different countries. Interesting talk recently that the artists in all countries likely exist in an alike mind space. This started from watching the live action Mulan. I really enjoyed it. Of course I’m a martial artists and I also love the history and traditions of the asian countries. The media backlash was over some of the film being filmed in areas of China where the treatment of some people there has been in question. My point is that I can assure that most of the artists in China are not the ones committing these actions. Politicians and corporations are where the differences often lie. Again I think that art is one of the best forms of communication still working. I think it is through storytelling and art that people try to change things by changing the hearts of the people. Iran. That was brought up and I am sure that there are many wonderful Iranian artists and many are likely not in step with their government. Artists have been persecuted in many places over the corse of history for illuminating people in a way that often goes against the agenda of politics. Don’t get me wrong, artists have their issues and running a country of diverse people is never easy. But the film Mulan had beautiful locations and maybe that is why certain things were filmed at certain locations. Story-first we call it. In telling our story we try to do what is best for the story not politically motivated. Also I do understand financial reasons for location choice. I just like to look at the sum of the parts. In any endeavor using many people – having a story to focus upon brings out the best in each person. Their best artistic qualities end up showcased. Again that’s why we embrace the ‘collective development’ of individuals versus a ‘cancel’ mentality. On our sets a respectful attitude is required and any course corrections to transgressions would be attempted and often the flow is resumed. In a few situations we’ve let people go but when that has happened I’ve owned that as a miss or a loss. A kid who had to be sent home from summer camp because a staff couldn’t nurture the good kid within. A student who quits never to return to the dojo is on the sensei – he failed to nurture the student properly. An athlete who has to be removed from a team shares that failure with his coaches. Just a few thoughts. I’ve had beautiful fan mail and invites to visit their countries from people all over the world. Those places I would be honored to visit but being honest, some places have me nervous. The nervous apprehension is not stemming from the artists. So in conclusion, if a group of people geographically create something in an area where some in power have misstepped should all the people, all the artists be held accountable? And yes. I’m sure the artists in some of these places object to things they don’t agree with, much like here in the USA. But many elsewhere are met with bullets in response to their objections. So let us praise positivity in story wherever it’s told.
Onto some film updates. First this week we starting to announce some of the ICFF 2021 Nominations which is for films of faith, family and inspiration. Positive stories:) We were fortunate enough to again be chosen for several nominations with LOST HEART. First is my favorite award nomination next to ‘Most Inspirational’ which THE QUEST TRILOGY garnished. BEST FILM – I love this because again as mentioned earlier it represents the collective artistry of the tribe.
On a personal level I’m enjoying the collecting of these screenwriter nods. When acting was my main push and I guess I would say it still is. I use to downplay the screenwriting not wanting to be seen as a screenwriter who acts. But these days I’m 100% confident is just being the artist I am with multiple avenues to create. As an actor, I’ve had the pleasure of trying to utter some pretty bad dialog in some questionably written scripts. Often by some good directors who’s art of screenplay wasn’t on the same level. But that means a director directing and actors acting with a poor blue print. To have a chance at executing a good story you need a strong blue print. This is why I’ve done less and less outside work. I KNOW great material is out there and good teams to execute production but getting those circles to all align can be difficult. There is so much that can hinder a film production the script should not be one of them. So I’ve been poking about and having a few discussions on literary representation. I would like to see a few stories go be created by others. To have other artists and tribes make a go at telling a great story because of a solid blue print. We can only create so many stories as a company. So I look forward to creating a few wonderful vehicles for actors and teams out there in the world.
Congrats to Jesse Low. One of the other instinctual things a producer(s) have to do is try to marry the right story to the right director. It is an art. Just like management. Casting. Crewing. If working as many with a zero budget it’s making the best hand with what you have. On the low budget you do have choices. In a way the best choices, because you will only attract artists who love the story and/or filmmakers. Also development – after several features – the relationship flow with Jesse Low has become tight. Coffee Cheers to many more!
A film will LIVE or DIE but the leads. So many wish the opportunity but it is not easy. It is why I cringe when someone says, “I might try acting, sounds fun.” Acting is more a calling (or a disease) versus a fun thing to try. The medium of film requires even more focus as things are often in random order and the multiple takes can be draining. Many actors and actresses don’t have the endurance to do it. That is why shorts are a good build for cast and crews. Features are a longer journey and requires pacing, prep and hyper-focus.
Melissa Anschutz went above and beyond – allowing audiences via her national PR appearances to hear about her personal battles immediately following filming. This reached, touched and helped many people with alike tragedies in their lives. She is very deserving of both these awards so a big congrats to Melissa and thank you for all you do to help the tribe of artists. You’re an inspiration to many out there.
CDI has been blessed to have many very successful artists join our tribe and storytell with us. These folks have such great projects behind them that when they branch out to work with anyone they take a real chance. At CDI we don’t play ‘star’ that is for the red carpet for those who wanna play that – this is storytelling. I’m so appreciative of the artists who bring their very best. No phoning it in. They BRING IT. I do love how Tarantino brings great names from previous successful stories that maybe haven’t been seen in a while and showcased fresh, powerful new performances. We do that. We work hard to provide the most professional experience and to encourage the best set to create. I’m so happy for Victoria Jackson and Don Most for their nominations in the supporting roles. If you watch the film LOST HEART you will realize how deserving them are. Often a fest might give a nod because of the star power it brings but these nominations are right on. They both give performances that audiences will remember for years to come. It shows that Happy Days and SNL were just early stepping stones and they are still the artist they ever were and with experience, even more talented now. Congrats.
Now we come to this. I want to say that I have to get better about accepting such things. I truly enjoy other people getting recognition so that they will want to come out and play next time asked. Last year I was nominated for ‘Paul Landings’ as the Best Actor in MBF and took great pride in that since Paul represents our wounded military vets. Now ole ‘UFO Worldwide’ Reporter Niles Cass doesn’t seem as dramatic or deserving but I am still deeply honored. Two different tone films which is made more interesting since at ICVM at NBR (Crown Awards) in June (Texas) they have narrowed down to 5 top films nominated for Best Film and MBF and Lost Heart are going head-to-head because of the Covid lockdown last year. Proud of both stories just very different.
I wanted to share another special recognition that LOST HEART received. Congrats to my brother from another mother Ponceman. Working with Ponce a second time was just a pure joy. Might have to make it three times;)
I could do some additional updates but it is getting late and I need a shower after waking up and pushing myself in the strongman contest. This coop was MUCH heavier than I thought but the Amish don’t play. This is not like the previous coop which was nowhere as heavy duty. New chickens arrive next weekend.
Casting and crewing talks have been going great on the WW2 drama. This week we’ll announce two more leads in the main family joining actors Curran Jacobs and Cassie Dean. One is a beloved tribal member and the other a wonderful actor who will work with CDI for the first time. Our German reads have been exciting! We have other roles locking in and many to still explore.
BEST YEARS GONE is going to be traveling this week to our post studio with Dennis Therrian. Nathaniel Nose has done a wonderful job. We’ll know this week if he’ll be cutting the trailer. The Battle of the Bands runs until the end of April and we’ve had some great submissions. I plan to announce another judge this week joining Joe Pullin and John Two Hawks. I’m so excited to get onto this next phase. I look forward to spending some time at the studio in the pines. I think I might have to be on grill duty also.
I’m going to wrap it up here. I know I likely missed a few updates but I think we hit upon enough. I was a bit behind last week on emails, calls and even contract review (Monday:) But this week will be a good catch up. I hope each and everyone of you have a productive week. Be good to one another.
Good morning everyone! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee watching the snow fall. Michigan is at its coldest point with overnight going into the negatives. I want to welcome the new readers from Vietnam, United Arab Emirates and more from around the world. We so enjoy the ever-growing circle of artists who stop by to take a read. This week was very productive on many fronts and so let us look at a few updates.
BEST YEARS GONE – This week we have had many updates on our film now in post-production. Below is a link to Nathan K. Robertson, our 1st AD and Associate producer put this fun video together on MASKS and safe protocol while shooting end of 2020. Please do take a watch – if you grew up with 80’s Sat morning cartoons you will enjoy this. Thank you again Nate.
This is followed by a story and ‘behind the scenes’ look about our company CDI (http://www.cdiproductions.com) and our mission statement. The cool video was done by Daniel G. Chipman who has worked with CDI on and off since 2002. The music was by the incredible Dennis Therrian. The next cut of the film will be done this week and our director will make any tweaks from there. We’re also looking at the VFX shots and soon the locked picture will move to music and sound design. We had great talks this week on upcoming merchandise items. Also the ‘Battle of the Bands‘ details are getting worked out and the distributor is excited. We are talking about a unique premiere at a racetrack with bands, the film and a race! How cool would that be? Have you followed our IMDB.com or Facebook pages? Seek them out:)
LINK BELOW TO THE STORY AND BTS VIDEO! (I’m very happy with how the story came out)
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS talks and development continue. The 8 shows are being polished up for presentation and we’re working with our distributor to develop this TV series spin off. We’ve got the script to a few of the proposed directors and we’ve started to look at who would return and who would not for the series. I stated how thrilled I was by the Darby Hinton endorsement of the season 1 scripts. Our distributor is helping pull together marketing “impressions” for us to use in our development business. They reported 15 million impressions for 2020 which if you multiple that X 8 shows that is a lot of zeros. Talks with several networks will continue. With THE QUEST TRILOGY playing as a series on Sony/Pureflix platform under a new Easter campaign maybe Sony/Pureflix will be a good partner. We will see where the journey takes us but we’re pulling everything together. But to the millions of fans – thank you!
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – This week we made some great steps towards pre-production. We had more financial commits to this Christmas WW2 film. We’ve also have had some great actor reads from around the country. I’m happy to say that we’ve settled on casting for a handful of roles. I’m really impressed by some of the talent especially the reads that came from the outside. We usually have to go through hundreds or thousands of casting choices but it is beyond cool when you find someone you love in the first couple reads. We are discussing a teaser poster, PR title font and other things before we start announcing. I like to wait until we are moving into pre-production for casting PR but we are so close. Only a few more pieces to align and we’ll also be bringing on several sponsors via product placement. We know from WILD FAITH that 15 million + impressions are what sponsors can expect. So this week we might see our first cast announcement and I’m really excited. It is fun to see the script come to life by artists. This is a based on a true event and is a powerful story with themes that will ring true today. It is cool to note that Rance Howard was my WW2/farm script consultant. I got to hear stories for hours. I wish Rance could be playing with us on this one.
If you go to the http://www.cdiproductions.com website you can read lots of updates. The merchandise is slowly getting its feet underneath and the streaming links to ENCOURAGE TV are active whereas you can watch our films free with ads. Watch. And leave us your thoughts/vote on sites like Amazon.com and or IMDB.com if you would. LOST HEART is now starting to hit high in the BMG charts on sites like TUBI, joining WILD FAITH and MBF also growing a fine audience. MBF will be getting a new campaign push as the film was forced out during the transition when Covid first hit. We’re working on the 1st UPREZ and conforming of older film titles to HD/widescreen. My plan is to also do a run of CDI’s first two films in another CDI CLASSIC COLLECTION – Double Feature. KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS will join FIGURE IN THE FOREST and HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS available now on the CDI Merchandise page. We are proud of our humble beginnings and happy to be bringing these titles forth for the hardcore CDI collectors. I love physical media and so will you if any companies go out of business in the near future. VHS, VHS, VHS – just kidding. Although I do collect my favorites classic VHS as art.
I did get some tinkering work done this past week at the office. Keeping a fire hot to fight off the cold was a constant battle. I can tell the swinging of axes will have to happen this week. We’ll work this week on finding our last few ‘Algona’ partners so we can move to the next phase. Our first cast announcement will be this week and no I’m not the announcement. I am going to participating in this film in a good solid supporting role. I have lots of duties on this next endeavor and so it will be good to not be so deep in a role that I’m shooting every day. I shot everyday on the last film as the star and it takes endurance. Not all artists are cut out for that and that’s perfectly okay. Many memorable characters have been made with relatively small screen time. I just need to be connected to the role. I’m really loving this new role. The characters attributes not far from my own but the character exists in a world that is a vastly different time and place. That is the exciting part to try and get inside their perspective. What news did they hear daily? What did they talk about daily? Fears? Dreams? Technology? Music? I really do love period pieces.
I’m going to wrap this up maybe make a few biz calls. Sushi is on deck for tonight. Do support your favorite local restaurants or they might disappear. I think with our Covid numbers getting better, vaccines rolling and politics fading from center stage we can all get back to our passions. How many hours have been stolen? Glued to the TV News, emotional mudslinging and just anxiety of the future. You’ll get there. After touching base with news that delivers with your garnish of choice – turn it off. I recommend pulling out those old albums. Blue Oyster Cult, Public Enemy, Bowie, Rolling Stones, KISS, Led Zeppelin, Tom Jones, Grand Funk Railroad, Heart, Beastie Boys, Moody Blues, Bob Marley…MUSIC! And create…
Also make sure 1-2 of your calls daily, yes calls, not texts. This last year I hated the lockdowns but I caught up with and spoke to all kinds of old friends. I’m still working my way down mental lists. Laughter is the key and I have great laughs daily. Sometimes hearing funny new stories and other times talking of past funny situations. But make those calls and laugh. I see so many people angry about what they cannot, and in some cases, should not, try to control. MUSIC + FRIENDS+ LAUGHTER = BALANCE. Try it! You’ll be happy that you did. Until we speak again next week be good to one another.
Good morning. Coffee cheers. Well, today would have been one of the first holiday family get-togethers but alas we are not due to the lock down in Michigan. I have a good amount on my mind this week plus several good film updates on several of the projects.
I’m beyond happy that the stories we tell are being seen by millions and I’m receiving such uplifting fan mail that tells me what we do has a positive purpose. What WE do. That is an important word WE. We’ll address that more soon. The new CDI release is LOST HEART which is truly a ray of light filled with laughter and tenderness gifted to whomever takes a watch. I believe that the lessons inside our stories can be taken to heart for ALL people. From the negativity I’ve seen fly, EVERYONE can use a little story to remind us of the goodness in us all.
Lost Heart has 3 leads in it. Melissa Anschutz, to know her is to respect her dedication and love to the character’s she becomes. This film is a crown gem in her growing list of roles and stories. It is also deeply personal because of losing her husband to cancer and her own personal struggle with the disease, all while putting this movie together. Victoria Jackson who is a true comedic genius and is a tad outspoken in her political lean has drawn some praise and fire. Now add Don Most, who recently was heavily criticized by some and applauded by others for attending a ‘Happy Days‘ fundraiser for Biden. FOX took a PR piece on Lost Heart and really played the political slant almost like a TMZ piece. While it has added thousands of views it has angered some and so the days after the FOX story posted anger responses erupted from a few and the VOTE score on the film 1-10 dropped from mid 8’s to 3-4 over politics.
Political or not, it happens to all the children (movies) and while I wanted this child to be safe from bullies/trolls – people will vent their frustrations before taking accountability or accepting differences. Conservative MAGA or Cancel Culture Liberals – EVERYONE can use a good story with lessons about being good to one another and the value of kindness. I’ve been around long enough to know the drill. Friends, family, peers drive the score UP and the haters arrive and it goes down and fans start to bring the score back up and it will settle into a final score in a few years. Older audiences, myself included are not as savvy with computer reviewing so that is often not reflected. CDI works with respectful artists period from across the spectrum. I personally don’t ride the rollercoaster of hi’s and low’s. I try to live each film as a “drop the mic” moment and enjoy each day.
BEST YEARS GONE – The edit is coming along great with over 40 scenes cut. We’ll have a first edit in a couple weeks and the goal is to lock picture end of Jan. 2021. Let’s talk about that film in light of what we just discussed above.
Our motion picture has been adapted from a self-published book entitle “Hope from Heaven” by author and small-town barber Karl Manke, who by challenging state law during the Covid lock down earned himself the moniker of ‘America’s Barber’ whatever good or bad that name might bring. One man’s personal actions put him in line with the theme or agenda of others and against state law, an outlaw or patriot was born unto the media depending on the opinion piece. But I can say that Karl did not ask for the media circus and was not trying to be a flag bearer for anyone.
(One of several projects I was honored to work on with Dan Haggerty)
Enter our CDI (www.cdiproductions.com) a Michigan-based motion picture company since 1996 that has produced various films over the years and has found a niche of positive, well-told stories that often include a few life lessons woven within. CEO DJ Perry, often the screenwriter these days, gives credit to the early TV shows like The Waltons, The Life & Times of Grizzly Adams and Little House on the Prairie. These were shows strong in character development and story. Often with a treasure of a lesson buried at the heart of the story for the audience to dig up, leaving them with something to ponder beyond the screen.
“We believe that our stories speak to the entire spectrum of audiences – it doesn’t matter where you stand politically, our stories are for everyone.” – DJ Perry
The story seems simple enough, a young woman raising twin teen daughters as a single parent falls in love with a less than perfect man and conflict ensues. Also said, less than perfect man is an ex-race car driver who had a team and a dream with his cousin. This relationship ends due to the poor decisions whereas the thin threads of family are broken. These characters while extreme, are still relatable to most either in shared qualities or as the worst versions of ourselves in some alternate universe.
This political year combined with the Covid situation made filming plans even worse. CDI had originally planned to begin filming in April 2020 on ‘Best Years Gone’ the adapted film name. The well-written book was full of colorful characters and a nice blend of realism and mystery. The book and script both speak to imperfect relationships and the importance of forgiveness to the self. In the public arguments the means by which many communicate shows no desire to really be heard, understood or to find common ground. Most remarks are inflammatory and meant to injure the other party by slandering things they hold dear and sometimes sacred. This story had greater messages that can be applied to anyone.
CDI has a strong reputation for staying on schedule, on budget and creating exceptional quality stories within business guidelines. This quality is by gathering talented artists and uniting them behind a story. UNIFIED BY A STORY! So is the way of the TRIBECDI. What is the tribe you say? The creation of a sacred artist space whereas the art of storytelling can be told unhindered by differences and distractions. A philosophy that demands respect towards one another as artists and only asks for your best efforts to be put forth without any added drama.
CDI has diverse, artistic individuals from all over the spectrum of beliefs and affiliations. In some those beliefs can be polar opposite and in other examples just differing priorities on taxation, spending or any of the various topics debated around dinner tables. The issue is that in a growing culture that becomes more inclined to try and gather to only like-minded groups finding that singular group at the larger level of inclusion is near impossible – you WILL end up working with diverse people and that is a good thing. At CDI we don’t endorse or support any one life path save the path of telling a good story. I think that many could learn from the environment we work to nurture and grow. We continue to refine and grow ourselves and the key is to keep the story in sight. While others flounder due to poor communication we are still able to speak to the audience as a whole. We create great little stories with powerful topics- often softened slightly by humor. The story a gentle reminder not to take life too serious as we only go around once and life is too short a ride to do it mad or with a chip on your shoulder.
Okay now my Top UPDATES
- According to our distributor Wild Faith is still growing an audience with the film ranking in BMG’s Top 5 on most platforms. We had HASTINGS talks and progress is being made.
- I’ve started doing the writer/director polishing passes on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We are close to a full green light. We just have a few units to still assign in the project. Once we do expect some big PR announcements.
- I’ve been doing some writing on the new updated draft of the SMOKE & MIRRORS featured script. CODE NAME: ASH – I’ve had a wonderful time researching and writing and the short film will be done and released in 2021.
- The Quest Trilogy is being licensed for the season and I’ll notify as I find network and such featuring it. If any of you see it playing let me know.
- MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – If you enjoyed this film the dog who played Brown Boy is named Big Papa and he needs surgery. It is the same kind that a few of our own furry family had to have. If you enjoyed the film and want to help out a great guy Robert Ash, is needing help with the costs so if able think of donating at the link provided. https://www.gofundme.com/f/big-papas-surgery?fbclid=IwAR1g6JR1Kz8lDcM7laYtwgXU_Oz5N4EAAyhDlJQtJxGlhuMnQQWIXFrc7VA
- The doc “For the Love of Catch” will start rolling cameras again start of the new year!
- NEW merchandise is coming so that is quite exciting to me.
SPOILERS SO IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FINAL ‘THE MANDALORIAN” SEASON 2 FINALE STOP READING
(My bro and I are intergalactic bounty hunters in our spare time)
The POWER of storytelling. I’ve been a lifelong Star Wars fan and give much credit to A NEW HOPE for me wanting to be an actor/storyteller. I was and still am a big Han Solo fan. Luke was always somewhat secondary for me. But in this time of hardship, stress and frustration for many Luke Skywalker is just what the world needed. The odds look to be just too much. The battle appears to be a losing one when “one X wing” how is that going to…wait a minute. Was that R2D2? Is that? Glove? Green lightsaber! I like millions had imagined scenes like what we saw unfold in our childhood imaginations. I loved seeing the JOY that overcame so many watching this unfold. I cried and I’m not even sure why. The need to through back to another time. To truly escape back to a Far, Far Away Galaxy. To have Luke Skywalker come and save the day – to save 2020. It again showed me the power that can come from storytelling. Now to bring it all full circle the haters will come for this show also. Maybe Mark Hamill will say something that offends someone or just going against the grain is what some need to do to get noticed. But for me it was collective joy. Seek a Collective Joy in 2021 and by our individual actions lets make 2021 the year we all want. Appreciate people as you get to spend time in 2021 even if they have different priorities versus yourself. Communicate respectfully and as if that person were in the room with you. If you want a better 2021 you need to do your part – actions. We will circle back and talk next Sunday for the last time before 2021. Be good to one another and have a Merry Christmas!
Last Note: These films are made with collective love by diverse artists who share the sincere hope each of our stories will bring you some amount of joy. A person drowning in negative filters will not ever see joy in anything and will actually want to destroy the experience of joy others may experience. But those icy haters should know we don’t EVER give up on you. We create and await that one day that our one story made you crack a smile, laugh aloud or shed a tear. We immerse ourselves in a made-up world and tell a story. All while giving up precious time with families and friends. As artists, we’re called to reach out with a story and try to melt the icy negativity that stretches across the hearts and minds of so many. To give them a chance to find some joy. To feel a story of Collective Joy. Here’s wishing JOY to you.
Hazelnut coffee is toasty warm goodness on a chilly Michigan morning. Welcome my new readers from Vietnam, Indonesia, China and more. I suspect some of the new films are releasing to our friends in Asia. I know Poland, S. Korea and more have been licensing. Let’s start by talking about 10-4 two years ago. On a very different day which was warm and windy we said goodbye to Luke Brown (Mister Brown). He was our furry boy that we spent several years fighting his illness until we finally had to let him go. We did it at home and it was sad but beautiful and peaceful and not under any duress and for that I am thankful. Shortly their after we brought the “dog-faced gremlin” Finn McCool into our family and with him came happiness again. Today I awoke thinking about my boy and a glance at the date let me know why. I know many of you have lost those special family members and they always bring out the best in you. If you have been thinking of enhancing your life with a furry family member do so. And I encourage you to adopt and let the joy enter your life. Our old Daphne is still kicking it no longer quite the spitfire starting the play fights. She is enjoying her winter years for sure as is our remaining cat Lulu. You can read about Lulu as my contribution to the book-
My next contributing story is in a dog book and is about Luke Brown and his encounter with a reindeer. I will surely let you know when that is available in the next year. Yes. Lonnie (Book editor) we were at the Jackson hidden raceway.
Raceway? What am I talking about – well, BEST YEARS GONE! Our next CDI film is full speed ahead. We will gather to start filming at the end of the month. We will be looking at resumes and talking with recommendations for a few crew roles but also looking ahead to 2021 where we have a TV series HASTINGS coming together and a WW2 film. If you have strong office experience we will be looking at coordinators. On this film we also have a few crew spots in G&E and camera support. Feel free to reach out direct if you have the experience and/or interest in joining the tribeCDI. We have some incredible cast, crew, sponsors and a funny yet inspiring story to tell.
I mentioned WILD FAITH‘s growing audience giving spark to the TV series. I really want to bring this to Michigan and it looks promising. This winter I will make the push to get this fully greenlit (financed). This will require adding more artists to the CDI team. We might start working with a casting director just to help bring options to the table. We producers are mostly actors and enjoy taking the time and care to make sure the chemistry is proper.
Speaking of chemistry – I think audiences are about to be in for a treat with LOST HEART. This is week #2 of our national campaign and it’s exciting to see the build up. I know that the reaction has been great. Mike Huckabee saw our EPK (Electronic press kit) and watched our trailer and has invited Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson onto the show. We are getting ready to have our cast and crew premiere screening at the Double JJ Resort on the 17th of October. We are filming the pre-party and afterglow as part of the event premiere screenings via Encourage TV on Nov 7th and 21st. I will be having family and friends for the Nov 21st showing since I will be back from filming BEST YEARS GONE. We’ve been posting other interviews and PR that our artists have been participating in. Many of these are being posted on our Lost Heart FB page @lostheartmovie
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Anytime is good to take the adventure and watch FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER but the holidays make it even more special. Our distributor is doing a new campaign which includes a trilogy trailer. I’m excited but if you wanna get the jump on watching them – go right on ahead.
Okay I’ve spent the last 10 minutes trying to figure out these insert blocks vs writing – technology. I’ve had several fans reach out over MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND and I want to thank you. This pandemic had interrupted and killed some of the PR/festival/event roll out for this powerful film. That said, people in their own time are finding, watching and being moved by the film. As I noted in the opening Luke Brown was my inspiration and was beside me while I wrote the script. It is a great tribute to my furry buddy and I think it is connecting with many audiences out there. Take a watch free with ads on Tubi or Encourage TV and of course on Amazon and many of the other platforms.
SMOKE & MIRRORS – the music is done and our director Nathaniel Nose LOVED it. We’ll start to put the credits together as the color corrected footage comes to us from DP Jesse Aragon. I’m excited to finish this feature script over the winter for forthcoming production.
We’re currently attaching sponsors onto our Lost Heart premiere, our ‘For the Love of Catch‘ documentary film and onto Best Years Gone so if you have a company, product or service needing millions of eyes please do reach out. This week was also prepping for winter. This week wood was cut but some needs to be split on our Viking Days:) I racked the wine to the secondary this weekend. We brought out all the fall decorations. Our chickens are doing great getting to know their new home. We’ll do some more work around the homestead today and next week (tomorrow) -it’s back to the business! Coffee cheers. (LOOKING FOR A COFFEE SPONSOR!)
I apologize for losing my flow of words trying to figure out all this new block stuff on WordPress. I might have wanted to throw my laptop once this morning. Be kind. Be safe. And keep at your creative endeavors!
Talk with you next week.
Coffee cheers to our new readers/followers from Taiwan, Romania, Kenya and more. I love that we are a world group of artists – a collective of sorts:) If you are not subscribed to the tribe please do add yourself to our Collective Development Inc. http://www.cdiproductions.com
It has been a great week and by great I mean productive. On a personal productive the chickens are doing great with their new home. The new fence is solid and doing its job. I’ve started to cut up wood for the winter wood stove in the office. And we had our first wood stove fire at our end-of -the-week CDI meeting.
I’m going to rack the wine, harvest the hops and slowly start getting things around for winter. I’ve been organizing the office and I’ve enjoyed all the treasures I’ve discovered.
BIZ TOP TEN UPDATES
- I’ve got the book Second-Chance Cats that I was a contributing writer for releasing Sept 15th at various stores and online across the country such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Baker Book House, Books-a-Million – and more!
- We announced our VIRTUAL PREMIERE INFO for Lost Heart on Nov 7th – https://www.prlog.org/12837497-encourage-tv-offers-the-world-tickets-to-the-red-carpet-premiere-of-lost-heart-nov-7th.html
- We are moving on BEST YEARS GONE with a new updated schedule almost approved. It will film closer to mid-Michigan around the Jackson area and be broken up into a few smaller shooting blocks so we can adjust and pivot as needed. Location scouting has been going great and I advise anyone interested (cast and crew especially) to join our BEST YEARS GONE Facebook page.
- WILD FAITH has been doing great in the marketplace with just our distributors AVOD site racking up views approaching 3 million! All this is great news for our ‘HASTINGS‘ (Wild Faith TV series). We had some wonderful talks on this new project and we just might have this up and going by Spring 2021. If you have not seen this film please do:)
- The poster art for SMOKE & MIRRORS is almost complete. Also the music and sound design is underway and should be finished soon.
- ‘For the Love of Catch‘ documentary film has started rolling cameras and we’ll be getting ready to film phase 2 of interviews. IF you have an interest in getting involved with this project please reach out to me.
- I’m looking at doing some additional VO (Voice Over) work on musician/author Ronnie Lee’s audio book ‘For Generations to Come‘ and will provide a link when available. The paper and digital book(s) will be available soon.
- We just about have our documents together on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA the WW2 drama to be directed by Anthony Hornus that we’ll shoot in fall 2021. We have a few investment units left on this project that we’ll offer to our previous backers. We only have a few left to offer after the participation from a Foundation.
- We’re planning our LOST HEART CAST & CREW SCREENING which will be filmed and be part of the virtual online premiere. We have some great national PR underway and I think this will be a fun and unique event for an undeniably unique year. If you are a PR source and want to be invited to the media part of the event, again reach out.
- CDI as a company is about to embark on a new journey and I feel absolutely wonderful about our new direction. At CDI we always work hard to give the cast and crew the best possible experience and that is going to get even better. We often have to overcome obstacles that should be assistance. We’re forced to deal with jumping through hoops that don’t actually help the project nor the artist. We’re taking control back and looking forward to the next decade of storytelling. COFFEE CHEERS!
I’m going to wrap things up here. We’re going to a flea market see if I can find a few more cool props. We’ll do a few things around the homestead and tonight I get to visit with some family and friends. I hope each and everyone of you are finding success as you navigate the day to day. Until next week – be good to one another.
Hello my friends and good morning to you all. I’m sitting here sipping coffee on a Sunday and reflecting with all of you on the past week. In Michigan we unfortunately saw some violence over mask wearing. Lives changed and ended over a simple mask. My buddy who works in China on occasion was in Singapore when the outbreak first hit. He was the first to predict that Americans are not going to do well because of too many defiant folks. I know that practically everything is being weaponized during this election time but again the virus should be a ‘net health’ concern for all not political. I witness people not taking it serious until it effects their circle. I think the issue not being addressed is the term “recovered” which implies has left the hospital but doesn’t truly mean recovered. Life can be cruel and as with many illnesses, death is a release but illness can include long-term suffering. As you get older you realize how important it is to keep a balanced system. Small issues can result in life hindering conditions as we age. Bad back, knees, digestion…and so having something that can linger on for a lifetime is not truly recovered. I don’t want any virus and I don’t want to put that upon anyone else. So I do my part and pretend I’m a member of GI-Joe (Snake Eyes or Storm Shadow) anytime I go out to a public business gathering/business. The hospital can be a miserable stay for anything and incubated coma sounds anything but fun. I like mom’s saying of better safe than sorry.
Life as a storyteller is fulfilling because I think it allows for the best communication possible. I recently had someone while angry try to tell me that I was an ass-kiss because I won’t jump on the crazy, angry way of communicating with passive aggressive or equally nasty mudslinging comments that can lead to stabbings and shootings but little change. I believe that the way we communicate via movies and storytelling to have a stronger reach. What do I have to say on Veteran and dog rights – watch MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND. Race Relationships watch WILD FAITH. The Quest Trilogy (FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER) is full of good life lessons. Those lessons can be applied and it doesn’t matter what, if any, religion you follow – you can still take something good away from it. I like to speak with my stories and that allows me to not live in a stressful and angry place like so many do. I live in a place of love and listening. My simple response was that if ass-kissing is caring and listening, I guess I am. I’ll sit down and have a drink to share words with anyone no matter what box they decide to check in November. (Or no box)
I do know that to get respect you have to give respect and that often means listening despite you agreeing with them or not. But many cannot keep their mouth shut long enough to listen. They are waiting for someone to stop talking so they can spew their regurgitated response. When you respect enough to listen they often return the favor.
After some sit-downs, I still believe we went to the moon and I don’t believe the Earth is flat and 5G doesn’t have anything to do with the virus…but I’ll listen to someone speak their opinions. If I don’t agree, I often state that but not by being louder, interrupting and surely not by belittling and name calling on someone who’s opinions differ. People met with that poor communication get angry and return to their protective echo chamber where everyone sounds off the same. Nothing is solved. But watch a movie with a deeply written messages and sometimes views can be altered or changed sometimes profound and sometimes only slightly. I don’t claim to know all the answers and I go into every conversation knowing I could be wrong because I’m a student of life everyday. But I see frustrated and stressed people with a need to be 100% right and know that their way of communicating is not my way.
I want to thank everyone out there for the beautiful film reviews and fan mail that I continue to receive. I often share those notes with my fellow producers to illustrate that the hard work we endure to finish these projects will help many people upon their completion. Thank you.
LOST HEART is complete. The visual master came in last week after some amazing color correction from Jesse Aragon our DP. Our director Jesse Low and composer/sound designer Dennis Therrian have finished the final audio. The mixing for stereo and 5.1 is completed and will be married together with the visual for delivery this coming week! We are starting to explore premiere and theatrical possibilities before our home video release. (I hope to have dates soon) We will be doing a PR release next week that highlights not only the amazing musical work of Dennis Therrian that can write music in all genres but a few featured artists on the soundtrack. The band Roanoke and The Cash Collective will be highlighted in our film having made a few great contributions. More on that soon. I’m looking forward to a producers watch and toast before audiences get to travel to our LOST HEART. Congrats to our entire team! TribeCDI on the move!
Good development work on several fronts which will have their own PR releases in good time. I’m excited about the new history of Catch-Can documentary we’re putting together. Also BEST YEARS GONE has some exciting developments as we’re talking with upcoming sponsors. CDI is ready to keep moving forward. I do hope we can get some distance from this virus but only time will tell. But know we are continuing to work on putting together 2021 feature films and maybe a TV series:) I hope everyone has a good week and we’ll chat again soon.
I’m sitting here sipping my hazelnut coffee in my Oswald’s Bear Ranch cup. We were planning another UP Michigan trip when all this virus stuff erupted. Now we spent a good amount of time discussing that last week and so I’m not going to hammer that this week. In Michigan we have had our stay extended for two weeks. I’ll just call it confinement for all the things in my youth I got away with. Again it was a wonderful week of organizing, personal and biz calls and getting things done. Let’s start with our next film up – BEST YEARS GONE.
This week we’ll load in the last financial piece and we’ll be all ready to sail once the storm passes. We’ve got a new schedule to review and I’m putting some fine tuning to the budget now that our day-of-days is more defined. We’re announcing more of our crew and cast and preparing to do a few ZOOM script reads. Shot lists are being prepared and I for one will be ready to get out and tell another story.
I had some productive talks with our distributor and we’re already looking at marketing for the immediate and the year ahead. The Quest Trilogy has been playing strong during the holiday window which runs after Halloween on the run up to Thanksgiving through Easter. Many new countries like Mexico, Brazil and more have enjoyed our three biblical adventures. We spoke of them cutting a great TRILOGY trailer for the next ‘holiday’ season.
NOTE: I also had the pleasure of watching Douglas James Vail’s new film 40: The Temptation of Christ – that also imagines the 40 days of Jesus in the desert. I enjoyed their beautiful locations, camera work and the unique way they handled the temptations. Take a watch if you enjoy these stories.
LOST HEART is just finishing up music and will be turning to sound design this last month before we mix, master and deliver. There is going to be a big need for new content so I think we’ll get a good push with this story. We might have a few other surprises when it comes to this film. This week ahead the distributor is working to lock up DVD wrap art. I would guess we’ll see pre-sales start after a while but we’ll see if we do any exclusive TV runs first. I’m excited to put this fun, heartfelt movie out into the marketplace. – Soon.
WILD FAITH / HASTINGS TV SERIES
The film is gathering fans as the distribution keeps getting deeper. Meanwhile we continue to have promising discussions on the TV series. If you have not seen the film please do and let me know your thoughts on a TV series. Like all the films, I had some fan mail on this film talking about the power of the themes and how nice it was to spend time in a world more simple.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND is also making the rounds thanks to all you fans out there. The reviews and word of mouth keeps growing our audience. I’m so excited that this film is making people ponder and discuss the topics. So watch with your family including the furry ones. As with any of the films just google the film in quotes and it will show where you can buy the DVD or watch the film. Again a big salute to all our service men and women who serve.
At this time my thoughts are with all our family and friends and we all look forward to sharing a few in-person laughs. Soccer season is approaching and I’m in hopes that we can still enjoy that. The blossoms are starting to bloom on the newly trimmed apple and mulberry trees. The hops and rhubarb are also starting to get some size and that is fun to watch. I’m going to use this nice day to get some more outdoor tasks completed. I hope you all have a wonderful week and be safe!
Happy Easter my friends. I’ve got the hot coffee here and I’m happy to join you all for a few. This is truly a unique time in our world and has to be an Easter for the books. I work from home save when I’m off on a film shoot. I’ve been using every moment to re-organize and catch up on things. Everyday has brought some great new conversations with acquaintances and friends from my past. I’ve also been having some great business talks. I think people are using these moments to analyze their endeavors. We never know when our time may come but that has always been the truth. This worldwide virus that has no targeted group has unified us in that truth. Both the rollercoaster stock market and the desire to create something meaningful has brought wonderful new film discussions.
I’ve never been more proud as a storyteller since getting all the fan mail from all of you out there. The smiles, the inspiration and the deep retrospective thinking on the various topics we touch on. Faith, Fear, Family, Forgiveness, Racial, Abuse, Veterans, Dogs…I’ve enjoyed reading all your notes. I don’t follow the reviews heavily but it is important to help others find the stories. The negative and the unhappy still exist and spread their toxins but they are the goal. To bring some light and change their glass from half empty to half full. We make films that don’t preach or sugar coat – serious topics with a dose of humor. Just ‘Google’ any of these films and find your favorite platform. Some are free with ads and others have a rent fee. Or if you are like me you can add to your physical media by ordering a DVD. Check out http://www.cdiproductions.com
Our biblical adventure series THE QUEST TRILOGY is a perfect watch anytime but even more so today. FORTY NIGHTS is part 1 and CHASING THE STAR part 2 and THE CHRIST SLAYER part 3 is perfect for the day. Several networks like UpTV and others are playing the films. We hope this becomes an ongoing tradition with your family. Happy Easter!!!
The HASTINGS TV series has had a few great development conversations and this just strengthens as the WILD FAITH movie gets more fans daily. Our talks are with financiers and distributors and I have faith that these characters will end up back on TV weekly.
I’ve been doing a few interviews most recently with ‘Faith on Film’ podcast that will be out in May. The reviewer was just blown away by the power of the stories with WILD FAITH and MBF being the two new releases. Again just floored by the fan mail. I had a nice note from an actress from NYC American Playhouse comment on the role of “Paul” in MBF. She had to spend time after the film researching because she wasn’t sure if the actor (ME) was disabled in real life like Paul. She was surprised like many to learn that it was a character. A character I created watching hundreds of hours of actual wounded warriors coping with their injuries. As I’ve said before I can only accept a bit of the praise because while I could return to my life others go one facing the same challenges. I’m beyond proud to be a voice for these wounded veterans and for the love and peace dogs can bring us all.
LOST HEART – This beautiful film will find its way to audiences late summer/early fall. We’re about an hour into Dennis Therrian composing a beautiful score. We have a few great music artists contributing as well. That will be another PR release:)
BEST YEARS GONE – This past week we got a lot more done on the prep of this next CDI film. We’ll be announcing a few more key crew and cast and we’re using this time both creatively and business-wise to be ready as soon as the storm passes. I’m going to start having some conversations with some of our sponsors to join us in this film about FAMILY, LOVE, FORGIVENESS and from a realistic point of view.
We’re adjusting our schedule and development based on all the things happening but make no mistake we’re coming out swinging when the bell rings. This is allowing my to look at expansion and upgrades. Even my site here I think I’m going to take it to the next level with advertisers and such. The blog here has readers in 80+ countries and growing. It started as a way to get updates out there to family, friends, cast and crew and to discuss issues all artists have. It has grown into a circle of artists compelled to create and trying to survive.
I’ve had a few talks over work-for-hire screenplays but until something closes I’m working on a few “works in progress” including my first Science Fiction script, a few ‘Hastings’ scripts and such. In my cleaning and organizing where I must have used 100 pounds of old paperwork to start the office wood stove, I’ve found gems. Forgotten pics, treatments, notes and more as I’ve worked daily to re-organize. In this down time there is no reason not to get your footage around and make a new reel, update resumes and bios. Here is my 2020 sizzle reel with clips from a few of the films.
Lots of new developments coming. So use this time to help yourself grow. Let go of the old. Start anew. I’m a daily workout person but I’ve intensified that getting ready for the next film, next soccer season and just to be in excellent shape as I finish off my first 50 years on this planet. I’m not sure how many more I may have but I will appreciate what I do have and I will keep creating. I hope all of you do the same and reflect on blessings that you have with family and friends. Happy Easter to you all.
Be safe and be good to one another.
Good morning everyone! It has been a very interesting week. I will start by saying I am at least in part a person who enjoys ‘alone’ time. I always say the brainstorms and excitement comes in those meetings with friends and peers. But what really matters is when we are alone what happens. I’m like a multi-tasking little bee moving from one task to the next. Some people shut down once they have nobody there but I ramp up. In my solo days when struggling more in the industry I was a workaholic. I had family and friends worried and plenty of doubters and haters from the masses. I’m a fully committed artist and feel ‘best’ is subjective so I always strive for truth and unique. Those are things I can control. There is a secret there. Don’t be driven crazy fixated on what you cannot control. Work with what you can control. I’ve been behind on my emails and business since we shot LOST HEART. I’m using this time to really organize everything. This goes for the office also. I’ve got sheets of new ideas to implement in the coming years. So how you spend or waste your time is under your control. As it gets warmer the yard zen will be in full effect. PS: Welcome new readers from Japan, Bulgaria and Australia – cheers. So my point is you can spend vast amounts of time plugged into the 24/7 update machine or put some music on and get stuff done. If you spend this time organizing, planning and prepping when the fog lifts some will be relieved and some will be ready. I promise you I will be ready. I urge all of you to do the same. You can check in morning, noon and night if need be but don’t live the agenda of fear and pause. Let this situation make you afraid not to live.
This self imposed isolation marks an interesting place for an observer like myself. This marks a time when the value of life is being placed above the economics. Economics aren’t removed because the crippling financial effects would have happened slowly out of control. By halting certain businesses the action is controlled and damage can be mitigated but not removed.
This points out an interesting point – people in authority are expected to bring about certain changes but they are expected to do so flawless – impossible. Every transition will and does have casualties. How do you fix a situation? It’s a classic Star Trek moment – the engine room is on fire and going to destroy the ship. Spock contains and changes but at a great personal loss. Many world problems don’t have clean solutions and that creates ongoing suffering. I often refer to HUMANITY NET – what we all require regardless of anything else about us. Clean water, food and air – healthcare? These world issues are giving us as humanity a test run. World cooperation is underway, not without flaws but what is? Expectations? I remember feeling bad after 9-11 as reporters hammered the FBI, asking if they dropping the ball. Like watching the end zone pass dropped and keep asking if they dropped the catch. You know they did. Why keep asking silly questions? So as many deal with this for the first time – it isn’t flawless but people are trying and working very hard. We can come out of this better as humanity. I see glimpses just behind the tee-pee hoarders greed and the “must add politics” to everything. We will see.
- First here is a bunch of teaser trailers and behind the scenes videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtJJRsD49k5DsNq11BD_40g
- Tomorrow I’m doing an interview with Isaac Hernadez about CDI and our scripts/films.
- I heard word that the India thriller “Karma: Crime, Passion and Reincarnation” is coming to USA streaming. Stars Carl Weyant from “The Christ Slayer” and maybe that DJ Perry guy:)
- I’m trying to arrange a few watch parties of CDI films that will have a Q&A session after. We will see as I must talk with our computer folk.
- I’ve got two different people talking about hiring some script work we’ll see – either way writing is happening.
- Good meetings last week on ‘Best Years Gone’ and we’ll be announcing our Director of Photography this week. Looking forward to working with this person again!
- Thank you to all for the fan mail on The Quest Trilogy, MBF, Wild Faith it truly makes my day. You all make my day and it keeps me moving forward.
- We are working on some new exciting releases and merchandise for 2020.
It is still chilly here in Michigan but I will be getting stuff done on this fine day. If you know some people sitting at home who might want to join our weekly time together – http://www.djperryblog.com
My closing statement is this – as much as I appreciate my solo time and get lots accomplished in those moments- I’m missing my family, friends and associates and I look forward to meeting with all of you soon. Use this “social fast” time to organize yourself.
Welcome new readers from Vietnam, Canada, Israel and the UK and USA. We’re so very happy to have you joining us. With the spring forward in time we awoke to sunshine which is nice. Yesterday the winter stuff left and the spring stuff came out in the house. Snowmen decorations were replaced with rabbits and Easter items. We also did a full clean on the house and I’ve been working with the basement. I’ve been doing some repairs and cleaning after we got rid of our basement stove which we used at holidays but now we have two ovens with the new stove. So that older one moved along to a couple in need. Now I’m looking at getting a stand up freezer to replace our deep freezer. Organization of the homestead is an on-going thing. I’ve already started some of the yard clean up and I’ve enjoyed getting outside. Let’s look back on the week-
MBF: Man’s Best Friend which released at the end of 2020 is building momentum after its first WIN at the Equus Film Festival in Kentucky. This week we’ll be announcing a few of the new festivals and those in Bedias Texas can watch the film TONIGHT! See the ad above and so we’re excited that so many will get to see the film tonight.
We’ll also be announcing our participation in –
This is a large and growing festival in our backyard of Lansing, Michigan. We’re proud to be showcasing at this festival. The last time was the 600+ sell out of ASHES OF EDEN a few years ago. More details soon. Additionally we are officially in the ICFF (International Christian Film Festival) in Orlando, FL where once again we’re up more ‘Most Inspirational’ feature film which is my favorite. Why? Because it represents ALL the artists and we did what we setting out to do. Under the ‘People’s Choice’ I was nominated for ‘Best Script,’ ‘Lead Actor’ (Paul Landings) and ‘Best Filmmaker’ now that last one is my least favorite because they named me personally when we all know it is a team. So I take that last one for the entire producers team that works so hard. Either way we are so very appreciative and proud of the story.
This beautiful film released the 1st trailer last week. If you missed it here it is again. Watch and share to your friends, family and groups. Melissa Anschutz stars with Don Most and Victoria Jackson and a slew of amazing talent. Music and sound design is underway as is VFX and color correction. We’ll be announcing DVD poster art in the coming days and working on our release. Enjoy and share!
WILD FAITH continues to be a top viewed film on Tubi, Valorous TV and Amazon Prime. Please do enter our world of Michigan 1875 and meet our cast of characters in this powerful drama. We’re putting the proposed deal together now for the TV series more once the ink is dry. This TV series will be a great thing for the state of Michigan. It will allow an opportunity for us to work with many artists in our state. Please do take a watch and let me know your thoughts. I look forward to playing Ben Lily again.
THE QUEST TRILOGY start your journey with FORTY NIGHTS follow it with CHASING THE STAR and bring it home with THE CHRIST SLAYER. This Easter watch the trilogy with your family and start a new tradition. These films are not ‘preachy’ and just present an interesting, powerful perspective to these stories. We also stole a page from ‘Star Wars’ and present these films in a cinematic fashion similar to the original three SW films. I think the merge of styles worked really well and I’m proud of this endeavor. It is what has given confidence to the WILD FAITH tv series mentioned above.
Rance Howard appeared in all three of the films. He told me playing the Devil was a career highlight after a career of ‘good guys’ he got to play the ultimate ‘bad guy’ – yes you did my friend.
BEST YEARS GONE is our next CDI venture. We announced Shane Hagedorn as our director. If you want to see his previous feature take a watch on ASHES OF EDEN on Amazon. We’re starting to roll out our cast members as we’ll enter official pre-production this coming week. We’ve been looking at DP reels from across the country and having talks. If you have a DP reel and want to be considered for the May shoot you can send it to me or to our director Shane.
We announced the first addition to the cast this past week. Some will recognize Jim from Man’s Best Friend as the Sheriff. I first co-starred with Jim in a monster creature feature IN THE WOODS, years ago. It was my first starring role. It will be a joy to once again share the screen with my old friend. Congrats to Jim! How about another cast announcement? I want to welcome another actor friend whom I’ve known almost as long as Jim. Mr. Greg Mason. Greg has been with Tribe CDI since our maiden film KNIGHT CHILLS those many years ago. Congrats to Mr. Greg Mason!
We’ll be announcing more amazing talent as we go. We’ll also be locking more crew end of this week also. It is going to be another great shoot and I look forward to working with everyone. Follow our FB and IMDB page for this and all the CDI films. We’ll also be starting to talk to sponsors and product placement partners.
I submitted and had accepted my new story for the upcoming book on dogs at Christmas. I have two stories in the book release on horses and this fall 9/15 I believe…the book on Cats is released. I have one story in that book about our dear Lulu:)
I’m also returning to work on a few other screenplays. Development, development, development…and maybe a few TV shows:)
I’m off to get some breakfast and do a few things around here. Tomorrow I’m back on the attack with all our projects. Thank you all for your support. We appreciate it so very much.
(The Fort – Tribe CDI – 2019)
Welcome new readers from Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, India and beyond. We’re in the final days of 2019 and so far it has just been a great season. This past week I’ve had a few meetings at the fort with the fire burning bright with ideas and friendship. We have some great updates to share with everyone but before that lets looks at someone else’s art.
Star Wars – (NO SPOILERS) – I went to see Star Wars at 7 years old and it was the seed planted in me to become a storyteller. Last week I got to see the final film in a series of interconnecting stories started by George Lucas. My issue with many films these days is just trying to do too much. Instead of one star ship in pursuit there has to be 100. Tension is created in moments. Those can feel stolen when trying to do too much. Character development is still king in my world of viewing hence by love of shows like BLACK SAILS. Bringing together all the ‘Star Wars’ loose threads was surely difficult but overall I really did enjoy the final film. That said, I feel truly like the torch has been passed. I feel like I do a good job of creating characters on the script page with depth. I feel we have stories to tell and we will. The goal is to create a few classics in this lifetime. In 2020 will see more writing, producing and continue to try and captures hearts and minds with our stories.
(WILD FAITH brand – Hastings TV series in development at CDI)
I see a lot of talented artists who spend a lot of time creating in someone else’s world. But the bottom line is you don’t own the brand. There are several filmmakers that do a great job creating fan films from video games or Star Wars and The Mask. That said, all that hard work is building someone else’s brand. I’m a fan of brands also but I let it influence my work but I don’t work with someone else’s brand unless hired to do so.
All three biblical adventures in THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer) are all on Amazon. I was given an opportunity to produced these adventures with a ‘Star Wars’ feel. The cinematography and often the music was influenced by the Star Wars style. Star Wars was influenced from earlier works like THE SEVEN SAMURAI. A good reason for your own brand is that you don’t have to ask permission to create your own world. And if you succeed those people are becoming fans of your work. Again instead of the hardships of growing an audience around your brand, if you pick a strong brand with dedicated followers you can get a jump on exposure but…. I mean if you create a great Star Wars fan film you might get millions of hits. But try adding a price tag, although you cannot sell someone else’s brand, and it becomes like buying a knock off cologne. If a non-official derivative of someones brand is offered free you may get a lot of eyes but unless the creators take notice and hire you, you’re just building someone else’s brand. Beware of legal also with others brands. Just my two cents.
So again just like role playing, cos-play or any fun group activities, fan art has a place but film work is really hard work for someone else’s brand. My advice is do your own thing or work WITH an emerging artists to create a shared brand. Again I’m not a “my way is the only way” person at all. But I’m not into fan films or hobby films or anything that isn’t building our brand. Now you can build your skill set (acting, directing, writing) with the previous two mentioned types of films so there is value. I do appreciate anyone who uses their imagination to create. We just have long term goals and so those need to remain in focus for us. It is a hard industry to survive in. Take that from a survivor.
Please do enjoy the holidays with a watch on the trilogy and watch all three in order. Poor ‘Chasing the Star’ sometimes takes a few rocks because someone did not realize they were watching part 2 of 3 films. In time audiences will understand they are a trilogy and a bigger picture will emerge upon watching in order.
I also see a few people who thought the Magi story had nothing to do about Christmas. Maybe I should have added Heat and Cold Miser and a reindeer or two:) But for the few audience members who don’t get it, many DO get it. We don’t dumb down our stories but challenge and encourage people to talk and discuss often hard topics. So ENJOY a watch and discussion. At one of my distribution content meetings we had discussion about more biblical adventures. I might have my next three films and one of them is written. So we will see said the wise man.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Due to the season where many are enjoying family and friends and watching films, I’ve gotten a spike in fan mail. This film has been generating a good buzz and we have some exciting events and showings coming up in 2020. But you don’t have to wait. You can watch on Amazon today! If dogs and/or support of our military touches you, please do take a watch.
LOST HEART – The fine cut is getting close. After a wonderful first cut by editor Scott Magie, welcome to the CDI Tribe, a second final cut is near. This week we had a post meeting with Dennis Therrian (music/sound), Jesse Low (Director) along with Melissa Anschutz, Shane Hagedorn and even John Mashni made a stop by. Come mid 2020 we will have a most excellent story to share with you all.
In the meantime – please watch the CDI Film collection and share your thoughts.
HOPE for HEAVEN – is the script I’ve been working on. It’s been developing in a wonderful fashion starting with some great characters. We’re working development on several properties that could go full green light in 2020/2021. A sequel to KNIGHT CHILLS, perhaps? We’ve had a few screen and camera tests. WW2 drama – coming together. Kids adventure film – might happen:) WILD FAITH TV series:) With some of the new meetings and opportunities before CDI, I promise we will continue to create. Thank you to all of you for your continued support.
Ok. We had a wonderful first Christmas gathering yesterday. Friends tonight and several gatherings in the week ahead, including two more family Christmas gatherings. I am down to just a little bit of shopping. I give thanks to those who sent a card or gave little love gifts, much appreciated. But the most important thing you can give anyone is a bit of your time, laughter and joy.
I’ve been questioned about my verbal non-involvement in politics. It’s because much like the ‘golden rule’ I believe in focusing on what we all could benefit from. When people are drained from endless debates, divided by priority differences and angered by the never-ending shortcomings of each another – I say relax. Sit back and watch a story with universal messages woven within. My friendships with people are more important than trying to convince someone I’m right about an obvious self-opinion. So set aside your differences and focus on what brings us all together. Fellow human beings trying to live a meaningful life with health and joy. Even if it is for a few days, try it and you might find it a better way to live, to cope, to exist, to grow, and to be the better you.
Fear leads to anger, anger to hate and hate to suffering – MERRY CHRISTMAS!
OK. Pre-Star Wars I was SPEED RACER, MR. ROGERS and SCOOBY DOO.
I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee from a ornate Star Wars mug with various scenes upon it. Like many in the storytelling business around my age some inspirational credit can go to George Lucas and the original Star Wars film in 1977. In anticipation for the last in the Skywalker story, yes we have tickets, we’ve been watching them all in story order. IF I was 7 years old and Part 1 of the Prequels was the first film I might have still liked the ships, lasers, etc…but ‘A NEW HOPE’ was just gritty and did not dumb things down for kids. We could take it George including Han firing first. When we went from the three prequels to SOLO, such a difference in the world and story telling. The prequels felt like video games with planned segments that really felt like watching your friend play a video game. But SOLO is like taking the best parts of James Bond and Mad Max put into a gritty ‘New Hope’ like world. ROGUE ONE again just better character development in a world that felt more grounded in reality.
I actually can speak into this having done a trilogy of films. It was important to try and keep the world cohesive despite the changes in style from director to director. Also because I have been looking at promo material personally and as a company, I’ve been playing The Quest Trilogy behind my accounting work. It’s very satisfying to have the linking storyline. It was always my goal to see if I could take some “obscure” stories from the Bible and tell them in a ‘Star Wars’ type fashion. The stories actually adapt over quite well and when you add what I call the “Chuck Heston – bible film effect”, you have our style.
I will say that it is a pretty sure bet that we’ll return to this genre again. One script is complete and the other two outlined stories are forming up. I’m not sure when all this may happen but we will see.
I also put my first SciFi script to pause while I finish writing the script for “Hope for Heaven” which is my working title. We are working with a few different titles but I need something when I write. It has many of the great qualities that ‘Lost Heart’ had by way of characters and story. I’m a good many pages into the story and how it starts can sometimes be the hardest. But it’s flowing and when I did do my first test read with one of our development people, it was strong. This film will shoot in late summer/early fall in Michigan. The nice part is via a few agent talks we might have a good lead on a very important casting aspect. I’m looking forward to continuing the writing this week.
LOST HEART rough cut by Scott Magie working with our director Jesse Low is looking good. I talked about the view last week. This week we’re prepping some things for the music and sound design to follow. I know that poster/DVD artwork is starting and that will be exciting to see. Again just proud to have this be part of the Tribe CDI films.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – Following our premiere we saw a “best film” and “best actor” nods at the Hollywoodivine Film Festival and won ‘Best Film’ at the Equus Film & Art Festival. 2020 will have many more events and showings as the film moves out deeper into the world market. I’ve had several people reach out this week about how this film touched them. I’m so proud that it is becoming a voice for veterans and dogs. Two groups that truly understand loyalty and service. Watch it yourself on Amazon and other platforms and if you enjoy it add it to your DVD library.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Help us start a family holiday tradition with the telling of FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. (All on Amazon and many platforms)
It has been a true joy to receive an abundance of fan mail on these films from around the world. I saw the breakdowns and the films are making their way to you. Some all our friends in other countries be patient, the CDI films are coming. Many of you already know that because you can watch the films on TV and DVD. If you have watched them feel free to vote and leave your thoughts on http://www.imdb.com and remember these are films.
WILD FAITH – This film also continues to be enjoyed and shared by new audiences. I had some fans from this movie also communicate this past week. They were Civil War era fans and so I had them seek WICKED SPRING. It was a Civil War film we produced back in 2000. It can be watched also on Amazon.
I’ve been taking meetings and looking at filming the balance of our production slate for the next 2 years. We have many scripts and it just depends on several factors as to which gets moved into active development or pre-production. We’ve had a few wonderful meetings and with the new management involvement in 2020 I’m excited to see where it leads. I’ve been working on a few ‘Character Reels’ and a new 2020 sizzle reel along with what will be a CDI showreel.
Next weekend our first family Christmas starts and so I have a bit more shopping to do and we’ve been enjoying the season. I hope you all have a holly, jolly holiday season with your family and friends.
Welcome new readers from Vietnam and France! We are in the Christmas swing here in Michigan. The house is very festive with the tree and wreaths up, a few outside lights and our holiday candles lit! (Thank you Candleberry Co) We’ve taken a few shopping trips out and about but also spent just some good family time including watching some of our favorite holiday shows. Rudolph, Raphie and his BB-gun and just a slew of good spirited content. Speaking of…
So go to Amazon or any of your favorite platforms or purchase a DVD and take a family watch. I would love to answer any questions you the fans might have. Let’s look at a TOP 10 from the past week developments.
- I had another great talk with the author of the book I’m translating into script format. A deep, insightful person and the script is now underway. I’m enjoying the story I cannot think of a better way to spend time while forced inside by the cold.
- Another film project that is looking to shoot in 2021 with lots of prep in 2020 is moving along. I’m excited about this project but until we are 100% green lit I’m going to just sit on those updates. I will say that it is another period piece:)
- I had meetings over another film that is developing nicely. It is tied into one of our past CDI projects. Some of the business is coming together and even some camera tests this weekend.
- Yet another film perhaps in development – a western perhaps. We did a script read this past week and it gave us a look on where the story needs to be tightened.
- I concluded some accounting/payout on a recent commercial project that we did and this week we’ll be dispersing $ to the investors on two of the CDI films. Also more revenue rolled in so we’ll just keep the train moving into the new year.
- I did some recording for an audio book by another author friend. It was the sections of the story that surrounded the Civil War. So fans of that time period might enjoy this when it is completed.
- I’ve been working on putting some promo materials together for a new management relationship I’ll be entering for 2020. It will cover acting, writing and some producing. I’m excited to be working with this new company.
- MBF just played in Kentucky and is part of the awards show tonight. Thank you to the Equus Film & Art Festival. Watch for a few more events in the new year!
- I’ve been doing some planning on a new biblical adventure trilogy and that is coming along strong.
- Also Wild Faith TV series ‘Hastings’ will be one of the projects being pitched around for 2020. How many out there would like to see a sequel or TV series?
LOST HEART – So I got to watch the first rough cut on the film. As the writer, I was again moved at hearing the words that started in the imagination. To meet the characters on-screen that were dreamt up and have them make you laugh or cry. The story WORKS! It more than works, it is truly worthy to be another step on the Tribe CDI climb. The actors are not just good, many are great. Our cast is just outstanding led by Melissa Anschutz. If you know her you know she takes no prisoners on-camera. This is her most powerful role and that says a lot. Victoria Jackson…all I can say is after this movie you better still take my calls:) Your phone is going to be ringing. Right story. Right words. Right actors. Between now and the end of the year Jesse our director is taking in our notes and will do the last fine tuning cut. This allows him to input his style into the transitions and to fit everything better with the envisioned soundtrack. I cannot say enough about Taylor, our young lead. She already is a star if you’ve heard her sing. I met her as an actress on ASHES OF EDEN (Take a watch on Amazon) first and saw her potential ability. Learning of her musical gift and knowing our story needs, her casting and this story met in a perfect place. You will see. And Ponceman…an awesome talent with an awesome last name – Perry. He has Down syndrome but is not defined by it. He allows himself to be an example and inspiration to others. I’ve seen first hand a child with Down Syndrome in Yuma, AZ amazed and satisfied that we were making a movie and someone like HIM, was the co-star. THE CHRIST SLAYER, part 3 of our trilogy. Part 1 Forty Nights, Part 2 Chasing the Star take a watch. If you haven’t watched you need to so you can see what I’m talking about. Anyway – (call with Jesse Low) Yes. Exciting times. So I’m trying to give a small snippet that reflects tone of our story to our distributor’s marketing team. We are in talks on a music video and we’ll be looking at a trailer for the new year.
I’m going to call it here. We might do something in the holiday spirit again today. Tomorrow will start a busy week with lots to do. I’m ready and excited to get after it all. Writing, distributing, developing and renewing friendships by the office fire over coffee, wine, whiskey or water. I’m grateful for all my family and friends and so reach out and add to your own. In the words of Lost Heart’s Hannah Sweet “Success doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have anyone to share it with.” What wise man wrote that;) Work hard but not to the demise of your foundation, your strength, your roots.
Note: I see lots of cool projects developing in Michigan and that is something. I’ve been Michigan since day 1 and I know the production wasteland from whence we came. I was just reminded that my first starring film IN THE WOODS is 20 years old. That classic put me on the world map and gave me a creative rope to climb. I don’t work ‘no pay’ these days but for those that need to showcase themselves, no pay’s serve a purpose. It surely will weed out the lazy. Knowing your own worth and being lazy could be two sides of the same coin/argument. If people are not biting and you need to be seen – a serious attitude and some dedication can open doors. Or you can spend that on Actors Access send outs. Just kidding AA.
My point is WOW, we have some great storytellers developing out there.
I’m looking forward to Tom Norton’s new film. That MASK project, Lance and team are doing, the hard work shows. Dan Falicki’s DWARFHAMMER film (I’ve loved his painted film style since the ‘cave dancers’ in another piece. NECROLAND had an epic amount of actors, action and extras. I see banter both ways about NO PAY projects and know YOUR WORTH. The fact is I could have held out for “my (perceived) worth on IN THE WOODS and might still to this day be waiting on that starring role. But what he offered was a showcase. As the star, I slept on the couch and catering coming into the apartment was my wake up call. Ultimately the charming film took more rocks than roses initially from critics. We showcased moments of potential excellence in a look, an effect, a mood – we grew by doing. Consistency comes with practice and honing the craft (usually hitting marks, finding lights, know the camera like an old college drinking buddy). If I was starting out as an actor in this Michigan climate, I would be very happy. Invest your time in four or five of these ‘no pay’ (which they do pay with opportunity) showing diverse sides of you. After perhaps consider a move into the competitive ‘Paid Only’ film circles.
So if the ‘No Pay’ part puts you off, triggers you – just walk away. It’s potentially someone else’s chance to shine. Sometimes a more casual, less stressful environment allows talent to gain confidence. That reminds me of another great example. A good buddy Johnny D has played smaller supporting roles in several CDI films. He recently got to star in CONFIDENCE OF A TALL MAN by Lansing filmmaker Michael McCallum. Johnny D was allowed to showcase a deeper range of emotion in a story that he connected with deeply and his confidence grew.
Additionally, some people are just NOT good at auditions and are so angry because their nerves get them disqualified from the bigger roles. Now on the other side – filmmaking is making your day and pressure is part of that, so you need players. I mean the basketball term of someone who will make the buzzer shot in pressure but not airball under stress. Be the ball Danny…nananan…
OK. I carried on a few but maybe a few nuggets of insight exist. Keep creating and growing.
Good morning from HOME! Yes. I’m sipping some coffee after a few puppy cuddles and now I’ll be sharing with all of you some updates and insights. First I want to talk about LOST HEART. What a ride we had. First it was just amazing to go from just a blueprint with the script to capturing magic. This script has been hailed as one of my best pieces of writing. I know that writing is much like a film in that it’s subjective. But the story did a great job of painting interesting characters in unique places and situations. It was my first script with Melissa Anschutz in the lead and she performed beyond all my expectations. Much like Shane Hagedorn in Wild Faith, it was great that my scripts could be used as starring vehicles for my friends/peers.
While we were filming LOST HEART, WILD FAITH was rolling out across the nation. Wal-Mart’s and other retailers around the country starting carrying the film DVD and the fans responded. I had so many people approach me the last few weeks who had watched several of the CDI films. One day in prep – Shane Hagedorn (Emmett) got stopped by a maintenance guy who had seen Wild Faith. Already thrilled to met Emmett, he was further thrilled to be led into a room where Melissa Anschutz and I worked accounting. His eyes got big and his smile wide as he got to meet Ben Lily and Hester Thickett. This meeting of fans played out several times during our multi week stay. All around town – handshakes and kind words. I’m so proud of both Shane and Melissa – they are true leading talent. Everyone sits around and wishes for a starring role but only a select can really ‘lead’ a film. It’s not easy physically, mentally and keeping that arc requires constant adjustments. These two along with my ole workhorse buddy Anthony (Tony) Hornus made up my senior producing team. We have a great associate producer team that helps us do what needs to be done.
Jesse Low made his third film with CDI (Forty Nights & Wild Faith) and now Lost Heart. Nate “The General” Robertson led a great production campaign. One of his very best to date. We had Nancy Oeswein and Witney Wagner working with CDI for the first time in our office. I think it was a great collaboration and while they had to jump into a very existing system they adjusted and brought some new ideas to the table. I look forward to another future collaboration. Now it cannot be all rainbows so what were some of the issues. Now before addressing that I will again say that prep is so important because it allows a production to aim all its efforts at the immediate problem solving. I see too many businesses run in reactive mode putting a bandaid on something but that in turn causes three issues. Put in the hard work in advance – it pays off. We did this and it was apparent on set and in the final footage.
- Communication – making better communication is always the goal. While we are VERY good we always strive for better. Most small issues arrive from assuming and not knowing. We are all guilty of that at times and work hard to correct that.
- Focus – when we are at work people need to set aside their personal relationships aside and focus on the goals of the day. From Call to wrap a film crew works to get its puzzle pieces (Footage). Time is the essence each day and focusing on task will result in earlier days, less mistakes/damages and make a better final product.
- Representation – When you work for a company you not only represent the film company but the craft as a whole. One of our major locations had someone call and warn them before shooting about “filmmakers” because of a bad experience they had. When asked if it was our company they replied NO. CDI was defended by the owners by telling them their experience had been 100% positive. It is why I am so protective and communicate with locations that all companies are NOT equal. I’m not even comparing subjective final films but how we conduct ourselves while working. I’ve had people try to “drop” my name or our company to gain access to a place. Location owners all know to call us first if approached because if your operation is ‘slash and burn’ meaning getting footage by whatever means possible, that is conveyed. Or at the least letting them know we are not connected. Our team was raking up mulch at one location after the shoot. Pride in how your company/work is looked upon as a fine quality.
- Positive Attitude – This is something especial required of KEYS. You set the department tone. For example at CDI vulgar or aggressive outbursts are not tolerated without being addresses. Those examples again show poor communication and tells others that you’re not in control of your department. We always have a few that rise to the new challenge and fly while a few perhaps need more time under an experienced key. Skillset is only part of the equation – being able to motivate, inspire and lead a team with positive enthusiasm is the sign of a great leader. CDI is about developing leaders.
Once things are running smooth I get to sit back and watch everything. I get to ninja about and observe. I see who treats their gear proper. You should always treat gear as if you own it. Watch someone who does own the gear care for their gear. This is much like the care given to our locations. I can see when outside personal issues intrude upon someone’s focus. I see when personal interactions interfere with work flow and cause distractions. I see when people rush versus moving quickly with care. I see when people are not fully conditioned for feature length shoots either due to lack of rest, poor nutrition and/or lack of prep. I’m proud to say our production only had a few occasions where these things happened. But it is easy to spot on a film set that runs smooth. It is the job of management (producers) to sit back after and evaluate performance. This leads to rehiring or perhaps realizing someone needs more development. Sometimes it was a person was used in the wrong place and would be better suited elsewhere. But applying the 4 principals listed above will improve any production.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – This film is about to heat up! A premiere in the director’s home town is being explored first. The film will be releasing into select theaters and home video in the next few months. We got to do a small private screening in pre-production and…(SMILE) – I cannot wait for people to see the film. It showcases beautiful performances by wonderful actors. The hardworking crew made this story flow and it shows. So get ready for this story that showcases the plight of military vets and adoption dogs to come to the big and small screen.
The Quest Trilogy – The films are continuing to produce even in the non-holiday season. These are adventure films set in biblical times and so they can be enjoyed at anytime. So as we prepare to market for the holiday season ahead – enjoy now. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER.
I’m going to do final wrap up this week on LOST HEART. We’ll meet next week over post process again and to evaluate the shoot. I have a few acting reels to update – one with Ben Lily (Wild Faith) and one for Jesus (The Christ Slayer). I additionally need to work the final paperwork on the new agent collaboration for my screenwriting/producing. Lastly, I have a week-long vacation in the U.P. coming up. But right now it is about unpacking and also getting the yard/house caught up from week’s away. I hope you all enjoy your weekend and the week ahead.
Be good to one another. Doh! The coffee cup is empty.
So today is the 1st day of my last year in my 40’s. How is that even possible? Time marches on and I’m blessed to say that I’ve almost hit half a century with only modest setbacks. Thanks to my love of the outdoors, soccer and martial arts I’ve managed to stay healthy. A few creaks in the joints on occasion and recovery from soccer battles might take an extra day or so to heal. I try to eat healthy and keep active and so far, so good. It feels like being a senior in the class of 40’s and soon I will be the ‘freshman’ in the 50’s. I was going to have a CDI/bday gathering yesterday but we cancelled when they called for rain. Well, it ended up beautiful outside. We worked the yard with leisure and put up some new lights in the yard that Santa Claus had brought me. It was a good day and much more relaxed. We will do an October Harvest party with more to be thankful for.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – I was getting my special thanks around and the end credits are being worked on. I will be doing a watch through on Weds I believe before any last tweaks and we start to render for delivery to myCinema and Bridgestone. I’m immensely proud of this film and the topics in highlights. We’ll be starting up PR on this film with release dates in July. Congrats to all our artists involved.
WILD FAITH – TOMORROW June 24th is our DIGITAL RENTAL for those that want to take a watch but not own it. BUT if you like what you see the DVD is for sale starting July 2nd at several locations. Family Video, Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Amazon… The larger audience will get a chance to meet these wonderful characters in this late 1800’s world. If things progress along the same lines a sequel and/or TV series could be coming in the not-to-distant future. Congrats to all the artists involved.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – People are continuing to enjoy the three films in our trilogy FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. I’m excited to see these three films continue to expand into more countries and onto new platforms.
LOST HEART – My world has been full of the fictional town of Lost Heart, Michigan. A small, semi-touristy lake town. Birthplace of fictional mega Country star Hannah Sweet. We announced Josh ‘Ponceman’ Perry and Don Most to our cast. We still have a few great artists to announce that will be joining us. Our young female lead is an ex-Michigan native now making her way in Nashville. The other is a SNL alumni who is beyond talented and will bring one of our leads to life. Another talent joining us was in CDI’s very first film and most recently in Wild Faith. So stay tuned for more announcements in the next few weeks leading up to our shoot.
We have a great crew shaping up and this is great development for the possible TV series and more. We are working hard to bring CDI production up under a few studios for future work. The number one thing I look for in cast or crew is the right attitude and of course talent. It is easier to develop talent versus attitude. I’ve had many ask me about “secrets” or “keys” to success and I will share this one tidbit.
LOOK AT THE LONG TERM NOT JUST THE SHORT TERM.
So many people ruin avenue’s for lifetime collaboration and revenue for a short term gain. I have people that I’ve worked with since the late 90’s cast and crew. A shoot is usually only 3-4 week commitment tops. I’ve seen people act as if their entire year is based upon those few weeks. I watch the film challenges, the fan films, the fun festival films and know that these are not paid. I see the hard work, the smiles and the final wrap pics. With some you get immense appreciation and others whatever offered will never be quite good enough. If your other choices during the remaining 48 weeks puts you in a place where a lower paid feature is not acceptable you are doing something wrong. I like those good pay days like anyone else. We have a new roof to put on the house but often it might take several smaller jobs versus one big one to get the needed money. If I like the project, the role and the pay is on level with other’s involved I will usually do it. They grow. The pay grows. It is a lifetime relationship of collaboration, art and pay that is being nurtured. Think on that one.
I am where I am by respecting numerous small relationships and collaborations. I appreciate and value every person who has ever put a dollar in my hand. I appreciate and value those who have helped me tell a good story with their blood, sweat and tears. I cannot speak for all the producers out there and I know some have flawed business models in my opinion. Hell, we are far from perfect in our own but anyone close to us will know how hard we work to try and do things right. But until you are out trying to raise money off an idea put to paper – you don’t know. It might be a corporation but it is still a small group of people working really hard. When you are trying to be fair to everyone some bumps in $ across the board can add up to thousands that producers don’t often have. I hear of lodging nightmares of tents, people sleeping in cars, 10 people in a cabin with one bathroom – but we are just as concerned with living conditions as the camera lenses. Now with your first film you might do what has to be done but quickly you see that the added things you do for cast and crew show up in the final product. I’m excited for this next adventure in part because of the cool lodging that our cast and crew will be able to enjoy. This is because we are a team who cares. We care about our artists. We care about the locations we are allowed to use.
- NOTE: To those companies/projects/films that walk behind CDI films at a certain location I sincerely hope that you manage those locations well. We are always invited back but a poorly ran set can close off a location from anyone using it.
While typing above I was remembering what a mess the original BESTSELLER film was before CDI took over and reshot everything. We had to change the minds of many people and we did. Shame on the management that allows that kind of bad reputation to fall on our industry. So PLEASE don’t just look at what happens in front of the camera. What happens behind the camera is equally important and DOES effect what happens in front of the camera. OK. Enough filmmaking secrets.
I’m going to hop off here and get cleaned up. I’m going out to eat and spending some time with family and friends. Tomorrow it is back to work on the LOST HEART pre-production. Thank you to all the kind people who have reached out with birthday wishes. Here is my hazelnut coffee CHEERS to you all. Have a great Sunday and remember to be good to one another. Keep following those dreams.
June has just started and it has been unnaturally chilly and very wet with several storms passing through the last month. The yard is bursting to life with growth and soon berry season will be upon us. I’ve been harvesting rhubarb for wine-making and I think it is time to bottle the HOPPY GRAPE APE wine I made last season. I look forward to sharing some wine in the months ahead. I’ve been enjoying our soccer season and although most of the games have been wet and rainy I’m having great fun. I’ll keep working on the yard that is again the target for a returning woodchuck I named ‘Dig Dug’ 🙂 He caused me to redo the entire front porch of the office/fort with a ground wall, cement, rocks and logs. It looks nice but wasn’t planning on that being the priority. Today if it dries out it will be grass mowing and grilling.
On the personal development front it looks like the new representation for my screenwriting and acting is underway. Paperwork will be exchanging soon and I might’ve had a first writing assignment on a TV show had LOST HEART been on deck. As a first assignment I did not want to try and do too much with all the pre-production at hand. Let’s talk on that…
LOST HEART – We’ll have a locked schedule tomorrow and I’ve already been in first contact with several actors and agents. I hinted last week at the return of Don Most to CDI’s LOST HEART and after my Friday conversation with his agent, another trip to Michigan is happening. He will be starring opposite Melissa Anschutz (Seen above as Mother Mary) who is playing our lead. If my final conversation start of the week goes as good, we’ll be announcing Don with another great co-star.
We’ll be having another production meeting this week with our director Jesse Low and our team. Some crew talks have started and so we’ll be reaching out. All I can say right now is that the location on this project will be beautiful. The lodging and such may be one of our coziest yet. I’ve said it before but aside from getting great footage at the end of the days I want our cast and crew to have a memorable shoot that they can laugh, smile and recall for the rest of their life.
We are interviewing some office staff UPM’s and Prod Coordinator’s so if you think you qualify please do reach out. You will not regret it:) More on this fine project will be announced throughout the month. I look forward to seeing some old faces and meeting a few new ones on this shoot.
I’ve made a lot of updates on WILD FAITH and The Quest Trilogy so today I’m going to pass along a list of some of the foreign territories releasing the films.
FORTY NIGHTS – Brazil, Benelux, S. Korea, Mexico, Romania
CHASING THE STAR – Mexico, Africa, UK, Greece, Netherlands
THE CHRIST SLAYER – Mexico, Brazil, S. Africa
WILD FAITH – Latin America, Benelux
- Digital rental is June 24th for WILD FAITH
These lists will keep growing with each film market. I believe they just returned from the Canne Film Market so we’ll have more territories we will release into. I want to thank our hard working distribution folks. If you are a buyer and your reading this – do reach out to Bridgestone Multimedia Group.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – So I was in studio doing some final narration last week and I also got to hear one of the final pieces of music for MBF’s powerful ending. We’re in discussions with our distributor as we prepare to cut the final theatrical trailer. It is a beautiful thought-provoking story and I think audiences will take to it. We deliver the film June 30th so soon after theatrical audiences will get to watch the film.
We have some other exciting development underway on several fronts. I look forward to the continued release of the trilogy and Wild Faith that might include a few special screenings. I know it will be playing HAPPY TRAILS VA STYLE this Oct. I believe. I will give better date and time once the screening time is set. We will know soon if we will play at the WILD BUNCH film fest. They have wanted the film since we started it. Also some great developments that could push the TV series even further. My new agency-to-be also really likes the film and there might be a few possibilities there to assist as well. I really enjoyed watching the DEADWOOD Movie. What a great world they created. Congrats to all the artists involved with that film.
Don Most looking to return on CDI’s next film “Lost Heart”
I’m going to wrap this up. It was nice yesterday at a family graduation party to see Doug Emerson who follows this blog. Also met another nice lady who had seen THE CHRIST SLAYER in Texas. I had attended a memorial for another old friend prior to that and it was nice to meet some great people. Several of them expressed how much they enjoyed the films. Aside from here in this blog or doing an interview I don’t carry on too much about the films. It is nice to meet some of the people “in person” – and to hear what they enjoyed about our films. Our films have been seen by millions of people over the years but I seldom get to speak directly to them. Know that we do truly appreciate you all taking the time to listen to our stories.
OK. I’m going to go mow the lawn (Movie Star activities:) and fire up the grill.
Have a great Sunday and week ahead.
Happy Sunday to all of you out there. I’m sipping at the Michigan Cherry coffee and trying to recall some of my events of the past week. I ended up sleeping in a touch this morning. This week I did lots of yard clean up after the long winter. We’re shortening the garden, moving the outside chimera pit and stabilizing the floor on the garden shed. The last one included driving some 12 inch spikes in various places through multiple blocks of wood with a sledge-hammer. I did have an amigo over to trade-off with the hammering. I felt like John Henry the story on the man who hammered his way through the mountain beating the machine before expiring. Yesterday, the second day after I was SORE! I worked my core, front and back to the max. It is funny how I am use to swinging the axe but the hammer was a new addition. But that is what keeps the ole body strong. Filling bird feeders, gathering wood and I still have a list of things to do this week. After being chained to the desk for several hours there is nothing like a good work in the yard. But I’m sure you did not come here to hear about yard work. But once you do the work and put it out there to the universe it is a good way to not watch the pot waiting for a boil. A good fire outside or in the wood stove along with some hardy ‘viking work’ is good for mind. Last night I watched my Spartans play in the Final Four. They lost a hard-fought battle, playing hard to the end. I would be happy if I had one of the top four films in the country. I think the only time we did that was with Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town we were the #1 western rental in the US for 7 weeks. (Rentrak) and stayed in the top ten for 17 weeks. Let’s talk movies.
Staying on the subject of westerns – WILD FAITH. Our Grand Rapids, MI run was extended. I have to see this week if we are still in Mississippi. I was told we are rolling into West VA but I will wait to see. There is a large push in the theatrical world for variety in films shown as seen in a recent VARIETY article. I think that Wild Faith is a powerful and entertaining film with a broad appeal. MyCinema is out there booking it across the country and we’ll see what communities it pops up in. I’m happy for anyone who gets to see it on the big screen as it plays great. I’m excited about the streaming and DVD release in May. I also hear tale that Walmart and other retailers will get it in June/July. I hope it makes it into Meijer like BOOK OF RUTH. Only because they have 1500 stores or so and it is one of my favorites. So if you get a chance to see it on the big screen, please do, you won’t be disappointed. I think you can pre-order DVD’s now on Christian Cinema and it should start appearing at more locations like Amazon, Target, Family Video… If you’ve seen the film hop over to IMDB.com and leave your review. I had a few great development discussions this past week which included talk on the Wild Faith TV series. Giddy Up.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – I had talks this past week that might also result in CDI doing another biblical trilogy. I’ve had one in development for a while with three great stories told from a unique point of view. Part 3 of the series THE CHRIST SLAYER is available on DVD and streaming now. If you contact your local theater and ask them to book via myCinema they can put it on the big screen. We might do a special screening here in Lansing, MI on the big screen. My AZ friends please do reach out to Harkins Theaters and request it. MyCinema books through there all the time and our Yuma, AZ friends deserve to see this on the big screen. I’m anxious to see where it appears this Easter season but I’m even more excited to see where all three travel in the years to come.
Here is a great Behind the Scenes of The Christ Slayer
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – This week I plan to get an update on where we’re at with the dialog mix on the film. Our director is doing a sound design cue sheet and I cannot wait for music. The film is in that quiet phase while the other films do their thing but soon it will have its time. It is due to be delivered to our distributor on June 30th which is part of the decision for the next announcement.
LOST HEART – is the next film for us. It is a charming and beautiful story of going home. Of finding oneself and examining the mysteries of life. We’re still in talks on the last few investment units on this film. Next week the account will be opened and we have the first checks rolling in. We’ve got a few sponsorship opportunities underway with some great businesses. If you have an interest in getting involved on that end please reach out to me directly. Casting and Crewing is all through the CDI site. http://www.cdiproductions.com and we do have a few castings to go. I’m extremely excited to move into pre-production on this film and with a few more small pushes we will be there. We are targeting rolling cameras in July!
DEVELOPMENT – As was mentioned above we have several projects in development. I’m excited about the stories we’ve told and the stories yet to be told. With the nice weather ahead I look forward to days working on the patio. I will not ramble on with these plans as that’s a little early.
This week I am going to try to step out to our local film festival’s opening night gala and support all the artists pushing to have their vision seen. I don’t feel like a MACK trunk hit me today so that is good. I might do a bit more work in the yard – maybe the June Bday party/CDI gathering might happen. It was postponed last year because my furry boy Luke was near the end of his journey. Our new addition Finn has brought immense joy into our lives and for that we are thankful.
Have a great day and week ahead.