A very good morning to all of you – hazelnut cheers to our new readers from Australia, Philippines, Ireland and more. I’m sitting and feeling – relief, joy, accomplishment…I’m still trying to capture that feeling. Last night was pretty crazy cool. Weds we went to the NCG and set levels for the film and the pre-showing videos which comprised of “For the Love of Catch” movie trailer and the music video for ‘Off to the Races’ featuring Vertical Bridge. In the past I’ve had some events that I primed up well for- one example that jumps into my mind is David Borowicz and I in Burbank, CA before WILD FAITH played the theater. He said let’s stop here and have ONE beer. It was the home of the 1 yard beers so that really started things off relaxed. I went into the premiere stone sober and first the first trailer started playing without the visual. They restarted it and it played great. The music video started way loud and then they turned it too low and finally brought volume back up. The aspect ratio on the feature was off slightly so bottom credits were being cut off. But they quickly readjusted. Visual, audio, aspect ratio- they had moved us to a larger theaters and the adjustments from Weds were not applied. My limited-tech self was wishing I had that yard sized beer in advance. The audience didn’t notice but we did and the second 8:15 show got the much better adjusted showing and this week the showings should be much more dialed in. But the interest and numbers for the showing resulted in us getting our run extended for the week! The kick off gremlins tried to mess with the showing but instead ended up having an amber ale with us after and they liked the film:)
I also enjoyed talking with Karl Manke the book author. The book is called HOPE FROM HEAVEN. It is an interesting feeling when you write a script and it is turned into a film passing by the director and the actors. It has to be another experience to have your book turned to a screenplay turned into a movie. Either way I think he enjoyed the experience but as a writer I know sometimes in your imagination you have it painted differently. But for me it is always a pleasure seeing the words brought to life. We will know this week if NCG is bringing it to other cities in Michigan. We have a few other chains we are in talks with and our goal is to get it to you. It is planned for roughly a Feb 2022 DVD/streaming release with our distributor. We are going out on the distributors general market main stream label. The film checks many of the boxes for a good inspirational story but the hardcore faith buyers seemingly don’t always like to see too ‘real’ of situations. The ‘Brady Bunch’ level crisis is usually what they like to focus on but that is slowly changing. Audiences loved the characters, the humor, the music (Dennis Therrian) and the edit (Nathaniel Nose) – I am going to sneak into a day show this week. Likely 2:45 show and home by dinner:)
This week we’ll be looking to see what could be done with SMOKE & MIRRORS the short we did off a commercial shoot for an audio software company Izotope. It is a precursor to a feature film we want to film from one of my scripts of the same name. We might do a steampunk happy hour fund raiser for the historic house or something online. We will have a few creative pow wows over this but however you see it will be entertaining.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is moving hard. The crew started getting agreements although our prep dates might fall back by a day. The office and AD staff are working on the set schedule which includes what we call a day-of-days that tells us actor start dates, work dates and final date so we can properly book flights and hotels. Transportation in will be a bit harder as all the close airports are small and limited flights. We are driving in with the prep team so we can bring more gear and such with us. The chill in the air this morning whispered “Wait until November.” – DOH! So this week we’re are back at it and with a more singular focus now that several projects have been concluded.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is a feature length documentary produced by CDI in association with the Red, White and Blue Project Inc. a military focused non-profit. We’ll be locking up picture soon and sweetening the sound before we premiere this fine piece of work.
I’m not going to go on much about development this week but we are always in the state of development. Several possible projects are building and growing closer to a production green light. More doors are opening weekly that we are evaluating and looking to see if they make sense and match with our schedule. So please do make the time to go see BEST YEARTS GONE on the big screen and take a friend or two. If you have seen it take a moment to share your thoughts with a review on IMDB.com
We are going to go hit the flea market down the road and look for a few WW2 era props for the November shoot. We might have to get a few pumpkins and maybe even apple cider. I finished the hop harvest and we’ve still been waiting on some of the veggies late maturing like eggplant and Brussel sprouts. Wood cutting with Viking Thursdays might start soon. The days are still getting warm but morning and nights are getting chilly. Good sleeping weather when the window is open.
I also will tell you that some great merchandise made its first appearance at the premiere and will be for sale soon online. Best Years Gone official handkerchief that people really loved featuring a few of the favorite tag-lines from the film. Also Gil Gilles approved lighters, papers, grinders and beverage cozies one with a built in opener. Fun stuff and the start of many as we start to develop the CDI merchandise line. Some ‘For the Love of Catch’ merchandise might also be on deck. Wicked Spring lunch box? maybe:) We also want to start featuring artists and carry their artwork on consignment. I LOVE seeing other artists succeed through hard work. Many expect things to just happen. I am part of a few social media filmmaker groups and I see so many unrealistic expectations. Also folks who wrote something and just think it will get funded if they just post a few messages. I called. Set meetings. Cold pitches in studio boardrooms. Many meetings where many turned up zero but eventually the right fit. But it never dropped in my lap. Do opportunities drop in my lap now? Yes. But that is after many years of struggle. So I just feel like I’m reaping the rewards of seeds planted long ago. So I’m saying even in this digital age you might have to get off your computer/phone, out of your comfort zone and go after it with a well thought out written out plan of attack. Or you can go back to social media funding where 95% of those endeavors fail to fund and if you want larger budgets that takes trust. So go build that trust and make your dreams happen. It also allows you to be pro-active versus passive which is where many like to dwell. But passive usually doesn’t prosper like pro-active.
Off to refill the coffee cup! Great job MSU! Have a great week and thank you to the full house who attended the premiere kick off last night. It was really nice to meet some of you and we’re all glad as the artists that we could give you an enjoyable night. The sign for me was that my face hurt from smiling and laughing and so I’m gonna take that as a good thing.
The birds were chirping a full chorus this morning and now I’ve got my hazelnut coffee with me and I’m looking forward to our weekly chat. My “soccer legs” are getting stronger now that we are three games in. Day one after our Thursday game my legs felt seized up but day two which is usually worse, brought recovery. The movement in all directions and running for so long really shocks the legs until they strengthen the tendons again in back, hips, knees and ankles. I also got a new free-standing heavy bag for in the yard. Our training days will be better now that we can unloose some kicks. My hanging heavy bag inside wasn’t positioned proper to practice kicks. I’m just upping my kicking game to get it back to where I once was. We joked that every decade the kicks got lower. But working on kicking and soccer go hand in hand. Either way I’m really enjoying it so far. I hope our Memorial weekend off from soccer helps the healing but doesn’t set back my progress I’ve made so far. I’m coming out of this Covid crisis in tuned up shape. Let me think – any big events sitting on my mind this week?
I was approached by a former co-star (Tommy Lynch) who is now coaching and counseling. He had a student (Matthew) that is an aspiring screenwriter. He was doing a video presentation final exam like many students. He was using MAN’S BEST FRIEND as the tone of his TV series. My friend told him that he knew DJ Perry and that he could get me to do an interview clip for his project. I did so. I hope that it turned out great. My thoughts are with all the students who had to face such a crazy time with Covid.
(Some of the CDI team at ICFF with ‘Lost Heart’)
Let’s start with LOST HEART. The film was being recognized at the ICFF (International Christian Film Festival) this past week. We had multiple nominations and were given the bronze for Best Film category and Don Most won as Best Supporting Actor. I know that a handful of our talent led by Melissa Anschutz attended. While award shows are fine I’m sure the laughter around the dinner and pool are the most memorable.
LOST HEART is up next month (June) at the Crown Awards in Texas as one of five films nominated for ‘Best Picture’ along with MAN’S BEST FRIEND. CDI is also going to announce that this week the General Market (GM) release of the film is about to start rolling onto streaming platforms. Under the title BIGFOOT, UFO’S AND JESUS the mainstream will be treated with this wonderful story. We will also be releasing the new trailer with the GM poster art.
BEST YEARS GONE – Lots going on here with this film. The film even had a ‘biker bar’ pick up this past week to complete all the added footage. The color correction is progressing. Our first official trailer is getting close to an edit lock with director notes going over. The music and sound design is also moving right along. Our ‘Battle of the Bands’ is closed and the songs are being judged by our team. We’ve started to release some videos of judge John Two Hawks talking about his favorite three songs. Watch it here: https://www.facebook.com/Bestyearsgone
Next week we’ll have notes from judge Joe Pullin and after that from our team. We’ve also added a drop song coordinator in Taylor Dupuis (Pic Below) who just might be gifting us with another great ‘Roanoke’ song. We’ll be announcing the winner end of the month and prepping to shoot a music video. We also have a meeting this week about an event premiere at a race track and we are also looking to do an Owosso NCG premiere which is the home town of the book writer Karl Manke. More to come on this fine upcoming movie.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – The building of the TV series is underway. I had more send outs this past week and I think we’ll find even more sponsors as we move forward. I still have the goal of getting this TV series fully funded by Dec 31st. We will see:)
THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star & The Christ Slayer) – On Encourage TV part 1, Forty Nights is about a thousand views short of its first million watches. I’m sure this week we’ll break that barrier so be part of that. I love this series and think that it has still not found its full General Market audience yet. I’m happy that the circle of fans keeps getting wider. Here is a good review on FORTY NIGHTS that was brought to my attention.
Please do enjoy all three films in this miniseries.
BESTSELLER is being delivered this month for its new campaign. The uprez of WICKED SPRING is done from what I’m told and I’m excited to see it. It will be nice to stream the story as an HD film. We’ll be discussing which other films to render into HD format. The trailer teaser for FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is getting there. We examined a version 2.0 and discussed revisions. I cannot wait to see trailer 3.0 this week.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is moving full speed ahead. Last week myself and Michael Walton were announced as part of the cast. We’re almost done with our German casting and starting June we’ll be returning to our weekly pre-prod meeting. Art department has been prepping its breakdowns and we’ll be addressing that starting in June. We’ll be announcing more cast this week. We had a few great adds to our cast/crew this past week. We had an article come out in Iowa and the community has been reaching out in force. We are also starting our talks with sponsors and brand alignment. I’m beyond excitement for this WW2 drama to get to the big screen. Join us and follow along at
(Gil says, what what?)
I want to thank everyone again at ICFF. I’m so happy that some of our cast/crew were able to get together and represent the LOST HEART film. I think today will be a tinker in the yard and grill. Use today to chilllax before another busy week ahead. I hope you all have a great week and keep making those steps towards making your vision and dreams a reality. Be good to one another and we’ll chat next week.
Good morning partners. Hazelnut coffee cheers! We had a good rain last night and everything is becoming lush and green. Later today will be our first flea market visit to see if I can find any treasures. I love to look for personal props for certain characters. I was looking pretty close to ole Ben Lily as we moved forward developing the WILD FAITH Tv series spin off. I have a string of biz calls to do about the 8 show spin off. With our WW2 film a full go we’ve decided that the series HASTINGS will go up after SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. So I’ve had a full shave and a hair cut as I prepare for the next role. We announced two more actors last week with Dean Teaster and Samual Peterson joining the cast.
This week we’ll announce more cast and crew as we move through pre-production. We’ve almost cast our Germans which is so exciting. Just incredible talent and I’m again happy to say that about all our castings. So many exciting announcements that will be forthcoming.
Our holiday window of Thanksgiving to Easter is now complete. It will be fun to see how THE QUEST TRILOGY did with audiences this year. We keep growing our audiences each year and I truly do love getting all the fan mail. CDI will eventually do another trilogy of biblical films. One of the scripts is being studied for future execution and we hope to return to the desert in the near future.
MANS BEST FRIEND is starting its general market roll out. I have to say I loved the previous poster art but this poster captures ‘Paul’ in the eyes. And what a noble pic of Paul’s MBF. I think this film that got caught up in the Covid breakout deserves that renewed push. For a beat everyone was holding on licensing as the whole world adjusted. I’m so happy that it is getting its second wind. I was already getting LOTS of fan mail (NOTE: My silly spell check tried to turn ‘mail’ into ‘tail’ and that reads totally different. I’m happy to say this coming June at NRB the 5 best finalist films under 250k will compete for gold, silver and bronze. Both MBF and LOST HEART are finalists. So having 2 of the 5 nominated films feels good. It makes me proud of our artists and I do take pride in having written those scripts.
‘WRITING’ is a love that I hid for a long time only because I wanted to be seen as an actor first. The actor ME became frustrated at the lack of deep, powerful films. I’m comfortable now being considered a screenwriter along with an actor and ultimately producer. I’ve enjoyed writing short stories as part of my book contributions to this wonderful book series by Callie Smith Grant. (Revell/Baker) Each book focuses on animal relationships and sometimes centers around a holiday. Cats and Christmas is up next and so I’ll polish up my story and see if it makes the grade. The fun fact here is I was approached after WILD FAITH was seen in the theaters. From there I’ve contributed to three books now. The one coming out later this year (09/21) is on dogs. I like dogs:)
This morning as the rain storm passed, our team on the documentary ‘For the Love of Catch‘ hit the road. This is for the last filming segment of the doc. We’re set up to start editing and dialog clean up immediately after. They have been getting some great interviews from the world of grappling to discuss what they love about it. We’ll be doing a PR release and talking more about this in the coming weeks. It is being directed by our own Catch-Can World Champion Curran Jacobs. Big congrats to Dan Chipman and his mobile production home for capturing some amazing interviews. Adam Towner has been signed on to edit and work post. Stay tuned!
LOST HEART has been just playing so well to the family/faith audiences but as pointed out by fans, the film is so much more. Hence the upcoming general market release, but we’ll wait until I have more to report. But let’s address that term? market? We are all storytellers.
At CDI we don’t make “faith” films – but create stories with strong character development. In ANY story character development is king. And knowing the ‘faith’ of the character is the seed. Some seek faith, lack faith or try to hold onto faith. Maybe they lost all faith in mankind, themselves or their path to God. All these characters come from a different place. Those carrying status in religion might struggle with their faith while the downtrodden might live in appreciative faith. I have many ask about religion which has helped to build great civilizations but unfortunately usually is tied to conflict and war. I also think that someone’s seeking to understand divinity is a personal and private relationship, unique to each person. In my opinion it also doesn’t require any fancy study, conversion, certification, validation etc…to me DIVINE is a constant like gravity. Only mankind’s understanding changes but anyone actively seeking DIVINE is getting closer and closer to THEIR truth of understanding the constant. Many of my deep pondering are reflected in ‘The Quest Trilogy,’ historical fiction examining overlooked events or perspectives to try and gain a new insight.
A nice example in Forty Nights is the showing ‘Jesus’ working to put the words of the heart on the tongue. Some watchers following along with their scripture wait to jump on the words and claim their superiority in finding supposed flaws. The purpose was to show human flaw in Jesus. That mighty things like LOVE are hard to put into the perfect words. The purpose was to show the journey to those final words. It still makes me chuckle when I see people upset about John and Jesus seemingly not knowing each other….the post baptism conversation and later flashbacks between John and Jesus obviously showing a pre-existing relationship. The baptism was a ritual passing of the torch but their casual talk away from the masses was meant to show they knew one another well.
Later in the desert, we see Jesus struggling to find the perfect way to teach what he knows. Some of the greatest minds in certain fields cannot teach what they know. Being a teacher is not easy because you have to paint a picture to enlightenment for another persons imagination and intelligence to grasp onto. Those three films are full of contemplative gems and many have discovered some personal truth by watching them. For some they just miss the point – I like the Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon I think) scene whereas Bruce tells a student not to just focus on the pointing finger alone or you’ll miss all that heavenly glory. I think the old saying of ‘the Devils in the details’ is another funny way to say this. Some people are so worried at hoping to increase their “religious” status by winning some ‘Bible Jeopardy’ that they miss the lesson of the parable all together.
And so scholars continue to debate and the facts alter and change as new “experts” appear. Science and Religion have more in common then they think and to me it’s fascinating that they don’t always co-exist well. Anyway, I think that the trilogy was my “Noah. I want you to build an ark.” moment. You want to know my feelings – watch the films. I tried to connect the dots in a way that made sense to people who cannot truthfully function on blind faith alone. You will find a deep sincere reverence that permeates all three stories. The trilogy conjures all the right emotions and feelings because in the medium of film it’s show me versus tell me where you can. It’s when the story rises beyond just show and tell to actually allow one to FEEL the story. It’s an art. I’ve gone on a while here. I could and have filled books with my thoughts on these matters. But your relationship with divine or choice to not interact or accept is deeply personal. I like to speak with the stories to those still seeking their personal truth and maybe help clarify aspects of things for those who feel to have found divinity yet still seek to fully understand it. I have a suspicion that only on our final walk will we fully understand.
Okay let’s shift gears!
BEST YEARS GONE – based upon the wonderful and quirky writing of Karl Manke in his book ” Hope from Heaven” (You can buy it:) comes the story of unconditional love, dreams gone awry and generational communication issues. We now have the film after a wonderful edit by Nathaniel Nose (Dir./Editor The Christ Slayer) and has now landed at Dennis Therrian’s studio. We’ve had two post sessions so far and what a lift to the spirits. While this film will have all the trademark emotional beats it truly marks what I feel to be a big step comedically. It is for me for certain. Now growing up I thought I was going to be a stand up comedian with strong observational humor like George Carlin. In my personal life I would say I have a healthy sense of humor maybe too much. (I have been known to pull a prank or two) I have to say I had such a wonderful time filming this. It was the adventure that unfolded in the Covid storm and we were appreciative to have all our precautions rewarded with a safe journey. Now we’re into talking music and the dialog is also popping better than ever due to innovative software, gear and the growing experience of our sound team. The deal with BMG is signed. Next week we’ll start feeding them marketing deliverables. Poster art will be underway as we deliver choice screen captures. Additionally the first official trailer is being cut and so maybe end of May we can rock that out.
BATTLE OF THE BANDS!!!! It is still underway and we are getting some KICK ASS music submissions. Keep them coming and you just might end up in this film. We’ve really enjoyed listening to all the great original music. Kudos to all of you. Keep on rocking!
I want to get back on path with my writing. I want to finish my new SMOKE & MIRRORS feature script. You’ll get to enjoy the short film likely this fall. I saw some of the VFX work and I’m smiling. My SciFi script is another goal to at least get my first draft. The 1st season of HASTINGS is being edited for missed commas and such. I think we had a nice chat and I gave you all a good update on the films. In short – it has been busy. But I’ve also been getting some great moments observing the new hens in our “chicken land” enclosure. Some major wood chopping against a few mighty logs that I swear were made of iron. I will soon bottle up some of the berry wine that has been aging. We recently toasted off Best Years Gone will some lilac wine aged several years. It was enjoyed by all. Amazing what the natural world has to offer. Until we speak next week. Be good to one another.
Good morning – hazelnut cheers!
I want to welcome our new readers from the Netherlands, Brazil and Austria! It was a busy yet productive week. I wanted to start with a cool giveaway on the new book that I’m a contributor on. I want to once again thank Callie Smith Grant for allowing me to participate. This book has a fun story dealing with our queen ‘Lulu’ and I hope you all will check out this and the many other stories.
RETAILERS carrying the book!
Barnes & Noble –
Baker Book House –
LOST HEART – We had several great meetings over this next CDI film. We have something unique planned. We’re excited that it got approved by our distributor BMG. Now the planning will start in earnest this week with a planned CAST & CREW premiere. This one will be different but such is the way and I think it will be fun for everyone. October will be a big month! We’re also exploring several drive-in’s and theaters to play the film.
We’ll be wrapping up the last few delivery pieces and the short BTS promo will be assembled this week perhaps to share next. We are also looking at a few merchandise options so fans can support the film.
BEST YEARS GONE – Our development here is full speed ahead with sponsors and camera tests on deck. We’re about to comb through the script and see what scenes can be pulled off the main schedule and shot. This includes a few VFX shots and sequences that might need or benefit from added attention. I will say that as my ‘Gil’ as a character, is coming along nicely. I cannot wait to share him. We are still looking at end of Oct pre-prod and shoot in November.
The cast of ‘Smoke & Mirrors’
SMOKE & MIRRORS – David Gries stars in this short film that is a precursor to the feature. We’ll have a locked picture this week and music discussions with Dennis Therrian have begun. We plan to develop this into a full feature. The short was shot by Jesse Aragon and he’ll be color correcting it. We also hope to have something to show in October.
Wild Faith has been seen by millions of viewers and the powerful story has created an interest to see this continue. The groundwork is being laid to shoot a season 1 (8 shows) all set in the Wild Faith world. The TV show is currently titled ‘Hastings’ and may shoot in 2021. If you have not seen the film please do. It is inspired by of course ‘Little House’ but also the old Disney movies like “The Apple Dumpling Gang” which is reflected in the humorous moments.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – After filming the trilogy I kept my full Jesus garb save the sandals which were borrowed. When I was looking at character shirts for our new film at the thrift shop I found the same make of sandals in my size. Heaven sent or good luck? But I think my Jesus days are done save if a film was ever done about a return. I think we have some other great biblical tales if we want to return top that genre. I’m excited to see the new trailer for the trilogy which will launch likely in October. Did I say Oct might be a busy month?
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Our event/theatrical/festival showing of this film was hampered by the virus. We will continue to seek a few events to play the film at even into 2021. But the response to the film has been great. We just need to get more visibility for it so if you watched it and enjoyed the story, share it. I was asked recently if I had any plans to play Paul Landings again and the answer is not right now but never say never.
We are about to go walk another flea market. I have grilling to do later today along with a few yard tasks. I’m happy to report that I got both the batch of AUTUMN ALE and the ROTHGA (Return of the Hoppy Grape Ape) started. They started fermenting yesterday and so the fall will have a nice harvest. I was sad that last week I posted a picture of the MSU Spartan helmet and later that day the BIG 10 cancelled their football season. That leaves the LIONS as our only hope. Come on LIONS!
The garden is growing now with fall cold weather plants in which include beets, carrots, beans and more. I’ve been doing some caulking in the office getting ready for winter and to help keep even more heat inside. Soon the wood stove will be kicking again. Viking Thursdays with wood cutting will also begin in a few weeks. I’m going to leave all this here. Time to fill the coffee cup and get some oatmeal. I hope you all have a great week ahead. Be kind to one another!