I’m sitting here sipping coffee and watching my squirrel buddy Gordy prepping for the high winds we are going to have. The last week was a combination of busy business and family business. I’ve been out of grandparents for a while but have enjoyed the company of my significant other’s grandparents. We lost one – a grandmother who was the center of the family. She had a long 89 years and her service was really nice. The family all came together and now they will have to re-adjust. We all have to keep doing that as we move forward. It once again made me see how special the work we do actually is. And the journey is also just as important as the destination. Let’s look at a few updates from the week.
LOST HEART – This is the film being pulled together to shoot in late April/May time frame. This past week we announced the addition of Mr. David Gries and Dean Teaster playing a major character at two different ages. We welcome them aboard.
Also this week we’ll be announcing the 1st casting call notice for this role. It will be posted on http://www.cdiproductions.com
We are looking for someone who resembles this picture. It is playing our main character at a younger age. It is a paid role and we’ll accept both union and non-union submissions. So you heard it here first. More casting calls will follow.
This week we’ll be announcing two new actresses joining LOST HEART. Both have worked with CDI on different films. We’ve also began some TOP SECRET model work:) We had one of our producers up North starting some initial talks. I, as the writer started by dialog and script note review with our director Jesse Low.
A learning note on this point – When I work with a director it is line by line, page by page because I want the director to REALLY understand the characters. Once they are fully understood we can change certain locations or interactions but they will respond in character. As a producer you want less page count. As a writer – the colorful descriptions might help cast and crew immerse themselves into the world. It is a balancing act whereas a director can strip it down to bar bones because they have shots and such in mind. But for landing quality talent it helps to paint the world. As I stated last week, I would not sign onto a film without reading the script. Maybe a Star Wars flick would be the first but the project I backed off from was not a Star Wars flick. When it has inexperience involved the need for a GREAT blueprint (script) becomes even more important. Also once I sign off the script to the director the writer goes on vacation. Even when actors ask me questions I try to redirect them to the director. Writers need to let go at a point. Many have issues doing just that and that causes problems on projects. So in development get all that solidified with your director. That is what we’ll continue to do next week. Here is Jesse Low working on WILD FAITH with DP Jesse Aragon.
Let’s MOVE to the WILD FAITH movie. This week was working with the distributor as they prepare for the theatrical release and the DVD/streaming to follow. This coming week we’ll announce and release the new poster art for WILD FAITH. I’ve been holding my breath waiting for the artwork. Once I saw it my first two impressions were – 1) Classically Beautiful 2) Lauren LaStrada is going to LOVE this cover:) There is my tease. Coming (back) to theaters this March! Remastered. Enhanced. Ready to Rock!
The month after on April 19th THE CHRIST SLAYER will roll out into theaters. I’m trying to make sure that Harkins gets it in AZ. That way all our Yuma, AZ family can watch it on the big screen for Easter. For those that want to watch now it can be seen on Amazon Prime, Google Play, Christian Cinema (and the list will keep growing) DVD will release March 4th so add it to your collection. People who have been sending ‘fan mail’ I greatly appreciate it. I love how into the story they are. You can watch these films as a stand alone but they also tell a story as a trilogy. The Devil and Angels story runs through all three. As more people realize the thread between all three films it will become more interesting to read people’s thoughts on the trilogy. I’ve seen the same few type ‘hate’ posts. Usually at Jesus. OK. If you don’t believe in Jesus, just enjoy the story. ROCKY and APOLLO CREED did not exist as real people but they still inspired determination, self-belief and the power of love for generations of viewers. If you live for Jesus, I hope you enjoy the film. It is not a documentary or a bio-pic but a story. The issue I see that stems from pockets of religious denominations is that they fight over details (the devil is in the details) and miss the entire meaning of the story. I read someone lamenting the darkness in Chasing the Star. Um…King Herod’s rule was dark. That is what I liked about The Passion of the Christ. The reality of crucification was played out and it was much darker than the pageants plays of the day. Someone commented negatively on the Magi, obviously not knowing the actual history. That is why that film felt important. Everyone knows the statues out front of the nativity scene but few really knew anything about them. Our take is not 100% as history often exists in fragments. Anyway, I’m very proud of the three films. Those that let themselves enjoy the story will take something away, their path matters not. So watch FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR and follow it up with THE CHRIST SLAYER.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – I’ve been reviewing the first cut and making suggestions. The film is very good. I’m out on a limb playing a wounded Marine. I feel that gravity because I represent the actual wounded. I can say that so many of my peers gave incredible performances. Maybe one of the best from Dean Teaster (played the Preacher in Wild Faith), Anschutz, Abell, Gries, Hagedorn, Most, Nations…I could go on. I think people will be happy with their involvement. I did get emotionally hit at the end of the film so I know it works. But we’re just working the story for pace. A few scenes to cut into later or cut out early. We’ll work toward a lock at month’s end with dialog clean up being the first task up for post audio/music.
Aside from this list of things to do – I’ve been writing out checks to investors and residuals to talent on some of our films. I’ve been prepping to do some VO work on a commercial project. I’ve got a few meetings in the next few weeks to discuss possible collaborations. So, I’m just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Merchandise creation is under discussions. Sponsorship for the new film, the CDI website or even my blog. I’ve been trying to get that coffee sponsor. One big bag of coffee beans a month and I’ll put your company logo on here. And I’ll speak kind words about it weekly:) DING! Magnifico – only my Philippine DN cast/crew friends will understand that.
Pre-Order on Amazon now!
Have a great week ahead!
It is a chilly Sunday and even colder air and snow will soon be coming our way. I’ve got my Oswald’s Bear Ranch coffee cup full of piping hot hazelnut coffee. I want to welcome our new readers from Italy and the Philippines. This last week has included getting our http://www.cdiproductions.com site in line for the next 9 years. I’ve also been working with our team to get the end-of-the-year tax stuff around. A few remaining things to put forth to the accounting firm but getting close. Also my tech savvy associates are working to bring me into the google-age. These shared documents are really making it easier to archive and work with others.
We’ve done our own limited set ups in the past but now we’re involved in a new partnership program with our distributor BMG. I’m seeing 3/23/19 is when the platform release for Wild Faith is to begin. 4/19/19 is what I’m seeing as the release date for The Christ Slayer. Once I have a list of cities and theaters I will pass that along ASAP.
Now with Easter Passover being the backdrop for The Christ Slayer the streaming and DVD will release prior. It is a film that is truly worthy of being experienced on the big screen. Feb 1st will see the film be available on Amazon. The DVD can be pre-ordered now at Amazon for a March 4th release.
Pre-Order here and streaming will be available Feb 1st
DOVE has awarded it their seal and you can read the review here –
WILD FAITH artwork should be releasing soon. This is the first time that we’re not directly in control of the theatrical. That is exciting but also has us waiting on info to pass along.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – This film is close to the first cut as of yesterday. I’ll be doing a front credit breakdown so they can start timing that out. The movie will move to music and sound design last day in Feb. I’m excited to see this story come together.
LOST HEART – I’ve been speaking with directors as our team moves down the development pipeline. We’re putting our paperwork together so we can start bringing on our interested investors. Targeted casting has been taking place and we’ll be announcing those people soon. We’ve launched the film on http://www.imdb.com and we’ll be adding as we go. We’re targeting April to shoot in Northern Michigan. It is a great story and I know we’ll have a great time telling the story.
I’m going to wrap it up here soon. I might pour another hot cup of java and follow-up on some PR. If you want to do a story on either of the upcoming releases (The Christ Slayer, Wild Faith) let me know. Thank you all for your continued support.
I’m experiencing culture shock as I’m in some ritzy hotel in Charlotte NC trying to catch up on this blog. People, people, people, people…city, cement. It was just hours ago, I was nestled deep in the mountains of Maggie Valley at a special place called Robert’s Roost. I’ve always felt a draw to mountains and the Smoky’s in particular. It was almost ten years ago that I spent so much time there prepping, filming and promoting our “Ghost Town” movie. It was wonderful to spend time with friends very near and dear to my heart. I also missed some of the souls no longer with us. Their dogs Gator and Ben, the rooster Sampson and panther-headed cat Toby have all passed. On the first night we arrived at the dinner hour and after relaxed with a bon fire and the best relaxing gifts including a peach whiskey of the white variety. The next day we traveled and explored the Blue Ridge and another night of laughter and remembrance. In my guest room filled with 1800’s treasures which included sleeping each night under the tanned hide of a buffalo blanket. They’re heavy and extremely warm, so I now understand why they were in such demand to fight the frontier cold.
My mind and spirit needed the short get away. One full year of prepping, shooting and posting “40 Nights” which released (April 5th). This film released just as we were shooting the follow-up film “Chasing the Star” – which we just put into editing. To adjust to the less hectic phase of development and post production was a welcome change. While many people highly enjoy the filming journey, which I do, it’s also when you’re on alert for any number of issues that could arise. I always breathe easier once we’re in post and things are much more controllable. I didn’t want to slow development, so upon returning from Yuma, AZ – I immediately finished the first polished draft of the third film in the Quest Trilogy entitled “The Christ Slayer” shooting spring 2017. I know that this fall could also see us in production so it was a needed pause, a reset and deep breath. PEACE.
I’m going to try to use the last few days here to catch up on some calls and communications. Our thriller “Bestseller” will start releasing to nationally retailers like Family Video and also online rental/retailers. Here’s a place where our “special edition” version can be purchased.
“Bestseller” showcases the wonderful talents of Mrs. Melissa Anschutz playing the lead role. People have met her recently as Dana in “Ashes of Eden” and Mother Mary in “40 Nights” and I’m so honored to have such a talented, hard-working actor/producer following in the footsteps of the other CDI tribal members over the years. So look for this exciting thriller at your favorite retailers/rental outlets!
More Links to “Bestseller” will be appearing in these coming weeks.
If thrillers are your thing “Donors” is another film one of ours that released recently. Buy it here at one of these retailers.
Stay tuned for new updates on “Chasing the Star” and several of our upcoming projects. I feel very blessed to be on this journey. I’m aware how the years move steadily forward. I’m appreciative to be working with such talented groups of artist making these life lasting stories. I’m blessed to have met so many great people in my travels. To be blessed to see so many beautiful places. I hope that people will continue to enjoy our collective storytelling. I’ve heard from many of you directly or in reviewing our films and I’m sincerely touched. Thank you. I’m going to end this blog for today and soak up a few more quiet moments in North Carolina.
Be good to one another.
This week was wonderful with our first hints of spring and the sun bringing us our 1st 80 degree day. We got lots of yard work done getting the garden ready and such. We lost our 1st soccer match to the ex champs last Sunday but we played well and it was great to be out running full field. That was until Tuesday when the sore caught up to me but by Weds I was ready to go again. As the 80 degree heat was hitting I was lamenting the fact that my hair was heavy and long almost midway down my back. I was excited by a few upcoming projects because I would be trading the long hair for a short period haircut such as on the “The Mad Scientist” film about inventor N. Teslsa. That shoots in the early fall and so I was thinking I might be stuck for a bit looking like the missing member of ALABAMA. But maybe not…:) Read on.
Tuesday I had a great meeting with some other Michigan filmmakers at the new office. We shared a few bottles of home wine and had good discussions on the biz and I gave encouragement as these fine folks travel rocky roads I’ve been on before. It’s hard to be a working artist especially at the start. It is where many die along the road way like a filmmakers own Trail of Tears or Oregon Trail. Anyway, when I came in for the night after our meeting I saw that another filmmaking buddy from Michigan had reached out about a role in a film he was directing. It was a smaller role but upon reading it I liked the character and thought I could bring something special to it. It also would provide a first opportunity to come work with him versus just our informal meetings over hard cider. The best part – a haircut:) So tonight and Tuesday I will be participating in the storytelling of Holiday Miracle. I’m playing one of the child lead’s father. I almost did a role like this on the film, THE IRISHMAN playing the father who leaves the boy at the orphan’s home. The difference was some new casting director was trying to place a bunch of hoops for me to deliver just a handful of powerful lines. All I ask is for someone to look at my work and respect it. If you know I can do something just present the offer and if I connect with a character I may do it. But I will not be jerked around by casting folk on a power trip. Needless to say, The Irishman was a pass for me. That said, this opportunity reminded me of that but the director/producer friend knows my work and presented an opportunity professionally. No BS. No hoops. Just an offer. I’ve carried films as the star and I’ve also been a supporting spoke in a hub of artists working together to tell a story. As a producer I can tell you all roles are important. One bad casting can ruin a scene. A few bad scenes can ruin a movie. So everyone is important right down to groups of extras. So I want to thank Joel Paul Reisig whom I’ve known for several years now for professionally offering an opportunity to work together. He is another one of the DOERS in our industry and for that he has my respect. Let’s tell a story. I’m looking forward to meeting his team.
On Other Fronts-
The national PR on “Darkest Night” is really heating up and will as we approach the July release. It is now for PRE-ORDER on amazon.com and other outlets.
We are doing some FX planning work on one upcoming western-era film. Also progress on “Soul Eater” the prequel to “The 8th Plague” as we are now gathering our foreign partners. I talked this week to actor amigo Terry Jernigan who plays Buck and I can officially say he is on board. I also talked with Eric Williford who produced the original and is now directing his own material. It is great to re-circle the wagons and talk about future collaborations.
“Ashes of Eden” is closing in on the rough cut edit and again I’m amazed at the scenes. This film will surprise many in the range of the powerful performances. Great job Shane Hagedorn on the edit work.
“Supermodel Showdown” TV show and “Donors” are in post being assembled and scored under my supervisor Dennis Therrian.
I’ve also been in beginning discussions with a personal management company in Hollywood. My entertainment attorney is out there and I’ve had agents out there and it looks like I may once again dive into that realm. Why? Basically many Hollywood’ers think I’m ready for prime time and keep wanting to know why I’m not working the larger studio films. I guess with my tolerance for bullshit being low that has kept me content with the independent scene vs mainstream Hollywood. But with this powerhouse firm handling the BS I could start doing a big picture or two a year. The nice part is I don’t NEED the work. That keeps coming and as I’ve focused more on foreign productions the offers are just growing. But with 3 new Star Wars films and several great comic book films still to be made into blockbusters I just might have to throw my hat in the ring on a few of these. Is Hollywood’s studio system ready for DJ Perry? Maybe, I guess we will see.
Other Roles –
I will be filming with Larry Simmons on his follow-up film to our “Locked in a Room” that has been a steady best seller on Google Play via Echo Bridge Entertainment since the release. More on “Panic in 703” as we get closer into production.
Okay friends, I’ve got a day full of stuff today to do before I go play on set with some fellow Michigan artists. Tomorrow I look forward to another battle on the soccer field and I’m feeling lean and mean. So once again I say, let’s get it on:)
Enjoy the day and thank you for stopping in for a read.
It was a crazy, busy week again but as the snow melts and the sun shines – I’m ready to get some projects done. I’ve been deep in my head creating and being the character Oliver in the upcoming “Somnium”. A mental patient with an Obi Wan sort of vibe to him. He befriends and guides the young antagonist who is thrust into the chaos. I’m in hopes that I can get my ticket booked this weekend so I can make my plans to cover the home front. It is a week jammed full of my scenes so I will be working it hard but that is not a problem. Let’s look at a few updates.
I’ve had a few submissions for the children actors we put a call out for on the http://www.cdiproductions.com website. I wanted to really see what Michigan has and if we cannot find who we require we will start to widen the search. So if you fit the breakdown let us see those reels. Project announcement in the weeks ahead.
– ‘Donors” is in the process of being brought over to Dennis Therrian for composing of music.
– “Locked in a Room” released nationally on the 7th and is flying up the charts. In Top 100 in 48 hours. It is a dark fun film and I think audiences will dig. On Google Play and You Tube VOD. Check it out!
– Parables deal delivered and now in talks with more potential licensor over our library of films.
– This week a big announcement but the advance hint before PR is that it has to deal with our new CDI Television and it also deals with the only project I ever DIRECTED.
– ASHES OF EDEN will also be releasing a great behind the scenes featurette “Road to Eden” with up to now unseen footage. This will release within the next two weeks. Stay tuned! The film itself is looking great!
I’ve been given sides recently on an interesting project. Western and undead – hmm…I almost did a film like that a handful of years ago. I will look it over and they require a kick ass Sheriff – okay:) Can do.
Thanks to a purchase I now have a great new additional to the new FORT PERRY. My office has a Midway stand up video game with a bunch of classics. I nice mind relax when mulling over decisions. DEFENDER:) SINISTAR and many others – go childhood:) Lastly I’m nixing through a contract that would be a test run representation deal on film work. I will likely complete that this week and announce more on that when completed.
OK. Onto a day of getting stuff done. I hope you all Spring Ahead and follow those dreams.
SNOW is a large force of nature in many folks day. In Michigan the Great Lakes gave us some protection and so we have a beautiful blanket but a reasonable amount. I’m sipping the hot coffee and giving all of you a little update before I put in two days of work on the new office. We are going to finish up the electric on it and this past week was organizing my desk and added another bookshelf. Last week was a cautionary tale told as a tribute to an old friend. This week is vastly different. At Collective Development Inc. http://www.cdiproductions.com we have engaged in working with other promising filmmakers. We go into association and use our experience to help others emulate the success we’ve had while trying to help them avoid our past errors. This usually works only as well as someone listens. I will say that some of the associations become the foundation of long-term maybe lifetime collaborations while others are the first and last. I’m very focused upon this task of storytelling. I will ultimately only work with the same. I will first talk about one of these collaborations. ‘Locked in a Room” directed by Larry Simmons. By his admission the film was going to be an exercise and he expected it to be a few rungs higher than a student film. When we first talked I told him I don’t play. If we did this we did it right. The proper marketing and PR, high prod value, distribution friendly cast and worldwide distribution. We had professional differences of opinions on occasion but all done with respect. He discovered how much more BIZ work was involved with SHOW+BIZ. He knew a lot from the music world BUT film is audio, music, fx, color correct, quality control – so many more layers than just audio and LONGER! Ten 2 min songs is 20 minutes and we are dealing with just under 2 hours of product. Many people can manage a short be it narrative or commercial but a feature is another beast. I think Larry learned so many lessons that he will carry over to our next projects. That said, I was so proud of Larry. We finished the film, shopped the film and now Echo Bridge Entertainment has released it. They have a studio level distribution set up to handle Lionsgate and Miramax material. They released us a touch earlier than our March 7th release and boy did it come out with a bang. Google Play is becoming one of the new powerhouse venues pushing instant downloads. We came out debut at #20 and it has moved to #12. This painful piece of art so many hours to create is now in the mix with major Hollywood releases and standing its ground and climbing. It is scary as I saw people in the theaters hiding and yelling at the screen:) More than just the exposure and profit that can follow Larry is a role model. Not just to his kids as a man following his dream but to many aspiring filmmakers. This nice write-up is in celebration of black cinema and those that create it. Even more Larry can stand as an inspiration to other filmmakers in Detroit, MI be they black, white, asian, hispanic, middle eastern – doesn’t matter. STORYTELLERS are one TRIBE! The haters will come out as they are as sure as the Northern star. My script is better. Why can’t I find backers. Those who feel left from the limelight. Smile and keep moving I say. I like the old saying that if someone comes with their cup already full I cannot help you. Many are not open to listening. Listening is not weakness it is wisdom. A common question I get is from people who want to work with me/CDI. Be a good listener. Be a doer. Don’t come with your cup full to the brim – I will have nothing to offer. I don’t like to spill.
GREAT LINK TO THE STORY ON LOCKED IN A ROOM SUCCESS STORY
Other updates –
“DONORS” http://www.donorsthemovie.com is looking to lock up picture and have it over to us for music score in two weeks.
Development talks/meetings going strong. New scripts are being reviewed. Some budgeting underway. “Race to Judgement,” “Soul Eater,” and many others.
Some exciting news coming on CDI TV. The new Parables TV Network deal for “Figure in the Forest” and “Wicked Spring” are on the forefront of the TV movie dealings.
“7 Stones” is rolling out to the 1st distribution folks.
A pair of biblical features following the success of “Book of Ruth” is close to pre-production.
Westerns are certainly on the development slate. After “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” released to #1 western rental for 7 weeks, top 10 for 17 weeks. This film has grossed well over a million dollars with Lionsgate and we are looking to recreate this success. Soon it will be time to strap on the gun rigs again!
“Ashes of Eden” editing is going great. I can only say that this film has dynamite dramatics. Check out the trailer teaser if you want a look. A lot more on this film as we get a little further down the line.
Well, I think it is time for a coffee refill and to get ready to work on the office.
Stay warm. Stay safe. And have a wonderful weekend.