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.
The sun has come through the clouds and I’ve got my coffee here with me. Welcome new readers from New Zealand, China, Philippines and more. As we ride out this event as one many things have changed. For the first time in the world we’re dealing with something as WE versus ME. I think it’s the first time in my lifetime and maybe everyone’s lifetime where this unified perspective prevails. These next couple weeks are suppose to be hard on the population. It is interesting how as this ramped up everyone was asking each other if anyone knew an infected person. In a matter of days the answer became, “I know someone who knows something and a day later we all knew people. This event will effect everyone either by loss of family or friend.
With the virus attacking my concern goes to the more venerable. I have been making a few calls a day to catch up and check on friends. I’ve been meaning to circle back with a friend and associate Ray Nikolaison whom I produced ‘Book of Ruth’ with a handful of years ago. He has been having health challenges but steadily getting better and we last talked of a few film projects in development. I was planning to check with him this weekend when I was sadly informed he passed away. I’ve not confirmed that the virus did this but was told it was a possibility.
Ray and I talked for years before ‘Book of Ruth’ came together exploring all kinds of funding options. Ray was a deep voiced, dry humor man who worked slow and steady towards a goal. He would call and always ask if he was talking to THE DJ Perry. We shared many mutual friends like Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty who passed a few years ago. We had some lengthy conversations over scripts, distribution and acting. He joins a growing group of artists who have left the game. No more struggles to tell a story. RIP Ray and thank you for creating with me over all these years.
I’ve been blessed to receive such great fan mail from all the people out there watching our films with their families and solo while in isolation. WILD FAITH is getting known as a story that plays equally well for kids and adults. MAN’S BEST FRIEND is bringing the plight of wounded veterans and dogs to the masses. THE QUEST TRILOGY (FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER) is a perfect watch/re-watch for the Easter season. The films are all on Amazon, Tubi and many TV networks and platforms. I know UPTV just included THE CHRIST SLAYER amongst the Easter classics, must see’s for Easter. That was our goal to create some new watch traditions for families for many years to come. WICKED SPRING, 7 STONES…feel free to explore the entire collection.
I’ve been doing some watching myself and on SHAMELESS I’m seeing many old friends like Charlene Amoia from TANGY GUACAMOLE. Sammy Peebles whom I worked with on MAN’S BEST FRIEND. I hear rumor that Josh and Scott Perry from THE CHRIST SLAYER are on that show. A commercial comes on and there is Denny Doyle, Bob Shepherd…fun. I’ve been sorting through all my paperwork from 20+ years. My emails and folders are slowly being sorted also. This is the time to catch up on everything that has piled up over the last few years. I’ve also found all kinds of interesting PR news stories, pics and tidbits from this crazy journey.
We’ve been working post-production on LOST HEART and prep work on upcoming BEST YEARS GONE. We’ll be announcing more of our cast and crew this week. Our schedule is being tweaked and we’ll be ready when the storm passes. I’ve been having lots of fun developing this new character of Gil.
We’ve also been looking at several other possible projects to follow. HASTINGS the Wild Faith TV series has lots of good things starting to line up. I had another network exec watch WILD FAITH and comment on what a great series it will make. It will. We will. It is all about visualize and taking steps every day.
Aside from all that I’m getting the office and yard in order. I might be adding a nice outside gazebo for outside meetings as well as inside. The garden is being prepped for a new season. I saw the first growth of rhubarb and the popping of violets. Soon the mushrooms will be popping followed by mulberries, raspberries and strawberries. I have to trim the apple and mulberry trees. Maybe strawberry wine? Maybe. I might also do a run of beer also. I just need one final thing to brew that up.
I’m not going to wax on and on but the point is this storm will pass. Will you be right where you left off or way ahead due to organization, planning and implementing? I plan to be the latter. One of the secrets to success is self starting and time management. Reels. Bios updated. Use this time wisely, don’t give in to worry and waste. Be kind to one another and stay safe. I hope we all appreciate one another after this. I also hope that other world issues that affect all of us – ocean/water clean up, air clean up and wiser use of natural resources. Cures for other diseases such as cancer if the entire world focuses and shares. I see lots of good acts being born of this crisis. Be the change you want to see.
FOR WHATEVER REASON THE PIC ATTACHMENT IS NOT WORKING
“Making movies requires faith in yourself, your team and something higher”
I’m sipping Michigan Cherry coffee this morning and trying to wrangle cats over here. Anyone who says producing is easy is lying. We might make it look easy at CDI but it isn’t. Well the raising of funds isn’t. We have a good deal of funds committed to our next film endeavor LOST HEART but we have a little to go. It is hard because you cannot just advertise that you are looking for investors in violation of SEC laws which most filmmakers are unaware of. Also getting investors to understand the timelines and how you’re trying to make windows work. In Yuma, AZ it was the desert and the fact that past a certain point it was 100-120 degrees. In Michigan shooting especially up North its dancing around Memorial weekend and the 4th of July weekend. The schedule of stars and key elements required. I am eager for the studio production deal. I have a few that are in talks and that would essentially have us producing with studio money whereas they own the copyright. I’m game for that if it means not having to slog through the funding process every time.
“The payoff for all those painful, stressful times can be immense”
EVERY independent filmmaker knows this issue. 99% of the contact with filmmakers is that have an idea, maybe a script but not the funds. They film on spec, they attend a slew of festivals in hopes of enticing that distribution deal. I use to do all that and it is hard. The festival trail is the Oregon Trail of indie film and the trail is littered with the bones and buried bodies of artists who had big dreams. I’ve made it to the middle of the pack whereas no more festivals required to lure the distribution deals. But the next step is even more exciting and we are getting close. But that said, it is still hard.
“Development can be draining but it is the foundation to every film story told”
I’ve learned to look at a story in a deeper spiritual way – that it will be what it was meant to be. The artists that were meant to be involved will be. If someone steps out of the flow that creates an amazing opportunity for new artists. I’ve been the replacement actor before. I like to keep teams of artists growing and evolving but again it is hard to launch a project. We do it often but every one of them has been a task, painful at times. I have joked on the last few projects at the hardest times, that I should just tend bar at the Moose Lodge down the road. I have some great stories that I could share for years with the patrons playing KENO and sipping suds.
“The beauty of Michigan will be on full display in LOST HEART”
LOST HEART will either shoot in May or July and I will know Tuesday by how the chips fall. The key is once you have enough fuel/funds that you also have enough prep time. We’ve done a lot of ground work but you are limited until you can make hard offers. I will be opening the bank account as now we have all our paperwork around. Our committed funds will start flowing in this week and the ship is getting prepped to travel. BMG will once again be distributing so no shopping of the film required. We have a small handful of roles to finalize but cast and crew will be approached once our film dates are set. I’ve talked to some of you and I look forward to creating with you. The point is lots of work go into the launch so appreciate that next time you are sailing along making a film. OK. I will hold off on retiring to the Moose Lodge to bartend:)
“Wild Faith is worth a trip into town, don’t forget to water your horse”
WILD FAITH – Thank you Grand Rapids and Biloxi, Mississippi for the cinema run. I’m told West VA might be the next place that our western can be seen on myCinema’s roll out. That film will start to appear for pre-order DVD on various sites. Here are just a few
Moving towards Easter we have a few films to talk about but this was a neat discovery. The film I helped produce and costarred in years ago BOOK OF RUTH, Journey of Faith is in one of my favorite midwest chains – Meijer. A good time to pick up a copy for your DJ Perry collection:) I saw it right over on Lake Lansing yesterday when picking up some ink.
“Dan Haggerty and I on Book of Ruth, RIP my ole friend”
BOOK OF RUTH Journey of Faith
Our Easter film THE CHRIST SLAYER is heading to select theaters with myCinema on April 19th. If the big screen is not your thing or getting out and about is hard, you can rent/buy on digital streaming or DVD now on various sites.
It looks like Biloxi, Mississippi will also be playing THE CHRIST SLAYER on the big screen starting April 15th. I’m sure tickets will start selling soon. (See Below)
We hope the film is made available to many more of you. Contact your theater and have them book via MyCinema!
If you are going to Easter treat yourself and your family by watching The Christ Slayer you might as well watch FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR also. Again a great review of THE QUEST TRILOGY which includes all three films.
The Quest Trilogy Review
MBF – dialog clean up is underway with the audio master Tricky T:) I’m really excited about this film because of the topics and messages within. VFX and color correction will be up next for the visual team. Follow us at –
I’m going to close here. it was a great week of business and getting things cleaned up about the yard. I’m ready for the snow to say its final goodbye. Today my college MSU has a big game so I’ll likely be watching that. Good green! Keep chipping away at your goals and dreams. If it was easy everyone would do it. Talk at you next week.
So it’s quiet here on Saturday night and I’ll be releasing this in the wee hours of Sunday. We had a nice family gathering to celebrate several birthdays and we’ve got two more days of more such celebrations. Before we get in too deep – welcome readers from Uganda. It has been a whirlwind of business both development, promotion and post-production.
Grand Rapids, MI appearance with Shane Hagedorn and Melissa Anschutz
It’s been wonderful to first see all the cast and crew from “Wild Faith” and following that – to have audiences enter this world we’ve recreated on-screen. We had a solid run in both Grand Rapids and Lansing. Lansing, Lansing, Lansing… I’ve always been proud of being from Lansing and still call it home to this day. I’ve always felt somewhat that the saying you can’t be a prophet in your own town, applied to me. I understand it. I think it applies to many artists.
But, the power of a story is proving me wrong. We’ve been selling out “Wild Faith” all weekend and so tomorrow Celebration Cinema jumped us from one showing to four. This after several fine folks were unable to attend after the shows sold out in advance online. I went to run errands this morning and heard people talking about the film. Often we as the filmmakers can grow tired of the story after the long post production phase. But I’ve enjoyed the handful of theatrical showings I’ve attended. I’ve enjoyed the laughter most of all. To hear a full theater laugh together at certain moments is priceless.
I think with the last several films I’ve played emotionally heavy characters. It was a pure joy to be Ben Lily. A tribute to a character with more bravery than brains. With my trusty half-native sidekick, or am I the sidekick? Either way, creating with these two characters was special for me because of the humor intertwined in the performance. I also know that my old friend Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty would have approved with a hearty laugh. I do wish old friend Rance Howard could have seen the final film. He loved the trailers and truly loved the genre. The film will continue to move and play. If you want the film call/email your local theater and request the film to play. We’re in talks with several new venues and may announce new screens as early as this week. But if you can – treat yourself tomorrow. 1875 Michigan.
SUNDAY ‘WILD FAITH” SHOWTIMES AT CELEBRATION CINEMA (LANSING)
10:45, 1:05, 6:00, 8:05
In other news, Collective Development Inc.‘s next film MBF/Man’s Best Friend has been given the green light. All funds are committed and being pulled in as we prep the ship to sail. We’re working on setting our schedule and I’m also proud to have ‘Paul’ front and center again. This script is another story I’m extremely proud of. I’m challenged greatly by this next role and I find that exciting. If we’ve spoken to you as cast and crew just be patient as we move down the TO DO lists. We’re working hard to create that environment to create within. I’m excited to share this film next year with audiences. In the meantime…
The Christ Slayer is now in color correction and audio with Nathaniel Nose, director and Dennis Therrian, composer. I like to use that example of kids who get together after school to play. They have ideas, they get excited and they play. Inside the imagination play is what drives the process forward. This film will be a gift to audiences at the Christmas season. Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy will pull it all together.
Working backwards – Chasing the Star is playing the big screen at the International Christian Film Festival up for five awards. It was nice to catch up with director Bret Miller at a “Wild Faith” screening in Grand Rapids. We got to toast a beer to the adventure in the desert we called “Chasing the Star” CTS. This film is moving into more foreign territories and platforms.
“Forty Nights” is being promoted heavily going into the Easter season by our distributor. It is such an inspiring story I can see why it was recently chosen to kick off their Easter promotions. I will admit here, of all the ICFF awards “Chasing the Star” is up for I hope we see another ‘2018 Most Inspirational‘ take home to honor our amazing cast and crew.
I can say I’ve been enjoying experiencing the reaction to this films. I’m appreciative that these stories are giving some entertainment and comfort to audiences. I’ve been writing weekly and plan to get even more focused. Wheels are in motion. Several scripts that have been waiting for their time just might find it. Some exciting developments underway that will lead to many more years of stories been told at CDI. The tribe is on the move to create and we appreciate all your support. We cannot thank you enough.
Be good to one another.