The hazelnut coffee is flowing and I’m finally landed back in the Michigan and catching up. We had a wonderful whirlwind trip to AZ whereas we were met at the airport by ‘Doc’ our AZ transportation Captain in a new RV. We went to Wilcox and had a few days of great friends old and new including Darby Hinton * who beat me for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ in the very entertaining film ‘Bill Tillman and the OutLaws’ who also had my dear friend Lana Wood in a great cigar chomping role that reminded me of the mother in “Goonies” – just great.
I also had just bought a $2 Johnny Cash album at the flea market ‘Live from Folsom Prison’ and lo and behold we spent time visiting with John Carter Cash, his wife Ann and son Joe who had a short film “Dragon Song” at the festival and promoting a new documentary “The Gift” about Johnny. Just wonderful people and abound and so thank you to Rock and Brenda who put the Wild Bunch Film Festival on. We took home 7 awards of the 13 nominations.
BEST DIRECTOR, BEST ACTOR and ACTRESS, BEST CHILD ACTORS, BEST FAITH FILM and I’m forgetting one. Come on coffee! It will come to me.
That same weekend we had Lauren LaStrada win ‘Best Actress’ again in Wild Faith at the Hollywoodivine International Film Festival in PA. The film took Honorable Mention for ‘Best Faith Film’ and won ‘Best Film’ overall. Josh Perry was there representing THE CHRIST SLAYER and WON for his role of Albus. We were all so proud of him.
The weekend prior we were honored to have WON the Justice Award at Content 19 for WILD FAITH that was also recognized for SET DESIGN. Next week at the Green Mountain Christian Film Festival I’ve been nominated again for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ as Ben Lily. I’m proud of all the attention the films are getting.
So if you have not stayed current these are some of the CDI films you can watch on TV or get the DVD.
ASHES OF EDEN
FORTY NIGHTS – The Quest Trilogy Part 1
CHASING THE STAR – The Quest Trilogy Part 2
THE CHRIST SLAYER – The Quest Trilogy Part 3
MBF: Man’s Best Friend
- Also if you want to see some old school – my 1st starring film with monsters in it is called IN THE WOODS and can be found on Amazon.
- Also WICKED SPRING now released by CDI but an older Civil War drama.
- R Rated – Halloween fare could include DARKEST NIGHT, DEADLY RENOVATIONS and THE 8th PLAGUE if you dare:)
The office has the wood burning stove going. This week I will harvest the apples for a crisp. We have been enjoying the HOPPY GRAPE APE wine at our meetings. We missed a family wedding yesterday to attend a memorial for my Uncle on the other side of the family. A unique, funny storyteller who will be greatly missed. He would have enjoyed LOST HEART.
LOST HEART is past the 30 min mark in the edit and I’m looking to move it to sound design and music towards the end ofd the year. The distribution is set and this will be another enjoyable CDI film.
This week we’re prepping for a short narrative film that is actually a demo for a software company. It is a Victorian age film short taken from a feature film script of mine entitled SMOKE & MIRRORS. It will be a fun project for sure.
We also will be pushing hard with the new momentum for the WILD FAITH TV series. Plus we have a few features we are developing foe 2020 and 2021. With that I’m going to close this blog up and enjoy the morning.
Peace to you all!
I’m sitting here sipping some hazelnut coffee from my Double JJ coffee mug. (See above) As of yesterday I’ve just about got all my gear from my last film adventure settled back in. Like I said before, when I go off I’m packing for myself personal, business and the character I played. I had almost as much stuff for ole “Niles Cass’ the role I played in LOST HEART.
I’ve been playing clean up on the project. A bit high on expendable costs and damages. It is funny how people think that everything is tied to a faceless corporation when it is not. It is a small group of hardworking actor/producers working to tell a story. We will be installing a policy ‘CDI welcome book’ for future projects. We had a few damages that were not reported as they should. So you get to the end thinking everything was smooth and you find a damaged walkie talkie here and a broken clamp there. That responsibility, accountability is what makes a true KEY in filmmaking. You can know the gear and how to set it up and break it down but attitude (A #1 CDI requirement) and pride in your work (A CDI goal) are so important.
Hard working CDI team in the desert of Yuma, AZ
I see the difference between someone who works with their own gear and someone working with rental gear unless they are a complete professional. By that, I mean treating others gear as yours and making sure that great care is taken because it is your name as accountable. Now I’m now talking about billing people for damages which would only be mildly satisfying. I really care about people and their development. At least in our area there are only so many professional outfits creating content under the proper insurance and conducting proper business. If you are lucky enough to get these opportunities you should always work to leave the best impression. I know that rule as talent. So few regional companies are paying for narrative feature film and if you get that opportunity you want to shine. That means repeat work and if you think that we don’t ask for and get recommendations, it happens all the time.
I was recently disappointed in a friend who does some work for us and must have misrepresented themselves. I got a call about his producer work on a certain project. The problem is that he wasn’t on the producer team. So when I got the call I was just honest but you could hear what the words did. It shot holes all in the credibility of this person and his words. What did it do to my opinion of this person?
CDI Crew working on set of WILD FAITH
So someone who comes up short might just need more development under a more experienced KEY. But poor communication and lack of taking accountability can end the possibility of something long term. It can also add the dreaded “but…” along with your name. Such as “He’s got all kinds of talent but…(insert the short coming here). I’ve also had to deal with gear with pre-existing damage that the responsibility is put upon production. It is why honest and long-sighted vendors are a must. Overall we had an amazing crew and some are on their 3rd or 4th+ films with CDI. Having a handful of those great relationships will assist cast or crew in maintaining a good career. These lessons go for cast too. If you get known for being late, bad attitude or being unprepared – your future is in jeopardy. So always give your best. Take accountability for mistakes. And always strive to increase communications.
LOST HEART is ‘in the can’ and editing is about to begin. You can read back on the previous posts to get all the gushing. It will be a heart touching and funny movie full of fun. I again thank all our cast, crew, investors, sponsors and supporters for making this story happen.
WILD FAITH is rolling out hard to Wal-Mart and other retailers. We had many people reaching out having gotten their copy of the film. It will play Sunday Oct 6th at the WILD BUNCH western festival in AZ. 3:15 is the start time and so if you are in the area you can see our film and many others in the genre. It is also being recognized at the upcoming CONTENT 19 festival for its themes and set design. If you have not watched this film yet – rent it. Buy it. Enjoy it.
Anthony Hornus our director of MBF: Man’s Best Friend is busy working to try and set up the premiere screening in Sept in his home town of Owosso/Corunna. Our tech teams are working to polish the film even further before the theatrical and home video release. The film is really powerful and if you have a soft place for our wounded heroes and/or dogs, this film will be for you.
The Quest Trilogy: Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer. I like to say most people get more holy around the holidays but these films are adventures. You can enjoy them at any time. The reports and checks from the distributor tell me that you all are enjoying the films. I am looking forward to having all three in the marketplace for the upcoming holidays. More people are discovering these hidden gems. Go ahead and take a watch and see if they are something to share with your family during the holiday season.
DEVELOPMENT: We are looking at various projects and discussing the best way to bring them to life. I’m about to take a nice 5 day break from the movies and clear my head. When you are filming you are going 100 miles an hour. Once in post things start to slow quickly to a nice steady pace. When I return we’ll have our in-depth debrief where we discuss all aspects of production. What worked well. What did not. What can be improved upon. Much of this crew building is for future projects including a TV series. We are looking for the right people to move forward with. Money does not buy the qualities and traits we are looking for – those come from within. Production doesn’t really decide if a crew member is a rehire or not. Their own attitude and actions does decide that. If someone is so positive and hardworking and cares about what they are doing you always want that person on board. We just look at what they gave us and make decisions based on that. We know who are the crew people working to be directors. We keep an eye on their development and one day…you might land in a directing chair.
Well, my lawn is finally back under control and things are running smooth. While doing some banking yesterday I stopped at a small garage sale on my way home and left with a couple Blu-Ray copies of ENTER THE DRAGON, KING KONG and the MATRIX trilogy for $2.00 – nice.
“It is like a finger pointing a way to the moon…Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.” – Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon)
Have a great week and as long as I don’t get eaten by a bear on my retreat we’ll chat next week. Be good to one another.
I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee from my room at the Double JJ Resort. I’m close to being wrapped with my character of Niles Cass in the film LOST HEART. It’s been a great ride thus far with only a few small bumps in the road. Luckily, when you have a great team gathered you address and flow past those issues. We truly do have a great team of artists who are also problem solvers not creators. I was again so proud the other day when we had our new friends Susan and Norm out to set. They are the owners and until recently ran the Double JJ Resort for several years. That duty has largely been passed down but they are the ones who still care deeply for the resort and it’s on-going future. They know that keeping your word, taking pride in your work and maintaining excellent customer service is what keeps people returning. So again it was a pleasure to have them visit and see the ‘zen’ flow of how smooth our set runs. That night it was all chill save the occasional radio communication at basecamp calling the roll out. Like Susan and Norm, we’re making some great contacts and friends in this area and are seriously considering filming in this area again.
Our newest mid-western WILD FAITH, is really heating up now that the DVD’s are for sale including at the Wal-Mart. Here is fellow producer ‘Tony’ Hornus at the Whitehall store. If you have not seen the film please do treat yourself. After if you feel inclined to leave a few kind words please do so.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend is delivered to our distributor and is now being prepped for the theatrical and home video run. It will be great to get this story out there to audiences. Paul whom I played in the film is one of my most challenging characters to date. I wanted to properly represent the soldiers who have been wounded, sacrificing themselves to keep us all safe. A premiere is in the planning so stay tune for updates on that and also the other releases.
The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) continues to expand and I’m exciting for the upcoming holiday season with all three films complete. I hope that several TV networks pick them up to watch together. All three are available to purchase or rent.
I’m going to go get ready to drop stuff at the office and have lunch with the crew. I’m back on camera tomorrow so I’ll be refreshing myself with those lines. I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday.
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.
Well, well, well last week’s blog entry made a large impact. We had maybe the most readers from around the world. It was crazy to see all the countries represented. It was a great week and I’ll speak on some of that. I’ll also give a few open spoilers before released in PR next week. But I want to sincerely thank all the people who joined me this past week. I’ve got the hot hazelnut coffee here by my side and I’m going to get into some updates. I will note on a few things I noticed this week.
We had our 3rd film in THE QUEST TRILOGY – The Christ Slayer release to amazon, google play, Christian Cinema digitally. This film is unusual as it is available on home video (DVD will be March 4th) and will be releasing into theaters for Easter on April 19th. I had a big conference call meeting with the VP of BMG and 8 executives/employees from the theatrical company. I’ve never been in on a call quite like that as we’ve never had national releases. The call also touched upon WILD FAITH that releases into theaters March 23rd and will roll to home video after the platform release. I’m so happy that these films that do play great on the big screen due to the strong production values brought by our artists. I’ll be getting lists of where the films will play city and theater chains. I’m hearing that we have in MI early interest from Emagine, Celebration and Goodrich who carried the film before. Canada is being considered for theatrical and I hear that a deal in Brazil could be close. I was just proud to have all these talented people focused on our films.
I had a goal of making a trilogy of biblical adventures that would appeal to a broad audience like the Chuck Heston films of old. I’ve noticed that beyond the normal trolling that films with a religious topic or theme also get attacked. If you’ve watched The Christ Slayer and enjoyed it I encourage you to vote and share your thoughts. When you see a two sentence slam on a film versus an intelligent write-up/review it’s pretty easy to make up your mind on which review is more accurate. I’ve noticed on past films like Chasing the Star, that people don’t know their history. They complained that the film was dark. Ummm…King Herod’s reign was dark. They called it unGodly because it focused on a different religion with the Magi. Ummm…this is accurate and Christianity wasn’t close to being a religion. I don’t mind if someone doesn’t like something but when they claim something isn’t accurate is silly when only their education is what isn’t accurate. Lot of viewpoints are subjective but that doesn’t make it wrong. It just tells me that films like these were badly needed. So feel free to watch all three films now on Amazon but if The Christ Slayer plays near you in April please do check it out on the big screen.
Wild Faith should roll out new artwork and we should start to see more PR on this wonderful film. There are also some few things in play with the distributor that could lead to our TV series. We had good talks over this film which I think will play great all across this country. I hope my Canadian friends and fans get a chance to see this film on the big screen. But I learned that in Canada they have different ratings boards for each territory. So you could have to pay for multiple ratings but they still might elect to do just that. I’m excited to see this again on the big screen. We’ve remastered the film for the new release and added a great new addition to the film with a surprise story narrator.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend will have a first edit end of this week. We’ll spend two weeks refining the cut before moving it along to Dennis Therrian for music and sound design. The theatrical company has an early interest in the film and with a good amount of lead time we’ll be able to do some great marketing. We’ll also start work on a new trailer in April cut from the edited film. I’m excited that while we deal with all this new release business this film is right behind it.
And right behind that film is our newly announced movie LOST HEART. Our FB social media and IMDB pages are now active.
We will start announcing cast this week as we move forward. Also you will hear it here first but CDI will once again be teaming with director Jesse Low (Forty Nights, Wild Faith) on LOST HEART. We met with several talented directors and some of them could end up working with CDI in the future. But for this next journey we’ll be working with Mr. Low. Also we’ll be announcing Melissa Anschutz, who will be playing the title role of ‘Hannah’ in the film. A big congrats to them both and we’re looking at April/May timeframe to shoot. The film will again be distributed under a deal CDI has with BMG.
I’ve also been working hard on the end-of-the-year tax work for the films. On a personal level I’ve been in talks over finding the right literary agent to do work for hire writing and to sell a few scripts I don’t plan to produce. I’ve got a few outside CDI films I’m looking at for acting but we will see. Even if paid I don’t like working hard on films that never get finished. I have a few of those lingering in my past. But I believe I will be directed towards the right projects. I will be playing a fun supporting role in Lost Heart but you’ll have to wait to hear more on that.
Yesterday I spent some time cutting up firewood for the office stove. I’m going to work on finishing a few other business items today and get a jump on things for next week. Again I was just so happy to see the HUGE spike in readers and from so many countries. Keep following your dreams and telling those stories and creating that art. We’ll talk next week. Feel free to check out http://www.cdiproductions.com for other film updates. We will have a few holes in our casting that we’ll be looking for soon.
Have a great Sunday!
Photo by Dean Teaster
Good morning my friends. I’m indeed sipping the hazelnut coffee this morning and taking a moment to type to all of you. Our CDI team has been hard at work capturing the story pieces for our next film MBF: Man’s Best Friend. We have an excellent cast and crew working hard to make each day. This film will surely live up to the standards we’ve been trying to set for ourselves as storytellers. I’ve truly gone to some new places with this character Paul. A wounded war vet who is just trying to find peace. I think many of us are trying to do that and certain things give us that feeling. What happens when that peace is disrupted or taken away? This film is just growing in leaps and bounds gathering worldwide interest. It will be featured on an upcoming ANIMAL PLANET show called ‘Amanda to the Rescue’ this fall.
Me with my boy ‘Luke Brown’
We’ve got military supporters and dog lovers. The hearing impaired and spinal injury activists – all sorts of messages in this story that unfolds in small-town America. Please check out our social media site and join us on this journey. It’s fun to see the lifelong friendships being born through mutual, shared passion in storytelling.
Aside from this we have some exciting news pending on ‘Wild Faith’ pending only until the deal is done. We’re looking at setting up more theatrical screenings this summer as we move towards fall home video release.
I also just saw the new color correction for part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY trailer. Such a beautiful job. The film VFX is still being worked but I got to see some of the digital matte paintings and such inside the feature film. We have this great film about to join ‘Forty Nights’ and ‘Chasing the Star’ in the marketplace. That will happen as ‘MBF’ is in editing.
I’m so very proud of these films done by hard-working artists on both sides of the camera. If you’re a filmmaker work hard to do things right. I saw filmmakers online talking about locations. These are so important and can make or break the look of a film. If you don’t run an organized off-set and trash a location that defines all our industry. I’ve stated before about being accountable. We’ve had some poison-individuals in this state of Michigan who caused quite a bit of damage to projects and their self. Luckily several of them are gone having burned too many bridges. I noticed how several of these toxic people were hailed for…I’m not quite sure. But I do notice that talent especially seem to fear being ‘blacklisted’ for speaking truth. Don’t get me wrong ‘blacklisting’ exists. I will remove and refuse to hire toxic cast or crew. Occasionally one gets on board but they either adopt a new positive way to perform or they are made to walk the plank:) But I will always speak my truth if asked. If I disagree with something said, I will and politely try to explain my viewpoint. I would never fear being blacklisted by any of the people I deem toxic because they could not pay me enough to collaborate with them. Don’t get me wrong, I want these people to change for the positive. Most won’t and they’ll fade away like poorly written story. But some just might decide to try to live as the best version of themselves. But often taking the high road with integrity is harder and many are seeking selfish shortcuts. I was reminded of this behavior just recently in a discussion. You can choose to be part of the problem or solution. None of it really affects my world but I see the damage it does to others working hard to build their dreams. Our tribe honors accountability and that is why we are growing. Try that and see what it does for you and your community.
I’m going to bring this to an end because I have to prepare to film. I promise to have better updates once this ship lands. But sails are about to be raised and another great day of filming lies ahead. Have a wonderful day.