Exciting Developments – ‘Off to the Races’ Music Video – ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ & ‘Best Years Gone’ premieres, ‘Silent Night in Algona’…
I’m sitting here sipping the hazelnut coffee on this peaceful Michigan morning. I want to welcome the new readers from Italy, India, Pakistan and more. It is so nice to have an international circle of artists here. The last few weeks have been extremely productive and busy. This could not be more true of the film endeavors we’re working so hard on. Past, present and future all moving forward together. Outside of the film world we’ve been working in the yard with the chickens and the veggies and herbs. This past week I harvested the hops and we’ve been enjoying eggplant and other veggies. Today I plan on grilling up a few venison steaks after a late morning run to the flea market. I think the best way to try and organize the updates are with a bullet point list.
- Oct 12th Nationally this book above will release. I have a story in it about our boy ‘Luke’ who passed a few years ago. I love contributing to these books and if you need a good Christmas gift these books make a fine one to give. Pre-Order here http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-dog-who-came-to-christmas/401231
- The short film SMOKE & MIRRORS that will condensed from my feature script is now complete. Our producers were reviewing yesterday and it is really good. That ‘steampunk’ era 1900’s setting is so fun to play in. I’ll be looking at at screening to benefit the Dodge Turner house where we filmed. It will premiere and we plan to let you all enjoy it during the Halloween season. We are even cutting a short promo teaser but I’m very happy with our end result. It was directed and edited by Nathaniel Nose who directed ‘The Christ Slayer’ with us.
- The music video ‘Off to the Races’ by Vertical Bridge the winner of the BEST YEARS GONE battle of the bands is done. We’re deciding between two logos but the video is badass and we’re talking about releasing it this week to fuel the hype of our upcoming MICHIGAN PREMIERE! I think we’ll release the music video tomorrow and also if you attend the premiere you can see it play on the theatrical screen.
- The feature BEST YEARS GONE is complete but the last few days have been working to tweak color correction and remove digital hiccups:) The film will be rendered to a theatrical file (DCP) used by the theaters. It will also get deliver to our distributor so their marketing team can review and they can start playing their home video campaign that will have DVD/streaming release in Feb 2022. The premiere Sept 18th at the NCG theaters in Owosso, MI is next Sat with both a 6pm show that is almost full and the 8:15 show that is filling up. Both will be great to attend with photos and meet and greets plus the afterglow at Romas. We have a lot of details to attend to this week in preparation but next Sat the first audiences will meet the Gilles Boys and the madcap adventure that follows. This was adapted for the screen (by yours truly) from Karl Manke’s book ‘Hope from Heaven’ and so you might want to read the book after you take a watch.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has started assembling crew paperwork which we’ll start dispersing this week. Once our schedule lands in our lap we’ll start doing our cast agreements, travel and such. We’ll be releasing PR on a few more of the German actors plus we’ll be announcing our product partnership with two more major worldwide brands. Those brands being Hormel/Spam and Hersheys, both play into our story. Other sponsors include Smithfield Foods, Lerma Transportation, The Candleberry Company and more in process. It really is great to have these amazing brands working with us. We’re working on a teaser poster along with a hundred other small details. If you want to align your brand with our WW2 Christmas film please do reach out.
- This week I also received a script in the mail (I love that vs electronic) for a future film project to see if I want to act in it. I had a few conversations about upcoming scripts/films to write/produce and we had a good chat at week’s end over the WILD FAITH TV series “Hastings” and we’ll see where that goes.
- In active development is the new VFX division that we’re working to build so that we can enhance VFX shots in our stories and also use this entity to develop our own animated programming.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film is now in fine tuning and I think will be the first of a series of films. I had productive talks this past week about another documentary film to shoot next year that will build upon this current one. But ‘For the Love of Catch’ is more than just a documentary film it will be a brand that we can do many things with including hosting, promoting and live streaming a possible event. The possibilities are really exciting. As I said before, if you love college, professional, or any type of wrestling – you will find this doc entertaining and informative. It filled in so many gaps in my casual knowledge of the grappling arts as a martial artist myself. I think this film will become one of the pillars of the grappling and it really pulls the history together so that its not forgotten. It bypasses the typical competitive nature of the different schools and illustrates the common history they all share. And the love expressed by these instructors for their art is apparent in the heartfelt words that are spoken in each and every powerful interview.
- I need to circle around and look at the CDI Classic Double Feature with Knight Chills and From Venus. New artwork and maybe an entire new campaign that could include Knight Chills HD streaming. I see it:) Do you own the 1st DVD in the CDI Classic Collection? Heaven’s Neighbors and Figure in the Forest– which one or both might also get the HD treatment with a new campaign. We will see – I need to get a few things off my plate first.
- I’ve been having a great time immersing myself in WW2 footage and films. IN HARMS WAY with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas is one I just watched. They had access to so many military vehicles like battleships, but it is John Wayne. My short hair helped me start to see my character in the mirror. The line work has been just awesome. I love the things that are said between the lines. Yesterday was Sept 11th and the tributes brought back many feelings and visions of patriotic unity in grief. I think this script speaks in these ways by looking at the examples of the past and we can apply that to our present. I’m really looking forward to telling this story.
If you are in the Michigan area and want to attend our premiere please do attend one of the two shows and the afterglow at Romas. My schedule keeps me working and recharging more than socializing at film mixers so if you and I haven’t met – feel free to introduce yourself. Leave me with a card or whatnot so I can explore your art. I recall leaving a few past film events with a pile of scripts, headshots and VHS tapes of films and reels. Now a card with a link can do much the same thing. We are exploring additional theatrical play as the distributor preps for home video and foreign sales. So if you are unable to attend the film could play closer to your home or streaming will follow early in 2022. But, if you want to meet some of the cast, crew, band members from “Vertical Bridge” the battle of the band winners – this is the event for you!
(Above is from our Algona scout/prep trip- NOTE the cool car we will be using. One of many classic pre-1944 rides)
Okay. Flea market, lawn mow, venison grill N chill and prepare for a busy Monday! MSU had another great game and I hope our LIONS can do the same! I hope you all had a great weekend and stay safe, be kind and chase down those dreams.
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!
Welcome December! I’ve got the hazelnut coffee brewed and I’m ready to have a little chat with the “Clawing My Way to the Middle” readers. First I want to say it is an honor to have each and every one of you take the time to read my journey. I try to present lessons that can help others on their own journey. I wanted to let you all know where many of our readers are from. Of course the USA, Brazil, Mozambique, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Norway, Thailand, Australia and Netherlands. How great is it that we all reside within our boarders of our country but we are all on this planetary journey together. Storytelling as been helping to shape society and artistic expressions while various all share common traits. I’ve always been drawn to culture that is different. I think that is what is uniquely special in all of us. That is why I could never get the concept of unifying. No one art is better – it is uniquely different. My mind even goes to food and drink when I look at that list of countries. I know all the unique traditions that surround great meals prepared in all those lands. USA is the hodgepodge for sure and that is our thing. But I’m deeply appreciate of food, song, culture, religion (as an expression) and storytelling. I’ve been honored to have worked with a handful of international filmmakers and I plan to work with more. I think my interest in ancient history, martial arts and even the culture of futbol/soccer has driven me to explore and enjoy the diversity we have on this planet. I want to thank all of you readers for your precious moments. I also will make it a goal to get more and more of our films into your territories. Some of them already are but with distribution growing as they say at Disney world “It’s a small world after all.” True words:)
I’ve had a great week both personal and professional. The Thanksgiving family time is past us and now the Christmas tree is up. While not yet decorated it has been a welcome sight each day. The tree will become the fuel of the transformation fire (Fire pit) that will help burn up the winter clutter once spring arrives. I’ve been gathering gifts for family since I will be gone the week before Christmas week. I’ll be in Nevada playing space cowboy in the Valley of Fire. I was informed that as a young child I went there and even saw a few old photos yesterday. I look forward to gathering with these artists and performing with a few actors I admire and have not yet worked directly with. I’m ready save my packing so soon it will be time to shoot in the WASTELAND.
2015 Distribution Updates
ASHES OF EDEN – Feel free to read a great review of the film. More of these will be releasing leading up to the 2015 national release. I have a goof vocabulary but I had to look up the word they associated with my name. I thought it might mean “Loud and Opinionated” Ha! But I was happy to see that it meant “marked by outstanding strength and vigor of body, mind or spirit.” So please do take a read on the review and we will be getting the film on the market and out to you very soon.
DONORS – Also will be releasing nationally in 2015 – more on this in the weeks to come
WICKED SPRING – produced under Lionheart Filmworks when that was our southern sister company. The companies split ways a handful of years ago and now “Wicked Spring” is under the CDI banner and is getting a 2015 spring special edition release. Also on BluRay!
We will see a 2015 re-release of KNIGHT CHILLS with a novelization release. Likely fall 2015. Also work on a sequel script has begun.
HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS and FIGURE IN THE FOREST rights are back at home here at CDI and a domestic release set up will also happen. “Figure in the Forest” can be seen on TBN and Parables TV.
BESTSELLER – Early look at FX work is very exciting! I know music work is in full swing. We are looking at a 1st test showing of this film early in 2015. We are getting some early interest from distributors. It is going to be another film that proudly showcases Michigan filmmaking at its finest.
NON-CDI RELEASE INFO
I have a few co-starring/supporting roles in THE TERRORIST & DEAD QUIET and make appearances in DIVISION 19 and SMALL TOWN SANTA (Released now).
Several VERY exciting projects are in development some with partial funding. We’re hard at work with some script work and prep that will lead to more production in 2015!
My last advice pulled from recent events. ALWAYS, ALWAYS give more by way of effort than what you are paid for. NEVER be one of the people who does just the absolute minimum. Maybe at some boring desk job but in an industry that moves on passion you never want to be seen as just a functional piece. Your passion is what makes you an artistic contributor. It is what will get you re-hired. A great example taken from BESTSELLER film shoot. I like to ninja about and just observe people at work. I came up to the grip truck one day to find our key grip Paul Burt busy organizing. Most people were just trying to stay warm and get the shots as this was a wet, cold day on a remote dirt road. I watched him move and arrange. Wipe down and clean C stands and such. When I revealed myself to his surprise – I was met with a smile and asked if I needed anything. My response – “I need an entire crew with an attitude like yours.” I said, hot coffee was ready and he explained that he would go up in a few minutes. This was HIS responsibility. HIS grip truck for this shoot and HE wanted to make sure it was clean and orderly because it was a reflection on him. WOW! I want people like that on our team. That is a reflection of us as a company. That is a reflection of us as an industry. Character is what you are when you think nobody is looking. Pride starts with yourself and extends outward like a pebble thrown in water. Paul Burt’s phone will ring again. Will yours? With only so many people making narrative features and with the way producers get referrals on performance. How many times can someone give just the bare minimum before one of your peers with passion takes that hire away from you? Let me answer that for you – not many. This goes for actors. This goes for vendors. I’ve had companies mad because I continued to get my gear over the years from LOWING LIGHT & GRIP. I even had a trash talking vendor from Detroit once ask how she could steal my business. Her choice of words alone made me say, NEVER. David (Lowing) was there when I first stepped up to fight monsters in IN THE WOODS. He has always been there for me. Like I said about cast/crew, he always gave more goods or service than the dollar amount on the check. That intangible is where loyalty lives. The actor who gives every ounce of themselves – I immediately think of Melissa Anschultz freezing in a warehouse under rain machines while filming “7 Stones”. I already spoke about Paul Bert and David Lowing as examples of crew and vendors. If you desire loyalty from people you better give them a reason. I know people out there get mad (of course at someone else) if they get passed over. We know sometimes it’s just a casting thing or a key crew position that was already in play – but look at yourselves. Are you respectful to those above and below you? Do you give your best effort, always? Do you spread positive energy in your wake? Would you be an example for others to follow? If you can’t answer YES to all of these your time could be limited or your advancement may stall. Stand accountable and watch your career and life experience amazing growth.
Happy Full Moon!
What a week, what a day… where to begin? We had a blitz of media leading up to the Lansing, MI release of “ASHES of EDEN” that kicked off last night. It will keep playing in theaters for another week and starts the Grand Rapids, MI run on Monday. We’ve received new national distribution offers this week to consider and will keep hitting the theatrical cicles. I think Detroit area is next for this film. We also have a nice support of directors DVD, posters and T-Shirts. Our first night was a great kick off and we had a handful of the stars show to do some signings.
I was with my CDI associate/close friend Dean Teaster who tied the knot last night. It was a great dinner and social and I had one of the best steaks I’ve had in a long time. I tried a bevy of drinks last night and was reminded of my age with a small ache this morning. I was able to meet up with our “Ashes of Eden” keys and enjoy the exciting stories from the nights first showings. So if you have not had a chance to see the film please do. (Look at the CELEBRATION CINEMA websites)
On deck is our final pick up shots for the dark thriller “Bestseller” and we have all those details just about worked out. It will be fun to return and capture these last few pieces. It will included a little bit of in-water work but at least I won’t be bumping my head on ice:)
An exciting drop that I will give you here first is that “Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventure” will look to launch on Indieflix’s AFTERDARK programming this forthcoming Friday. It is funny with a little sexy mixed into it all. The 1st three shows will be available on there and I think audiences will enjoy this adventure.
We are also about to start shopping “DONORS” which is another thriller starring Niki Saletta best known for “7th Heaven” and also co-stars in our upcoming “The Terrorist”. She does a wonderful job in both films and we are happy to have her artistry.
My parents both had birthdays this past week and we are have a party for my dad today and likely hosting a dinner with my mom first of the week. We’ve been using the smoker and grilling a lot and soon fresh garden veggies will be in abundance. Besides yard work that I need to get done this weekend we are going to put a cleaning on a new purchase. It is an old late 1800’s hutch that Doc Holiday would have been right at home with. It needs a little work but will be a great piece in the office.
My only advice this week for filmmakers or anyone working in art as business – don’t allow yourself to be dragged into peoples drama. Don’t associate with people that will tarnish your good name and work. Let those people isolate themselves and they will burn themselves out. It is funny how when I hear of projects that are disorganized cluster%##@@’s – I’m never surprised to discover that one of those handful of known screw ups is somehow involved. VET people out! If you are going to invest (I didn’t say donate like these social hand out sites) invest – talk to people. I would be happy if anyone were to talk with our past E.P’s because you would hear that we stayed on schedule, budget and handled ourselves professionally. Now, I’m not the only one that runs a tight ship in this area but there are only a few. There are many BS’ers out there trying to tell you what they think you want to hear and others still that will laugh and tell you how disorganized they are as if that is truly funny. No. Funny is when your work reflects your effort.
I need another coffee before going to see how we are going to clean up this old timey hutch.
Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll talk with you all next week. If you go see “Ashes of Eden” feel free to send me your comments here.
WOW! Mother Nature is showing who the boss is and it is not the tiny ants fondly known as human beings. I was having a great conversation yesterday with a friend of mine who is Native American. The topic was about taking environmental issues serious. Now global warming scientists may not have it all correct but certain actions won’t help the issues. Many choices are all about financial and lower EPA rulings to better exploit valuable resources. When out of the norm storms wipe out the child home homes of some of these lawmakers maybe they will look at things differently. You can’t lobby mother nature or buy your way out of the path of a storm. Again it brings me back to what I use to teach at the Ebersole Center (A nature camp for city kids) about Chief Seattle and the web of life. Basically it talks of how everything is interconnected and the balance is vital to our continued existence. Well I feel very bad for all the folks out there dealing with such destruction.
Today I want to try to oversee some changes to the CDI company site. We’ve got so many good things moving and grooving and I’ll try to hit on a few major updates here.
– “Ghost Town in the Sky” the location of our “Ghost Town” western is set to re-open after a mudslide caused issues a year or so ago. So go check out the locations and get your special edition release.
– CDI Co-Production “Deadly Renovations” will be heading to the Hong Kong film market this month and we are awaiting a new sales trailer from our international distributor.
– CDI Co-Production “Donors” is now in post and has been getting some good PR buzz out there including distributors coming at us early.
– I’ve been working on a few Corporate programs for CDI product one with a major beer company.
– We know that New Video is releasing some of our titles (Figure in the Forest, Heaven’s Neighbors, An Ordinary Killer) late 2nd quarter and I’m working on hard dates now.
– The sequel to “An Ordinary Killer” is packaging with an updated “Race to Judgment” formerly known as “A State of Hate”.
– CDI The highly anticipated Co-Production “Darkest Night” is getting a lot of press and fellow producer Russ Williams is now in the Philippines overseeing the final post for the theatrical cut. Screening for distributors in LA will likely happen in April.
– Development on “Secondary Heroes,” “Soul Eater,” and “Long Road Home” continue as well as a handful of associated CDI projects
– CDI Co-Production “Locked in a Room” has announced a May 3rd Michigan showing.
– CDI Co-Production “7 Stones” is in final post polish and is slated to be done this month and several festivals are targeted.
On a personal acting level I’m waiting to see if a deal happens this weekend on a film in NYC. I also am waiting on a 2nd project that if we agree would film in Texas in April. I also have a project in June that I’m awaiting my deal memo on as well. The snow is starting to fall here and I’ve been a hint under the weather. I will likely do some reading and perhaps bottle the “Green Goblin” our batch of Green Tomato wine.
That is enough of an update for today. I wish safety to all those in the path of these great storms. Have a great Saturday.