Hazelnut coffee cheers to all of you upon this fine Sunday. In America we are in the midst of a Memorial Day weekend. I hope all of you are having a safe and memorable holiday. Last week was full of moving chess pieces on the board. The work flow is always the same with development, filming, posting, delivering and development again. We’ve grown to a wonderful place whereas things are always in motion. Motion and momentum in the direction of the work flow.
HOT ROD LOVE – Summer fun all wrapped in a nostalgic-style that brings many of us back to a less tense time. Chill and be groovy to one another mi amigo. The script is being sent to a few artists to get their creativity flowing. It is always a balance of not wanting to get too much ahead and focus on what needs to be done now. My goal in June (My bday month) is to get all the ducks in line so we can make some schedule decisions. I’m already in talks with sponsors and hope to bring some new ones aboard.
BESTSELLER – On May 31st this intense mystery thriller is getting its home video release. A CDI collaboration it showcases some of the most intense action on screen. I think once this is widely available it will grow a nice audience. Melissa Anschutz does a great job leading this cast. Ralph Lister, Lana Wood, Terence Knox, Anthony Hornus and many fine Michigan artists bring this story to life. It truly showcases some of Michigan’s incredible natural beauty. Take a watch starting with Amazon Prime and we’ll let you know where it will stream.
BEST YEARS GONE – Start your engines. This unique and quirky romp stems from the book HOPE FROM HEAVEN by Michigan author Karl Manke. The film has Coen Brothers and several influences in a unique mix up directed by Shane Hagedorn (Ashes of Eden). It will release on DVD and digital purchase on July 5th. All the artists who worked on this film during the Covid lock down are elected to see this film speed out to audiences.
GOOD Memorial Day FILMS
WICKED SPRING – a Civil War era film that has something to say about war from the common mans point of view not famous generals. The film is free with ads on Encourage TV and can be found on Amazon and several platforms.
MANS BEST FRIEND – Illustrates the plight of many wounded vets physically and mentally. The power and hope of dogs personal and in service is also part of this thought provoking story.
BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS – Good family fun with a little something for everyone in this fictional tale that takes place in small town Michigan.
WILD FAITH – Another wholesome 1875 film for the whole family. It also is about a former Civil War soldier trying to readjust to life and find his inner peace.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – For some the events of the day have spirits low so maybe a watch on the trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer) might bring some comfort. While these films are strongly viewed from Nov-April they are a good watch anytime of the year. I appreciate the folks who left messages of the comfort these film’s stories have given.
I took a watch on a few popular shows and they are faced with huge scrutiny so I don’t try to be harsh when judging. I see things I would do differently as a fan of this or that but the bottom line isn’t I haven’t earned that right nor been given the opportunity. I see protests to try and change art. That is silly to me. I can dislike an artist personally and like their work. I can like an artist and dislike their work. If you took a personally disdained artists in the moment and cast him as a bad guy versus cancelling them is that better? Do you want to see a hero overcome someone …see this is professional wrestling logic. The Paul brothers in boxing have turned their aura of the bad guy into leverage. Maybe I’m pondering the bad guy as I have played the antagonist and that can be something special. Acting-wise this year audiences will see quite the range from Bestseller to Best Years Gone to Smoke & Mirrors and lastly to Silent Night in Algona.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – We are in hopes that we’ll premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. We’ll see in the coming weeks. We should also be getting our home video dates very soon.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – A beautiful thing was watching a few of the rough scenes assembled. The Thanksgiving scene was in the first group of scenes shot in Forest City at a great historic park. I got to witness all these fine actor artists telling this story and bringing to life a period of time. Berdy, Elrick, Shelley and all our artists that created what we saw in front of the camera. Dan Chipman for bringing his camera eye and Anthony Hornus for again seeing the hearts of the human story.
There is new work on a possible theatrical poster and the official theatrical trailer will start to be organized. We will be releasing some more photos and we hope a peek behind the scenes at the VFX work coming out of Canada, eh. We’re still working hard to make a Dec. premiere in Algona, Iowa and we’ve had first talks about doing a full state premiere throughout the five theatrical chains in Iowa. We will continue to explore these options as we get closer.
WRITING – I have been engaged to turn another book into a screenplay and finally a film. The script is almost half done and I love my time in that world. The characters are so rich and the time period is so alike yet different. Transportation. Communication. So many things are different. I was approached about another possible writing adaptation but I don’t want to enter another world in my imagination, until I finish this current script.
ACTING – I’m so close to a breakthrough on a few endeavors that will result in great roles. I recently had two offers to act in films in June and July and politely passed. I’ve been moving my look towards my HOT ROD LOVE 70’s character and don’t want to deviate too much. I’m so grateful for the invitations and expressed that to these directors. It did allow me to explore the work by these artists. Actors don’t be afraid to interview the filmmakers. Time is valuable and you want to make sure the effort has a reward for your audiences and yourself. I’ve got some goals that are close at hand and staying focused was best for me at this time. But every project is judged individually but I am feeling the need to participate in some storytelling.
WRAP IT UP I’LL TAKE IT-
I think I spoke on patience last week. Everything has its season and if you are always tending your garden of creativity things will bloom. I’ve had a wonderful balance of working to get the property in zen form while moving things forward. The hops are high and the apples and mulberry trees are looking to be loaded. The chickens have been keeping a steady flow of eggs and the wood piles are being restocked for winter. We’re about top put veggie and herb plants in the stand up planters but nature has some left over veggies already going. Everything is just so green! For those that have followed for a few years know that our animals are family. Finn our furry boy loves to race the fence every morning with his buddy Jake Leroy. These have worn a track into the ground. Last year brought Finn several busted nails and a few stitches from rocks, roots and such. Well, yesterday we dug and leveled the track out and put weed cloth down with cedar mulch and rubber paving stones. A real race track and today was his first run. He enjoyed it but a few modifications needed on the launch and land pads. My boy has torque in his running. I’m off to eat some breakfast and mow. Tomorrow we are having the moms over for a lunch and to relax. I hope you all have a good weekend and a productive week ahead. Remember those who gave all on this Memorial Day.
The hazelnut coffee taste so good on this chilly Sunday morning. We got a record setting 13 inches when the snow storm came through. We might get a bit more later in the day. I for one love the beauty of the snow but I’m ready to move on to Spring. We had a “Viking” day chopping wood to keep the wood stove roaring. I’m excited to implement many new improvements to the property this year. Our moving of veggies and herbs to raised beds and turning the garden into chicken land has been fun. They are fun to watch like little Dinosaurs.
I want to say that everyday that I read about someones untimely passing it reminds me to love what I’m doing and the people I’m doing it with. That is professionally and personally. I know friends and family that have lost pets, parents, grandchildren and even one past film peer was announced to have passed away. I was not extremely close with him but exchanged communications over the years when either of us has a new success. The sad thing about the last mentioned loss was that it may have happened by their own infliction. I’ve had a few friends over the years that fight real mental battles with themselves. I think on some levels we all do but some cope poorly where others eventually find their way out of the forest.
I’ve had dark days in my past whereas my parents divorced after 30 years putting me in the middle and my acting career was struggling. Michigan’s film scene in the late 80’s and into the 90’s was lacking. I see folks complaining about a lack of opportunities today and chuckle. Today is like a sea of opportunity versus the 90’s. Also post tax incentives the term filmmaker became legit to the common everyday person. Much of my darkness was knowing what I wanted but not having any guides or mentors in that field. My dearest mentor, my father, was rightfully concerned. I had essentially came home and told my father I was going to be an astronaut. Again something made more realistic thanks to the billionaire space race. But he knew how easy life could be if I took the easier road, the practical road. His concerns came after several years yielded very little, in his mind. Failure can affect people different.
A certain amount of punishment and failure can break some and force them into a secondary or pie-life. Pie-Life is when you work X amount of the pie to earn shells and beads ($) so you can freely enjoy the remaining part of the pie, your life. A few years in the real world and most have sufficiently built a standard of living prison around them that forces them to stay the course with the survival job, pie-life. For others of us that have “it” (passion) bad and refuse to let go no matter how much rough ground they’re dragged over. I felt like Indiana Jones being dragged behind that Nazi truck hauling the ark. (Raiders of the Lost Ark) I climbed hand over hand up the whip, climbed on the truck’s bumper, over the side, kick in the doors, punch and throw the driver out and took over the truck. BAM!
If someone can do something else occupational and be happy living the ‘pie life’ or even something close to contentment, do it. But if you are stricken with that passion that will not leave you, embrace it. By that I mean stop being half-ass and whining and do those things you were afraid to try. Pull your confidence, self-worth and inner fire from your own personal well and don’t just try to pull energy from people. When people feel your personal geothermal-like creative energy, they will be drawn. People who draw energy from the masses is a slave to the masses. Now artists create for the masses but often to show a perspective. Life is all about perspective and perception. What we perceive can be seen via positive or negative filters. A failure might be seen as negative but in deductive reasoning it can be a positive. An elusive goal might have just been made easier to obtain as certain roads are found to be dead-ends. No more time wasted or spent. Although some will get caught in that loop, beware.
So the negative of loss that I see each day ever since we’ve all become so much more inter connected as a society, can be a positive fuel to live and pursue dreams and goals. I’m so proud of one of my associates who set out to write and take a few children’s books to market and he has. Tomorrow isn’t promised. A beautiful and haunting statement. Life is a mysterious and short phase of existence and so I would ask that those out there questioning, stay the course. Ride life and learn whatever lessons you can but best of all is learn to be the best you. I’ve said this before, the path to your dreams sometimes lies in helping others with theirs. I know some people will say I’ve helped their journey immensely and others will say, I have not. The truth is you can’t help everyone. You can inspire by your actions to pass it on. I’ve had mentors and I try to mentor. But I come from that martial arts background and sports. To take valuable time from some teachers you have to be prepared and focused, ready to learn. You can apply that lesson to teachers in school. Respect that they are there to try and teach you.
Let’s bring this around to movies, my favorite medium. It also includes some of my favorite artists, filmmakers. Last week we were treated to the announcement that BEST YEARS GONE was multi-nominated and won a few awards. The biggest award being BEST PICTURE which is great because it embodies the collective effort.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is soundly in post. A BTS (behind the scenes) video is being worked on and the first look teaser is being outlined. Meanwhile the feature is being cut with the first rough being done by mid March. We’ll keep rolling out some new photos while we wait for these first videos.
HOT ROD LOVE is the next CDI picture and we’re looking to prep in May and shoot in June. It’s a heartfelt comedy that has many classic 70’s and 80’s influences. We’re putting our investor/sponsor presentation materials together, but the truly exciting news coming this week is the announcement of a director and Dir of Photography- Mr. Shane Hagedorn and Travis Hayward. This re-teaming is building on the previous chemistry of BEST YEARS GONE, coming to home video starting in June. Our #1 goal with BEST YEARS GONE was to have fun filming. The Covid lockdowns had beaten everyone down and the humor and fun making the film translated to the final product. That laughter is the big take away from the theatrical playdates thus far. The world needs more laughter right now.
WILD FAITH: HASTINGS – More great discussions on this TV series spin off. I have follow ups first thing this coming week. It is going to happen, I’m just trying to follow the best road to production that keeps the integrity intact. Have you seen the feature WILD FAITH? Take a watch. Leave a review on imdb.com or the film’s amazon page and let us know if a sequel interests you. I love the idea of how many folks will be involved should the tv series happen.
The WEEK ahead-
This week is wrapping up end-of-year tax materials for the films. I actually got almost all my personal tax stuff around. This year has been quite smooth so far thanks to our amazing team. I’ve also been keeping my daily screenwriting happening. I’m deep into another comedy script from a treatment I’ve been bouncing around for years. I’ve got my next work-for-hire script/production coming up. It is an adaptation from a book, which I’ve almost finished. I’m really excited about the time period and the storyline. One other work-for-hire script/production is in discussion. Everything in their own time. But I find these cold days are the best for screenwriting.
Last week we talking about video game development and more which haven’t advanced too much in the past week. I got buried in numbers for a few days. But several projects including animation and a music video are in development. It is a busy time but as we discussed prior, get doing- if that is your calling. I have lots to work out in the coming weeks as we’re also in some serious production talks that could be a multi-year commitment. I laugh, because it’s all really a multi-year, lifetime commitment. It’s all a process to try and streamline funding and production. Balance. It’s all about balance. I’m going to bring this to a close. I have some writing to attend to and a few things to do around the homestead.
Be good to one another and coffee cheers.
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.
Upcoming First Looks at ‘Best Years Gone’ and ‘For the Love of Catch’ – BATTLE OF THE BANDS – Music Video New!
( Zen like Kwai Chang Caine-I loved Bruce Lee but David Carradine brought something special to the role)
As I sit here sipping the hazelnut coffee I’m listening to the chicken’s egg song. I can say that the egg dishes around here have improved greatly with the use of the home eggs. This is the start of my birthday month and the heat is finally arriving in Michigan. Yesterday the veggies and herbs got planted in the raised planters so we’ll see how that goes. This week was full of calls and business dealings lets look at some of that after I reflect a bit. Last week we talked a bit about a situation whereas someones actions were counter productive to the whole. While this could have been an isolation and remove, at least temporailiy instead I saw it as a learning situation. I talk about development versus cancel and so a productive, insightful conversation took place that clarified some of the expectations and also became a teaching moment for myself. I could have reacted negatively but with a little perspective, patience and listening – I’m happy to say that things are back to flowing along swimmingly with both parties having grown. Last week contained some gems. My point is that you can apply this to any situation in your own lives. Instead of growing drama the situation was used for growth and insight. I’m not a fan of drama unless on the screen. Many use it to gain attention, sympathy and/or to work LOUDLY to try and secure their worth. As I’ve said before and worth saying again, work quietly and effectively – trust me it is noticed by those who run things.
Who wants to talk movies? We have several really good things to report on. Where to start?
LOST HEART fresh off its showing at ICFF (Christian Oscars) and will compete this June 23rd (My Bday) in the Crown Awards for ‘Best Picture’ against 4 other films one that is MBF! The General Market release BIGFOOT, UFOS AND JESUS has started and it can be watched on Amazon Prime (See link below)
All our stories are meant to promote unity but even as this new release rolled out and you people negative judging off a film title. One person was outraged at the inclusion of Jesus WITH Bigfoot and UFOs and apparently we all will burn in hell for the title yet they have not seen the film. In the same thread someone did not WANT to watch it because Jesus name was listed in the title. PEOPLE ARE JUDGMENTAL! Period. Christians talk persecution and judgement yet they too judge and persecute just as good as anyone. I’m sure from the clothes that people once wore to church to whatever the gossip floating around the congregation was, people judge. I just ask people to watch and not judge a book by the cover. That is an old piece of wisdom. But I did have a lot of people reach out in kindness having watched the film. I’m excited to see how the roll out continues but these little observations are fascinating. So many negative, depressed people with filters that put a unhappy spin on everything. Press play. maybe you can change/clean up those filters and receive laughter, joy and ultimately health.
I noted that MBF or MAN’S BEST FRIEND is up for ‘Best Film’ at the ICVM Crown Awards in Texas this month. Covid kept this film from people submitted and now it is being recognized. Actually tribe CDI has two of the five films – good odds. I also had a few fans of the film pass their love along. One such person made note that Paul was an Oscar worthy performance. Oscars are very political and I’m not saying it would not be great to accept one but the response of the fans is better than peer acceptance. If Paul is respected as a good voice – mission accomplished.
BESTSELLER will be prepped for a new campaign with BMG under their General Market label. I’ve enjoyed dealing with Chris Wright on this new release. We will be looking at other projects that might get a new push.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – discussions are gaining strength and my hope is that some of the sponsors we are bringing on board SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA will follow us to the TV series.
Post-Production work on BEST YEARS GONE is racing around the track! A small pit stop has been made to polish up the audio on the first official teaser. Maybe we will look to release it on or just before my birthday on the 23rd of June. Music and sound design is being worked on daily and part of that is the soundtrack. We had a ‘Battle of the Bands‘ and our celebrity judges, producer team, director and composer had their work cut out. With songs from around the country we found the perfect song for our film. The winner’s song will appear on the soundtrack and we’re going to produce a music video with them. Our film’s Director of Photography Travis Hayward will be directing the video. As a child of the MTV generation I’m excited. I have a video of our director announcing the winning video and I think we’ll post that on the FB site tomorrow morning. A great way to kick off the week. Go to the FB site and watch what the judges had to say and you can listen to many of the songs yourself.
(The Christ Slayer – reuniting with this ‘brother from another Perry mother’ in SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA)
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is gaining momentum. We’ve been announcing new cast members and I’ve had some great talks with some amazing talent. We’ve also started to fill the crew spots starting with the recent announcement of Nathaniel Nose (Dir/Editor/FX on ‘The Christ Slayer’ and editor on the upcoming ‘Best Years Gone’) will be joining us as the FX supervisor and editor. We’ll be focusing on camera, G&E department in the coming weeks. We’re also making great inroads with the local people proud to have their local story brought to the world. Here is a great story that just ran –
We are starting to approach sponsors and businesses that want to align with our WW2 Christmas story. We will be announcing some of our loyal past sponsors excited to join us once again. Stay tune and if you wanna help with your company please do reach out.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film on the almost forgotten grappling art being resurrected by a handful of martial art greats. Director Curran Jacobs is a two time world champion in the Catch-Can style and he manages to capture the collective passion for Catch in a arena often riddled with competitiveness and division. The process for this has been educational and will give us a template for future docs at CDI. The first official teaser will release on July 4th.
RIP to Ray Nikolaison
I’m not sure if I tackled every project update but we hit on a few main topic ones. There is a flea market down the road I want to visit. Now that I’m looking for WW2 relics/props it has taken on a new level of enjoyment. Today they cancelled the streaming memorial for Ray Nikolaison but we’ll get a link later. Ray was the man behind The Book of Ruth, Journey of Faith and was a sales rep early on for FIGURE IN THE FOREST. RIP With that check on mortality go do something with loved ones and be kind to all.