“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ― Sun Tzu

Posts tagged “history

10 Awesome #TRIBECDI Updates to Kick Off Autumn!

Good morning to all of you and I hope your foray into Fall has been great thus far. I want to welcome the new readers from Russia, Ireland, UK, China and the Philippines. Coffee (or tea) cheers to you all and thank you for stopping by. I LOVE this time of year and I’ve been beyond thrilled to work on the films as the leaves turn and fall. I’m feeling like just shotgunning out some of the updates.

  1. The NCG Owosso premiere showing of ‘BEST YEARS GONE‘ is over and word has it that it is coming next for a Lansing NCG premiere on Oct 16th with two shows – a 6pm and 8:15pm I believe. You heard it here first. This week an event page and some PR will begin so some of the home town folks can enjoy the film. It has been remixed from the first premiere for delivery to our distributor and for our future premieres. I got a peek at some of the DVD/release artwork our distributor is working on. I think they are planning on a Feb 2022 home video release. Until that release we’ll keep at the theatrical premieres. If you’ve seen the film feel free to visit our IMDB.com page (also has a premiere video there) and leave a few words about your favorite scenes.
  2. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – pre-production is on the final run up. With a home office I get that great privilege of a short daily commute – about 30 or so stone steps. We’ve been doing more in-depth meetings with departments making sure they have questions answered. I was happy that one of my estate sale finds – a $5 military trench coat was the correct period and matched the photo I had. The office has been reaching out and getting crew agreements in line and this week cast will follow our set “day-of-days” coming from the AD department. We’ve had a few changes in cast and crew that happens when life happens. But I’m excited to see many of the Tribe and tell one last great story before we call it a year.
  3. WICKED SPRINGS HD release should start rolling out this month. That was an epic shoot back when we were rather young. I’m excited to see this rolling out to streaming platforms so folks can enjoy the story in HD.
  4. LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFO’s & JESUS – is starting to really pick up steam as the alternate title works into the marketplace. I had the chance to talk with many who have really enjoyed this film. The laughter and heartfelt messages play well with audiences and that is why we do it. This is true for MAN’S BEST FRIEND which again brought questions of a sequel which I’m not ruling out but it’s not on deck at this time. I was made aware of it playing on various TV stations like Charge TV. WILD FAITH just broke the 5-million views mark on Encourage TV and I’ll be taking more meetings on season 1 of the TV spin off. THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) is about ready to start its run once the ghosts and ghouls have their Halloween.
  5. As we follow the tradition of setting up new campaign runs for older films in the CDI library like BESTSELLER and THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ will be getting 2022 release dates soon. We just got everything submitted for one and the other is in the works. We are working to get several more prepped to release. Our distributor now has a general market label which is opening many doors of opportunity.
  6. SMOKE & MIRRORS our concept short is done. I was exploring how to help the location house with our film. We will look at some festivals also just for fun. The feature script is being retooled and will be great as an extended story.
  7. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the first in a series of CDI in association with The Red, White & Blue Project Inc. documentary films. The locked cut is about done and so we’re going to master record the narration and do a once over mix/check at the studio with Dennis Therrian to prep the film for delivery. This brand we’ve created has a lot of growth possibilities. We also might look at a December premiere release likely at the NCG Owosso. Why? Curran Jacobs our director/host is from Owosso, MI. A lot of creative individuals from that area.
  8. I’ve had my second business opportunity in the past two months approach me over screenwriting. When I write to assign to one of our productions I work discounted knowing that the film employs many of our artists. I also produce and often act so there is much more involvement. On these “work-for-hire” projects I’m raising rates and even doing something like a writer/option whereas the script is written for X amount w/ a 50% copyright hold until the script is financed and the balance paid in return for the remaining 50% copyright. So they end up with complete ownership and have to go less deep financially to be able to shop. I still try to work under the minimums suggested by the WGA which I’m not part of by choice, and my cost of living can handle this. That again is what I love about Michigan. You could have a small crap box in LA or a country kingdom in Michigan for the same price. Part of the secret of productivity is being somewhere you like and that gives you peace between your often hectic dealings. I will pick up where we left off on negotiations this week and what is meant to be will be. But I do enjoy all the new writing opportunities. I am still looking at possible representation for the writing and still might try something out for the foreign market.
  9. As we discuss writing, one of my loves, I must mention a new book coming out. A few years back when WILD FAITH was moving and grooving in the theaters across several states, an author/book running that writes under Callie Smith Grant saw our film. She enjoyed the story/script and that led to an offer to submit stories. That has led to my participation in several of these books. This is the most recent one. Pre-order/order here – https://www.amazon.com/Dog-Who-Came-Christmas-Stories/dp/0800741250 a great Christmas gift!
  10. Producing, writing and preparing daily to play a new character on screen. I’m playing Lt. Col Lodell a fictional character based loosely on the actual camp commander in one major way. The ‘Golden Rule’ is the basis/foundation used during the operation of the PW camp. This character fit so perfect when I cracked the script back open to look at it. It feels close to where I’m at in my life with setting an example is the easiest way to inspire. Words can be wasted be the speaker or the listener if no action follows it. I just like to keep plugging away each and every day. I don’t feel in competition with anyone or anything. I feel like I’m just flowing like water (Thanks Bruce) doing my best each day. I’m doing the projects I’m suppose to do. So many stories to tell – I’m just very grateful to be able to. I don’t take that for granted. I try not to take any of it for granted. I’m just happy that I evolved to where I am. A place of good balance of mind, body and spirit. Learn to laugh at yourself. Forgive yourself. And wisdom that comes with ‘know thyself’…

(Above ‘Tricky T’ has been working with CDI since film #1 ‘Knight Chills’)

I’m going to wrap this up and maybe go make another cup of coffee. I’m looking forward to the week ahead. Also the old suitcase is going to have to come out. I like to slow pack over a couple weeks. I also have CDI stuff to gather also. This week we touch base with our Algona team. I’m going to go enjoy another soccer game with my niece and nephew playing. An art department meeting that I’m looking forward to. So many good developments on that front. As you study the time period some things seem very old although I’m convinced the black and white photos and footage makes it seem older. Other pictures could have been shot today. How we captured history has a lot to do with how we see it now. Just like old Civil War pictures. Once colorized – man! They really come to life. I love history and the stories that have carried down collectively to all of us. I will continue to try and put some of these wonderful stories to the medium of motion picture. Have a great week and be good to one another!

DJ


Screenings, Schedules and Staying Focused!

Welcome to all our new readers from Germany, Uganda, China and several others from around the globe – coffee cheers! Watching the storm approach New Orleans and hoping for the best for whomever stayed behind. We all know of the tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan and Covid is continuing to be an issue in some areas of the country. This humidity has been brutal yet I got the lawn mowed up one day and even had our last soccer match for the season in this heat. I’m ready for wood stove, chili, Lions/MSU football and everything that comes with that. It has been a very active time here at CDI and with me personally but that means good things are happening. Lets look at a few of the top updates-

  1. BEST YEARS GONE – the film is being polished up with some color correction tweaks and a few music beds to be worked in. The tickets are open for anyone to buy for Sept 18th at the NCG Owosso theatre with shows at 6:00 pm and 8:15pm with an afterglow at ROMAS patio starting after the first show and will continue after the second showing. Get your tickets now as they are going fast! No charge for the afterglow/cash bar and we’ll be doing pictures and such so come on down and meet many of the cast and crew.
  2. Also a just finished shooting the music video for ‘Off to the Races‘ the song by Vertical Bridge that will appear in the film as winners of the ‘Battle of the Band’ – we plan to show the music video either before or after the film. It depends on what film footage is used/shown in the video but we’re excited to see this premiere also.
  3. SMOKE & MIRRORS our short concept film is almost done. We had a slight delay in the VFX but I hope to get the finished film so we can look at maybe a small premiere as a fund raiser for the Dodge Turner House we shot at. I’m excited to finish the retooled feature script that we plan to shoot in the near future with Nathaniel Nose directing.
  4. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film about the history of wrestling has a first full cut which we’ll review this week. Once BEST YEARS GONE has moved out of post we’ll move this film in once picture is locked to have an audio mix done on the project.
  5. WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – as the feature film keeps climbing in views via the numerous streaming sites that means good things for the TV spin off series. This coming week I have more meetings over this project. I’m excited about what this could mean for so many cast and crew in the Michigan area. CDI has been building a strong team for a while now and this project could mean some consistent work. Giddy up!
  6. New release campaigns will be underway for a newly up-rez’d THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ, which was CDI’s first animated feature collaboration but I will say it won’t be our last. Also Christopher Knight’s BEST SELLER based on the book of the same name has been delivered and will be rolling out in the near future. This R-rated (language and intense situations) feature is the closest to a Hitchcock like thriller that we’ve produced. I’ll be in talks this week on a few other projects from the CDI library.
  7. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has most of the cast and crew in place minus a few still being discussed. We will be getting ready to go to paperwork this Sept for cast, crew and vendors. Most of our crew is driving in so we can take more equipment and gear. Some flights for west coast folks will be needed so those will be arranged. Wardrobe is starting to gather sizes (don’t lie actors:) * A famous story with my dear departed actor costar Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty who might have fibbed on his waist size. This led to a frantic last minute adjustment on set. We’ll be having some round table discussions with art including guns with our armorer Mr. Robert Bradley. The town of Algona is so appreciative they don’t want CDI to be just coming to work in Algona they want the crew to be their guests. Once you meet the kind people of Iowa you realize why a story like ours actually happened. I’m excited and ready to tell what we hope will become a holiday staple along with your other favorite classics.
  8. We are having some great success with our product partners on our upcoming WW2 Christmas film mentioned above. We have another great brand joining us in our endeavor and their history/story plays into the script in a few places. Stay tune for some announcements and if you have a brand and want to align it with our story please do reach out. Smithfield Foods is our newest joining Lerma Transportation and The Candleberry Co. We are appreciative of all our product partners.
  9. I had a call last week about a film I was approached about a few years back and it seems they have momentum and wanted to resend the script and see if I was still interested in the role. I LOVE that they offered to send a paper script to me. Things always get read faster by me when they come to me in paper form.
  10. KNIGHT CHILLS – I’m just going to set this right here. This was CDI’s first film. It was both a test of ‘could we’ tell a story. We were too ambitious, under experienced, under funded but had a boatload of passion and enthusiasm. This story has stayed with audiences for many of the nostalgic reasons we love it. There is a world at play here and with the surge in fantasy role playing including new D&D movies, it might be the time for SIR KALLIO to arise. If you go and watch Part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY, The Christ Slayer…well watch all 3, imagine that world building applied to Knight Chills. The story exists in two places – the fictional here and now and the fictional inside fictional world of the imagination. This 2nd film is a transitional piece to get us into the world we always wanted to do but were unable to. This second film will be an EVIL DEAD 2 to Evil Dead 1 with the 3rd being the Knight Chills (Army of Darkness) – No. I’m not saying Knight Chills is on par with Evil Dead, I’m just pointing out the story arc. The second brings back some nods to the past and sets up for its future. We’ve had so many people interested in the story and this RESTART not REBOOT will draw some artists into our story on subject matter alone. Just something developing in the dark of the night as the cold wind starts to blow…

I’ve given a good run down of some of the happenings over here at CDI. I’ve been watching my hops which are close to harvest. The rhubarb needs another cut. The chickens are kicking the eggs out. Veggies are ripening weekly and we’ve been storing some tomatoes. The plants are doing well with water but the humid just has it feeling like Jurassic Park around here. And the mosquitos are the true beasts around here. Although the bats are trying to keep them in check there are just so many. I think the mosquito should become the new Michigan bird:) Okay. I hope everyone has a great week ahead. Keep focused on what you can control and don’t let static and noise steal your attention and time. In many endeavors you must believe first. Click on Owosso links BELOW to go to BEST YEARS GONE premiere ticket site or just google it up. See you there.

Coffee Cheers.

DJ


Happy Father’s Day and Sunday Updates on CDI Film Projects

I’m sipping the coffee but in the early eve of the 19th. I have another busy day tomorrow with some family activities and such but I wanted to give you a few thoughts. I just read something about Chadwick the Black Panther actor not getting the part of Drax in a Guardians of the Galaxy film but it exposed him and opened the ‘Marvel’ doors for the future casting. We are getting down to the last few castings in SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. This is hard because you are trying to build the right chemistry. We’ve had some requested reads that just didn’t make the grade. Sometimes it is nerves. Sometimes it is too much confidence, perhaps they don’t fully commit or make interesting, unique choices. I recall when we were casting WILD FAITH we were reading many actresses as Hester the half Native American tracker. Some good attempts but the mark kept being missed. Melissa Anschutz who is an amazing actress, could have played any of the roles because of her commitment level. She is the only one who found the bullseye. But convincing her to take a role where she says a dozen or so phrases was…interesting:) But the pay off was most excellent. You can get tired when casting but the focused work will show in the end product.

WILD FAITH (Free with Ads)

Almost 5 million viewers on Encourage TV. We are in a few conversations about the HASTINGS TV series. So if you have not watched the film please do. If you’ve enjoyed it before show your support for this film. If you would love a TV show based on this film let your voices be heard.

WICKED SPRING – We got some great practice at reproducing the Civil War era with our 2000 film. This was done when CDI has a sister company Lionheart Filmworks. The feature is now managed by CDI and Lionheart went to the films director Kevin Hershberger. I’ve been proud of all the TV work he has done. He LOVES history and it shows. Anyway, for streaming we now have an HD version of the film. The distributor did a high res version and from what I’ve seen it looks really good. It is just amazing what new technology is allowing us to do. This success could give new life to some of the pre-HD films.

Speaking of pre-HD much like last year when we released the CDI Classic Collection Double Feature #1 Heaven’s Neighbors and Figure in the Forest. This year my goal is to do Knight Chills and From Venus. Also I might explore a full HD campaign with Knight Chills. We have had two great companies approach about a special BluRay release and so I will be circling back to those discussions.

BESTSELLER is not from as far back as the classic collection but a few moons ago. It will be rolling out with a full campaign this fall.

NEXT week we have two of the films, MANS BEST FRIEND and LOST HEART, of 5 finalists in the Crown Awards in Dallas, Texas next week. They announce on my Bday (June 23rd) the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners. I love both films like children. I just hope whatever attention the films garnish pushes more audiences at these two powerful and heartfelt stories. This month also saw the beginning of the ‘Lost Heart’ roll out under the name ‘Bigfoot, UFOs and Jesus’ for the General Audience. I love the enthusiastic response that I received from so many of you. So it doesn’t matter what title you watch the film as – just enjoy it. Both of these films can be watched. Which is your favorite?

BEST YEARS GONE team has been putting the final touches on the first official trailer. The plan is to drop the trailer on Tuesday or perhaps Weds, perhaps. We are going to start having Travis Hayward start planning the music video once the trailer color correction is done. We are in the process of setting up a couple of premiere events for September. The films sound and music is roughly half done. I will be meeting with Dennis Therrian this week and get a better update.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – This awesome doc film will be releasing its official teaser July 4th and I’m proud of all the hard work that has been going on with this project.

DEVELOPMENT

I’ve been doing some script work on a few projects that I’ve been meaning to get back to. Even just a little creative writing a day can be really refreshing. We discussed HASTINGS previously and there is some development happening with the post work on SMOKE & MIRRORS. I’ve been doing a lot of scene work on this feature script. We have several great things developing but they are not ready to be spoken about. Somethings are left best for when the deal is done.

WRAP UP

Tomorrow is Father’s Day and I’m so thankful to still have both my parents here to love and guide me. I know my father worked very hard and that is where I must get some of that tenacity. I got to see my dad yesterday and I hope to see him tomorrow. If I don’t it is because he has a funeral for a classmate. Unfortunately, even at our age we are starting to see the occasional alumni obituary. This can only get harder as you travel down the path and lose more friends. It pains me to even think of that so I’m just appreciate them all. Even now I still owe a few calls. I do try to stay up and check on people. I look forward to a few nice sit downs and catch ups this week around my bday. For those asking I will likely pick a patio on Tuesday for a few hours in the afternoon/early eve and on Weds celebrate more chill with family.

Aside from this the chickens are producing eggs although we’ve had two Finn escapes whereas he chased the chickens. He seems to have shown restraint having caught two but not bit them. I’ve been harvesting some herbs and rhubarb and the berries also are ripening. So I need to bottle up the aging ‘berry’ wine into bottles and prepare to put another 5 gal in motion.


HAPPY Mother’s Day! Also CDI’S TOP 10 UPDATES (There are some good ones)

My first sips of hazelnut coffee on this Sunday morning. I’ve been recovering the last two days from my first of the season soccer matches. My legs are in good shape but not ready for the constant run and directional changes. Yesterday my legs were stiff and tad heavy giving me the ‘mummy’ walk – “COIN!” (Old Scooby Doo reference)

I had a very productive week on many fronts and I’m just so pleased with how everything is moving along. But before we get into all the film updates let take this moment to celebrate mommas. EVERYTHING I’ve done in this life I’ve done because I was brought into this world. Every story that started as a spark in my imagination and brought to screen is because of her. (Dad also had something to do with it:) But I’m just so appreciative that I was given this opportunity. We will have the moms over this afternoon for an early dinner. A few love gifts and a good meal. I LOVE you momma:) Happy Mother’s Day to all of you. That counts if you mother child or animal, so again – thank you to all the mothers for what you’ve done, are doing and will do because that is what mother’s do. LOVE.

Maybe let’s try a TOP TEN Updates

  1. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH documentary is now in editing. We had a post meeting last week and we’ll even having a teaser trailer coming soon. This is about the history of the grappling arts and the evolution of “Catch” as told by those who love it the most. Hosted and directed by two time world champion Curran Jacobs. We have some great interviews. Big Kudos to Dan Chipman our mobile production and Adam Towner, B camera and post. This just might be the first of many documentary collaborations between #Tribecdi with The Red, White and Blue Project Inc. You can follow us on IMDB and Facebook as we have pages for both now.
  2. BESTSELLER – This “Hitchcock” like thriller adapted from the book by Christopher Knight has been signed for a new release campaign. This film stars Melissa Anschutz, DJ Perry, Ralph Lister, Taylor Nichols and Lana Wood. It has really only had a limited DVD release and so this new push will be much greater. It is R-rated (language and implied violence) but is done without being overly graphic. This film captures Michigan in the fall in all it’s haunting glory. I will have more info as we go but I believe the idea is a late summer/fall release!
  3. BEST YEARS GONE – the first pass on dialog clean up is complete. Last week our director and composer discussed music cues and even sound design ideas. Color Correction is happening as we speak along with the edit of our first official trailer. As if that wasn’t enough- we’re planning the premiere, manufacturing merchandise and more official stills are being prepped for delivery to our distributor (BMG) so they can begin poster art. Lotta fun ahead with this movie and I think audiences will really enjoy it. I need to add that the Battle of the Bands judging is underway by our team and celeb judges. We will be announcing a winner this month!
  4. LOST HEART is really a film that has a lot going for it. But to try and convey that via shelf art alone is hard. The film is a story is about music star Hannah Sweet going back to her home town for a funeral but the B story is the town of ‘Lost Heart’ itself. It started with fan mail before Christmas from men who had lost the remote and via wife/girlfriend and was made to watch ‘Lost Heart’ and really loved it. I recall one gent saying that he would have never watched that film except by his wife’s choosing. But he loved the Bigfoot, UFO (UFA?:) and humorous mystery in our story. In a meeting with our distributor I recall telling these stories after discussing the demographic audience that is being drawn to our story. A joke was mention that if the title was “Bigfoot, UFO’s and Jesus” the film would find its partially missing male demographic. Guys hanging out amongst themselves are unfortunately not going to randomly watch a film named ‘Lost Heart,’ which is a name I truly love. It was pointed out to me that a title like “Bigfoot, UFO’s and Jesus” would also attract more women who were equally into the mystery aspects, like my own cousin Angie. So I stand corrected. This GM release should add to our overall audience by revealing the wonderful B story of our film. It was a nice hidden gem inside our story but I think we need to be more direct. So a ‘General Market/GM’ campaign release is underway with a new title, poster art and trailer. I will share this new artwork at the end of this update. But I’m very excited because this film/story deserves to be seen by many, many, many more people from around the world. And so it will.
  5. WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – I want to do a polish up on the “Hastings” scripts for simple grammar mistakes but I had a few more connections start to open up on the WILD FAITH TV spin off. I’m excited to put that into play to shoot next year. I know the feature is growing an audience around the world and so the series would have a nice welcome audience.
  6. MBF/MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This film has been working its way into the marketplace. I was told a new deal was just executed taking the film into Latin America. I know it is making its way into territories around the world. The top two questions I get with this film 1) Will you do more martial arts filming? I do have a great concept that will eventually make it to script. 2) What was Paul’s sentence, will there be a sequel? Right now I like keeping Paul’s fate in limbo with audiences. Will there be a Part 2? Never say never. If you have not watched this film – watch it. If you have and enjoyed it, pass it along. Thank you to the many fans of this film out there.
  7. The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) – A special message is spread across these three stories. Actually several lessons are presented and the way the story is told – everybody can take something positive away. The film series just ran through the holidays at Sony/Pureflix and again I so appreciate all the fan mail letting me know how much you enjoyed our stories. It is humbling and powerful what can be done with a story.
  8. SMOKE & MIRRORS – This early 1900 short tale is getting the final touches. Maybe we’ll cut some teaser in the coming weeks. It’s spooky. It’s kookie. Wait a minute! It’s a really fun little film that was derived from one of my feature script. This will make a great feature film. All in good time.
  9. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – We’re making great strides on all fronts. Last week we announced Garry Nation and David Reardon coming on board. Our German casting is almost complete. Discussions with the art departments has started in earnest as we prepare to create the world of 1944 Algona. This week we should start in on our sponsorship endeavors. We have a lot of excitement in these circles and we’re excited to align with these brands. To do what we do at these modest levels requires the assistance of the community and our sponsors. Thank you to all of those supporters past and present. And here is an additional cheers to our future ones! This week we should roll out two more of the great talent associated with this film. I’m beyond excited to tell this story. If your company or business wants to support this based on true events WW2 home front drama please reach out.
  10. TRIBE CDI – The biz of the biz, I had a VERY productive week working with Bank of America to streamline our fleet of films. All this is to help streamline our inner workings. This all can make a days work only a few hours. Also had a good meeting with another one of the team (Tiger) who oversees dispersement amongst a other things. We will be prepping some of those to go out in the coming weeks. Thank you. As you all support the films, we get to keep making the films. I’m excited to see in the next decade what stories are brought to life on screen! Thank you also to Dean Teaster (COO) and Gary Davison and his team. David Gries & Carl Weyant who maintain the website. #Tribecdi is not a catching hashtag it really does represent a tribe of artists and the business that supports it.

I just enjoyed a wonderful breakfast bagel with our own eggs and 4H bacon – so good. The yard is really looking good and the warmth is creeping into Michigan. I look forward to having many enjoyable meetings both business and social in the coming weeks. I’m going to end this here with some great new poster art for Lost Heart’s new general release. Be good to one another. Be safe and keep following your dreams.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ

PS: The new trailer is almost done and I really do love it. I could not stop smiling.


Farming Plus Some Advanced Premiere Information

Master copy

Hazelnut coffee cheers. I actually slept in a few this morning and so I’m starting a tad later. So many things are unfolding and I’m excited for it all. It was a long week and I needed the mental rest. I think because of the virus environment it has been a rethinking of everything. My thoughts are with my brother and all the people in the education system. For some their computer skills might enhance and some families seem to be getting updated tech in their home whereas previously they did not have such things. I know kids off to college unable to play sports and basically the campus being ran like min security prison. That might be a bit harsh but I bet it will feel like that to some. I’m seeing most people out and about, some begrudgingly, wearing masks. Some youth are seen doing what the youth do – “Party on Wayne” -but that could come with consequences. Still a lot of anger in many folks but what I see is the cost of life is being valued. Have some areas overreacted? Maybe but the old axiom of “better safe than sorry” is a good path to follow but also I see so many businesses are hurting. I hear and understand the arguments from all sides. Bottom line is until your circle is affected you don’t have the same emotional investment. If your business is hurt, you are affected and have an emotional investment. Just know that all this will eventually be a footnote in history.

Screen Shot 2020-06-19 at 9.17.04 AM

BEST YEARS GONE

Our business has had the same challenges. I see some smaller productions have pushed forward and how many precautions are they taking? Unknown. I know we have a good plan to move forward. We are looking to make the main shoot “lighter” by scene count by shooting some smaller scenes mid-Sept. The main shoot is still planned for November and at that time past tourist season it will be mainly our cast and crew.

LH - Lauren LaStrada copy

LOST HEART

As per usual if you tune in here you get the advance notice. Working with our distributor we are doing something new and unique with our premiere. We are going to do a one night only event via our distributor’s ENCOURAGE TV on Oct 24th. We will start promoting it like gangbusters in the coming weeks. BMG is doing an entire media campaign and we already have some national interviews coming up. ENCOURAGE TV is a free app and allows you watch FREE (one night) from a selection of sources.

At the same time our distributor is in talks with various TV networks for licensing and also home video release leading up to Christmas. We are also planning an earlier cast and crew showing where interviews and audience reactions will be part of the “program” that will include the free one night premiere showing again on Oct. 24th. So get that Encourage TV app loaded which is no money just an email and stating you are not a robot I believe.

There will be much more to come on this film and I’m excited for audiences to watch it. A BTS video will be releasing soon and watch our FB page for new updates. I had some PR photos taken (Thank you G$) which came out pretty good other than I am looking like my next character Gil Gilles in BEST YEARS GONE.

LOST HEART coming soon!

I will not wax on about the other films right now. Obviously I would love for you to check them all out. They are all gathering a worldwide audience and I am grateful and appreciative. Thank you for all your kind words.

SMOKE & MIRRORS might get some PR this week. It is the David Gries starring short that we plan to turn into a full feature. Nathaniel Nose (The Christ Slayer) is the director/editor and Dennis Therrian will be doing the music. So we’ll likely be releasing the poster art and a story about the project.

TheApproach

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – This doc film tells the history of catch-can wrestling. Our friend Curran Jacobs is the current unified world champion and he defends his title next Sat I believe. We have been pulling all this together but this title defense has sped up a few things. This is a pet project that CDI and the non-profit The Red, White and Blue Project (Outside the Wire) are putting together. We have camera operators planning to go interview the opponent and the match itself in FL on Sat I believe. It is a free streaming so check it out and if you want to get involved in the doc film reach out to me.

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I would go on about these films but I have a few things to do today. First I did start my 5 gal of wine and beer. The beer will go to bottle next week. Also we are setting up a coop. Yes, coop as in chicken. We are getting Dorthy, Rose and Blanche and will be having a go at raising chickens. Also we have to pick up a new freezer today because we have a full pig coming in. We usually do the 4H but this year they did the auction on-line and they sold out. Also we get a deer every fall. So pigs and chickens, garden, wine making – we might be becoming farmers:) PS: The hops are almost ready! No grapes this year.

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I hope the week is kind to everyone and do your part by being kind to others. Until next week.

DJ

 

 

 


BEST YEARS GONE and Other Film Updates!

Coffee cheers my friends. My last week has been extremely productive and we’ll get into all of that. I also took advantage of the nice weather and did various tasks in the yard including trimming hedges and trees. Cleaning up a few of the beds and planting various edibles from beans to peas. I was a touch out of “garden shape” as I woke this morning a bit sore. I also had my first “abstract” dream during this pandemic. I’ve had them after long flights to other countries as my jet lag hit. Also a few times out at sea on ships. But  I’m awake and back at it now. I think we have storms again so today will be a good day to get inside stuff done and rest my garden-weary bones.

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The world pendulum is swinging emotionally as people deal with the stir-crazy of being home bound and others managing stress from facing higher risk due to their jobs. I see tempers flaring and anger stemming from opposing view points. Blame and blatant disobedience. There is no game plan for this crisis and so many are doing the best they can. Several are being severely cautious while others are just ignoring as if it doesn’t pertain to them. I’ve found that until it effects/affects someone they don’t have the same serious attitude. But for those connected to the sickness or loss they take it much more serious. Isolation sickness and the mental challenges that come with isolation are real and many are reaching their perceived limits to cope. No judgement just observations.

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I see people who don’t understand virus transmission and the gluttony of information has led to most being confused or questioning. With our over-population and the invasion on nature something like this was bound to happen. The fact that it has such a far reaching grip has made it a world issue. That is a change in thinking and perspective for many isolated from such challenges. The elderly already deal with many of these isolation issues. Many may fear the grim reaper walking about as much as some virus. This event has changed peoples thinking and overall that might turn out to be a good thing. Only time will tell.

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I’ve used the time to organize and catch up on life as many of you have. I had one friend sorting through 10,000 emails which beat my 600 I had to sort through. I’ve been having great personal and business calls lining things up. Deep clean and organize on my office and the yard might be the most groomed ever this year. So many birds, squirrels and rabbits everywhere as spring fights to emerge in Michigan. We had an odd snow day in Michigan one day but I think we’re past that now. I’m planning on making batches of beer and wine so I’ll be ready for in-person meetings again once we open back up.

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Today our cast and crew on BEST YEARS GONE will get communications from our director. The project is funded and we’re working on what we can which is character, shots and sponsorship partners. We’ve been planning on how we’re going to run things on set. The nice part is for our cast and crew to know that a paycheck and endeavor lies at the end of all this. We’re pushing our projected time line by a month to earliest August but that will all depend on the state of things. It looks like we’ll be up at the Double JJ Resort again and they’re excited to have us. We announced additional cast and crew this week and more will follow in the weeks ahead.

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LOST HEART is thundering towards the finish line. I’ll be writing out more post checks this week as we finish up VFX, color correction and more. Not sure how we will premiere the film but we’ll see. I’m so excited for audiences to enjoy this next CDI release. If you want more updates FOLLOW our Facebook page and ‘Subscribe to the Tribe’ at http://www.cdiproductions.com

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WILD FAITH – Fans of this film are growing and I’ve been having lots of discussions over the TV series ‘Hastings’ – momentum is growing! If you haven’t seen the film check it out. If you have – watch it again:) We’re in talks with distributors and networks and I feel confident we’ll find all our partners.

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THE QUEST TRILOGY – foreign sales and wider domestic distribution is underway. I’ve been working to clean up the FB sites for FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. Also I will say that we will have a full line of merchandise for the films the trilogy included.

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MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Armed Forces Day was yesterday and several times last week I awoke to fan mail. Such beautiful messages of gratitude but the appreciation is all from our end. Thank you so much for spreading the word on this film and sharing it with others. We’ll be marketing this film all year long and will also have some merchandise coming out for this film. If you haven’t seen the film take a watch.

MISC. 

Several of the CDI associated films are being reset with new streaming platforms. Next month we should have some exciting updates on many of the films.

I’m starting talks with national sponsors/product placement on the films that are getting millions of impressions/eyes upon them. If you’re interested in showcasing your product or services to our audiences do drop me a line.

We’ll be announcing some advanced casting notices on the http://www.cdiproductions.com site in the coming weeks for upcoming projects.

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WRAP UP

I hope everyone uses this time to reevaluate and align their goals with a steady plan. I’m not in a place to tell folks what to do but emotional defiance of elected authority figure’s orders tasked with trying to keep people safe could have repercussions. Rep president, democratic governor – this is not a political crisis but many have made it political.  I would urge people not to but people will do what they will. You might remain unaffected by the illness and that is a blessing. The people who have know it is not some contrived hoax. I’m going to focus on what I can control. This is a unique time that we’ll look back upon many years from now. What will history say? We will see said the wise man:)

Be good to one another and stay safe.

DJ

 

 

 

 


INSIGHTS FROM THE QUIET PLACE and film updates;)

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The Horse of My Dreams out now!

Good morning! I’ve got my hazelnut coffee here beside me as I sit down to update everyone on our artistic endeavors and to chat about the state of things. Every day I’ve been spending the time organizing and catching up on personal and business calls. Many of the personal calls also reflect upcoming business. I’ve been using every one of these days to get organized. I had totes full of old paperwork some were 20 year old receipts that had faded into unreadable. Some were projects that had died or scripts that were submitted for acting roles and never launched. Either way I’ve kept the office wood stove burning. I’ve also found little bits of CDI history. A forgotten set picture or a lost story treatment – gems. What I did notice is that in the early days the efforts were more spread out and now they are more focused. Also so much paper – which I still remain a fan of in some ways. That said, every cash move was reported on Cash Distribution Forms sent to the office to be recorded to our software. That aspect has gone digital as many things have. I had 6 boxes of 35mm film for one of the movies and so I’ve been rearranging.

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Out in Sept 2020 – more contributed writing

Also I’ve been just enjoying all the great music I’m exploring and re-exploring. I watch news 2 maybe 3 times a day. Morning, maybe lunch and dinner and every night I end with a book. I’m always reading about a dozen titles at once but get that phone away and out of your hands. The phone is YOUR tool. It works for YOU. You do not work for IT. Work with it on YOUR time. I’ve helped a few people break this mindset and I think they are living healthier.

This time in our history has the obvious viral and economical set backs but I’ve seen many positive results also. I’ve seen fathers take time to dance with their daughters. I’ve seen family take time to craft up birthday signs for a drive way wishing. I’ve seen people revalue, reprioritize, reexamine their wants, needs, time management, appreciate relationships or lack of, their beliefs, their habits, their forgotten goals and dreams. Many are taking a deep breath and feeling thankful if they can still pull in unhindered air. They are looking behind them and seeing where they’ve been and what they’ve been through. What were the rewards? What were the sacrifice? Wisdom is in the pondering of the past reflection and applying that to decisions and direction moving forward.

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Honestly I’ve never been so proud to be a storyteller. In the best of times our stories are just one of many distractions. Occasionally seen and embraced and acknowledged for the experience given. I always have said that if we make a bad scenes or have a moment of disconnect nobody dies on a table. But the power of a story is mighty. Whoever wrote the pen is mightier then the sword was right. Storytelling at its best offers you a near religious experience. People were losing their ability to listen. To really listen to a story – not mental armchair how you could one up some filmmaker. I had a major breakthrough in my thinking a while ago. I always felt this and acted on this but I really understood it once I spoke it.

Should I be more advanced in a medium like motion picture – it doesn’t make me anymore an artist than anyone else. We could love a medium we are not particularly skilled at. By experience that skill can and will improve. But I never see anything less than an artist. We both will have mediums we currently excel at and other mediums we’re passionately working hard to hone. I will judge, as we all do by display of character, actions especially when done quietly and… can’t give all my secrets:)

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I look forward to meeting and working with more artists. In the past I’ve observed a lot of ‘flim flam’ artists building paper walls of ego, craving attention more than art. The same ego that drives many to lose their financial integrity versus perceiving the investment to be seen as a war chest used to get this story to the world. I know many projects started and never finished. Sad. But true.

But like the emerging butterfly you can come out of artistic hibernation as a more organized, more self aware, goal defined you. No email boxes should be littered with junk. Folders on the computer. Streamline. Many fail because they truly are not ready when opportunity presents itself. Some love to work tirelessly, looking for that opportunity but once they actually find it they are afraid. We all get scared inside with new situations and I always go back to John Wayne, Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. Something like that, but I think it’s accurate.

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This is a time where life has slowed and children are at home. We’ve been excited because many family, friends and fans of past work have been meaning to watch this or that CDI film. The great part is that people have been taking the time. Hundreds of thousands of new viewers and growing on ad sites like TUBI and PLUTO TV that pay us via advertisers so that you may watch for free. Other like Amazon Prime are showing the films. So if you are at home take the time to watch the collection. The Quest Trilogy might be getting some Easter promo with a new trailer and some cool promo gifs. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER – I’ve had some great fan mail from these films. Thank you. It’s a fresh not overly sanitized look at these little known biblical moments and told in a cinematic heroic style epic involving angels and mankind. We’re talking about setting WATCH PARTIES and having our actors and crew do Q&A after. We’re looking into that and we hope to announce a few sessions.

Here is one of the CDI collaborations with Thunder Toad Animation. If you love the OZ stories this is for you. Beloved characters animated from original sketches and voiced by some talented actor folks including yours truly as…can you listen and guess? From children to grandmothers who doesn’t love OZ. This is the first animated venture by CDI but I will state here now that CDI is exploring the animated division now.                       THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ also has an incredible music score. One of my favorites – please take a watch and enjoy…

 

LOST HEART – So everyone is working in their solitary and communications continue. I had talks with our distributor and so we’ll be announcing new updates as we get closer. We deliver the film in June so music, sound, VFX and color correction is all underway. Tally HO!

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BEST YEARS GONE – I’m excited to announce that our WASTELAND DP Travis Hayward will be serving as director of photography. Travis has worked several times inside the CDI Tribe and has been developing his reputation for capturing amazing images worldwide. This is an exciting thing for me as an actor having enjoyed my previous working experience with him. He has a good feel for kinetic action and that will play nicely into this story. The ship is continuing to pull everything together. I cannot say when we will sail but we plan to be one of the first sailing once the storm has passed.

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I have to say that with all the downtime at home for people I’ve been having productive and enjoyable conversations on all kinds of business. Become the change my friends.

DJ



Leaks, Tweaks and Updates…

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Welcome readers this week from China and S. Korea. So while many think artists are always living the “star life” it’s often just like yours. My day started with a leaky shower head that decided to start leaking despite being quite new. It’s those moments when you sincerely wish you couldn’t just act or pretend to be a plumber or handyman but actually were one. So that led to a few trips to get hardware and ended up with a temp fix. We will be contacting the manufacturer due to the lifetime warranty. So my Sunday morning was not the peaceful one I had first imagined. So is life.

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The week just flew by and I had so many things going. First development on MBF (Man’s Best Friend) continues with the announcement of Garry Nation and Melissa Anschutz joining the cast. We have many of our $ commits but are not quite far enough to move into pre-production.  Also several new opportunities for cross-promotion (J-Roc) have developed. So while DJ the actor is disappointed a tad that instead of running the race it’s back to the barn for a few weeks. I might ACTUALLY be HOME for Halloween. That is nice. I enjoy doing that last film of the season just before Thanksgiving and enjoying the holidays with family and friends. I have adjusted and we’ll meet to target the after holiday window. We’ll be looking at Feb pre-production and March shoot. I’ve again had to remind myself of that spiritual storytelling reality that a project will birth when it is time. Don’t fight the flow and watch things unfold. Unfold they have…

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WILD FAITH 

I’ve had back and forth with our director Jesse and several others trying to finalize some specialized VFX within 10 sec of our footage. We’re close to zeroing in but have not as of yet. It is still all happening within the timeline of the music scoring which is in the final stretch. Very soon we’ll be doing a watch through with full music. The film was powerful when it was just sound effects so this next level will be awesome to watch/listen to. Stay tuned for new artwork and other extras as we get closer to bringing this to audiences.

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Garry Nation in “Chasing the Star”

THE QUEST TRILOGY

I had some great marketing meetings this week and I’m excited. The films were praised for being epic and original. Many of the epic films being produced are remakes of great films like Ben Hur. It was brought up that if anything in a few decades filmmakers would be remaking these films. That was a unique way to look at it. I do have movies a few decades old still playing and finding new audiences. We’ll talk about one here shortly. So they (distributor/marketing) see the influence of Star Wars on the look and presentation of these films. And the unique/untold aspect to these films are also what excites them. The line in CHASING THE STAR that says something to the effect “They may not remember you but they’ll remember your deeds” – which is true. Many save certain scholars know of the existing patchwork history. When you talk the three wise men, faces don’t come to mind save plastic, wood or stone faces. I do hope that we will blaze new story ground in the mind’s of people when the think of Jesus in the desert, the magi’s plight and…well, you’ll have to watch THE CHRIST SLAYER next year.  The first two films (FORTY NIGHTS & CHASING THE STAR) were sent to Texas for theatrical play this month and next. And, we’re at the end of finalizing the first foreign territory for CHASING THE STAR.

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THE CHRIST SLAYER is progressing nicely on the visual and will be moving into music and sound in Jan. I will say that I’ve been watching the development of the poster for the film. COOL. That is my thoughts so far. It is just a great story again original in the presentation. Some beautiful characters creating beautiful moments.  Lots planned for this title but no need to over promote when audiences should be watching Part 1 and Part 2.

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WICKED SPRING – I’m happy to announce ahead of time to all of you that Bridgestone Multimedia Group will be releasing into the market place this wonderful Civil War story. I produced it with our team in 2000 and it rolled out in 2002 timeframe. We also just had the 150th anniversary so I wanted to re-release the film to celebrate that benchmark. The project will release in early 2018 and it is the first real digital release for it. Shot on 35 mm it was first released on VHS. I think the first audience was Civil War reenactors and history lovers. Now more of the mainstream will discover the film. And having used these fine people in our new film WILD FAITH I have something I wanted to say. These people/groups trying to attach some hate agenda to this living historian interest/profession is just wrong. Not sure of the facts but some of these events to raise money to preserve these historic sites had threats. People of all races and religions participate in these events. They have groups of black Americans who love history and are right they’re portraying the Colored Companies while some even portray Confederates. I’ve seen Asian and Indian people participating. These people united over a love of history. They dress and camp in the style of the period and talk, share and bond over history. These events promote understanding and healthy discussion. That has been my experience working with these people and if these threats are true that’s just too bad.

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KNIGHT CHILLS – I’m going to look at the offer to have me attend a few of these comic cons. After listening to some of the fans out there I can see where it would be fun.

This week was great for meetings that looked at development of future CDI projects. Everything from financing to new distribution. Marketing to merchandising. I will just keep walking the path and crossing off the TO DO’s.

I’m gonna sign off and I’m sure I missed a few updates. Enjoy the season and we’ll talk next week. Thank you for stopping by.

DJ

 

 

 


Advanced Updates and Accolades

I’m sitting here letting the coffee lull me awake. It has been a full week and I had many developments both personal and business-wise. I’ve been in our home state of Michigan and Winter has released its grip but the chill remains. We had a lot of rain last week which led to morel growth in our area. Yesterday while doing some yard work I found my second group of the tasty mushrooms. The one I found yesterday is the largest I’ve discovered to date.

IMG_3165 The garden till is next this week so we can get seeds and plants into the ground soon. The hops are already growing like crazy with the black raspberries right behind them. This week I’ll be doing some work on the office which has been a phase by phase endeavor. I enjoyed a little meeting on Cinco de mayo with a few film friends enjoying RYE of HORUS provided by one of our sponsors at Sanctuary Spirits. (Pause) Okay, just had to take a time out as my brown furry boy was chasing a wild rabbit living near by out of the yard. That plays positive for keeping the garden safe. Today I’m excited because we’re kicking off our first soccer match today. I took the winter off to heal the aging body but I might have to work the subs more often. It’s an age 30 and over league meaning you can turn 30 during the season. That means doing battle with 29 year olds and such. In my weekly doings nothing challenges me like a power match whereas two teams are working to dominate a game. Individual battles whereas two people fight for the space, the possession of the ball and to score. No thoughts of business and such just a meditation of motion, action and teamwork. It comes in handy when confronted with film issues and you need that added push. I know how to fight towards a goal. To earn something not to be given something – where you have to take the ball away. The other team will never give you the ball. Life will not usually give you things you must earn them. All good lessons to learn. Okay, let’s talk film.

Film Updates

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Wild Faith 

This cool western tale is now in music and sound design. About 40 minutes of dialog clean up and sound FX have been put into the film. Our designer and composer Dennis Therrian is loving the process. He loves the story, the acting and is feeling inspired. Development on the TV series is also moving forward. I would love to start shooting shows in 2018. A little hard work and that just might happen.

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The Quest Trilogy

These three films rolling out with BMG are just starting their journey and I hope we’ll be watching them for many years to come.

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The Christ Slayer (Third in the series)

We’re about an hour into the first edit and our director Mr. Nose is extremely happy. I want to get the first trailer in motion in the coming weeks. I’ve almost wrapped up all the final production business leaving only post work.

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Chasing the Star (Second in the series)

The second film that follows the adventure of the magi just finished a week run in Royal Oak, MI and now is in Grand Rapids, MI at the Celebration Cinema for a week. This movie uses many artists from Michigan including Grand Rapids own CHOP & HUE who did our wonderful VFX space sequence. Our director Bret Miller calls GR home as well. So if you missed Lansing or Royal Oak enjoy an evening in GR and watch “Chasing the Star” this week.

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Forty Nights (First in the series)

The first in our series released April 4th to DVD with remastered sound and visual. I will also drop it here ahead of the PR this week. At the International Christian Film Festival in Orlando, FL “Forty Nights” won MOST INSPIRATIONAL film. We were nominated for 4 awards but this nomination was the one I wanted to see us win. Why? Because our goal always is to inspire people with our storytelling but it also represents all the artists. Working together they created a film that was noted as being the most inspirational. Proud once again of our team. Next year they want Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer after that. The Trilogy is doing what we had hoped. One of our EP’s was there to accept and attend the festival on our behalf.

Wrap Up

This week also consisted of development and work to prep some of the CDI library for new distribution. I was happy to wake up this past week to communications that a History class in Indiana (I believe) was watching “Wicked Spring” in class to show the humanity of soldiers during that horrific war. Some 17 years later and the film is still inspiring and teaching. This film is one of the films slated for a Special Edition release. We almost did this before but decided to wait and put it through our new deal. I will keep everyone informed. Once again I appreciate you spending a few moments with us on your Sunday to reflect back on the week.

Be good to one another!

DJ


Merry Christmas Review

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I’m relaxing after a long couple days of Christmas festivities with family and friends. In a few short hours we’ll watch the good ole Detroit Lions (wearing my new shirt) and see if they can change their long history of losing the big games. The best gift of the season has been our youngest furry son (DOG) is doing good with an illness that has been present for a good part of the year. He still has a way to go in his recovery but he’s doing great and I could not be happier. We had a white Christmas despite the warmth today that has stolen most of our snow. I was trying  to ease into holiday fun while also staying focused on the last of the 2016 business endeavors. It has been wonderful to recount all our blessings of 2016 and I hope 2017 will create more happy memories. I feel blessed to have gotten to enjoy the year and this holiday season with my loved ones. I hope you all took that opportunity also.

Film Updates –

The Quest Trilogy

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As Jesus in ’40 Nights’ 

The PR will roll out soon, we’ve finalized our new deal on “40 Nights” which will get a new release push around Easter 2017. I’m beyond thrilled to be entering this new phase with this impactful film.

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We started working the new deal on the second film, “Chasing the Star” and we should should have that film complete in Jan/Feb of 2017. That will be followed by premieres and theatrical showings before a Sept. of 2017 national release to DVD/Digital.

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“The Christ Slayer” – As we prepare the business behind the third film in The Quest Trilogy, I’m happy to say that we just might have found our creative leader. Once our intent to do business is complete we’ll be announcing this amazing individual. With the holiday season at hand I’ve enjoyed getting into the head space for returning to the upcoming role of Jesus.

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WILD FAITH

The editing is coming along great with 50+ scenes rough cut together.  New poster and trailer development will become a priority in the new year. We’ll start sharing STILL PHOTOS vs just behind the scenes. I’m excited about this film and things are looking promising for an ongoing series.

I did get a nice update on C.U.J.O. from the studio and once I can share more on this film I will. Beyond the March shoot of “The Christ Slayer” I’m keeping myself open to the right roles. I have a few projects I’m interested in developing. I’ve been getting back into a nice writing schedule also which is a great outlet. Enjoy the week ahead and prepare yourself for 2017.

Be good to one another and see you next year!

DJ

 

 

 


International Audiences, Updates, Advice

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

CDI projects

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.

REVIEW LINK

http://cinemaheadcheese.blogspot.com/2014/12/movie-review-ashes-of-eden-2014.html?m=1

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!

DJ

 


Losing Training Wheels, Donors 1st Showing, Making a Classic

It is truly the journey not the destination in the grand adventure of life. A friend of mine who I called to catch up with had news that set me back. His father had unexpectedly passed away. This was the year of starting a retirement and of course he thought he had many more years of enjoying and learning from his father. That was not to be. As I like to say, losing parents seems like losing training wheels. Prior to this I was having my daily issues usually with patience at some timeline that was off or a communication I was waiting upon. I tell people that many folks could not lead the artist’s life whereas you don’t always know where that next paycheck is coming from. Now it is exciting when you get a nice lump sum or you hob nob with some other famous folks but there is a balance to it all. The following day my father and I were to have lunch and he insisted on picking me up. He rolled up on his Harley and we went on a couple hour ride in the country looking at all the places he grew up. Truthfully, it was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. As a young child I use to wait for him to come home from work so we could go for a ride on his motorcycle. It was one of those full circle moments and also a deep appreciation for what I still had in a mentor and a sorrow for what my friend was now missing. So I guess my point is for all you driven artists inflicted with that ego driven urge to create art that will be seen and possibly appreciated – don’t forget what is in front of you. I know my father would likely be happier if I had a normal JOB but he also is proud of the character of his son who can thrive in my environment. I deeply cherish my friends and family and most of them haven’t seen half my films. I’m alright with that because I have my support for that in my fans. I appreciate the personal support that comes in laughter, insight on life and remembering the past. This fills my cup.

TODAY is the premiere of “DONORS” the thriller that I play a shadowy role in:) IF you are in Yuma, AZ area and want to see a cool indie thriller – please do. All info is right here https://www.facebook.com/events/649394905132609/

I want to give a BIG congrats to Niki Saletta who carries that film almost single-handedly.

We are getting close to announcing active development on a new associated film. It will shoot somewhere down South and has some development to finish but script work is coming along. I want to speak to some distributors in the coming weeks about it and also BESTSELLER that fits the demographic.

BESTSELLER is gearing up for planning on our pick up day. We will gather our clips and get this film moving onto the next phase. I’m waiting on the shot list from our director and editor. I’m excited about this because I’ve seen the footage and know what we have and seeing beautiful Northern Michigan even for a day or so will be great.

I had a wonderful email sent to me from an 8th grade history teacher Wade who uses “Wicked Spring” as a teaching aid in his 8th grade students. I think that is one of the best compliments as a filmmaker. That film has played network TV, played in the UK and sold hundreds of thousands of dvd’s and that was made over a decade ago. Now with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War I’m happy that we have made a “classic”. I’ve had a handful of emails from around the country about the performances and the picture of life in that time that we painted. Kevin Hershberger, Curtis Hall, Anthony Hornus – the entire cast and crew can be proud of the storytelling job. It was my grandmother’s favorite film and in a career lifetime you hope to have a handful of these. I recently also had that happen with “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” which could be on its way to a similar status. Strive for this and it may happen – only the audiences can make it so. I know that “Heaven’s Neighbors” has been used in classroom settings to illustrate mental illness. It is a grand ability to entertain and educate. So for crews working hard when the going is rough – if you are working on a project with heart, the right dose of business – you might be part of cinema history. Cast – there is no throw away roles – you should live, love and be the role you take on. This fan mail that included how many young minds were being taught via our storytelling was one of my weeks high points.

My script review continues on a few projects presenting acting offers. All of them are period pieces which is pretty cool in my book. Development continues on a few projects including gathering investors and setting up locations. Our sales team is in talks to bring the CDI library to many new foreign territories. “Ashes of Eden” distribution talks continue. All in all a very productive Spring whereas I’ve been holding court on the patio in the sunshine. I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable long weekend. I think I’m going to smoke or grill my first full duck (Thank you Shane Hagedorn). The garden got tilled (Thank you Stacy Hagedorn for the Mantis use) and I worked on the pond which we will fill today and add some water plants. Spend some time with your love ones and we’ll get back at it next week!

Keep clawing your way to the middle:)

DJ