(The Fort – Tribe CDI – 2019)
Welcome new readers from Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, India and beyond. We’re in the final days of 2019 and so far it has just been a great season. This past week I’ve had a few meetings at the fort with the fire burning bright with ideas and friendship. We have some great updates to share with everyone but before that lets looks at someone else’s art.
Star Wars – (NO SPOILERS) – I went to see Star Wars at 7 years old and it was the seed planted in me to become a storyteller. Last week I got to see the final film in a series of interconnecting stories started by George Lucas. My issue with many films these days is just trying to do too much. Instead of one star ship in pursuit there has to be 100. Tension is created in moments. Those can feel stolen when trying to do too much. Character development is still king in my world of viewing hence by love of shows like BLACK SAILS. Bringing together all the ‘Star Wars’ loose threads was surely difficult but overall I really did enjoy the final film. That said, I feel truly like the torch has been passed. I feel like I do a good job of creating characters on the script page with depth. I feel we have stories to tell and we will. The goal is to create a few classics in this lifetime. In 2020 will see more writing, producing and continue to try and captures hearts and minds with our stories.
(WILD FAITH brand – Hastings TV series in development at CDI)
I see a lot of talented artists who spend a lot of time creating in someone else’s world. But the bottom line is you don’t own the brand. There are several filmmakers that do a great job creating fan films from video games or Star Wars and The Mask. That said, all that hard work is building someone else’s brand. I’m a fan of brands also but I let it influence my work but I don’t work with someone else’s brand unless hired to do so.
All three biblical adventures in THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer) are all on Amazon. I was given an opportunity to produced these adventures with a ‘Star Wars’ feel. The cinematography and often the music was influenced by the Star Wars style. Star Wars was influenced from earlier works like THE SEVEN SAMURAI. A good reason for your own brand is that you don’t have to ask permission to create your own world. And if you succeed those people are becoming fans of your work. Again instead of the hardships of growing an audience around your brand, if you pick a strong brand with dedicated followers you can get a jump on exposure but…. I mean if you create a great Star Wars fan film you might get millions of hits. But try adding a price tag, although you cannot sell someone else’s brand, and it becomes like buying a knock off cologne. If a non-official derivative of someones brand is offered free you may get a lot of eyes but unless the creators take notice and hire you, you’re just building someone else’s brand. Beware of legal also with others brands. Just my two cents.
So again just like role playing, cos-play or any fun group activities, fan art has a place but film work is really hard work for someone else’s brand. My advice is do your own thing or work WITH an emerging artists to create a shared brand. Again I’m not a “my way is the only way” person at all. But I’m not into fan films or hobby films or anything that isn’t building our brand. Now you can build your skill set (acting, directing, writing) with the previous two mentioned types of films so there is value. I do appreciate anyone who uses their imagination to create. We just have long term goals and so those need to remain in focus for us. It is a hard industry to survive in. Take that from a survivor.
Please do enjoy the holidays with a watch on the trilogy and watch all three in order. Poor ‘Chasing the Star’ sometimes takes a few rocks because someone did not realize they were watching part 2 of 3 films. In time audiences will understand they are a trilogy and a bigger picture will emerge upon watching in order.
I also see a few people who thought the Magi story had nothing to do about Christmas. Maybe I should have added Heat and Cold Miser and a reindeer or two:) But for the few audience members who don’t get it, many DO get it. We don’t dumb down our stories but challenge and encourage people to talk and discuss often hard topics. So ENJOY a watch and discussion. At one of my distribution content meetings we had discussion about more biblical adventures. I might have my next three films and one of them is written. So we will see said the wise man.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Due to the season where many are enjoying family and friends and watching films, I’ve gotten a spike in fan mail. This film has been generating a good buzz and we have some exciting events and showings coming up in 2020. But you don’t have to wait. You can watch on Amazon today! If dogs and/or support of our military touches you, please do take a watch.
LOST HEART – The fine cut is getting close. After a wonderful first cut by editor Scott Magie, welcome to the CDI Tribe, a second final cut is near. This week we had a post meeting with Dennis Therrian (music/sound), Jesse Low (Director) along with Melissa Anschutz, Shane Hagedorn and even John Mashni made a stop by. Come mid 2020 we will have a most excellent story to share with you all.
In the meantime – please watch the CDI Film collection and share your thoughts.
HOPE for HEAVEN – is the script I’ve been working on. It’s been developing in a wonderful fashion starting with some great characters. We’re working development on several properties that could go full green light in 2020/2021. A sequel to KNIGHT CHILLS, perhaps? We’ve had a few screen and camera tests. WW2 drama – coming together. Kids adventure film – might happen:) WILD FAITH TV series:) With some of the new meetings and opportunities before CDI, I promise we will continue to create. Thank you to all of you for your continued support.
Ok. We had a wonderful first Christmas gathering yesterday. Friends tonight and several gatherings in the week ahead, including two more family Christmas gatherings. I am down to just a little bit of shopping. I give thanks to those who sent a card or gave little love gifts, much appreciated. But the most important thing you can give anyone is a bit of your time, laughter and joy.
I’ve been questioned about my verbal non-involvement in politics. It’s because much like the ‘golden rule’ I believe in focusing on what we all could benefit from. When people are drained from endless debates, divided by priority differences and angered by the never-ending shortcomings of each another – I say relax. Sit back and watch a story with universal messages woven within. My friendships with people are more important than trying to convince someone I’m right about an obvious self-opinion. So set aside your differences and focus on what brings us all together. Fellow human beings trying to live a meaningful life with health and joy. Even if it is for a few days, try it and you might find it a better way to live, to cope, to exist, to grow, and to be the better you.
Fear leads to anger, anger to hate and hate to suffering – MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Coffee cheers to you all! So it was a great weekend for getting things done. I’ve been playing all kinds of catch up as we head into the end of the year. I’ve done what might be a final mowing of the yard and getting the firewood around. We had a good bout of wet cold with Halloween being rain, sleet and snow for most of the day/night. Now some argue for a better night or a less crappy night but that was part of the fun. The challenges of stomping around in a costume and accepting candy. I spent the day reaching out to a handful of old-school elementary school mates. I also called my mother early asking if my costume was done being sewn. She was confused until I confessed my tease and we talked about the great costumes she and my grandma Swope use to make us kids. My barbarian outfit pushed Grandma’s old sewing machine to the limit. My best costume was a robot made from a large box with tube arms and multiple dials, switches and such on the outside. I recall falling and all the friends having a good laugh as I could not stand back up. I was like a turtle on his back. I remember a great Halloween party at one friends house with games and such. I had a wonderful childhood and for that I feel grateful because as an adult I realize that is not always the case. So during the season I enjoyed many classics like THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and several others. Now we are onto the “Holiday season” that runs from Nov. to Easter and so it begins.
I’ve started my Christmas shopping as I love giving gifts. I’m a person who will do that all year around but I like how during the season, we stop to have a drink and share a laugh together. I had intended to have a Fall CDI party to replace the rained out Summer one but one thing after another kept falling on the schedule. I had weddings and memorials falling on the same day. We had just a busy life fall but that is the way of things. We just got done hashing out Thanksgiving whereas again it is near impossible to be in multiple places. So again I’m smoking a turkey and let me tell you it’s hard to find rolling papers in that size. Just kidding:)
We’re starting to revamp the CDI website for the new year ahead. Here is one of the narrative book commercials we did for Baker Publishing.
We also recently completed another commercial for a software company and that is the cool Victorian age pics people saw. We created content for a software demo and I was able to pull a small one day script from my work-in-progress feature script “Smoke & Mirrors”. So I’ve been wrapping up paperwork on that project and we hope to have the first invoice paid out next week so I can disperse. It is different working in the net 30, 60, 90 day corporate cycle. On the feature films we try to pay out ASAP to cast and crew as I know how freelancers need that. Check out http://www.cdiproductions.com to see some of the updates. We will be posting some casting notices also – so join us.
We’ll be processing and dispersing more revenue to our investors as the films continue to expand and sell. This will be the first season all three of the biblical adventures (FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER) will be all out on the market. Again these are NOT “faith-films” as per the new genre but films with faith at the heart of the stories. The films are not fluff and deal with deep issues that we all question and contemplate. WATCH all three together to get the greater story woven throughout the trilogy. That said I’ve also been slowly developing the next three films in the follow up trilogy.
NOTE: CDI is starting to release merchandise. A 40 Nights lobby card poster is available as are the Tee-Shirts from GHOST TOWN. Look to the Collective Development Inc. Facebook to see upcoming product.
WILD FAITH has continued to expand and amaze audiences in the power of the story. We are actively working to bring a TV series based on these characters to audiences. We have some good pieces moving on the board. If you have not seen this film yet with your family, please do take a watch.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – In December the Equus Film & Art Festival in Kentucky will be showcasing MBF. We also are looking at several other festivals. I see that as the DVD’s are becoming more available people are buying many copies to give as gifts to family and friends who would appreciate this story. I continue to be humbled by all the great communications I have been receiving from people. Yes. Many people are also discovering for the first time that I am not disabled, at least not in a ‘Paul Landings’ sort of way. That is to my credit and I’ll accept that but as I’ve said, my heart goes out to all those vets who cannot turn it off. It is their life. So if you know someone that could benefit from watching this film – recommend it or better yet buy them a copy as a gift. I’m excited to see in three years what has happened with this film. I’m waiting to see what film theaters will run the movie. The fact that it is on home video has made a few chains bow out due to policy. But theaters need to understand that 3 main groups exist. The theater goers. The home video watchers. And the in-between who enjoy both. The theaters can get their share of viewers plus some who enjoy on the small screen want to see it on the big screen when the opportunity presents itself. See the film however you can or want but take a watch.
LOST HEART – So we are closing in on the first rough cut and soon we will do a watch through before fine tuning the edit. Once picture lock it is over to Dennis Therrian for music and sound design. First of the new year you can start looking for PR to start rolling out.
DEVELOPMENT – We discussed the development of several projects. I’ve just signed onto a project to write a script from a book manuscript and produce the feature film. Next week I’ll be talking with the distributor and get that lined up.
Additionally we have another project that will be slated to shoot in 2021 but will start casting in 2020. We’ll be making an announcement on this film also once I get the distribution in place.
We’re also exploring returning to AZ for some filming in our spring window. We’ll be entering discussions on this project also – you all know CDI LOVES AZ especially when it is 20 below zero in Michigan.
Other seeds are being planted with a few other great talents bringing their project to CDI to produce. When time allows I might also have to finish up the feature length “Smoke & Mirrors” script. We’ll have a great proof of concept short in the coming months.
As you can see we have a great slate of business forming up. I’m excited to once again at being hired to weave a film script and to see it brought to the big screen. If you have a funded project that you want considered feel free to inquire about how a CDI associated project just might work.
Okay, today the ghosts and goblins will be replaced by turkeys and harvest baskets. We also need to pickle some beets that have been harvested. Tonight a little time with family and friends before diving into the work week. My first biz call is set for 10 am and I’m ready to get after November! Have a great Sunday and a good week ahead. Be good to one another.
We had a nice day of sunshine yesterday and that allowed us to get outside and do a little bit of yard clean up. Today the weather is back to wet and overcast but tis the way in Michigan. In a few short weeks we’ll be back in Yuma, AZ to film our third installment in THE QUEST TRILOGY. Let’s examine those films and the journey that these projects take.
The Christ Slayer
The bank account is open and the finalizing of people’s paperwork and getting their investment into the bank is always a task. People are busy but we work on tight timelines. We only have a few units to assign before we’re a fully functional battle station. Paperwork between crew started this week and next week some paperwork on talent will begin. Right now rooms, flights for the pre-prod team are the priority of the production office.
On cast we’re waiting for our schedule this week so we’ll know how many days talent will be required. Casting has been mostly a joy but you always get to those few hard choices. This past week we came to a few casting decisions after some healthy back and forth. We finalized casting on one of our last co-stars, a supporting role and a few featured roles from the AZ area. Each artist brings their unique talents to the screen. I’m so excited about the casting choices that were made.
I’m also happy that because of distribution being in place we don’t need to drop any ‘lure castings’ as I call them. That’s less than ideal casting but it’s done with the possibility that it may help grab the attention of a distributor. I understand why this is done but it can have a backlash. Distributors we’ve spoken with will tell you that certain names are known but they’ve become known for less than inspired product. They spoke of the flood of films that basically takes (Insert animal) and (Insert Holiday) add (Insert lure casting) and repeat. Now, I respect the fact that it’s a business model but I need more to invest myself in. I need a story that means something to me deeply.
“On schedule, on budget and our projects bring high artistic value.” That’s how we’re described by distributors and why we’ve been developing our ongoing business. I’ve said it before, you need to streamline your operation so that you can work with marketing teams whose job is to put the film into the marketplace. No excuses.
As I’ve done before I’ll give you a hint to the upcoming casting along with a story. First one of the roles WAS hard to find because it possesses a quality you can’t easily manufacture. In this case it was the “innocent role” which in “Forty Nights” was our T-Rex/Moses and in the upcoming “Chasing the Star” was filled by the amazing actor Logan Kishi. Thinking outside the box led me to looking at a certain spectrum of talent. From there I saw an actor who shared by last name. I looked at his materials along with dozens of others actors but kept coming back to the one with the famous last name:) His humor was right on point with the writing and he had that IT factor people talk about. In moving down the road in the casting process we discovered this talent had a sibling who also is an established actor. Another read for another role and BAM it has become a family affair. I’m excited that these two siblings will get to share in this journey together. People may assume I’m casting from family but I’ve never met these two brothers with the cool last name:) If we are related it’s buried up in the in the limbs of the ole family tree.
Two local actors who’ve participated with us before in Yuma, AZ have landed featured extra parts that while small are very important. (As all roles are) I’m sure they’re excited to be participating and we’re excited to have them.
In summary – We’re moving forward strong. I’ve been spending time with the story and it’s a joy to be able to imagine the talent in the roles on the page I’m reading. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. I am also looking forward to a little sunshine and Mexican food!
Chasing the Star
I’ve been assembling information for our end credits. This week we’ll also start moving over photo elements to the distributor. We should get our street date set in the coming weeks. I’m excited for audiences to get their first peek at the film. I’m trying to make it possible for our friends at Champion Church to see the film before we roll cameras on “The Christ Slayer”. They’ve helped us in so many ways as part of our Yuma team and I like to give them a special treat as a thank you.
The Easter stuff is slowly making its way out and that brings us closer to the 4/4/17 release date. The nice part about this release is that we’ll create a nice flow between the releases of the three films.
Once “The Christ Slayer” releases around Easter 2018 my hope is to see the three films play together or over three nights on television. I’m anxiously awaiting the new artwork which I hope to see this week. Fingers crossed.
Lisa Lauren Smith drives the drama as Haddie in #WildFaith
We’ve had many people reaching out about this film. I sincerely think we’ve got some gold with this film. The energy while making it was just powerful and cast and crew alike brought their A game. This week we’ll be seeing the first full cut of the story. I would say I’m excited but that would be an understatement. Keep following us and I’ll keep you updated after the first watch.
I’m not going to wax on about development at this time. Truth is I have much to turn my attention to and so I will cut this short. All of us artists appreciate your time and attention and in a few short weeks and months ahead we hope to entertain, educate and inspire you with your stories. That is an artist’s hope.
Be good to one another.