Casting and Crewing Updates- Improving Communication, Time Filters, and Iron Sharpening Iron
I’m sipping on the hazelnut on a sunny but still chilly morning. We had a snow storm hit and start to melt the next day. Spring and Winter are in a wrestling match with one another. It won’t be long before CDI meetings will also include some outdoor hanging. I want to welcome all our new readers from Spain, UK and more. It has been a nose-to-the-grindstone week and I’m happy to report it was very productive. On the broad view – I got all the CDI film taxes done and thank you to our amazing team. My own taxes are submitted just need to review and send when completed.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– The film is still opening new screens based on fans calling in and requesting the film is booked. We even have some new April bookings forthcoming so stay tuned and keep calling your theatre. We’re also starting to put our home video deal together for later in the year. We’ll be delivering the final film for home video on May 1st. I’m excited because it will open the film up to millions.
Harsens Island Revenge – This is the next #tribeCDI film and it is in full pre-production mode. We had some great meetings last week that included our director and DP. We discussed crew on the next film focusing on camera and G&E. (Grip & Electric) We already have a few of those people falling in place. #1 GOAL is to have fun and really appreciate the rare opportunity that we get to engage in with our storytelling. We have a new department leader for Production Design and we’ll likely be announcing an Art Director next week after a few final talks. CAST – We’re awaiting a dozen reads from folks CDI has worked with on different projects. We review these each week and will be making some hard choices on casting soon.
After many reads we think we’ve identified our film leads. This is such an important part of the process. You want people that are truly dedicated to the story, the process and appreciate the opportunity. These two have been developed inside the CDI Tribe. This film requires actors to not only appear natural in their moments (scenes) but in 1926. This is a world where Civil War vets were still alive. Cars were replacing horses for transportation. So many “time filters” to put into ones performance. We know that you can’t get it perfect out the gate but it is something you work into. My role in this next one is not camera ready yet. I will work on his look, attitude and his time filters. I’ve done a lot of digging into the period as the screenwriter. But, you put these filters into play to create a complex and rich performance. In the past we’ve done PR on individual or pairs of actors with promo cards but I think we might do something different. Like what? Like a group mug shot or…
I want our proposed lead talent to hear first from our director. If I hear back while doing this blog I will make a BREAKING NEWS update:) But we are looking forward to seeing many new reads this week. I see a few have direct messaged on the CDI FB page and we’ll be reviewing those. Every week we’ll be pulling for cast and crew onto the film. I’m looking forward to watching more reads this week and solidifying more of the cast.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – The script is now a first draft lock allowing me to start to rough budget and make a production plan. 2024 was the shoot plan but it will all depend on how fast it all comes together. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA only took 14 years so I think we can beat that in less development time. I’ve had the film out to several Native American friends and associates to get their perspective. I also want to thank Lynn Kueck for his historic input. More as this develops.
MISC. UPDATES FROM THE TRIBE
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 is being outlined and groundwork is being laid. We’re talking to interested parties to once again help us tell this more in-depth follow up doc.
2) THE MAKING OF ‘IN THE WOODS‘ – I’m awaiting this book that is suppose to arrive today. It was delayed by the storm but it details the journey of my first starring role. This ambitious film by two young and rather in-experienced filmmakers will entertain you. The film got strong penetration into the domestic and foreign markets being a favorite at Blockbusters, Hollywood Video and more. Released on VHS and it made its way into many foreign territories. It is a fun romp and this book is the start of a new campaign that will be coming together. This film made me a B-Movie star in the late 90’s and while some critics tried to kill it – the film has a loyal audience. Drinking games have been formed around the movie and soon we might have a new 4k enhanced movie with lots of merchandise extras. I could even see a Con appearance or two to celebrate the 25th anniversary. Click and buy it below.
3) KNIGHT CHILLS – The first CDI film is also getting a new enhanced version. I am going to be collecting some interviews from people to include on the new release. I need to get extras around by June so I’m guessing an end of year Blu Ray release. In 2024 we’ll go to DVD and streaming plus start licensing foreign. If you are a fan of fantasy role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, this might be for you. We were back to the original source without any film-look filters that were all the rage. I’m excited to be re-releasing some of these classics in new format that will allow them to survive moving forward.
4) GHOST TOWN, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and AN ORDINARY KILLER will be getting the updated treatment but it takes time. It has been really interesting to walk back and work on these projects.
5) I’ve been working on a few new stories for those national books on animals, that I have contributed too for the last several years.So far, so good. We will see if the editor likes them once she takes a read. One of the books I contributed to his above. I believe that one has a story about my boy Luke Brown. I really do love doing these side stories and I might get more involved at some point but for now film script, producing and acting keeps me busy enough. Look up “Callie Smith Grant” and any of the books from the last few years will likely have stories contributed by me.
6) This week I’ll be starting work on another chapter of an audio book series I narrate. The book author Ronnie Lee has several works for sale in this book series. The audio version is coming right along and will be available soon – https://www.amazon.com/Generations-come-Book-Classroom-Copy/dp/B09RM7LBWV/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2H09KBLP4QV3V&keywords=Ronnie+Lee&qid=1678029492&s=books&sprefix=ronnie+lee%2Cstripbooks%2C161&sr=1-4
7) While waiting for Spring, it is a great time to re-watch your favorites. BEST YEARS GONE, WILD FAITH, LOST HEART, MBF, ASHES OF EDEN, and as Easter is upon us – take a watch on The Quest Trilogy. Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer all deserve a good watch even if the faith isn’t your path. The films can speak direct to your faith or as a parable tale with messages to ponder. I’ve said before, that the trilogy, was shot with a Star Wars heroes-myth style at the heart of it. The translation between the two works quite well. It really is noticeable in the photography and the music. PLEASE DO take a watch. I promise you it is a fresh take on what can often be confusing stories.
My personal goals going into these new projects is to try and make the communication even more efficient. We have some really large opportunities looming on the horizon in the not to distant future. I’m trying to develop our team so they will be ready. Positive Problem Solving attitudes. Clear Communication. Respectful Communication. Gratitude. I want to develop our team for that next level. I want to work with good folks that I truly enjoy. That is the journey.
I’m looking forward to soccer season. I’m looking forward that that weekly competition you get doing battle on the pitch. I have really learned to appreciate our opponents because iron sharpens iron.
Once this snow goes away for good it will be time to get the yard cleaned up. Tree trimming and planting clover again this year. Soon the yard will be full of hops, berries, veggies and herbs.
The chickens are back laying eggs steady so we are now rich. Rich with eggs:) The birds are returning. The squirrels and rabbits are about. I love all the wildlife about.
CDI will probably look to support the Capital City Film Fest by attending the mixer kick off. Several years ago ASHES OF EDEN was the closing film to 600 people. That was a great night. We would have played SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA there but they wanted only MI premieres and the film has its theatrical run underway. I love that our home town has two festivals. The ELFF is still running after many years also.
That is all I have for this morning. I’m going to drink my last cup of coffee and get on with my day. Until we gather again next Sunday – have a productive week. I think I will watch Manchester United play while getting a few things done.
Horses, Hot rods, Roosters, Rockstars and more…
I’m back in my lazy-boy for a few with my coffee at hand. I’ve been at my second stay with our crew at the Hilton thanks to one of our new CDI sponsors. These kind of deals really help filmmakers create the best environment to create within. The journey of a film is so important to how it comes out. I have to say that once again we’re working with such a great group of artists. Again I’m proud of how everyone is united in following safety practices because together we want to exit 2020 with a high note. The TribeCDI troupe is once again doing what we do best. That is telling a story and BEST YEARS GONE is methodically getting it done. We the Covid about we’ve been limiting any outside visitors and testing weekly. Shooting this time of year can bring cold and flu issues so the added precautions have been helping protect from all these.
Hospitality and Health is our position for craft plus. And by that I mean having a health professional on board to not only safely disperse craft for preventative measures. I even heard of work-out, stretching sessions in the morning although I have not participated. I have my own daily routines but it is a valuable role which has been making a noticeable difference. Meals have been prepared by another sponsor that being Sparrow Hospital. Again we have been working to make this shoot a safe and fun shoot.
Horses, hot rods, roosters, rockstars and more – I’m home to rest with family, do payroll, Covid Test and prepare for the last run. All this is excited but really its so we’ll have something exciting top talk about with you in 2021. We do have something exciting to talk about now!
LOST HEART – So on November 7th we had our first public premiere watch of the Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson led film. This film was shot in Michigan and is a wonderful blend of humor, drama and intrigue. I’m waiting on full numbers from ENCOURAGE TV but we know at least 20,000 tuned in to enjoy the story. That is easily the largest premiere we’ve had. Usually it’s theaters numbering 600 at max capacity. This was safer and reacher MANY more people. Melissa, Don and Victoria are off to Nashville today for The Mike Huckabee Show promoting the film.
This movie will play again Nov 21st free on Encourage TV. If you’ve seen the film please post your vote and review on our http://www.imdb.com page for “Lost Heart” – pass it along.
Once we get LOST HEART full launched past the premiere we’ll evaluate the offers to carry it exclusive for a while and I’ll let you all know. Further down the line will be streaming and DVD. It is exciting to see audiences finally get to travel to Lost Heart Michigan. How beautiful does Michigan look in the film? I know. It’s a place of great beauty.
THE QUEST TRILOGY is getting a new campaign to make audiences aware of these biblical adventures produced by CDI. They are meant to be watched in the order of FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER (Present, Past and Future) – I know these films are expanding into many more countries. If it is in any of the 80+ countries that are part of our reading circle here please send me a picture. I love watching them in other languages.
WILD FAITH – I had some very nice fan mail this week that thanked CDI for making a film like WF. Both were from African American ladies who watched the film with their daughters. They really related to Grace and Haddie and it gave them conversation after the film. I’m happy to say that the strength behind the TV series is growing. We have multiple interested parties and we’ll look to put the deal in motion once we finish the endeavor at hand. But thank you so much to those that take time to send those messages. I sincerely am so happy that the film is being a bridge of understanding. Love over hate.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – this movie continues to grow an audiences via word of mouth and I hope this Veteran’s Day we can get some kind of watch party going. I’ve had a chance to meet a few of the fans of this movie in person. These men and woman were service folks so that made it all the more special.
I’m having a few issues with the new layout with WordPress. I lost part of my typing here so I’m going to wrap this up. I need to do some unpacking and about to eat some lunch. I want to thank everyone for stopping by.
Be good to one another!
INSIGHTS FROM THE QUIET PLACE and film updates;)
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.
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.
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:)
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.
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!
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.
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.
MBF Screening TONIGHT in Texas, Festival Dates, Development and More…
Welcome new readers from Vietnam, Canada, Israel and the UK and USA. We’re so very happy to have you joining us. With the spring forward in time we awoke to sunshine which is nice. Yesterday the winter stuff left and the spring stuff came out in the house. Snowmen decorations were replaced with rabbits and Easter items. We also did a full clean on the house and I’ve been working with the basement. I’ve been doing some repairs and cleaning after we got rid of our basement stove which we used at holidays but now we have two ovens with the new stove. So that older one moved along to a couple in need. Now I’m looking at getting a stand up freezer to replace our deep freezer. Organization of the homestead is an on-going thing. I’ve already started some of the yard clean up and I’ve enjoyed getting outside. Let’s look back on the week-
MBF: Man’s Best Friend which released at the end of 2020 is building momentum after its first WIN at the Equus Film Festival in Kentucky. This week we’ll be announcing a few of the new festivals and those in Bedias Texas can watch the film TONIGHT! See the ad above and so we’re excited that so many will get to see the film tonight.
We’ll also be announcing our participation in –
This is a large and growing festival in our backyard of Lansing, Michigan. We’re proud to be showcasing at this festival. The last time was the 600+ sell out of ASHES OF EDEN a few years ago. More details soon. Additionally we are officially in the ICFF (International Christian Film Festival) in Orlando, FL where once again we’re up more ‘Most Inspirational’ feature film which is my favorite. Why? Because it represents ALL the artists and we did what we setting out to do. Under the ‘People’s Choice’ I was nominated for ‘Best Script,’ ‘Lead Actor’ (Paul Landings) and ‘Best Filmmaker’ now that last one is my least favorite because they named me personally when we all know it is a team. So I take that last one for the entire producers team that works so hard. Either way we are so very appreciative and proud of the story.
This beautiful film released the 1st trailer last week. If you missed it here it is again. Watch and share to your friends, family and groups. Melissa Anschutz stars with Don Most and Victoria Jackson and a slew of amazing talent. Music and sound design is underway as is VFX and color correction. We’ll be announcing DVD poster art in the coming days and working on our release. Enjoy and share!
WILD FAITH continues to be a top viewed film on Tubi, Valorous TV and Amazon Prime. Please do enter our world of Michigan 1875 and meet our cast of characters in this powerful drama. We’re putting the proposed deal together now for the TV series more once the ink is dry. This TV series will be a great thing for the state of Michigan. It will allow an opportunity for us to work with many artists in our state. Please do take a watch and let me know your thoughts. I look forward to playing Ben Lily again.
THE QUEST TRILOGY start your journey with FORTY NIGHTS follow it with CHASING THE STAR and bring it home with THE CHRIST SLAYER. This Easter watch the trilogy with your family and start a new tradition. These films are not ‘preachy’ and just present an interesting, powerful perspective to these stories. We also stole a page from ‘Star Wars’ and present these films in a cinematic fashion similar to the original three SW films. I think the merge of styles worked really well and I’m proud of this endeavor. It is what has given confidence to the WILD FAITH tv series mentioned above.
Rance Howard appeared in all three of the films. He told me playing the Devil was a career highlight after a career of ‘good guys’ he got to play the ultimate ‘bad guy’ – yes you did my friend.
BEST YEARS GONE is our next CDI venture. We announced Shane Hagedorn as our director. If you want to see his previous feature take a watch on ASHES OF EDEN on Amazon. We’re starting to roll out our cast members as we’ll enter official pre-production this coming week. We’ve been looking at DP reels from across the country and having talks. If you have a DP reel and want to be considered for the May shoot you can send it to me or to our director Shane.
We announced the first addition to the cast this past week. Some will recognize Jim from Man’s Best Friend as the Sheriff. I first co-starred with Jim in a monster creature feature IN THE WOODS, years ago. It was my first starring role. It will be a joy to once again share the screen with my old friend. Congrats to Jim! How about another cast announcement? I want to welcome another actor friend whom I’ve known almost as long as Jim. Mr. Greg Mason. Greg has been with Tribe CDI since our maiden film KNIGHT CHILLS those many years ago. Congrats to Mr. Greg Mason!
We’ll be announcing more amazing talent as we go. We’ll also be locking more crew end of this week also. It is going to be another great shoot and I look forward to working with everyone. Follow our FB and IMDB page for this and all the CDI films. We’ll also be starting to talk to sponsors and product placement partners.
I submitted and had accepted my new story for the upcoming book on dogs at Christmas. I have two stories in the book release on horses and this fall 9/15 I believe…the book on Cats is released. I have one story in that book about our dear Lulu:)
I’m also returning to work on a few other screenplays. Development, development, development…and maybe a few TV shows:)
I’m off to get some breakfast and do a few things around here. Tomorrow I’m back on the attack with all our projects. Thank you all for your support. We appreciate it so very much.
LOST HEART Preps Post Audio and More…
I’m sipping on my morning coffee and happy to be sitting down with all of you. Again our reader BASE jumped this past week by a substantial number. Many new countries joined us in our read. Maybe the subject matter hit home with some of you. Either way I want to welcome all our new readers. So grab your favorite relaxing beverage and join us. I hope you all in the path of the storms stayed safe. Michigan got some but our home town of Lansing was not too bad. We’ve had much worse in the past years.
I’m excited to see all the new year projects that are coming together. This is also the start of a new decade and I’m excited to see what our creative tribe will produce.
I’ve been working away on the new script. The book I’m turning into a screenplay is coming along great. I’m at the half way point and after a read through with one of our development producers, I feel great about it. I found a character I related to and decided to write from that characters point of view. It is a 300+ page book so limiting the POV is helping me to target the 90-100 page mark. I’m currently called it “Best Years Gone” which is more reflective of the script. The book may ride out under a different title which is just fine. Same story but two different approaches – I like to find those unique takes on a story. I will have the script completed this month. This will be a 2020 CDI production. We got some good news about one of the locations we may use to tell this story. It is a piece by piece building of what will be another CDI story.
The Sat reading event of …
…was cancelled due to the severe weather and will be rescheduled for May I’m told. I will pass along any info I get on that new date.
We have 4 other script/projects in various degrees of development. One of them is the new project that MBF director Anthony Hornus will helm. It is another CDI period piece that takes place during WW2. Distribution interest is in place and we’re building the funding pieces as we speak. Once I get done with my current writing I will work on the directors draft with Mr. Hornus. We will be putting a call out to actors of German ancestry who can speak German.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – I’m excited to have all three of these films in the marketplace. I want to try and work on a TRILOGY trailer that pitches all three films at audiences. They are meant to be seen in order and together so I think that TRILOGY aspect has to be reenforced to our audience members.
WILD FAITH – We’ve almost finished putting some presentation materials together for ‘Hastings’ the WF TV series. I will be working with a new mgt company in trying to find the right home/partners for the series. This TV series would shoot in MICHIGAN! If you have Amazon Prime this film is free to watch. Please do and leave your review and comments on the Amazon/IMDB sites.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This amazing little film is also now free if you have Amazon Prime. We’re also seeing more DVD retails places since 1/7/2020 so I do recommend adding the DVD to your collection. It will play in Feb in Bedias, Texas and a handful of festivals and events. ICFF will be one of them and perhaps our home town festival CAPITAL CITY FILM FESTIVAL. We are planning on additional showings this year including in Hollywood for our amigos there. The response to this film continues to make me smile. Thank you to all of you that have reached out.
LOST HEART – So this past week we say edit 2 of the film. We have a watch and talk through session at the studio with Dennis Therrian who is prepping to do the music and sound design. The movie is REALLY GOOD. I’m excited for all the artists involved to see the final results. We’re prepping to do a bit of music work in Nashville in the coming weeks. The film will release late Summer or Early Fall is my best guess. We might have some art work to show soon and a trailer is next once we lock picture and move it to post audio.
I might bring this to a close. We have protein waffles almost done in my Death Star waffle maker which was a gift. I’m been outlining scenes for the script writing to hit hard again on Monday. I’m lining up a few meetings for next week at the fort. This week I plan to outline and assign some of the development tasks to our CDI producers. Updates to the CDI website including some casting announcements. http://www.cdiproductions.com
Aside from that I’m just getting ready for a decade of great new projects. Have a wonderful Sunday and week ahead.
Purpose and Persistence – Movie Updates
I’m told it is national coffee day, so my hazelnut coffee is to be recognized, cheers! The past week and the days leading up to it have been jam-packed with activity. On a personal level I’ve had a fill of loved ones facing health struggles including a dear Uncle of mine. Last weekend we got to visit and share a few laughs as he was always that family storyteller I looked up to. Sitting in his chair or around a fire up in Harrison we were always treated to mysterious and exciting stories. His tales of Bigfoot and strange lights in the sky can be seen as an influence in my writing like ‘Lost Heart’ which sadly he will not see. He is nearing the end of this journey and soon to start a new one.
Others who have not lived the same full life are facing challenges that make us ponder our purpose and value while living our relatively short time. I’m proud that I outlasted all the slings, arrows, naysayer and doubters to do what I love to do. If my time here were to end early, I’m happy and doing what I always dreamt of doing. I work with some amazing people and I think in our own way we are helping.
I’m not a person who puts high value to trophies and awards knowing that some are just vanity. But the awards that recognize the team work are the awards that matter most. The ‘Inspirational’ and certain individual awards to others like Josh Perry, stepping outside the limited views of society to be nominated for “Best Supporting Actor” makes my heart sing. Filmmaking is NOT an individual thing but a collective thing, hence Collective Development. Being that we’re not submitting to these festivals our distributor is, we have surprises every handful of days. Lets look at a bullet point of some of the updates.
- Hollywoodivine International Film Festival will happen next weekend and we have (3) films MAN’S BEST FRIEND, WILD FAITH and THE CHRIST SLAYER nominated for ‘Best Film’ – two of those for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Most Inspirational’ – All three of our film’s leading men were nominated being yours truly, Shane Hagedorn and Carl Weyant – just incredible. Lauren LaStrada again for “Haddie” in ‘Wild Faith’ – Josh Perry as mentioned above ‘Best Supporting’ – All three films nominated for ‘Best Cinematography’ – two nominations for Jesse Aragon and one for Patrick Dowdle. Lastly the amazing score of ‘Wild Faith’ by Dennis Therrian.
- Wild Bunch Film Festival will be happening on the same weekend. Ben Lily, Hester Thickett and Emmett will all be in attendance with Darby Hinton, who is my ‘Best Supporting Actor’ competition from another western film. I LOVE the genre and I’m looking forward to representing the film that garnished 13 nominations including again Dennis Therrian’s score. Other nominations include Best (Film, Faith Film, Produced Film, Best Lead Actors (Shane and Lauren), Best Supporting Actors (Melissa Anschutz and I), Best Narrator Trace Adkins, Best Children Actors for both Joe and Xylia and Best Director. If we win anything or nothing it will be a good moment representing the CDI TRIBE!
- In Randolph, VT the 1st Green Mountain Christian Film Festival will take place Oct 18-19. I think all three films MBF, Wild Faith and The Christ Slayer will play. Among the nominations announced thus far I was granted a ‘Best Supporting Actor’ Nomination for ole Ben Lily in ‘Wild Faith’ – along side Burt Young from ROCKY fame who is an Oscar Nom and whom I met a handful of years ago at Norby Walter’s Night of 100 Stars. ‘The Christ Slayer’ is nominated for a ‘Most Inspirational’ with more nominations to come this week.
- LOST HEART editing is underway and we should be climbing to the 30 min mark and we’ve had some PR from Creative Motion and a few other publications. Look for PR to really hit hard 1st of the new year.
- I’ve had such powerful and heartfelt responses from those watching ‘MAN’S BEST FRIEND‘ and I cannot express how much that fills me with joy. I took a moment this week to read some of the wonderful reviews on our IMDB and Amazon page. I know that you can’t please everyone but overall I think the film is finding its audience. Thank you. The DVD is suppose to arrive this week on Amazon and once it does we’ll be sharing that with all of you.
- The book THE HORSE OF MY DREAMS by Revall/Baker Publishing is now out and you can read two of my stories in there. You can get online or at your favorite bookstore. It will make a great Christmas present. Mom no need to get one Santa might have you hooked up this year:) I might do some book store readings or some other PR we will see. I have more books coming that will feature a few of my stories.
- BUY HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Horse-My-Dreams-Stories-Horses/dp/0800727185
- We are almost done with a second abridged version of a ‘book video promo’ we did for a publisher. It has been a lot of coordination but in the end it will be worth it.
- Development talks continue as we prepare for 2020 and what CDI will produce in the years ahead. We have some collaborative meetings in the weeks ahead and we will be charting a course soon.
I’m going to wrap it up here. Again if you haven’t seen the films in our library please do take a watch. You can also look at more of the film details on http://www.cdiproductions.com
Have a great end to your weekend and a wonderful week ahead.
Updates from On-Location – Lost Heart
Good morning from the Double JJ Resort in beautiful Rothbury, Michigan. If you have a family that loves waterparks, mini-golf, arcades, horse riding and such this is a wonderful place. Also if you are one of the people who like to knock a ball into a hole with a stick (golf) they have a beautiful course here. Such friendly service from everyone here. How they handle 50-70k people here for their music fest I do not know. But that said, our small army of artists is no problem for them.
I was a bit under the weather the 1st day and a half of pre-production but most likely due to the stress of the transition from home to location. Trying to remember to pack everything personal and business and making the move. But several breaks overseeing the golf course with deer prancing about and such put me right back on track. It is amazing to see everything fall into line but it happens through hard work and communication. I’ve very proud of how this production is coming together. I also want to announce two more amazing cast members joining us. Sherryl Despres and Michael Walton will be coming to LOST HEART🙂
While we have been here we’ve had the great joy of talking with several people who have seen our previous release WILD FAITH, which released on DVD nationally July 2nd. It is always a thrill to actually get to speak with your audience about the film. I sincerely hope that audiences continue to connect because a TV series might be around the corner. That would be great for our state and give lots of opportunities to weekly guest star talent. If you have not watched WILD FAITH please do. I know it can be purchased at Wal-Mart and many online retailers.
The Quest Trilogy is also out there and it is NOT just a holiday trilogy. And while it is pulled from the lesser known corners of the bible and the lore surrounding it – they are adventure films. As an influence we also got to go for a STAR WARS look with the three films. So if you decide you want to catch up with CDI’s biblical adventure films FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER, check your TV stations or rent/purchase the film via Amazon Prime or other participating platforms.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – We’ve been getting marketing materials out to NAGRA/MyCinema who is booking our theatrical. I’m excited to see this film roll out to theaters followed by a home video launch in the fall. If you support our wounded warriors and/or love dogs this film will pull at your heart strings. Follow us on Facebook or at http://www.cdiproductions.com
Aside from all this I recently completed two new stories for my contributions to an upcoming book. The book on horses that I have two stories in will be out this September I believe. Pre-Order here-
All this ties into the push with my literary work. I’m in hopes of announcing some new partnerships this fall. I’m going to get back to film work here but wanted to stop in and say hello. I appreciate all of you following along and supporting this endeavors. Cheers! Back to the hazelnut coffee:)
7 Updates – The Harvest of Hard Work
So last week was productive but also a week of dealing with the major absence of one personality from our furry pack Luke. I had fires burning both outside and in the office via the wood-burning stove. With Daphne and Lulu close by I swept leaves and organized the packing of yard items. Luke use to love to lay in leaves and patches of sun moving several times during the day. Daphne and Lulu did this with a few random tossing of the little ball for a chase. I also this week got a few supplies for my next batch of wine using our wild grapes, hops, some mulberries and a touch of rhubarb. I also got the materials for making dark ale for the winter months. I want to thank you all for letting me talk on the personal last week. Those personal issues all play into our art and our motivation. This week I’m going to do a “Just the facts” post because I’m going to do more yard work later on this beautiful fall day. MSU pulled out a win yesterday but the Lions have a week off. Let’s look at some updates…
- I signed contracts on two stories I wrote for inclusion in an upcoming book on horses called THE HORSE OF MY DREAMS, by Revell Books. I want to thank Callie Smith Grant for inviting and accepting my two stories. It’s showing me another way to use my imagination and storytelling beyond just screenplay. It will be a print and electronic book releasing this fall and it might make an excellent Christmas gift.
- I finished my 1stofficial draft of LOST HEART. This screenplay will be our Spring 2018 film and the 1stof a new deal with BMG.
- I also had a meeting over CDI non-family/faith content that went good. They have interest in a Sci Fi script I’m working on and a few other properties. It is great when you have a good meeting. I’ve had a few go South because of people looking for leverage by kicking at the production value or looking for an angle. But this company is producing and releasing for some great A list production companies. I was treated as an equal and that is a good start.
- I also might be digging into writing on another biblical adventure this winter. I’m going to be having some discussions on that this week. I have been actively talking with literary representation because I would like to have a more streamlined process. I have screenplays I don’t plan to produce so I should sell them off. Many talent and their production companies are looking for strong content. I have to do a new literary resume as an intro to the work.
- There is interest in both WILD FAITH and THE CHRIST SLAYER for a studio backed limited theatrical release. Wild Faith will most likely get that on the way to our home video. We have a wonderful deal underway that includes an additional of a celebrity narrator to our film. The narrator is our “Henry” grown into a man, thinking back on this and perhaps many forthcoming tales. The TV series is a real possibility and if so I’m excited by the Michigan work.
- The Christ Slayer is in process of color correction set up. Also sound and music work progresses along with a little dialogue clean up. I hope we can get the studio-backed theatrical. It ‘s depending upon if the excusing of a HOLD BACK clause can happen. What that means is that our digital and on-demand is set up along with DVD release. There is usually a window of time given between theatrical and streaming. With the target holiday being Easter all these targeted release dates are being pushed together. The film is epic and emotional and I sincerely hope it gets the larger theatrical with the home video release.
- To tie into the above topic – our MBF: Man’s Best Friend film also has the early interest and I see this film also rolling into the theatrical deal. All these films were built upon a home video deal but now as our distributor rides into theatrical – we do also. It will be a true blessing to have these films brought to theatres all over the USA/world. We’ll just keep focusing on telling the stories. But I did see a rough 20 plus minutes of the film and it left me with a big smile. The final three scenes I watched included Greg Mason, Tim Abell and Jim Gruelich. I cannot say enough how thankful I am to be surrounded by such great artists. The movie is nowhere near the climax and the power in the scenes is just popping.
In summary – we’re also exploring other expansion with our website and merchandise. It is a time of wrapping up business and developing new business. Thank you for spending a few moments of your time here. Keep plugging away at your personal goals. Every step is a bit closer to your dreams. Have a great week ahead and don’t forget to enjoy the season!
Forge Your Destiny, Manifest Your Mythology
Hazelnut coffee is a flowing and soon it will be snowing and…welcome to 2016! I got up nice and early and had some communications with our post supervisor. We have a final “40 Night” audio file (music, sound design, mixed) and visual file (color corrected with intro/outro and VFX) and overnight they were “baking” the two together into one final film. That will be uploaded to the gent who has mastered the DVD for mass reproduction. Monday morning he gets the Closed Caption file to insert and move on to the manufacturer. From there the creation of DVD’s and shipping to the warehouses. So we are close to having a COMPLETED movie.
Last night I was working on my answers to a Yuma Sun interview. We’ve also got a few more story requests from magazines coming in. I’m starting to move these to the distributor so the PR department can organize. We will also start looking at event showings of the film leading up to the national March release. Once we have our screening link they will start their oversea sales.
This coming week we’ll start pulling things together on “Chasing the Star” the second film in this QUEST TRILOGY. We had a big production meeting yesterday and it looks like a few days of our schedule will be shot in Michigan. The bear share will be in Yuma, AZ but a few sets make sense to shoot here on our home turf.
I’m happy to announce that our final script in the series has a first draft. We will be announcing that project once we announce “40 Nights” done and “Chasing the Star” prepping to film. I think we’ve found 2 of our 3 magi leads. We’ve been centering in on many other roles and I’m excited to see this project come together. It is a beautiful story and will be an excellent film that I can only hope will become a Christmas classic.
It is funny I had a conversation with another distributor this week on a different project. They were VERY aware of “40 Nights” and expressed how deeply they wished they had that film. We would do X, Y and Z = coulda, woulda, shoulda. I had to paint a very clear picture for him. They stated before that advances and guarantees were not their thing because they did not need to. Why? Because they have new filmmakers who need a way into the marketplace. I know the filmmakers behind one of their upcoming titles. The director is a good guy. He has unfortunately attracted a local parasite… Anyway, the distributor has that product versus our “40 Nights” because he didn’t put his money where his mouth is when he could have. I had to politely, but directly, shut down his debate. One organization came with action (A 3 film deal) and one has just big talk – after the risk of production was over. “40 Nights” and all three films have a deal in place. This was done BEFORE we started filming the first one.
If you want quality product like what I’m offering you have to speak with action (A deal). I’m about done chasing deals after the fact – except maybe in associated projects. So TALK IS CHEAP. I’m not looking for short cuts or pie-in-the-sky promises. I just want solid business partners to grow with. I’ve also discovered that our production outfit is rare. We do ambitious material with a proven market audience. We stay on schedule and budget. (Ask the E.P.’s on “Ashes of Eden,” “Bestseller,” “40 Nights”) And our turn around on finishing “40 Nights” is ten months. FYI: All three of those above films will release during the 1st half of 2016.
These success stories have led to more projects being brought to our table to consider producing. Even with $ attached and acting offers, you must look at the material, the people attached and pay close attention to strings attached. 95% of the issues we’ve ever had come from people we did not choose but had put upon us as part of a deal. I’ve said NO to a lot recently because a paycheck is not worth just my time. I have a purpose. I am a storyteller and we want to create good product.
Funny that same conversation with the distributor – he stated, I left some money on the table. Did I? Their business model is only around money-grabbing one off’s, which is fine I guess. They want, action spy flicks or family films with dogs and horses. I told him while we’re creating product to be profitable I would much rather have a solid film with long term success and credibility versus a “flash in the pan” sale that dies once they realize beyond the poster and opening credits the film is…subpar. I stated, if money was all I was chasing I would not be in our business. There is much easier ways to make money but I don’t want to look back at my career at 80 years old and see I just made mindless reality shows (Some I do watch) or bad exploit films. “A HORSE FOR EASTER” or “ST. PADDY PUPPY” – now I know people who do these films just like knock off slates that follow the studio mega hits. I just want more from my career when I look back. I’ve been creating for 20 years now and I can dream of making a few classics. Several films such as “Figure in the Forest” are still playing TV after several years. That longevity to me is success and so I will stay upon my path and try to create original product.
I guess it all goes back to creating your own mythology. You are defined by what you act in, produce, write and ultimately do – so keep that in mind. Also don’t be distracted by haters or what anyone thinks. They all have their own issues. I loved the article that someone wrote in response to a Huffington Post reviewer commenting on the new Star Wars film. Too many people willing to just stir the pot and create noise to get attention. All those people involved with the new Star Wars still made a movie whose merits will be debated for a lifetime. The goof who just tried to rip apart the film flaws is just an angry little-minded person. Somewhere along the line he got knocked down and never got up.
That was one of my 2016 changes I made. As always, several fools in our field doing bad business. I pointed out to one of my producers ranting on a valid point, THAT person has to wake up and be THAT person. If you’ve wronged people, you’ve likely slept poorly. You’re likely living in partial hiding from people looking for you because of unkept promises or criminal activity. Their bridges are burning all around them and they have not an ounce of the one thing they so badly yearn for – RESPECT! It is nowhere to be found. WHY? Because you have to earn it. You can’t demand it. So while I don’t have any enemies there exists enemies to our business. I’ve risen above most all of that. I focus on our own. I likely won’t be paying attention when these people implode. I do feel a bit sorry for the person they could have been. But you reap what you sow.
MAKE A CHANGE!
Off for more coffee and maybe some breakfast. Have a great weekend and productive week ahead. As always, thank you for your time.
Harvest of Fall and Filming
Another Saturday here in the beautiful area of N. Michigan. We are a few short days from camera roll and I’m a proud producer. We’ve got a hardworking team that I ‘m confident will show the talent here in our state. This is not a “just get by production” this is truly a get ahead production. You can have fun but that is secondary and a result of good work. This morning is our last pre-production meeting with department heads. It is a meet N greet for the new crew coming in and a point check of all week one scenes. I’ve got to hand it to everyone once again. Some of you know that this project is a reboot after some hired guns tried to “wing it” with production. To each their own and I wasted enough time talking about those who don’t do it right. That is why I’m so happy with what we have here on both sides of the camera. I’ve worked with crews around the state and in a few different countries and I think we have a good team built here. I’ve fought the Michigan backwoods reputation my entire career and I always take a step forward and elsewhere others put us three steps back. Investor wells run dry and those filmmakers contained to the state dry up and die on the vine. So as these years have clicked by it is good to share some of the gathered experience. Many of these good folks will move into other positions over their careers to director of photography, producers and directors. As they do I hope they recall fondly the production(s) we’ve shared and seek to create in a similar fashion. Most know that I’m an actor first and so I produce things that I see as a good vehicle and feel strong about. Many at CDI come from that camp of actor/producers. I have to give Melissa Anschutz a lot of credit on her second producing gig with me as her energy is inspirational. Many people want to work hard and have pride in the work. All that starts at the top and the example carries through down to the pride in a craft service table or tweaking that last look on make up or set dressing. I’m happy that we are able to provide such a good experience to our crew and cast due in part to the many sponsors we have on board. You can see some of them on the BESTSELLER website. http://www.bestsellerthemovie.com
Our crew are staying in beautiful condos that are several thousand dollars a month. No tents, campers or Motel 6 on this one. Yes, some major extra work by the staff but at the end it is a great way to show them how much we appreciate them all. This and many other extras were not achieved by throwing money but by representing ourselves well and creating a win-win for both parties. We even have a soccer field that may result in a day off match but somehow I see beer drinking and watching the Lions more likely:)
I’m excited to be flying in a few famous friends to help tell our story. All seasoned vets of our industry that I’m proud to have in our cast. Their work speaks for them and they loved the story and know the commitment of CDI and its partners to telling a story. I love the excitement just before we roll. The beautiful thing is we have not had one panic moment and everything has been calm and orderly. When you walk in the office you hear just the tap-tap of laptops and the sipping of water and coffee. I’ve also had a major fill of seafood since I’ve been here. Thank you to the local Native Odawa Casino for a couple of great “All you can eat” crab leg prime rib pre-production meals.
“Ashes of Eden” is getting close to finalizing sound design and what a difference that makes. WOW! We’re taking our time to put these last elements together perfectly. It is a great film and soon we will show the world.
“Donors” is also finalizing sound design and that is all that needs to be completed.
The same is true with “The Terrorist” formerly “Benjamin”. After a recut of the film that made it much edgier they just have to polish up the sound before a 2014 release.
“Darkest Night” has launched on HULU and that is exciting. So if you have that platform please do check it out.
Well, I’m in need of another hazelnut coffee to get ready for this 10 am meeting. I’ve had a great treat last night and tonight as my girl is up with her cousin visiting and shopping in the area. They brought my furry son Luke and he was so happy to see me yesterday. He is having a great time as they are staying outside of town at a B&B that allows animals. He met his first horses yesterday and was completely interested in them. I think he saw them as the largest and most unusually smelling dogs he has ever met:)
Until next Sat when I will have a 1st week rundown. Depending on our schedule it might have to happen on Sunday which is our day off. I hope everyone has a great productive week and enjoys the harvest of fall around them.