I’m waiting for the coffee to finish as I start typing. I have a full day today and so I wanted to get a jump on it. As usual I want to welcome all our international readers from Poland, Argentina and more. Part of the balance of an artist is to navigate all the elements life presents. Since returning from filming ‘The Christ Slayer’ I’ve been working on getting the entire operation in order. That part as I’ve stated before is not the most fun part. While others seek their next role on camera I’m recording, tracking and remitting on other films. This week was important because as “Forty Nights” is fully entering the flow and thank you too all those of you who have watched the film. It is a business and that work must be done. Also ‘Chasing the Star’ will soon be heading into the national/international market so getting this “business flow” set up is the smart thing. Being that I’ve not yet had a sip of coffee my thoughts are still a little scattered so maybe we’ll have a shotgun news day with no exact order. I call this 10 UPDATES/LESSONS OF THE WEEK.
- “Forty Nights” had 4 nominations at the #ICFF and WON ‘Most Inspirational Movie’ and we’ve got an internal process of PR. I did notice that the film experienced a lil’ hate with the nomination nods and more when it won. I know this comes from the frustration of actors/filmmakers/screenwriters who despise seeing other projects move while their passion sits stagnant. (Coffee is ready – time out) (OK – game on) A few facts are that some of our projects have failed to launch. I’ve discovered that we often get stuck in a rut of trying to push something that is not ready. If you get better at reading momentum that helps your endeavors. Some people want to push with everything and not back down but if it is not meant to be, it will not come to pass. Patience is a bitch.
- I had a meeting this week where it was pointed out that many in the local community don’t love the isolation attitude of our company. The truth is that I work hard on TO DO’s everyday. I turn it off everyday with things to do tomorrow. I could spend time at various industry mixers but it comes at the expense of something I need to do. I could spend $100 on food and drinks to discuss other people’s endeavors but it comes at the expense of writing 10 pages of script or not reviewing that international sales agreement. It was easier when I was a nomadic film warrior in my 20’s but I have domestic activities that I enjoy – yard work/tinkering is one of them. So it is not that I don’t care what others are doing industry-wise (I’m actually quite informed) but I just love what we’re doing more and know fully the hard work required to move those pieces ahead on the board. Talk to anyone who has participated in one of our endeavors and the response is usually very different versus the person who has not yet done business with us. Again I say, DON’T HATE, CREATE. That should go on tee-shirts.
- Again Cannes Film Festival is underway and I’ve done that Hollywood scene and it is a fun world to visit. But it will devour your time and financial resources and again you can visit trendy places with your resources or you can create art and content. Many of those parties cost thousands of dollars to attend. I also said that I will consider attending only accompanying a piece of art we’ve created. Maybe one day. I have no problem with those who love to attend those events – I’m just working steadily towards goals.
- Dennis Therrian our main composer, sound designer and post supervisor is prepping ‘Chasing the Star’ for delivery to our distributor for the national launch in September. He’s also just finishing sound design on “Wild faith” and will soon start the music. He recently was nominated for ‘Best Music Score’ at #ICFF with “Forty Nights” which also was mentioned as winning ‘Most Inspirational’ so if like several of us out there you like to write/work to music scores this is a great one to buy and listen to. – BUY HERE https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/40-nights-soundtrack/id1114858978 More of the scores are going to be releasing to sound track including “Chasing the Star” another beautiful collection of music.
- I touched on patience and reading momentum. I am subject to these laws myself. Some great production developments are moving a touch slow due to factors outside myself. They are great opportunities it just requires me to be accepting and have patience. A great opportunity for a TV series behind “Wild Faith” exists and development has begun. I would have LOVED to roll cameras in 2018 but the main national roll out for the feature will be in 2018 and so the series production will likely fall to 2019. Not what I had first wanted but that is the business of it all.
- A new biblical trilogy to follow THE QUEST TRILOGY is being developed and one of the scripts is done. The other two are in development. Right now the name of the trilogy is THE CONQUEST TRILOGY. Old Testament, No Jesus, No Angels/Fallen Angels and they do not tie into the first trilogy. That group of films is complete. The last film in THE QUEST TRILOGY entitled ‘The Christ Slayer’ is almost done with the first edit. So I’m not sure if the 1st film in this new trilogy will film in 2018 or not. I have a few other business pieces to put in place.
- Since I’ve accepted the flow of development for not what I want but what is – I’m finishing a script this month that just might go into production this fall in Michigan. It is a story that I’ve had my heart into for a year or two but just needed to finish the story. A first draft will be done at month’s end. #MBF
- The Michigan theatrical run is complete on “Chasing the Star” and this week we’ll be discussing new destinations for this film to play. This week our time on this project got devoured by delivery work. The final film will be sent off for final DVD mastering. We had a few bumps in flow because we changed a few things in the process on this film. Lesson – If it isn’t broken don’t fix it:) All is good just a small amount of additional time spent which could have been avoided with a bit stronger management. (I’m speaking to myself:)
- Some exciting things happening with the CDI website (www.cdiproductions.com) which has been in discussions for several years. The entire CDI library is digitized so that was a key element to what we’re doing. The site will be getting a major upgrade that will include the ability for people to purchase and stream past CDI films. Will we stop at CDI films? We will see – one step at a time. I also have had interest in doing some major merchandising so that is something we will explore.
- Speaking of spin off’s – BOOKS. E-Books to be more exact whereas several our films/scripts have been written into books. Those are about to come to market. That deal is underway and like everything else takes time to put the pieces together.
So in conclusion, every week is a busy week. I am open to discussion on new business but with how crazy everything is I’m not likely to get to another town to pub it and talk shop. If you truly think we have some good business reach out. We’ve done many associated films. I can promise that you will get truth from my perspective. I will not BS you and while I don’t always tell people what they want to hear I will tell it to you straight. I do consider acting in outside projects but all I ask is that its at the true pre-production stage and not dreamer stage. I had a phone meeting Friday whereas a NYC production had reached out wanting me to act. Sent me the script, the book it was based on etc…I read two chapters and knew in my gut that the film was nowhere close to shooting. That was two years ago. I’m glad those hours of reading were spent elsewhere. I’ve also participated and was paid (thank you) on a couple of projects that have never finished. Years have clicked by and still no finished film. The artist in me is what hurts on those projects. I was paid for my time, my art but we do it to share. If it was just about shells and beads ($$$) there is easier ways to make it. I’m going to go fill the coffee cup and get on with a few morning activities. I have a soccer match to play today if we don’t get cancelled because of storms. Some relax time with friends and family and tomorrow we go after the TO DO list again. I hope you all have a great day and a productive week.
Be good to one another.
I’m sipping at the hazelnut coffee and enjoying the early morning here in Michigan. We had a nice relaxing day up North after a very busy week of business. I want to welcome some of our new blog followers from India. Our international readers might enjoy some of the updates as we work to get more of our films to you.
I spoke about some “uninvited drama” last week. It has been put to rest. You have to seek to do that. Actually the less attention and energy you give it the better. I have a friend that I’ve known a long time. They seem to be going through an adjustment and break from a TOXIC relationship. I do note that they get into these long drawn exchanges of words. Now as someone who writes this blog, I know how much time they take to write. When people take all this additional time to debate what should not be debatable, it eats huge amounts of time with no payoff save frustration. DELETE and move on. Consider not posting things that will end up wasting your time if you are unable to IGNORE. To apply that to my life – if I was to take every critical personal attack to heart and waste all this time defending – little would get done. But in the time it would take to read or address these negatives – I’ve landed a new distribution deal. I’ve written another script scene. I’ve combed through a budget. Even a “Charlie Brown” (Whoa is me) statement will often bring a bunch of sympathy responses. Answering all those with a polite retort can eat a morning up or afternoon. So be careful what you throw out there. Someone who is feeling down and engages in such behavior risks only feeling down again for lack of productivity. Now push those feelings aside and get a list of TO DO’s done and I promise you will feel better. An issue might still exist but you did not feed it. You did not allow it to consume you. You controlled it and TCB baby! (Took care (of) business) Next time you feel like writing a short novel spewing the frustration over someones actions you can’t control – try ignoring it and taking care of yourself. Tackle that task that you’ve been putting off and I promise you – you will start to feel empowered. Less talk – more action!
To the FILMS…
THE QUEST TRILOGY
40 Nights – What can I say? My goal is that all three films will become a holiday tradition to watch. I think they have the power to do so but we will see in 20 years now won’t we. Family Video has joined our growing list of retailers and rental houses. Here is a new review that was sent over today –
I’ve heard of people watching the film multiple times for an uplift. I’ve been told of the DVD being given as a gift. I’ve enjoyed hearing what joy has come from the little film we artist created.
The second “Chasing the Star” should have its second cut. We will be reviewing this week. Things are in line with music and we will be addressing our INTRO and VFX soon! It is exciting to see it all come together and I’m so proud of our team.
I’ve started the hunt for the director of our third film, “The Christ Slayer” which despite the harsh title is a beautiful story. We’ve been dealing with returning cast and also starting to look at new artists. I will be excited to finish this trilogy next year.
Many of our CDI/CDI Associated films are expanding. Every couple of weeks we’re announcing new pathways. Let’s look at a few developing.
- “Locked in a Room” is moving into a secondary distribution including a few new foreign territories. It is already in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and it will be expanding again it looks like. This is a unique thriller by the awesome twisted mind of director Larry Simmons.
- PR this week will be announcing the return of the “Knight Chills” franchise. The new Facebook page is up although not much to it yet save the new trailer. It will release in 2017 with the book that is complete. https://www.facebook.com/KnightChills/?fref=ts
- 2017 will see several new releases as our deal making continues.
- “Ashes of Eden,” “Bestseller” and “40 Nights” continue to widen their circle of availability. This past week we announced FAMILY VIDEO carrying this trio of films.
- The CDI Classic library is now digitized and so in 2017 some of these films will enjoy their first On-Demand or Blu-Ray releases. Some special edition DVD releases will also happen in 2017. (Wicked Spring:)
We discussed “Knight Chills” and while we’ve been keeping it under tight wraps – the sequel is in active development. We’re tweaking the teaser trailer for the sequel and we’ll be doing some strong PR on this exciting event in the near future.
A Jesse Low directed western project is in active development and nearing pre-production status. It’s inspired by a project we tried to launch during the writer’s strike years ago only to have it die a slow painful death. Yes. I too have failures. The heart of the previous story will beat strongly as we move forward with this new creative team. We will have some strong announcements concerning this project in the coming weeks.
- YES both the projects could provide some Michigan casting opportunities. So as I’ve said before – we like looking at “game footage” so get your acting reels together.
Men out there, words of wisdom – IF you plan to audition for a western (which we are trying to shoot this year) LET IT GROW, LET IT GROW! Same with our biblical films as we DO NOT like fake beards/hair etc… I think it comes from one project I had an association too – it was fine enough drama but it was so distracting because it looked like someone glued beaver pelts to people’s faces. I think that scare of all that hard work suffering because an actor can’t make the commit to grow hair/beard when required. So…there you have it.
Here is another little gem with casting at CDI anyway…always feel free to send an updated reel or clip to me. But to put minds at rest – if we’ve hired you before to no issues. (You trouble makers know who you are) Providing you brought your performance A-game and you were a sail NOT an anchor, you will be considered. You are often hand delivered under the nose of a director. My phone always rings more during casting times than non but I love you all the same. I just want some of you who don’t get called to know you were likely considered. Your location vs budget, age, look etc…all can factor into decisions but ole DJ remembers his co-stars. Some of you can attest to getting the calls out of the blue – sometimes years after a discussion. But keep your materials strong and current.
While on casting let me point out one other observation. I think this is important to many of those tween talent growing into adulthood. I follow a handful of promising talent that I am impressed by but waiting for the right project. I caught a glimpse of an actress I’ve followed and almost worked with – going through a public store with a couple co-stars. They were loud, obnoxious and created a few messes. Now, I’m not a saint and I’ve been kicked out of a few stores in college BUT I was not away on business representing a project and a company. I was just disappointed because I, as a company owner look for professionals that reflect well on our casting decisions. These young ladies I’m sure had no problems talking about their project but I felt like I was watching an episode of JACKASS. I guess this works for them and they might all be great actresses but I do think they will lose out on some roles because of how they paint themselves off camera/on set and off camera/off set. Yes. Wrap is called and it’s your free time but I think some professional behavior is desired by some productions. Like ours.
Alright, I’m sure I missed a few updates but I’m going to go have another coffee and enjoy the day. Another soccer battle today. We won the last game so we’ll see if we can earn another victory.
Our day of intense heat gave way to the nice cool day we now enjoy. I will get to talking more on biz here soon but I thought I would get some of the other random thoughts out of my head. I also want to Welcome new readers from Poland and Brazil. I love all the international friends that follow the blog. It is a small world after all:)
To me, the imagination is the great first teacher of the acting craft. Many of us were making space ships from couch cushions and pretended to be tracking monsters on our forest walks. All this just carries over naturally. I think we get hindered by sheer magnitude of trying to make it as artists in a world of shells and beads. (Money) After being in an acting class at the Community College years ago I left after about an hour. Much like “drama club” in high school it was not my thing. I was getting together with friends and making short films. I didn’t like the silliness in those classes. I took another stab at an acting class at MSU with a teacher named Joyce Ramsey. You could tell that silliness was NOT what she was about. She was brutally honest and no nonsense. She gave a public shake down of each of us after our day one. Funny, she gave about the same assessment that I’ve been given by at least one movie studio. She said I could play leading man to the featured gas station attendant. But she declared, “you will be a stronger actor when you leave my class.”
I was NOT in the theater program. I was NOT in the cliche of students in the college “drama” circles, but she invested in me. She would catch me if I came out of character. She empowered me with confidence to trust my own choices. I think she really understood how deep my well of imagination ran. I think, I was one of her favorites – at least in that class. She knew movies were my interest not the stage. Even so, she encouraged me to audition for play THE DOLL HOUSE, going up at the college, even if just for the audition challenge. To honor her request, I did and was offered the male lead. With a smile, I turned it down but left with a confidence that I could survive and thrive amongst these stage actors. I’ve thought of her several times over the years with the success I’ve had. She was older when she taught and I was not sure what happened to her. I looked her up a few months ago and became friends on social media. I had intended to reach out and let her know how her words had helped me to climb where I am now. I heard she passed away yesterday at 89 years old. Now she knows all – I hope she has a good rest and I’m sure she helped many like myself. Thank you Joyce.
The strength to look at the harsh trials of our industry and believe I could make it.
FILM BIZ UPDATES
Many of our films are rolling out this month to various ON DEMAND platforms. Joining “40 Nights” on Google Play is now “BESTSELLER” –
SOUNDTRACK coming soon!
NEW “40 NIGHTS”
“40 Nights” has released on VUDU and AMAZON.
We have more teaser clips rolling out to promote the ON DEMAND roll outs.
“Chasing the Star” the second film in the QUEST TRILOGY following “40 Nights” is in post with editing passing the sixty minute mark. We should have a locked picture at month’s end and move into music and sound design.
We have NEW development talks underway with Shane Hagedorn, Jesse Low and BlackJacket Films over scripts.
Additionally I’ve been having a few talks over script sales. I’ve recently had discussions with a director in Hollywood over acting in a film for a week or two this summer. Additionally the garden is in and the yard is looking very zen. I love all the wildlife. I have a busy week ahead and I feel ready to sail forward. We have another soccer match today and I’m looking forward to that.
I hope you all have a great end to your weekend and a productive week ahead.
My Saturdays have been a little crazy and this weekend looks to be the same. It’s the first hour of Saturday and I decided that I would recap the week. Where to even start this week…
40 Nights –
I’m excited because I’m about to review our 2nd draft of the complete film edit. I’m prepping the business of post sound/music and will put that in play next week. Plus we will be doing a polish and score on our 1st trailer. I have to say I’m very pleased with the trailer and it only touches upon the powerful moments in the full film. I had great talks this week with our distributor, our director and team members. I’m excited to bring a first look in July here. Are you ready?
Screenings are almost set for Lansing and Detroit area event showings. I’ve gotten a great amount of “fan mail” (Can you call in that with email?) from these theatrical screenings. It does play really well in the theater and so I want to provide that experience to as many people as we can. I also had even more promising talks with yet another distribution opportunity. This studio enjoyed the film, the performances and the production supervision very much. We discussed a few future acting opportunities and possible deals with the existing and future CDI library. Some breaking news on one of the projects will become known soon – that is once the studio signs off on the P.R. BESTSELLER – MADE IN MICHIGAN!
This thriller recently had two different distribution offers. I had a nice conference over the direction of this film with director/producer Charles P. today. I think we know what direction we want to travel with this film to begin with. Jon Osman’s THE TERRORIST, a thriller out of NYC could find a home in the not-so-distant future.
ASHES OF EDEN –
This film was back in the studio being prepped for final delivery to our distributor. Our October release date and new poster art is still forthcoming. I’m excited to see this film release worldwide. Congrats to all these artists. MADE IN MICHIGAN
New TV Dealings –
You know I like to give you loyal readers the advance notice. CDI Distribution has brokered a deal with Parables TV for “Standing Post,” “Outside the Wire,” and “7 Stones” and official PR will release this coming week. Congrats to all those artists! MORE MADE IN MICHIGAN!
NEW AVENUES –
Actually new avenues are opening for all the films in the CDI library. We’re exploring many new sales deals and so far we’ve gotten good responses. I had some good talks about more international licensing. I love the foreign sales because that gets the films out to all of you. With 70+countries representing our international readers of this blog – my sincere wish is to keep expanding into more of your territories. I get asked weekly about getting more of our films to Brazil, Norway…(the list goes on)
READ & WRITE –
I have a few scripts being sent over to me this week. Conversely, I’m finishing up some script work and I’m quite happy with the results. I’m starting to finally look ahead to what’s next for me “in front” of the camera. I’m just looking to make that right connection. I will say that I’ve had some VERY exciting talks as of late over new projects. I really do love creating these roles. I’ve got past directors developing material and so reunions could also be soon at hand. I have enjoyed the break from having those other characters developing inside me. But…the calling:) BUT…That voice will be ignored until the proper business is complete:) TCB first and after allow the artist to run WILD. Have FAITH the right project will develop.
Have a great week ahead. I appreciate you all stopping by.
Yesterday we wrapped yet another motion picture. The term “in the can” doesn’t apply any longer but “on the drives” or some term would. We rolled in here three weeks ago from Michigan and with the collaboration of many artists both sides of the camera we once again did what we do. We finished on budget, on schedule and with this particular film the distribution deal is signed. “40 Nights” will be distributed by Lightworx Entertainment. The faith-based company is operated by Randy Maricle, the former VP of Operations & Marketing at Pureflix. I got to know him over the last few years and I was impressed by how he helped push “Gods Not Dead” into the marketplace. We had a couple of offers on “40 Nights” and while Lightworx not only offered the best deal – they also sweetened the pot. They have entered into a deal for me to write and produce two additional biblical era movies. I think I already know what the second one will be and have a few ideas on the third. But one step at a time. This film will immediately move into post and we have an aggressive release schedule ahead. Our distributor made a trip to the set on one of our big market days and got to see all the extras at work plus the animals. It is the kind of film that both my grandma’s would have truly loved. I think this film will find its way into the hearts of many and be a favorite for years to come. It is EPIC.
So now we wrap up the circus. We are having a wrap cook out today provided by the community who has been extremely supportive of our efforts. I think they saw the magic of what was happening. This film is the second I’ve had shot in this area and I think when it gets cold in the Michigan this might become a destination. I also saw a few great locations for our westerns. So I’m certain that we will be returning to film here in the future.
BESTSELLER music should be getting close to done. I can’t wait to return home to do a watch/listen through that film and get ready for our 1st showings in May. May also looks like it will be the month of the special WICKED SPRING showings in Grand Rapids, Michigan. May is also the National release of ASHES OF EDEN. This stretch into Summer is going to be busy with film releases and premieres. I also heard that DEAD QUIET is making its way through post production looking at fall showings.
We have a commercial project to shoot when I return and otherwise just overseeing all this film flow will be the focus. I also had a couple of acting offers present themselves. Right now I’m thinking about home, family and my own bed:) I’m also in negotiations to write a script for a company later this year so that is always fun. I like writing – just me and my coffee on the patio.
So that is the short recap. I’m very proud of the hard work by all our cast and crew here. Only a pair of longer days due to the desert sun which was our biggest monster. I think when we shoot here next time a month or two earlier will allow things to run even smoother.
Stay tuned for lots of more exciting updates in the weeks ahead!
Welcome December! I’ve got the hazelnut coffee brewed and I’m ready to have a little chat with the “Clawing My Way to the Middle” readers. First I want to say it is an honor to have each and every one of you take the time to read my journey. I try to present lessons that can help others on their own journey. I wanted to let you all know where many of our readers are from. Of course the USA, Brazil, Mozambique, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Norway, Thailand, Australia and Netherlands. How great is it that we all reside within our boarders of our country but we are all on this planetary journey together. Storytelling as been helping to shape society and artistic expressions while various all share common traits. I’ve always been drawn to culture that is different. I think that is what is uniquely special in all of us. That is why I could never get the concept of unifying. No one art is better – it is uniquely different. My mind even goes to food and drink when I look at that list of countries. I know all the unique traditions that surround great meals prepared in all those lands. USA is the hodgepodge for sure and that is our thing. But I’m deeply appreciate of food, song, culture, religion (as an expression) and storytelling. I’ve been honored to have worked with a handful of international filmmakers and I plan to work with more. I think my interest in ancient history, martial arts and even the culture of futbol/soccer has driven me to explore and enjoy the diversity we have on this planet. I want to thank all of you readers for your precious moments. I also will make it a goal to get more and more of our films into your territories. Some of them already are but with distribution growing as they say at Disney world “It’s a small world after all.” True words:)
I’ve had a great week both personal and professional. The Thanksgiving family time is past us and now the Christmas tree is up. While not yet decorated it has been a welcome sight each day. The tree will become the fuel of the transformation fire (Fire pit) that will help burn up the winter clutter once spring arrives. I’ve been gathering gifts for family since I will be gone the week before Christmas week. I’ll be in Nevada playing space cowboy in the Valley of Fire. I was informed that as a young child I went there and even saw a few old photos yesterday. I look forward to gathering with these artists and performing with a few actors I admire and have not yet worked directly with. I’m ready save my packing so soon it will be time to shoot in the WASTELAND.
2015 Distribution Updates
ASHES OF EDEN – Feel free to read a great review of the film. More of these will be releasing leading up to the 2015 national release. I have a goof vocabulary but I had to look up the word they associated with my name. I thought it might mean “Loud and Opinionated” Ha! But I was happy to see that it meant “marked by outstanding strength and vigor of body, mind or spirit.” So please do take a read on the review and we will be getting the film on the market and out to you very soon.
DONORS – Also will be releasing nationally in 2015 – more on this in the weeks to come
WICKED SPRING – produced under Lionheart Filmworks when that was our southern sister company. The companies split ways a handful of years ago and now “Wicked Spring” is under the CDI banner and is getting a 2015 spring special edition release. Also on BluRay!
We will see a 2015 re-release of KNIGHT CHILLS with a novelization release. Likely fall 2015. Also work on a sequel script has begun.
HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS and FIGURE IN THE FOREST rights are back at home here at CDI and a domestic release set up will also happen. “Figure in the Forest” can be seen on TBN and Parables TV.
BESTSELLER – Early look at FX work is very exciting! I know music work is in full swing. We are looking at a 1st test showing of this film early in 2015. We are getting some early interest from distributors. It is going to be another film that proudly showcases Michigan filmmaking at its finest.
NON-CDI RELEASE INFO
I have a few co-starring/supporting roles in THE TERRORIST & DEAD QUIET and make appearances in DIVISION 19 and SMALL TOWN SANTA (Released now).
Several VERY exciting projects are in development some with partial funding. We’re hard at work with some script work and prep that will lead to more production in 2015!
My last advice pulled from recent events. ALWAYS, ALWAYS give more by way of effort than what you are paid for. NEVER be one of the people who does just the absolute minimum. Maybe at some boring desk job but in an industry that moves on passion you never want to be seen as just a functional piece. Your passion is what makes you an artistic contributor. It is what will get you re-hired. A great example taken from BESTSELLER film shoot. I like to ninja about and just observe people at work. I came up to the grip truck one day to find our key grip Paul Burt busy organizing. Most people were just trying to stay warm and get the shots as this was a wet, cold day on a remote dirt road. I watched him move and arrange. Wipe down and clean C stands and such. When I revealed myself to his surprise – I was met with a smile and asked if I needed anything. My response – “I need an entire crew with an attitude like yours.” I said, hot coffee was ready and he explained that he would go up in a few minutes. This was HIS responsibility. HIS grip truck for this shoot and HE wanted to make sure it was clean and orderly because it was a reflection on him. WOW! I want people like that on our team. That is a reflection of us as a company. That is a reflection of us as an industry. Character is what you are when you think nobody is looking. Pride starts with yourself and extends outward like a pebble thrown in water. Paul Burt’s phone will ring again. Will yours? With only so many people making narrative features and with the way producers get referrals on performance. How many times can someone give just the bare minimum before one of your peers with passion takes that hire away from you? Let me answer that for you – not many. This goes for actors. This goes for vendors. I’ve had companies mad because I continued to get my gear over the years from LOWING LIGHT & GRIP. I even had a trash talking vendor from Detroit once ask how she could steal my business. Her choice of words alone made me say, NEVER. David (Lowing) was there when I first stepped up to fight monsters in IN THE WOODS. He has always been there for me. Like I said about cast/crew, he always gave more goods or service than the dollar amount on the check. That intangible is where loyalty lives. The actor who gives every ounce of themselves – I immediately think of Melissa Anschultz freezing in a warehouse under rain machines while filming “7 Stones”. I already spoke about Paul Bert and David Lowing as examples of crew and vendors. If you desire loyalty from people you better give them a reason. I know people out there get mad (of course at someone else) if they get passed over. We know sometimes it’s just a casting thing or a key crew position that was already in play – but look at yourselves. Are you respectful to those above and below you? Do you give your best effort, always? Do you spread positive energy in your wake? Would you be an example for others to follow? If you can’t answer YES to all of these your time could be limited or your advancement may stall. Stand accountable and watch your career and life experience amazing growth.
Happy Full Moon!
A week ago I was waking up early in Kalamazoo to return from our 15th anniversary showing and deal announcement on IN THE WOODS. I have a few more public events coming up soon. I do plan to attend the showing of STANDING POST that was done by one of my long time collaborators and features three actors I respect. I’m also happy that the crowd surrounding the East Lansing Film Festival will get a chance to see ASHES OF EDEN and also get some exciting news for the film. I am happy that this inspirational film will reach even more people. LOCKED IN A ROOM thrilled some folks in Canton last week and I got some great communications from fans watching stuff on VOD. On TV as I type is the making of John Carpenters HALLOWEEN. 21 days and 325,000 with Donald’s pay being 25k. I’m enjoying seeing how much fun those actors had making that little film that would be a king classic in the genre. It was also slammed hard when it first came out. John said much of it was from other artsy filmmakers unhappy they could not get the exposure and release they felt they deserved.
This past week had some of my people working hard to get things in order on BESTSELLER. We are planning time for the director and DP to come in and share ideas. I think we are growing close to a finished film on THE TERRORIST. We only have a few left in the pipeline. Which brings us to DEVELOPMENT.
I’ve got WASTELAND ahead of me this December and we launched the Facebook site where we will be featuring updates in cast, artwork and props. I’ve had some great meetings with a few people over the last couple weeks as CDI looks to increase the army. I look for smart, positive people with passion and willing to work hard. I’ve built everything in this industry I have brick by brick with few if any handouts. I found other like-minded people and together we faced battles – won some, lost some and moved forward.
As our sales team has been licensing films in the library we have been looking at franchising a few of the films. It is no secret that Lynn Drzick is interested in doing another IN THE WOODS. If the right script is agreed upon it may happen. Also VP of CDI, director Jeff Kennedy and I have had talks over KNIGHT CHILLS and we do have a rough idea of a follow-up. I may be paid to write a script that I’ve had in my head for many years for an associate this November. Discussions on several scripts that already have distributor interest and in some cases guarantees continues.
On some of these smaller scope projects I’m looking at upcoming filmmakers who have yet to reach an international level. I’m looking at people who don’t want to do this as a hobby but as a career path. Many of these people have personal ideas/scripts that can be enjoyable for a small pocket of fans but often does not lead to bigger things. While some are content with making films for fun many in the cast or crew have greater aspirations.
It’s a stairs step process to get to these levels of film success. By success I mean having a title that has sold tens of thousands plus units or is in rotation on TV networks or available in different countries. Once you start to take steps if others around you aren’t willing to do the same you sometimes have to distance yourself creatively for a while. Maybe just until they evolve to that next level. If you’ve done a string of quality projects and have started to frame yourself as a professional you cannot slip back. By you saying NO, you may be one of many that helps them evolve. This is hard when you know the people but if they are doing it for fun and you are building a career – conflict of interest. I’ve explained to a few friends in the field (not truly in the BIZ) I cannot just come play for fun. I spend that time on paid projects or developing paid projects. When you win as a producer you win for many artists. When a film breaks out into the international market the resume of all those artists increases. I don’t always feel that some artists, usually the young, fully appreciates this fact. The wages may be modest, the hours long but to have a credit on a film that really gets into the marketplace is so valuable. So take pride in your work and be happy that you are working on something that will help you. If you start out in our field just for the money you’re in the wrong field. There is good money to be made but it comes in time through hard, collaborative work.
For the last few years I’ve been gone on set shooting during October so this has been wonderful to be home. Like I said earlier, I would rather spend time developing and finishing projects of quality versus just doing to do projects that are just fun. I do things for fun (Reading, soccer, archery, guitar, brewing) and I often find filmmaking fun BUT since I am accountable and use investment versus donations – I take my work very serious. I’ve been in development talks with Shane Hagedorn (ASHES OF EDEN) and we plan to do a 2015 film. Add in the handful of other projects developing and the new year could be filled with exciting projects. I look forward to incorporating some new people into the tribe. I look forward to working with my tried and true. I look forward to sharing our stories with fans around the world. Right now, I’m looking forward to some more coffee, some breakfast and MSU putting a whoop on U of M.
Have a great weekend and be good to one another.