A very good morning to all of you – hazelnut cheers to our new readers from Australia, Philippines, Ireland and more. I’m sitting and feeling – relief, joy, accomplishment…I’m still trying to capture that feeling. Last night was pretty crazy cool. Weds we went to the NCG and set levels for the film and the pre-showing videos which comprised of “For the Love of Catch” movie trailer and the music video for ‘Off to the Races’ featuring Vertical Bridge. In the past I’ve had some events that I primed up well for- one example that jumps into my mind is David Borowicz and I in Burbank, CA before WILD FAITH played the theater. He said let’s stop here and have ONE beer. It was the home of the 1 yard beers so that really started things off relaxed. I went into the premiere stone sober and first the first trailer started playing without the visual. They restarted it and it played great. The music video started way loud and then they turned it too low and finally brought volume back up. The aspect ratio on the feature was off slightly so bottom credits were being cut off. But they quickly readjusted. Visual, audio, aspect ratio- they had moved us to a larger theaters and the adjustments from Weds were not applied. My limited-tech self was wishing I had that yard sized beer in advance. The audience didn’t notice but we did and the second 8:15 show got the much better adjusted showing and this week the showings should be much more dialed in. But the interest and numbers for the showing resulted in us getting our run extended for the week! The kick off gremlins tried to mess with the showing but instead ended up having an amber ale with us after and they liked the film:)
I also enjoyed talking with Karl Manke the book author. The book is called HOPE FROM HEAVEN. It is an interesting feeling when you write a script and it is turned into a film passing by the director and the actors. It has to be another experience to have your book turned to a screenplay turned into a movie. Either way I think he enjoyed the experience but as a writer I know sometimes in your imagination you have it painted differently. But for me it is always a pleasure seeing the words brought to life. We will know this week if NCG is bringing it to other cities in Michigan. We have a few other chains we are in talks with and our goal is to get it to you. It is planned for roughly a Feb 2022 DVD/streaming release with our distributor. We are going out on the distributors general market main stream label. The film checks many of the boxes for a good inspirational story but the hardcore faith buyers seemingly don’t always like to see too ‘real’ of situations. The ‘Brady Bunch’ level crisis is usually what they like to focus on but that is slowly changing. Audiences loved the characters, the humor, the music (Dennis Therrian) and the edit (Nathaniel Nose) – I am going to sneak into a day show this week. Likely 2:45 show and home by dinner:)
This week we’ll be looking to see what could be done with SMOKE & MIRRORS the short we did off a commercial shoot for an audio software company Izotope. It is a precursor to a feature film we want to film from one of my scripts of the same name. We might do a steampunk happy hour fund raiser for the historic house or something online. We will have a few creative pow wows over this but however you see it will be entertaining.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is moving hard. The crew started getting agreements although our prep dates might fall back by a day. The office and AD staff are working on the set schedule which includes what we call a day-of-days that tells us actor start dates, work dates and final date so we can properly book flights and hotels. Transportation in will be a bit harder as all the close airports are small and limited flights. We are driving in with the prep team so we can bring more gear and such with us. The chill in the air this morning whispered “Wait until November.” – DOH! So this week we’re are back at it and with a more singular focus now that several projects have been concluded.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is a feature length documentary produced by CDI in association with the Red, White and Blue Project Inc. a military focused non-profit. We’ll be locking up picture soon and sweetening the sound before we premiere this fine piece of work.
I’m not going to go on much about development this week but we are always in the state of development. Several possible projects are building and growing closer to a production green light. More doors are opening weekly that we are evaluating and looking to see if they make sense and match with our schedule. So please do make the time to go see BEST YEARTS GONE on the big screen and take a friend or two. If you have seen it take a moment to share your thoughts with a review on IMDB.com
We are going to go hit the flea market down the road and look for a few WW2 era props for the November shoot. We might have to get a few pumpkins and maybe even apple cider. I finished the hop harvest and we’ve still been waiting on some of the veggies late maturing like eggplant and Brussel sprouts. Wood cutting with Viking Thursdays might start soon. The days are still getting warm but morning and nights are getting chilly. Good sleeping weather when the window is open.
I also will tell you that some great merchandise made its first appearance at the premiere and will be for sale soon online. Best Years Gone official handkerchief that people really loved featuring a few of the favorite tag-lines from the film. Also Gil Gilles approved lighters, papers, grinders and beverage cozies one with a built in opener. Fun stuff and the start of many as we start to develop the CDI merchandise line. Some ‘For the Love of Catch’ merchandise might also be on deck. Wicked Spring lunch box? maybe:) We also want to start featuring artists and carry their artwork on consignment. I LOVE seeing other artists succeed through hard work. Many expect things to just happen. I am part of a few social media filmmaker groups and I see so many unrealistic expectations. Also folks who wrote something and just think it will get funded if they just post a few messages. I called. Set meetings. Cold pitches in studio boardrooms. Many meetings where many turned up zero but eventually the right fit. But it never dropped in my lap. Do opportunities drop in my lap now? Yes. But that is after many years of struggle. So I just feel like I’m reaping the rewards of seeds planted long ago. So I’m saying even in this digital age you might have to get off your computer/phone, out of your comfort zone and go after it with a well thought out written out plan of attack. Or you can go back to social media funding where 95% of those endeavors fail to fund and if you want larger budgets that takes trust. So go build that trust and make your dreams happen. It also allows you to be pro-active versus passive which is where many like to dwell. But passive usually doesn’t prosper like pro-active.
Off to refill the coffee cup! Great job MSU! Have a great week and thank you to the full house who attended the premiere kick off last night. It was really nice to meet some of you and we’re all glad as the artists that we could give you an enjoyable night. The sign for me was that my face hurt from smiling and laughing and so I’m gonna take that as a good thing.
Exciting Developments – ‘Off to the Races’ Music Video – ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ & ‘Best Years Gone’ premieres, ‘Silent Night in Algona’…
I’m sitting here sipping the hazelnut coffee on this peaceful Michigan morning. I want to welcome the new readers from Italy, India, Pakistan and more. It is so nice to have an international circle of artists here. The last few weeks have been extremely productive and busy. This could not be more true of the film endeavors we’re working so hard on. Past, present and future all moving forward together. Outside of the film world we’ve been working in the yard with the chickens and the veggies and herbs. This past week I harvested the hops and we’ve been enjoying eggplant and other veggies. Today I plan on grilling up a few venison steaks after a late morning run to the flea market. I think the best way to try and organize the updates are with a bullet point list.
- Oct 12th Nationally this book above will release. I have a story in it about our boy ‘Luke’ who passed a few years ago. I love contributing to these books and if you need a good Christmas gift these books make a fine one to give. Pre-Order here http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-dog-who-came-to-christmas/401231
- The short film SMOKE & MIRRORS that will condensed from my feature script is now complete. Our producers were reviewing yesterday and it is really good. That ‘steampunk’ era 1900’s setting is so fun to play in. I’ll be looking at at screening to benefit the Dodge Turner house where we filmed. It will premiere and we plan to let you all enjoy it during the Halloween season. We are even cutting a short promo teaser but I’m very happy with our end result. It was directed and edited by Nathaniel Nose who directed ‘The Christ Slayer’ with us.
- The music video ‘Off to the Races’ by Vertical Bridge the winner of the BEST YEARS GONE battle of the bands is done. We’re deciding between two logos but the video is badass and we’re talking about releasing it this week to fuel the hype of our upcoming MICHIGAN PREMIERE! I think we’ll release the music video tomorrow and also if you attend the premiere you can see it play on the theatrical screen.
- The feature BEST YEARS GONE is complete but the last few days have been working to tweak color correction and remove digital hiccups:) The film will be rendered to a theatrical file (DCP) used by the theaters. It will also get deliver to our distributor so their marketing team can review and they can start playing their home video campaign that will have DVD/streaming release in Feb 2022. The premiere Sept 18th at the NCG theaters in Owosso, MI is next Sat with both a 6pm show that is almost full and the 8:15 show that is filling up. Both will be great to attend with photos and meet and greets plus the afterglow at Romas. We have a lot of details to attend to this week in preparation but next Sat the first audiences will meet the Gilles Boys and the madcap adventure that follows. This was adapted for the screen (by yours truly) from Karl Manke’s book ‘Hope from Heaven’ and so you might want to read the book after you take a watch.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has started assembling crew paperwork which we’ll start dispersing this week. Once our schedule lands in our lap we’ll start doing our cast agreements, travel and such. We’ll be releasing PR on a few more of the German actors plus we’ll be announcing our product partnership with two more major worldwide brands. Those brands being Hormel/Spam and Hersheys, both play into our story. Other sponsors include Smithfield Foods, Lerma Transportation, The Candleberry Company and more in process. It really is great to have these amazing brands working with us. We’re working on a teaser poster along with a hundred other small details. If you want to align your brand with our WW2 Christmas film please do reach out.
- This week I also received a script in the mail (I love that vs electronic) for a future film project to see if I want to act in it. I had a few conversations about upcoming scripts/films to write/produce and we had a good chat at week’s end over the WILD FAITH TV series “Hastings” and we’ll see where that goes.
- In active development is the new VFX division that we’re working to build so that we can enhance VFX shots in our stories and also use this entity to develop our own animated programming.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film is now in fine tuning and I think will be the first of a series of films. I had productive talks this past week about another documentary film to shoot next year that will build upon this current one. But ‘For the Love of Catch’ is more than just a documentary film it will be a brand that we can do many things with including hosting, promoting and live streaming a possible event. The possibilities are really exciting. As I said before, if you love college, professional, or any type of wrestling – you will find this doc entertaining and informative. It filled in so many gaps in my casual knowledge of the grappling arts as a martial artist myself. I think this film will become one of the pillars of the grappling and it really pulls the history together so that its not forgotten. It bypasses the typical competitive nature of the different schools and illustrates the common history they all share. And the love expressed by these instructors for their art is apparent in the heartfelt words that are spoken in each and every powerful interview.
- I need to circle around and look at the CDI Classic Double Feature with Knight Chills and From Venus. New artwork and maybe an entire new campaign that could include Knight Chills HD streaming. I see it:) Do you own the 1st DVD in the CDI Classic Collection? Heaven’s Neighbors and Figure in the Forest– which one or both might also get the HD treatment with a new campaign. We will see – I need to get a few things off my plate first.
- I’ve been having a great time immersing myself in WW2 footage and films. IN HARMS WAY with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas is one I just watched. They had access to so many military vehicles like battleships, but it is John Wayne. My short hair helped me start to see my character in the mirror. The line work has been just awesome. I love the things that are said between the lines. Yesterday was Sept 11th and the tributes brought back many feelings and visions of patriotic unity in grief. I think this script speaks in these ways by looking at the examples of the past and we can apply that to our present. I’m really looking forward to telling this story.
If you are in the Michigan area and want to attend our premiere please do attend one of the two shows and the afterglow at Romas. My schedule keeps me working and recharging more than socializing at film mixers so if you and I haven’t met – feel free to introduce yourself. Leave me with a card or whatnot so I can explore your art. I recall leaving a few past film events with a pile of scripts, headshots and VHS tapes of films and reels. Now a card with a link can do much the same thing. We are exploring additional theatrical play as the distributor preps for home video and foreign sales. So if you are unable to attend the film could play closer to your home or streaming will follow early in 2022. But, if you want to meet some of the cast, crew, band members from “Vertical Bridge” the battle of the band winners – this is the event for you!
(Above is from our Algona scout/prep trip- NOTE the cool car we will be using. One of many classic pre-1944 rides)
Okay. Flea market, lawn mow, venison grill N chill and prepare for a busy Monday! MSU had another great game and I hope our LIONS can do the same! I hope you all had a great weekend and stay safe, be kind and chase down those dreams.
Ah…those first sips of the hazelnut coffee taste so good. I stayed up a tad past my bedtime watching the final Olympic Games on TV. Yesterday was a trip up North to deliver some of the 4H pork to some family. We stopped at a few produce stands and got carrots, cabbage, green beans and more. Also stopped and got a cherry cider slushy and it was good. So Saturday was a fun productive day.
BEST YEARS GONE – We’ve been working hard on the finish line with final music and sound design being laid in. The color correction is done and will be replaced as the master this week. Speaking of music lets talk video – music video with our Battle of the Bands winner VERTICAL BRIDGE. So Friday we were over to Onondaga Dragway to capture some B roll along with a few picture cars captured screaming down the track. Later this month we will get the band rocking out. We had to do a two part shoot thanks to the unpredictable nature of Michigan’s weather but that is how it rolls. It can go from nineties and balmy to snow, you just never know.
We were trying hard to set up a racing premiere event at Springport whereas we provided the ‘purse/prize’ and get to name the race, ‘Gilles Cup’ a 200 car spectator drag followed by an outdoor drive in like screening. But final concerns over insurance led to a postponement. I think we would all like to return and try something but in our tight timelines we had to fall back to more traditional. So Sept 18th at the Owosso, MI in NCG we’ll be doing a one night, two show premiere at 6:00 and 8:15 I believe. Also this week we’ll be setting up a premiere afterglow at ROMAS like we’ve done in the past. Owosso is also the home of the book writer Karl Manke, who penned ‘Hope from Heaven’ and I adapted it into a screenplay. We are excited to show everyone this next tribeCDI story! From there we might do a few more theatrical and a few select festivals. But we’re going to keep working hard to lay in the final pieces and mix it up nicely. Once all that is done we’ll be OFF TO THE RACES! (The name of the winning song)
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is ON DECK and preparing for a scouting mission to Algona, Iowa mid month to put in play lodging, catering and location options. We had Lerma Transportation come on board this past week as a sponsor. We’re in talks with some other great brands from that region and several that we’re in operation during WW2. I’m excited because we’re only a few crew and cast short from being fully locked and loaded. This week we’ll be announcing more crew and cast. Our agreements have come over from legal and so soon we can start putting paper underneath the crew and start looking at transportation. It is all very exciting! On deck here soon is the gathering of props, personal wardrobe and gun wrangling that will again be handled by Robert Bradley working as armorer under art department. We’ll also be starting to look at vendors for gear and such that we might need. Aside from the producing aspects I’ve been working on my character development. The hair cut has really helped me turn the page and work my lines while seeing the character more in the mirror. I plan to go visit several of the flea markets this month including one today. Happy prop picking:)
LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFO’s & JESUS has been increasing in sales along with the others that are also expanding audiences. We’ll wait another quarter and do another disperse. WILD FAITH, THE QUEST TRILOGY, MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND I’ve appreciated the fan/emails and the kind works and handshakes mainly from military friends over MBF. Our goal is to create some classics that will be playing for years.
Speaking of classics – WICKED SPRING has a newly uprez’ed HD stream that will be making its way to steaming platforms. The new art they are using makes it look a bit more like YELLOWSTONE TV show in my opinion but I hope everyone will enjoy seeing this more brilliant version of this film that has been showing to Civil War and history fans for 20 years. I need to circle back and check into some things (Art & DVD Menu) for the second CDI Classic Collection Double Feature with KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS. A new HD version of THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ the 1st CDI associated animated feature is getting a new campaign. BESTSELLER, also a CDI associated project is getting a campaign. We need to finish getting all the deliverables to BMG. Several of the others are being pitched to prep for a new campaign release. A few of the associated films had opportunities previously but could not pull all the deliverables together. I have to focus on what I can control and not what I cannot. But it is exciting to see some of the classic films get new life!
Things I’ve seen this week that would make good conversation. I did see whereas a crew person was announcing some new series project they were working on but they were complaining as they announced. Now even big studios and networks are ran by people who care about the product and they do monitor social media. To see people complaining before working day 1 would have me seriously reconsidering that hire. You want positive people who take pride in their work and in the story they have signed onto help telling. First, few of these crew people and cast for that matter have ever gone through the painful trials and tribulations of raising funds to tell a story. I’m not talking about the donation based projects but investors or funding studios whereas you have accountability. I’ve stated several times that I’ve never been able to pay an artist what I think they are worth. But we do create stories that most are happy to put their name on. I just find it such a different place from where I started to be gifted an opportunity yet you are going to flaw find. Just politely pass and move on if it doesn’t meet your standards. Again not our project but it still made me take a second look. Burn enough bridges and your opportunities will dry up and that is the way of things. I’m happy to say I think we’ll have several opportunities for years to come. I’m already excited about what 2022 could bring. Stay positive, stay focused and keep moving forward. I will talk with you all next week!
I’m going to have to build a boat if it keeps raining like it has in Michigan. We actually had 3 tornado warnings yesterday. The yard is now a jungle and once the rain lets up a mow will be badly needed. The only damage is I had to put log supports under the raised garden beds. Between the weight of the beds and the wet ground we had a sinking issue that threatened to topple one of the beds. Our house is on high ground with a good amount of sandy soil so no ponds forming. I’m happy that we’ve had no water in the house issues. I feel for the many that are having such issues – water damage is not fun.
I’ve had a busy week and used the rain as a reason to chain myself to my desk. I had nearly 100 checks to write on several projects for investor dispersement. Next week I will check addresses with folks and start to send those around. I really love being hands on and it really keeps me in touch with the projects. We have MANY film updates but I’ll start with a discussion on a common issue in all areas of business.
Negativity – Accountability – Best Efforts
Bad Mouthing, Shade, Hate – known by many names it is all powered by the same toxic traits. I don’t engage in the back and forth. I’ve seen many online arguments that have just gone on and on and on and on and on…I’m always thinking that a novel, screenplay, business plan or pitch could have been written using the same time and energy. I think because I will not waste time that is one of the reasons I just outwork people. While during the Covid and political divide spilling out everywhere with everyone having opinions and willing to share them – I wrote the first season of the ‘Wild Faith’ tv series. Eight shows each 44 min long. OR I could have just shouted my opinions into the wind.
So success will breed envy, jealousy and more. But many of these barbs don’t have any real power when something is gathering steam, momentum and more. I said once, like throwing rocks at a train. Never has a train stopped to confront rock throwers. Why? Places to go, people to see and things to do. I’ve give two examples.
I participated on a project whereas I was not supervising or in control. That usually means they brought the $ and they want to be accountable for it. So my words become suggestions, consulting versus orders. A project I was on encountered several issues as I had predicted and warned against. I received a call from a friend/associate who was in a meeting with the accountable person and a distribution company. Confronted with the issues and wanting desperately to look good to these folks, I was told that he tried to throw me under the bus. I laughed which was not the response they expected. I explained that first if he is in the room representing the project – he is accountable. And in this case the slightest due diligence reveals a VAST difference in production experience. I said, that anyone looking at our team will immediately know where the lack of experience was. The sad part is when someone refuses to take accountability that says something to people. Especially when the 3rd party knows who is accountable. Failing. Learning. Growing. All part of the process and successful people know it starts with accountability. Many will never learn that lesson. One thing after another goes wrong in their life and yet it is never their fault. Yet they are the common denominator is each equation.
I don’t throw anyone under a bus. I’m accountable all the way down the line. My expectations have been let down by the bad occasional hire, etc…but it’s still my accountability. I truly care about my crew and value the journey as much as the destination. I recently heard from a crew person whom we’ve worked with on a few projects now. Apparently they had a conversation with someone in the local film community whom I don’t value and would not work with. They know this because I let this person know my feelings directly many years ago. Now I could make a list of reasons why anyone approached by this person would just pass but I don’t go out of my way to voice this. I’ve been around long enough to know the bad apples soon get realized and discarded in our industry. I was told this person really disliked me and started saying ? I didn’t ask and don’t care. I’ve always tried to be fair and my life is invested in storytelling. I live by a creed of ‘Best Efforts’ and I like to let the work speak versus run at the mouth. Our former crew person simply stated their experience had always been positive and furthermore they didn’t think their company was a good fit to collaborate. This is smart vetting and is often harder when people are trying to say all the right things. This person just tried to “throw rocks at a train” – like how I brought that back:)
I know another local storyteller has had “shade” issues and sometimes our words or actions can accidentally trigger someone’s toxic traits. Sometimes just a person doing what they love while others took an easy road and are not unhappy – that can also set people off. My advice was to just carry on and don’t let it occupy your time, mind and efforts. Write that next great story. Some people get angry at on-going posts that advertise. For me, PR is a scheduled thing. Every project has phases and it all serves a business purpose not tied to any ego. I recall on a high school alumni site people unhappy about a local bar restaurant doing on-going postings of food and drink specials. Ads are everywhere and if it doesn’t apply – move on. My advice is control your own environment and stop trying to control everyones environment. Anyway, I shared because I thought maybe a lesson could be found within. Be good to others and you never have to worry about what is being said. Those that know you – KNOW. It also brought a smile to know that this person receiving such toxins stood up with their own truth and likely avoided a bad journey with very questionable individual. How many people do you wish you had not gotten involved with business wise?
Tally-Ho Onto the MOVIE updates!
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – We’ve started to bring more crew members onto the new project. We had a few more castings which will be announced in time. Most of the departments are getting up and running. I’m excited that the German actors will be announced starting in July! A good amount of work has also been put towards bringing some national sponsors on board. Many had brands thriving in the 1940’s during WW2 and our story.
LOST HEART aka BIGFOOT UFO’S AND JESUS – The general market release is underway and the film in both incarnations is doing really well. I’ll get a better report this week when I have my meeting with our distributor. Have you seen the film? You should:)
MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This film had an amazing premiere and after it ran afoul of the Covid crisis. Several of the theatrical and event showings were cancelled and never regained their footing. The film quietly was nominated at the NBR Convention in Dallas, Texas for a Crown award in ‘Best Narrative’ and overall ‘Best Picture’ at the convention. The film WON the Gold Crown for ‘Best Narrative’ and took SILVER (2nd) overall at the festival. I hope this gives the film an added boost because it deserves it. Directed by Anthony Hornus who is prepping for his next directorial ‘Silent Night in Algona’.
WILD FAITH and HASTINGS TV series – The film is growing by leaps and bounds approaching 5 million on Encourage TV and playing worldwide. The TV series was the subject of two meetings at the NRB and I will find out this week how that played out. The hope is to roll into production next year with the TV series.
BEST YEARS GONE – The music and sound design with Dennis Therrian is almost complete on the feature film. We will be having a race and outdoor showing on Sept 11th at Springport Raceway. We will promote this more as we move forward. Another theatrical premiere is being planned in Owosso, MI where the book author Karl Manke lives. On my birthday this week we released the first official trailer.
THE QUEST TRILOGY keeps growing as my fan mail keeps coming from people who enjoy the perspective of these three films. BESTSELLER has a new campaign coming. Same with WICKED SPRING now that we have an HD file. We’ll discuss what others from the CDI library to move ahead with. SMOKE & MIRRORS is almost complete. Our documentary FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is in editing and we’ll be releasing the first official trailer on July 4th! Our soccer match this week was rained out which my recovering knees are happy about. I’m going to go make a few eggs from chicken land here. I hope you all have a great week. Save your time and sanity and try to associate daily with positive, polite and productive individuals. Don’t sweat the negative folks as their actions have likely eroded any worth from their words.
Have a great Sunday and week ahead!
The birds were chirping a full chorus this morning and now I’ve got my hazelnut coffee with me and I’m looking forward to our weekly chat. My “soccer legs” are getting stronger now that we are three games in. Day one after our Thursday game my legs felt seized up but day two which is usually worse, brought recovery. The movement in all directions and running for so long really shocks the legs until they strengthen the tendons again in back, hips, knees and ankles. I also got a new free-standing heavy bag for in the yard. Our training days will be better now that we can unloose some kicks. My hanging heavy bag inside wasn’t positioned proper to practice kicks. I’m just upping my kicking game to get it back to where I once was. We joked that every decade the kicks got lower. But working on kicking and soccer go hand in hand. Either way I’m really enjoying it so far. I hope our Memorial weekend off from soccer helps the healing but doesn’t set back my progress I’ve made so far. I’m coming out of this Covid crisis in tuned up shape. Let me think – any big events sitting on my mind this week?
I was approached by a former co-star (Tommy Lynch) who is now coaching and counseling. He had a student (Matthew) that is an aspiring screenwriter. He was doing a video presentation final exam like many students. He was using MAN’S BEST FRIEND as the tone of his TV series. My friend told him that he knew DJ Perry and that he could get me to do an interview clip for his project. I did so. I hope that it turned out great. My thoughts are with all the students who had to face such a crazy time with Covid.
(Some of the CDI team at ICFF with ‘Lost Heart’)
Let’s start with LOST HEART. The film was being recognized at the ICFF (International Christian Film Festival) this past week. We had multiple nominations and were given the bronze for Best Film category and Don Most won as Best Supporting Actor. I know that a handful of our talent led by Melissa Anschutz attended. While award shows are fine I’m sure the laughter around the dinner and pool are the most memorable.
LOST HEART is up next month (June) at the Crown Awards in Texas as one of five films nominated for ‘Best Picture’ along with MAN’S BEST FRIEND. CDI is also going to announce that this week the General Market (GM) release of the film is about to start rolling onto streaming platforms. Under the title BIGFOOT, UFO’S AND JESUS the mainstream will be treated with this wonderful story. We will also be releasing the new trailer with the GM poster art.
BEST YEARS GONE – Lots going on here with this film. The film even had a ‘biker bar’ pick up this past week to complete all the added footage. The color correction is progressing. Our first official trailer is getting close to an edit lock with director notes going over. The music and sound design is also moving right along. Our ‘Battle of the Bands’ is closed and the songs are being judged by our team. We’ve started to release some videos of judge John Two Hawks talking about his favorite three songs. Watch it here: https://www.facebook.com/Bestyearsgone
Next week we’ll have notes from judge Joe Pullin and after that from our team. We’ve also added a drop song coordinator in Taylor Dupuis (Pic Below) who just might be gifting us with another great ‘Roanoke’ song. We’ll be announcing the winner end of the month and prepping to shoot a music video. We also have a meeting this week about an event premiere at a race track and we are also looking to do an Owosso NCG premiere which is the home town of the book writer Karl Manke. More to come on this fine upcoming movie.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – The building of the TV series is underway. I had more send outs this past week and I think we’ll find even more sponsors as we move forward. I still have the goal of getting this TV series fully funded by Dec 31st. We will see:)
THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star & The Christ Slayer) – On Encourage TV part 1, Forty Nights is about a thousand views short of its first million watches. I’m sure this week we’ll break that barrier so be part of that. I love this series and think that it has still not found its full General Market audience yet. I’m happy that the circle of fans keeps getting wider. Here is a good review on FORTY NIGHTS that was brought to my attention.
Please do enjoy all three films in this miniseries.
BESTSELLER is being delivered this month for its new campaign. The uprez of WICKED SPRING is done from what I’m told and I’m excited to see it. It will be nice to stream the story as an HD film. We’ll be discussing which other films to render into HD format. The trailer teaser for FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is getting there. We examined a version 2.0 and discussed revisions. I cannot wait to see trailer 3.0 this week.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is moving full speed ahead. Last week myself and Michael Walton were announced as part of the cast. We’re almost done with our German casting and starting June we’ll be returning to our weekly pre-prod meeting. Art department has been prepping its breakdowns and we’ll be addressing that starting in June. We’ll be announcing more cast this week. We had a few great adds to our cast/crew this past week. We had an article come out in Iowa and the community has been reaching out in force. We are also starting our talks with sponsors and brand alignment. I’m beyond excitement for this WW2 drama to get to the big screen. Join us and follow along at
(Gil says, what what?)
I want to thank everyone again at ICFF. I’m so happy that some of our cast/crew were able to get together and represent the LOST HEART film. I think today will be a tinker in the yard and grill. Use today to chilllax before another busy week ahead. I hope you all have a great week and keep making those steps towards making your vision and dreams a reality. Be good to one another and we’ll chat next week.
Good morning partners. Hazelnut coffee cheers! We had a good rain last night and everything is becoming lush and green. Later today will be our first flea market visit to see if I can find any treasures. I love to look for personal props for certain characters. I was looking pretty close to ole Ben Lily as we moved forward developing the WILD FAITH Tv series spin off. I have a string of biz calls to do about the 8 show spin off. With our WW2 film a full go we’ve decided that the series HASTINGS will go up after SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. So I’ve had a full shave and a hair cut as I prepare for the next role. We announced two more actors last week with Dean Teaster and Samual Peterson joining the cast.
This week we’ll announce more cast and crew as we move through pre-production. We’ve almost cast our Germans which is so exciting. Just incredible talent and I’m again happy to say that about all our castings. So many exciting announcements that will be forthcoming.
Our holiday window of Thanksgiving to Easter is now complete. It will be fun to see how THE QUEST TRILOGY did with audiences this year. We keep growing our audiences each year and I truly do love getting all the fan mail. CDI will eventually do another trilogy of biblical films. One of the scripts is being studied for future execution and we hope to return to the desert in the near future.
MANS BEST FRIEND is starting its general market roll out. I have to say I loved the previous poster art but this poster captures ‘Paul’ in the eyes. And what a noble pic of Paul’s MBF. I think this film that got caught up in the Covid breakout deserves that renewed push. For a beat everyone was holding on licensing as the whole world adjusted. I’m so happy that it is getting its second wind. I was already getting LOTS of fan mail (NOTE: My silly spell check tried to turn ‘mail’ into ‘tail’ and that reads totally different. I’m happy to say this coming June at NRB the 5 best finalist films under 250k will compete for gold, silver and bronze. Both MBF and LOST HEART are finalists. So having 2 of the 5 nominated films feels good. It makes me proud of our artists and I do take pride in having written those scripts.
‘WRITING’ is a love that I hid for a long time only because I wanted to be seen as an actor first. The actor ME became frustrated at the lack of deep, powerful films. I’m comfortable now being considered a screenwriter along with an actor and ultimately producer. I’ve enjoyed writing short stories as part of my book contributions to this wonderful book series by Callie Smith Grant. (Revell/Baker) Each book focuses on animal relationships and sometimes centers around a holiday. Cats and Christmas is up next and so I’ll polish up my story and see if it makes the grade. The fun fact here is I was approached after WILD FAITH was seen in the theaters. From there I’ve contributed to three books now. The one coming out later this year (09/21) is on dogs. I like dogs:)
This morning as the rain storm passed, our team on the documentary ‘For the Love of Catch‘ hit the road. This is for the last filming segment of the doc. We’re set up to start editing and dialog clean up immediately after. They have been getting some great interviews from the world of grappling to discuss what they love about it. We’ll be doing a PR release and talking more about this in the coming weeks. It is being directed by our own Catch-Can World Champion Curran Jacobs. Big congrats to Dan Chipman and his mobile production home for capturing some amazing interviews. Adam Towner has been signed on to edit and work post. Stay tuned!
LOST HEART has been just playing so well to the family/faith audiences but as pointed out by fans, the film is so much more. Hence the upcoming general market release, but we’ll wait until I have more to report. But let’s address that term? market? We are all storytellers.
At CDI we don’t make “faith” films – but create stories with strong character development. In ANY story character development is king. And knowing the ‘faith’ of the character is the seed. Some seek faith, lack faith or try to hold onto faith. Maybe they lost all faith in mankind, themselves or their path to God. All these characters come from a different place. Those carrying status in religion might struggle with their faith while the downtrodden might live in appreciative faith. I have many ask about religion which has helped to build great civilizations but unfortunately usually is tied to conflict and war. I also think that someone’s seeking to understand divinity is a personal and private relationship, unique to each person. In my opinion it also doesn’t require any fancy study, conversion, certification, validation etc…to me DIVINE is a constant like gravity. Only mankind’s understanding changes but anyone actively seeking DIVINE is getting closer and closer to THEIR truth of understanding the constant. Many of my deep pondering are reflected in ‘The Quest Trilogy,’ historical fiction examining overlooked events or perspectives to try and gain a new insight.
A nice example in Forty Nights is the showing ‘Jesus’ working to put the words of the heart on the tongue. Some watchers following along with their scripture wait to jump on the words and claim their superiority in finding supposed flaws. The purpose was to show human flaw in Jesus. That mighty things like LOVE are hard to put into the perfect words. The purpose was to show the journey to those final words. It still makes me chuckle when I see people upset about John and Jesus seemingly not knowing each other….the post baptism conversation and later flashbacks between John and Jesus obviously showing a pre-existing relationship. The baptism was a ritual passing of the torch but their casual talk away from the masses was meant to show they knew one another well.
Later in the desert, we see Jesus struggling to find the perfect way to teach what he knows. Some of the greatest minds in certain fields cannot teach what they know. Being a teacher is not easy because you have to paint a picture to enlightenment for another persons imagination and intelligence to grasp onto. Those three films are full of contemplative gems and many have discovered some personal truth by watching them. For some they just miss the point – I like the Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon I think) scene whereas Bruce tells a student not to just focus on the pointing finger alone or you’ll miss all that heavenly glory. I think the old saying of ‘the Devils in the details’ is another funny way to say this. Some people are so worried at hoping to increase their “religious” status by winning some ‘Bible Jeopardy’ that they miss the lesson of the parable all together.
And so scholars continue to debate and the facts alter and change as new “experts” appear. Science and Religion have more in common then they think and to me it’s fascinating that they don’t always co-exist well. Anyway, I think that the trilogy was my “Noah. I want you to build an ark.” moment. You want to know my feelings – watch the films. I tried to connect the dots in a way that made sense to people who cannot truthfully function on blind faith alone. You will find a deep sincere reverence that permeates all three stories. The trilogy conjures all the right emotions and feelings because in the medium of film it’s show me versus tell me where you can. It’s when the story rises beyond just show and tell to actually allow one to FEEL the story. It’s an art. I’ve gone on a while here. I could and have filled books with my thoughts on these matters. But your relationship with divine or choice to not interact or accept is deeply personal. I like to speak with the stories to those still seeking their personal truth and maybe help clarify aspects of things for those who feel to have found divinity yet still seek to fully understand it. I have a suspicion that only on our final walk will we fully understand.
Okay let’s shift gears!
BEST YEARS GONE – based upon the wonderful and quirky writing of Karl Manke in his book ” Hope from Heaven” (You can buy it:) comes the story of unconditional love, dreams gone awry and generational communication issues. We now have the film after a wonderful edit by Nathaniel Nose (Dir./Editor The Christ Slayer) and has now landed at Dennis Therrian’s studio. We’ve had two post sessions so far and what a lift to the spirits. While this film will have all the trademark emotional beats it truly marks what I feel to be a big step comedically. It is for me for certain. Now growing up I thought I was going to be a stand up comedian with strong observational humor like George Carlin. In my personal life I would say I have a healthy sense of humor maybe too much. (I have been known to pull a prank or two) I have to say I had such a wonderful time filming this. It was the adventure that unfolded in the Covid storm and we were appreciative to have all our precautions rewarded with a safe journey. Now we’re into talking music and the dialog is also popping better than ever due to innovative software, gear and the growing experience of our sound team. The deal with BMG is signed. Next week we’ll start feeding them marketing deliverables. Poster art will be underway as we deliver choice screen captures. Additionally the first official trailer is being cut and so maybe end of May we can rock that out.
BATTLE OF THE BANDS!!!! It is still underway and we are getting some KICK ASS music submissions. Keep them coming and you just might end up in this film. We’ve really enjoyed listening to all the great original music. Kudos to all of you. Keep on rocking!
I want to get back on path with my writing. I want to finish my new SMOKE & MIRRORS feature script. You’ll get to enjoy the short film likely this fall. I saw some of the VFX work and I’m smiling. My SciFi script is another goal to at least get my first draft. The 1st season of HASTINGS is being edited for missed commas and such. I think we had a nice chat and I gave you all a good update on the films. In short – it has been busy. But I’ve also been getting some great moments observing the new hens in our “chicken land” enclosure. Some major wood chopping against a few mighty logs that I swear were made of iron. I will soon bottle up some of the berry wine that has been aging. We recently toasted off Best Years Gone will some lilac wine aged several years. It was enjoyed by all. Amazing what the natural world has to offer. Until we speak next week. Be good to one another.
Good morning. Coffee cheers. Well, today would have been one of the first holiday family get-togethers but alas we are not due to the lock down in Michigan. I have a good amount on my mind this week plus several good film updates on several of the projects.
I’m beyond happy that the stories we tell are being seen by millions and I’m receiving such uplifting fan mail that tells me what we do has a positive purpose. What WE do. That is an important word WE. We’ll address that more soon. The new CDI release is LOST HEART which is truly a ray of light filled with laughter and tenderness gifted to whomever takes a watch. I believe that the lessons inside our stories can be taken to heart for ALL people. From the negativity I’ve seen fly, EVERYONE can use a little story to remind us of the goodness in us all.
Lost Heart has 3 leads in it. Melissa Anschutz, to know her is to respect her dedication and love to the character’s she becomes. This film is a crown gem in her growing list of roles and stories. It is also deeply personal because of losing her husband to cancer and her own personal struggle with the disease, all while putting this movie together. Victoria Jackson who is a true comedic genius and is a tad outspoken in her political lean has drawn some praise and fire. Now add Don Most, who recently was heavily criticized by some and applauded by others for attending a ‘Happy Days‘ fundraiser for Biden. FOX took a PR piece on Lost Heart and really played the political slant almost like a TMZ piece. While it has added thousands of views it has angered some and so the days after the FOX story posted anger responses erupted from a few and the VOTE score on the film 1-10 dropped from mid 8’s to 3-4 over politics.
Political or not, it happens to all the children (movies) and while I wanted this child to be safe from bullies/trolls – people will vent their frustrations before taking accountability or accepting differences. Conservative MAGA or Cancel Culture Liberals – EVERYONE can use a good story with lessons about being good to one another and the value of kindness. I’ve been around long enough to know the drill. Friends, family, peers drive the score UP and the haters arrive and it goes down and fans start to bring the score back up and it will settle into a final score in a few years. Older audiences, myself included are not as savvy with computer reviewing so that is often not reflected. CDI works with respectful artists period from across the spectrum. I personally don’t ride the rollercoaster of hi’s and low’s. I try to live each film as a “drop the mic” moment and enjoy each day.
BEST YEARS GONE – The edit is coming along great with over 40 scenes cut. We’ll have a first edit in a couple weeks and the goal is to lock picture end of Jan. 2021. Let’s talk about that film in light of what we just discussed above.
Our motion picture has been adapted from a self-published book entitle “Hope from Heaven” by author and small-town barber Karl Manke, who by challenging state law during the Covid lock down earned himself the moniker of ‘America’s Barber’ whatever good or bad that name might bring. One man’s personal actions put him in line with the theme or agenda of others and against state law, an outlaw or patriot was born unto the media depending on the opinion piece. But I can say that Karl did not ask for the media circus and was not trying to be a flag bearer for anyone.
(One of several projects I was honored to work on with Dan Haggerty)
Enter our CDI (www.cdiproductions.com) a Michigan-based motion picture company since 1996 that has produced various films over the years and has found a niche of positive, well-told stories that often include a few life lessons woven within. CEO DJ Perry, often the screenwriter these days, gives credit to the early TV shows like The Waltons, The Life & Times of Grizzly Adams and Little House on the Prairie. These were shows strong in character development and story. Often with a treasure of a lesson buried at the heart of the story for the audience to dig up, leaving them with something to ponder beyond the screen.
“We believe that our stories speak to the entire spectrum of audiences – it doesn’t matter where you stand politically, our stories are for everyone.” – DJ Perry
The story seems simple enough, a young woman raising twin teen daughters as a single parent falls in love with a less than perfect man and conflict ensues. Also said, less than perfect man is an ex-race car driver who had a team and a dream with his cousin. This relationship ends due to the poor decisions whereas the thin threads of family are broken. These characters while extreme, are still relatable to most either in shared qualities or as the worst versions of ourselves in some alternate universe.
This political year combined with the Covid situation made filming plans even worse. CDI had originally planned to begin filming in April 2020 on ‘Best Years Gone’ the adapted film name. The well-written book was full of colorful characters and a nice blend of realism and mystery. The book and script both speak to imperfect relationships and the importance of forgiveness to the self. In the public arguments the means by which many communicate shows no desire to really be heard, understood or to find common ground. Most remarks are inflammatory and meant to injure the other party by slandering things they hold dear and sometimes sacred. This story had greater messages that can be applied to anyone.
CDI has a strong reputation for staying on schedule, on budget and creating exceptional quality stories within business guidelines. This quality is by gathering talented artists and uniting them behind a story. UNIFIED BY A STORY! So is the way of the TRIBECDI. What is the tribe you say? The creation of a sacred artist space whereas the art of storytelling can be told unhindered by differences and distractions. A philosophy that demands respect towards one another as artists and only asks for your best efforts to be put forth without any added drama.
CDI has diverse, artistic individuals from all over the spectrum of beliefs and affiliations. In some those beliefs can be polar opposite and in other examples just differing priorities on taxation, spending or any of the various topics debated around dinner tables. The issue is that in a growing culture that becomes more inclined to try and gather to only like-minded groups finding that singular group at the larger level of inclusion is near impossible – you WILL end up working with diverse people and that is a good thing. At CDI we don’t endorse or support any one life path save the path of telling a good story. I think that many could learn from the environment we work to nurture and grow. We continue to refine and grow ourselves and the key is to keep the story in sight. While others flounder due to poor communication we are still able to speak to the audience as a whole. We create great little stories with powerful topics- often softened slightly by humor. The story a gentle reminder not to take life too serious as we only go around once and life is too short a ride to do it mad or with a chip on your shoulder.
Okay now my Top UPDATES
- According to our distributor Wild Faith is still growing an audience with the film ranking in BMG’s Top 5 on most platforms. We had HASTINGS talks and progress is being made.
- I’ve started doing the writer/director polishing passes on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We are close to a full green light. We just have a few units to still assign in the project. Once we do expect some big PR announcements.
- I’ve been doing some writing on the new updated draft of the SMOKE & MIRRORS featured script. CODE NAME: ASH – I’ve had a wonderful time researching and writing and the short film will be done and released in 2021.
- The Quest Trilogy is being licensed for the season and I’ll notify as I find network and such featuring it. If any of you see it playing let me know.
- MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – If you enjoyed this film the dog who played Brown Boy is named Big Papa and he needs surgery. It is the same kind that a few of our own furry family had to have. If you enjoyed the film and want to help out a great guy Robert Ash, is needing help with the costs so if able think of donating at the link provided. https://www.gofundme.com/f/big-papas-surgery?fbclid=IwAR1g6JR1Kz8lDcM7laYtwgXU_Oz5N4EAAyhDlJQtJxGlhuMnQQWIXFrc7VA
- The doc “For the Love of Catch” will start rolling cameras again start of the new year!
- NEW merchandise is coming so that is quite exciting to me.
SPOILERS SO IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FINAL ‘THE MANDALORIAN” SEASON 2 FINALE STOP READING
(My bro and I are intergalactic bounty hunters in our spare time)
The POWER of storytelling. I’ve been a lifelong Star Wars fan and give much credit to A NEW HOPE for me wanting to be an actor/storyteller. I was and still am a big Han Solo fan. Luke was always somewhat secondary for me. But in this time of hardship, stress and frustration for many Luke Skywalker is just what the world needed. The odds look to be just too much. The battle appears to be a losing one when “one X wing” how is that going to…wait a minute. Was that R2D2? Is that? Glove? Green lightsaber! I like millions had imagined scenes like what we saw unfold in our childhood imaginations. I loved seeing the JOY that overcame so many watching this unfold. I cried and I’m not even sure why. The need to through back to another time. To truly escape back to a Far, Far Away Galaxy. To have Luke Skywalker come and save the day – to save 2020. It again showed me the power that can come from storytelling. Now to bring it all full circle the haters will come for this show also. Maybe Mark Hamill will say something that offends someone or just going against the grain is what some need to do to get noticed. But for me it was collective joy. Seek a Collective Joy in 2021 and by our individual actions lets make 2021 the year we all want. Appreciate people as you get to spend time in 2021 even if they have different priorities versus yourself. Communicate respectfully and as if that person were in the room with you. If you want a better 2021 you need to do your part – actions. We will circle back and talk next Sunday for the last time before 2021. Be good to one another and have a Merry Christmas!
Last Note: These films are made with collective love by diverse artists who share the sincere hope each of our stories will bring you some amount of joy. A person drowning in negative filters will not ever see joy in anything and will actually want to destroy the experience of joy others may experience. But those icy haters should know we don’t EVER give up on you. We create and await that one day that our one story made you crack a smile, laugh aloud or shed a tear. We immerse ourselves in a made-up world and tell a story. All while giving up precious time with families and friends. As artists, we’re called to reach out with a story and try to melt the icy negativity that stretches across the hearts and minds of so many. To give them a chance to find some joy. To feel a story of Collective Joy. Here’s wishing JOY to you.