‘Silent Night In Algona’ Release Talks and More…
Good morning. I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee and enjoying this brisk morning. A welcome change from the 90 degree days we’ve had lately. My soccer game on Thursday resulted in a loss but the battle was good in the scorching heat. I’m worried that I might not have drank enough water. It was 92 degrees and I have to say I play much better in the cool Fall from my school days. My whole system felt off for two days after the game. Add day two soreness to the equation and poor sleep one night and I had a rough go Friday night. Usually I sleep very soundly and I’m a person who must get at least 5 hours to perform properly but usually get about 8 solid hours. Saturday was as close to a sick day I’ve had in a long time. But most of it was the sleep deprived from the night before. So I’m going to ramp up my water intake for sure. I slept good last night and things seem almost back to normal. But rest and hydration is a much needed element to being productive on the highest level. I use to be a night owl but now I’m a 11-7 sleeper and I enjoy the early rise. We have roosters in our neighborhood that helps with this early wake.
The property has gone full blown with everything growing and blossoming. I’ve started a batch of Mexican-style beer which I’ll be bottling this week. I’ve been harvesting rhubarb and almost have enough to do a batch of wine. I’ve been doing a run of beer and wine each year and it makes for a fun sip at meetings. The hops are growing like crazy and we’ve got several plants gifting us herbs and soon veggies will follow. I love tending to all this while still carrying on my creative duties. I’ve been cutting freshly cut logs to dry and splitting older logs to fill the bins for the coming Fall/Winter. The wood stove is getting a rest from its duties of heating the office. All of this is a good connection to nature and trust me that throwing the axe and hammer around is a hell of a work out.
June is now upon us and that is my birthday month (June 23rd) and I’m not sure if I will do anything special. I am often fine with just a nice meal and the company of family. I can’t believe how the years have gone by. But I feel very blessed to be able to do what I so love- storytelling. Shall we look at a few film updates? Okay we shall.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA- The film and elements have been delivered and are being checked by our distributor. We are still in that process so we don’t have solid home video release dates yet but the talks are going on now. It was proposed to release the DVD and transaction digital around Labor Day (Sept) with subscription video on demand and ad based video on demand around Thanksgiving. We are approved to return to the Fridley theatre in Algona for a FOUNDERS DAY run. So if you did not see it in the theatre, here will be your opportunity or if you want to see it again. The home video version has added sound design and visual effects and so that will also be a great new way to enjoy the film. We’ve had many people want to purchase a keepsake DVD and share this film with family across the country for the Christmas season. People will surely have that opportunity. I’m thinking that the museums in Algona might start carrying the DVD’s also. The current theatrical is just ending but with another showing run in July I guess it is not done. In theaters from Dec 9th to July is a pretty good run.
HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE is heating up with the official production script now formatted and we’re awaiting the schedule for producer approval. This will also give us the day-of-days which tells us what actors, boats, cars and such are needed on what day. This will allow us to move to the agreement phase with talent. I’m going to be putting our VFX deal together this week with McGraw Multimedia. I’m looking forward to working with old friends Eldon and John McGraw on bringing a handful of VFX scenes to life on screen. This will include a cool WW1 scene, two boat scenes and a plane sequence. I’m excited to bring this story to life. We’ve been working on the hard parts of the production which is lodging and catering. I’ve also been in talks with several companies about sponsorship aligning their brand with this film. In Sept/Oct we’ll capture this story and have the Fall/Winter to put it all together.
As noted in previous blog entries I’m working to bring some of the older films into the new age. This will include HD enhancement on some. Others will have extras such as ‘Making of’ books and merchandise. And in a few situations it could include a sequel or reboot. We’ve also got some serious development underway on a new Iowa-based film and the WILD FAITH tv series HASTINGS. It is a balance of past, present and future endeavors. I don’t feel like going too far in depth right now on development but we do have many fun projects underway.
ACTING – In part because of the new acting role in ‘Harsens Island Revenge’ and part because of soccer season and the heat, I gave myself a haircut. About 8 cuts of the shears and I’m now sitting much cooler with shorter hair. It was about to the middle of my back. It grows like a weed. This next role in a hardened and experienced ex-officer from WW1. I was watching a doc show of actual life at the front lines in the trenches during WW1 and it was an eye opener.
I found myself thinking about an opportunity to work with an agent again and I’m conflicted. When I was actively seeking roles I had a high booking rate. But taking outside roles does take away from my development of CDI projects. But it is nice to sometimes just go an act versus running a circus. I’m not against considering roles but it has to be something special. At this point in my career I’ve played a lot of roles. I demand a lot from a story/script. Many regional castings are poorly presented and if unpaid have to be a pass. I’m not against those doing unpaid films as it will allow some new talent a chance to showcase on passion alone. I’m just at a place where I cannot sacrifice my routine of doing for free. Also I need to read an entire script. I turned down one project this year because free and fun are just not enough as I mentioned above. Another turned down my inquiry because they were eyeing another name talent. But I do have a great role ahead of me and I’m excited to become this man. I believe in the overall rule that I will do the projects I was meant to do. I know that I still love it though. I could not just produce without the acting. I could write without either of them for someone else but I would still miss acting and producing. Again, I will do what I’m meant to do. The thing about working for others just acting is when the character becomes lost because a story is never finished. I have 5 films I’ve acted in that never finished and four of them were features. I was paid for my time and it took me to places like Miami and Las Vegas but the hard work has never been seen. This always makes me think hard when taking on an outside project. All actors have these stories.
My growling stomach is telling me it is time to feed. I see eggs and bacon in my future. Today might include getting some veggie plants and flowers. I’m going to stay better hydrated and get ready for a great week ahead. I hope you all have a great week also. Brick by brick – build towards your goals.
Thoughts on MSU Tragedy- Plus ‘Silent Night in Algona’ and ‘Harsens Island Revenge’ Updates
A hazelnut coffee toast to you all on this chilly Michigan morning. As a MSU alumni, I’ve had a lot of thoughts with the shooter that was on the campus. Once the alert went out I switched to the scanner and I was impressed at how the chaos organized quickly with law enforcement. Base camp at the presidents house- where my memories are chatting up former movie studio president Bill Mechanic and screenwriter Jim Cash. The Union, was a haunt of mine that once had a bowling alley in the basement and it still might be there. Berkley Hall lectures, learning with my fellow students while trying to plan for an eve of fun activities. I hated parking at MSU, but otherwise, I truly did enjoy my time there. Back in the day, they did not have a film program so I cobbled together an interdisciplinary humanities degree, that touched on what I thought I might need in the future.
The shooter, was approached just down the road from our house. He only lived a street away, but ended his own life down the road when confronted by police. Sad on all fronts. Three dead and five injured and many students infected with fear. Plus a troubled young man who pulled the trigger. I still don’t have any answers because it isn’t any one issue but many, that likely led to this horrible situation. So I’m starting my blog with just a little acknowledgement of the pain this community suffered but especially our MSU family.
IN OTHER NEWS-
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– We have theatrical bookings continuing up to March so far. Last week, I had more meetings over the home video and foreign licensing. The box office numbers have been good and there is consideration by the distributor to expand the film with a 3rd party into hundreds more theaters in several states. This is where all those reviews on http://www.imdb.com has helped (So please vote & review if you haven’t) but the attendance at the theaters has been the main push. This week will tell more as we finalize the home video battle plans. The distributor is excited about the project as a whole which they feel will have wide appeal. We’ll deliver the final film on May 1st – with our current plan to see it on DVD/streaming in November. More as we move forward. We will be examining a few select festivals to showcase the film at. We’re in discussions for possible UK and German screenings. Again, our heartfelt thanks to all that have supported this beautiful story.
HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE– The next CDI film is now in active pre-production, which means this film is happening. The account is open and we’ve got the goods to make it happen. We’ve had several production meetings and now can talk with cast and crew in confidence. This is the first in a new slate of CDI films coming down the development line. We’ll be shooting in Sept and into Oct. this year after Labor Day in Michigan. We’ve been reaching out gathering targeted reads by proposed cast. I’m really excited by the powerful cast we’re already assembling and we’ve got much more to come. We’re also slowly starting to put departments in play. Some are already working on breakdowns and prepping for the filming ahead. We were treated to a great read by Don Most (Best known from ‘Happy Days’) for a powerfully dramatic role in the film. He loved the script! That’s been the response from the talent we’ve approached. I hope to start rolling out some of the cast to IMDB soon. We also have a FB page for the film just starting to post updates. Yesterday, I had a good talk with Robert Bradley, our armorer and works transportation department. There are some friends I really only get to spend quality time with when filming. We will have another incredible shoot. This week we’ll be meeting to try and get Camera and G&E departments all set. Travis Hayward (Best Years Gone) is our director of photography for this exciting new story. A new teaser poster is in the works to rally around.
SHJ PROJECT – The in-association supernatural thriller is getting closer to being solid enough for an announcement. The exciting part of this deal coming together is that it could be multiple films. But like I always say, put your everything into one film and it should bring you the next one. This might get split into an EXT and INT blocks of shooting. More discussions on locations and scheduling once the foundation stones (Funding) is in place. But this will likely shoot EXT at the end of the year and the INT first of the new year (Jan/Feb 2024) – There are so many other exciting talks that go with all this but again, let’s get more solid before I spend time discussing.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – The first production draft is complete and has been submitted for approval to move to the next phase of development. I’m getting that approval so the next layers of development work can get underway. This story is pulled from real history which can be more powerful than fiction alone. We blend everything into historic fiction because writers, historians and more are forced to fictionally connect the dots. I’ve been getting some good initial feedback from the story from members of the Native American community. It’s being called an even balanced look at the history of this event. Once moving forward, we’ll do a PR announcement. This year will be some builds and casting for this forthcoming movie. Much like SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA and the German actors, we’ll likely start with the Native American casting, first. I have a few in mind already and several have the script to review. This film will shoot in Iowa! We have so many friends there and it will be nice to return and tell another story.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH II: Battlefields – The first documentary film is out in the marketplace to watch (TUBI if you wanna watch free with ads) and the groundwork is being put in place for part 2. The Red, White and Blue Project and CDI, are once again putting this all together with Curran Jacobs hosting and again directing. Adam Towner will be editing and providing some of the camera work. If you want to explore a write off for your self or business, please reach out. I will be circling around to our previous donors and giving them first chance to get involved. This will be a series of films exploring in-depth, the many topics we touched upon in the first film. This next one explores more of the military history behind Catch Can.
We have many projects and associated endeavors in development, but at this point we don’t need to go in-depth on any of them. We are working a few of the films from the CDI library, bringing their materials up to date for future re-release. We have all the films newly backed up and will be putting in play yet another back up storage device. I’m excited with each new week. I love connecting with many of our artists and getting to know new artists, and examining how they might thrive in the CDI tribe. I’m looking at keys that can travel for multiple pictures ideally. By 2025, I think CDI will be overseeing multiple projects, whereas we can keep most of our folks working pretty consistently. That is a goal.
I know the tribal chiefs at CDI, are almost all actor/producers and would love to have more comedy sprinkled in with the dramas. HOT ROD LOVE was on that comedic track (pun intended) but it had a few temp set backs. You can go back and read on that in my earlier blogs- but we have a great comedic script that will one day – race into production.
I’m going to finish this coffee and work on some writing for a book. I’ve been asked now for several years to contribute stories to several books on animals. I’ve written true stories on cats, dogs, horses and now birds. Yes. I have a few good stories to share that have birds at the center of them. So, I’m going to rough out a few of those stories.
NOTE FOR ACTORS: If you’re an actor and a fan of the CDI films wondering how you can be seen- Go ahead and paste your actor reel link to https://www.facebook.com/cdiproductions/ and I will promise that each and everyone will be watched. I do try and keep up with emerging talent but time wise it can be difficult.
I will end with this thought- while we discuss plans and dreams becoming reality- tragically for some, their journey here has ended. If you are reading this, your journey continues. Appreciate the struggles we all face. Appreciate the people in your circles. Appreciate still being able to dream and move towards a goal. Just appreciate.
The Secret of ‘Fire’ ‘Music’ and ‘Know Thyself’ – plus a few film updates…
Good morning my friends. I’m sitting by our new electric fireplace near my chair. Our old one died during the holidays so a new one has replaced it. I’ve got my steaming cup of hazelnut coffee with me as I ponder the past week. I want to thank all the new readers from around the world for stopping by to take a read. I hope there is a few nuggets of wisdom you can pull upon. I had so many good calls this week and 2023 business is underway. I have new goals and already I’m knocking some of them down. I’m sure this year will come with wins and losses as that is the way of life. I’ve reminded a few people, to stop. Turn around. Look at how far you’ve come. Be happy with what you have done, not just fixate on what you have not done.
This week I’ll be gathering up end of year tax stuff to generate any 1099’s for the films. We also do K1’s for all the investors. I was able to get all the check dispersement written and sent out. I only had to resend two as addresses had changed. I’ll also get things around for our company and myself. These are the needed but unsexy parts of the film business. It is so much more than playing with the camera. There is a massive amount of work that goes into each and every film. This is the biz side of show biz.
I’ve been told recently, and not the first time – that I work people hard. I ask artists to dig deep and to put their very best forward. I’ve dedicated my entire life to telling stories, and while we have much fun, we also work very hard. But when the artists finally see the final product, 9 of 10 times, that creative endeavor is one of the best, if not the best, endeavor that artist was involved with that year. They take family and friends to watch the stories and they’re proud to have been part of the stories telling. I’ve got family who have not yet seen our recent film. Our holidays were disrupted by a loss in the family. In my hometown they played the film for several weeks but I still did not get out to see it. But many did! We’re working to set up a special SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, screening in Owosso, MI with NCG. For our Detroit area friends, we’re working to set up screenings there also. Our new theatrical division at CDI Distribution has been launched!
Let’s looks at some of the updates from last week-
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– We had several new theaters open. We had a projection bump at a new theatre screening in Iowa, after they moved the film from the test theatre. Much like home systems, many theatrical houses have different set ups, some older and some newer. They rarely update everything at once likely due to cost. But, I know at the one location it was worked out and the film is playing. People are requesting to managers who contact bookers-who contact us. The film is in 20 theaters and we have another 13 going up. And many more still approaching us from different states. Keep it up, you people are making the film travel. I expect the film to travel theatrically into March or April. We are also exploring a few select film festivals and we want to screen in Germany. Many good plans in action. We are working on a few special marketing deals while moving towards the home video window.
- MERCHANDISE– We’ve done some test marketing of some merchandise but we’re starting to really look at a stronger launch of this division at CDI. I can also say that a MUSIC DIVISION, is developing. That will allow audiences access to the amazing soundtrack scores created by Dennis Therrian. These two areas are on CDI’s 2023 developmental goal list. Do you all have a favorite music score? I would love to actually do some runs of LP records. Any participating record pressing companies? Please reach out. RECORD LABEL? Not there yet:)
- MOVING FORWARD- Harsens Island Revenge – This film exits development and will enter pre-production next month. What does that mean- that means that the film foundation (legal paperwork) will all be executed and the project funded. At that time we’ll be announcing our director and some of the attached cast. The script having undergone several sessions of writer/director polishing, it’s ready to be broken down. I love this stage because you go over every line of action, description, dialog and discuss. In this case I got to perform several scenes with our director, to get the flow ands feel. Most of the tweaks were minor but took strong scenes and made them even more powerful. It is a very cool story and what a time period to play in. Primary casting and crewing discussions will start in the coming weeks. Our producers already did a location scout trip and another one will be planned. We just created 1944 and now we’ll enter the 1920’s, artists are you ready? Next week, we’ll look to set hard shoot dates after Labor Day 2023. Get ready for some new teaser art as well!
- Pen has not yet found ink, but I’m deep into talks on a CDI associated film to be shot late 2023 and early 2024. To recap what a CDI associated film is- it’s a film whereas someone else is bringing the capital $ to the table but want the experience of CDI behind it. As a producer, I remove the ‘supervising’ role and become more or less, a consultant. CDI will bring other assets to help but the main responsibility is on other shoulders. I’ve been asked to co-star in the supernatural action-thriller, and I’m feeling it. I hope to be able to call the film by name and run some PR about the new arrangement, in the near future. It is always best to work out all these details in advance so there is no issues later. This is a KEY to success. Have the hard conversations now and get everything in writing some it’s there. I still have 4-5 films out there in the film post abyss, they might finish one day. I sincerely hope they do. NUGGET: If possible, you actors, pick production teams with a track record of finishing.
- SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – This week the script will go out to some historians and some friends in the Native American community. I think, I have written a powerful and balanced script, with lessons about loss, revenge, understanding, love and unity. It is not sugarcoated in any way and contains a few scenes that left me shaken after writing them. I had to go immerse myself in some nature and beauty, away from the truth of our shared history. I will be putting the script forth after this round of notes, and we’ll be putting together the Phase 2 plan. Phase 2 will be the development work in Iowa to prep for a 2024 shoot. I’ll also be having some teaser art put together. This will be a great return to the 1800’s storytelling for CDI.
- I want to thank and encourage all of you to keep exploring and watching the CDI library. I’ve had fans reach out and thank us for The Quest Trilogy, MBF, Best Years Gone, Lost Heart, Wild Faith – you can even watch many free on TUBI or Encourage TV. I actually enjoyed The Quest Trilogy, playing while I was doing work. Again, even when not watching I love the music. But the amazing scenery (Yuma, AZ) and the story often gets me distracted for a few moments. More so, when I see friends on screen who are no longer with us. TRIVIA: Who was the voice of ‘God’ in FORTY NIGHTS? You can leave your answer in the comments.
- Speaking of the CDI library, we will be looking to set up several of the old films, in HD at BMG. I had to look up dates for GHOST TOWN, which will be one of the new set up preps. Also AN ORDINARY KILLER, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and KNIGHT CHILLS are all being worked on.
- Animated Division of CDI is in the works. CDI did an “in association” feature THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ, which is being re-rendered and conformed for a release through BMG. But, we’ve got a few shorts and features in development. I’ve always loved cartoons and such, so getting involved in that direction feels natural.
- We’ve got some good interest in creating video games off some of our films. You might know KNIGHT CHILLS, Dice Don’t Lie, video game has been in development. Once the final render is done of Sir Kallio, we might start some 3D printing.
- This week I also plan to meet over the next FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, doc. I’ve already started to talk with a few folks and if all goes well the team will shoot it this Spring/Summer. I think we’ve got a great overall summary of the history in the first film but now we can go into segments and define parts of it even further. Wrestling, grappling fan or not, this film will entertain you and educate you in the rich history.
The holidays were unconventional with the death in the family but the spirit of the season kept on. Aside from the loss, the beautiful snowstorm and the slowing of our day to day for a few days of family and reflection, really helped to recharge my batteries. The finishing of projects and the beginning of new. Again the seasons of our lives as creative artists. And while, sometimes the stories pull me away from my comforts for a time, the stories we tell are timeless.
It is also a time where we artists re-unite. CDI has been a home for some and a stepping stone for others. I like to think we instilled some good qualities into the folks who’ve moved away and into their own respective fields, sometimes in the arts and sometimes not. I tell people, CDI is like any other endeavor, you will get out of it what you put into it. For many, it means being a part of something great that nobody can take away from you. To do that takes hard work. Very hard work. And I only like to work with people who care about what they put their name on. Craftsmanship. Whiskey. Cars. Films. Life is too short to not care about what you work on. The Quakers (Look them up) made amazing furniture and wood crafts because they believe they’re honoring God by their own hands with their craft. I think that is a good mind set and the results are something infused with- love.
FIRE– I’m going to get after a few things today including getting some firewood around for the office stove. I do want to try some lump coal like my buddy uses in his stove. Longer burning and more heat. I’m also on a mission to organize even better this year. I will be putting everything to digital for back ups. I keep being asked about a podcast ‘Around the Fire’ at the fort. I am thinking about it. But I like the fort being a place of low tech and around personal synergy. Knights of the Round Table. Vikings in the Lodge. Monks in the temple. Development at CDI is not just projects, it is people. But people have to want positive change. Self defeating, self associated talk will draw all the negative to you and lower your own personal power. Birds of a feather, flock together. Misery enjoys company. Also believe to achieve. Positive perspective. Creative visualization. The mind is a powerful thing that can assist or hinder. That is why the KNOW THYSELF, rings so powerful. In the new year if you are struggling, fight to take control of the self. Start with your words. What are they? Sounds. Vowels. Symbols. But powerfully attached to our innermost self. MUSIC is a wonderful tool that can lead the mind in the places you want to go. I said, GO – not where you are. If depressed, there are many songs that will not help. But, certain songs help lead our mind. To use a modern term, learn your own triggers and trigger yourself in a positive direction. And DON’T trigger yourself by playing music or putting yourself in a situation, you know, you won’t react well too. Depressed. Don’t play depressing music. Steel drums and island music often puts a big ole smile on my face. Just something that I like to use as a tool. Music puts the mind in a different state and allows you to tune oneself. I use guitar playing the same way. If I’m feeling ‘out of tune’ a few strums can put me not just back in tune but vibrant. I’ve had many great business calls right on the heels of a guitar/energy tune up. FIRE. KNOW THYSELF. MUSIC. Three very primitive and useful tools one can use. I’m not sure if any of this will help anyone, but if it helps one person.
Until next week, coffee cheers!