‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA’ Director’s Screening plus ‘Harsens Island Revenge’ pre-PR Updates and more…
Good morning to you all. I was up past my bedtime a touch yesterday, so the hazelnut coffee is much appreciated. We did a special directors screening kick off showing of SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, our true event WW2 film. We had two screenings yesterday and we all went to an afterglow at Romas, next to the NCG in Owosso. This is back in our home state and while the film had a Michigan premiere at the Celebration Cinema, I was at a funeral. My family finally got to see all our hard work. We had a strong first showing at 4pm and I’ve heard from and seen posts from many friends who went to see the film. I like all filmmakers want a good showing, technically and being outside my area, that raises my temp. We had a super chilly last few days in Michigan, record breaking. I dressed well for outside travel but was too hot for crowds, pictures and such. I even wore a lighter jacket. I should have traded by beanie hat for something less hot. But, enough of the heat talk. It was HOT with enthusiasm, even walking up to the theatre ran into a fellow actor/filmmaker from the Detroit area who had just watched the 4:00 showing. He was sincere in his compliments and that set the tone. Iowa LOVES this story because it is their story. But the greater story makes it ALL OUR STORY. Our history. On the edge of Owosso, MI there is a race track once a PW camp like Algona. Many towns have this kind of history but many are unaware.
This month we’re pulling together the film for home video in the fall. We’re entering the deal phase and we’ll get the enhanced version to the distributor. When we saw it on the big screen, you always can notice things that if you can, you would change. A tweak of color correct here and there. Some enhancements in a few CGI plates. Subtitle tweaks. But these are artistic nuisances that many never see nor notice. Some errors may exist in period – we work hard to achieve this but it is all smoke and mirrors. Many enjoy trying to find these spots. In Star Wars you can see Kenny Baker inside R2D2 in a scene. In GLORY you can see the squib (fake bullet hits) lines running up the legs of some actors. MOVIE MAGIC. We try to transport you to another place and the audience is asked to relax and bring your imagination.
Last night I think people were taken to that time period. People will get to enjoy the film until Thursday and I hope we our powerful attendance last night they will move us into other cites with NCG. I am going to try and bring it back to N. Lansing at the Eastwood NCG. I will let you know. Again people are calling their theatre managers and asking them to book the film. They want your business so call and their bookers will reach out. They are reaching out every week. Also http://www.imdb.com is a place that is used in part to help the expansion of the film. We’ve had hundreds of beautiful comments and the attendance and growth speaks for itself, but many of a certain age do not use the computer much. Or as little as possible and so sometimes the best comments and reviews don’t make it to the official data bases. If you saw it go ahead and go to http://www.imdb.com you can vote (10 best) and leave a review or message about the film, and what it meant to you. I love reading all the stories of grandparents and their interaction and connections to the German PW’s.
We are going to keep the film traveling and hope to play a few festivals. Many of the big ones want a first ever premiere and this film is traveling so that isn’t a fit. But we are looking to play in Hollywood so we can highlight our amazing German cast. I’m damn proud and having a good dose of German in my heritage it’s another thing I’m proud of. This movie is spreading some love, understanding and compassion. I heard many times last night that people loved the story and we need more films like this. I agree. That takes me into-
Above – DJ Perry, Karl Manke, Carl Weyant
HEAR YE, HEAR YE
Harsens Island Revenge – Last night was both a celebration of the present expanding release of our WW2 German PW film but also a toast to the future. We are in official pre-production which means our business paperwork is all in order and we’ll be opening the bank account this month. We will start official pre-production meetings with our director Mr. Carl Weyant. Carl has worked independently and with the CDI Tribe on both sides of the camera. Many will know him from starring as Longinus in part 3 of The Quest Trilogy, entitled The Christ Slayer. I met him in Otty, India in 2008 where we co-starred together in a film there. He has been working several years as a director and director of photography on various projects from music videos to feature film. After months of discussions with the CDI producer team, his stylistic vision and kinetic style will lead the direction and vision of this action-packed film. I, as the writer worked several weeks with Carl, to get a final polished shooting script. This process happens with all our directors. We’ll be discussing many wonderful aspects of this film and casting will take place likely end of the month. We plan to run duel cameras on this project and that will allow us to capture more of the action, more efficiently. Carl and previous director of photography Travis Hayward (Best Years Gone) have been working in tandem on several projects both feature and music video. They were first brought together on the CDI produced music video for ‘Revolution‘ by DEEP FALL. You can watch that here-
Travis Hayward will serve as the Gaffer (cool lighting) and run second camera. I knew they would be a good pairing and I was correct. Our goal, as always, is to have a lot of fun telling yet another great story. Lessons. Always lessons to be illustrated via story, but it a very exciting way. WW1 veterans. Purple Gang. Bootlegging. The CDI Tribe is going into the Roaring 20’s, again taking on a wonderful book written by, Karl Manke. I adapted the book into a screenplay and I’ve very happy with the end product. We have had a positive reaction from a few guest stars who want to participate in this story. It will be a wonderful blueprint for all our artists. We’ll do some official PR in the next two weeks on the project. But, you all get the first drop of developing info just for tuning in and stopping by for a read. We’ve also had several more subscribe join here – so welcome! You can subscribe to our CDI Youtube and http://www.cdiproductions.com is going to be updated so follow us there also.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH: BATTLEFIELDS
The first doc FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is now set up in the market place and just starting what will be a nice long run of being introduced to new audiences. Even those not wishing to rent or buy it can watch it via TUBI and other ad based video on demand. Meaning-you watch for free but you watch with ads and we get paid by advertisers. It is a major rev stream these days. Ground work and talks with potential donors has begun. The Red, White & Blue Project Inc. is the non-profit we are working with. This next project will expand upon part of the original doc. It leans even heavier into the military history and Catch Can’s influence in all of that. Curran Jacobs is directing once again.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – We’re close to moving into the next development phase of this project. I’ve had some good talks about the history of the story and I think we’re on target. Some of the folks involved are not always prepared to read scripts which require imagination and practice. Very unique medium that I liken to poetry and trying to say as much as possible with as few of words as possible. To invoke imagery and to carry the readers (soon to be viewer) through the story. A journey to be sure. I am working to try and keep this on schedule for a 2024 filming. One brick at a time.
BEST YEARS GONE – Now that Covid lock down and virtual festivals have returned to in person – we’re going to enter BEST YEARS GONE into some comedy festivals. We did not want to attend virtual (I spend enough time on a computer) but now it could be a better experience. MAN’S BEST FRIEND, LOST HEART, WILD FAITH, THE QUEST TRILOGY exciting marketing as the films keep growing in audiences. New posters. New trailers. Interviews. Promotional videos. Merchandise. Oh, yeah. It’s all coming.
WRAP UP AND THOUGHTS FROM THE WEEK
Man! I’m still coming down from last night. Again, it was a treat to hug and shake so many hands. We don’t get to meet our vast audiences like live performance. We have 3-5k in social associates and from that maybe 300 that we are in direct contact with. But a film is being viewed by millions to tens of millions that we never meet. We were just talking about the joy we get when someone is surprised and they get to meet someone from a movie that moved them.
We are occasionally accused of being ambitious with our storytelling and we truly are. I’m proud of this last SNIA journey because it was our hardest yet. Harder than most even know. On SNIA, we had our directors mother hit with Covid days before shooting and just days after his best friend died of Covid. Pappy, who passed, was a long-time member of this tribe working several times with CDI on both sides of the camera. A shameful loss. One of our main producers came to set with her own oxygen tanks after her own bout in the hospital with Covid. Simply put, CDI HAS WARRIORS.
I hear of businesses that can’t get employees to show up or stay employed and CDI has folks, so dedicated that it would take – well, a damn lot to keep them away. We are accused of working hard and we do. To make something that might be seen as great by some, you have to work hard. VERY HARD. If hard work and trying to create greatness isn’t for you, CDI isn’t for you. I’ve told folks that something ‘short form’ and not as hard, might better suit some for their talents. Being away for weeks is hard and it’s a sacrifice all our artists have made to help tell that story. We know how special these stories are too many out there, because you’ve reached out to let us know. You are why we sacrifice and do this.
Hey DJ, it ain’t all love:) Listen, the sprinkling of hate and bashing doesn’t provoke hurt in me but actually more sadness. Every negative comment that is tinged with dark emotion cries of dreams unrealized and often never even attempted. They’re afraid to try because they know someone like themselves is waiting, who might throw a stone at their passion or dream. A good example- I don’t love stage musicals as a whole, but I don’t go out of my way to trash them. That is someone’s jam, singing Annie Get Your Gun or something, just not my jam. And that’s fine. I’m just always amazed how little people value their own TIME. IF I enjoyed something I might go out of my way, spend my time, to make my opinion known, because I’m sharing some positive energy. IF I don’t like something – that LAST thing you will get from me is my TIME. I can just scroll on. I can choose something else. I have turn content off but I never ran to a keyboard to trash something. Why? Not worth my watch time not worth my type time. But how others spend their time is their business. But many negative barbs are sadly from fellow artists struggling to the point of collapse and wondering, why not me? My script? Where is my funding? When you put your mind in the wrong place you widen the gap. For when they are manufacturing hate, we create. Which fuels the negative feelings and the cycle continues. One path makes you sicker with the poison you spread and digest. And the other path, it inspires – you think you can do better? Get some of your most loyal, trusted, creative friends and DO IT! Like film itself, SHOW don’t TELL. You will have fun and learn about yourself. Give 100% of your TIME, on your path and see what happens.
MORE FREE ADVICE
I’m amused only slightly in those situations where people lacking the true experience try to speak loudly into something they know nothing about. They become ‘know it alls’ quickly and are unable to take on any new knowledge and experience- their growth stunted. Some opportunities given can inspire maturity, accountability and responsibility and spur personal growth. In others they can be become drunk and delusional with newly gifted power. We’ve had examples of both. I’m always cheering for SPUR versus STUNT but ultimately they control that outcome.
Every project moving forward is living evolution through experience. I work hard to develop people and give opportunities for self growth but sometimes people reach their limit on learning. You always have risk empowering people and when they grow in the right direction – wonderful. Wrong direction- just like the apple tree, it needs to be pruned. Giveth and Taketh Away
POSITIVE. RESPECT. APPRECIATION. SINCERITY. LOYALTY. – these attributes have to already exist within someone and can be nurtured. I often say, I will always work with a slightly less experienced person with the right long term attitude, versus the opposite. We can provide experience and adventure with some of the best artists I’ve encountered on my path. We say at CDI meetings, that a door closing brings us to a new door opening. CDI has grown into a multi generation of artists and we’ve got grand plans to keep moving up the mountain. As I’ve said before, it is not how high you climbed on the mountain it is who you traveled with, that will matter in the end.
I’m a tad tired from being up somewhat late and might need a short cold winter nap. The sunshine is out and that feels good, so maybe time to play cat. Thank you to each and every person who came out last night and to all the shows. It had been a few since I had seen our film play. A touch of distance is nice and gives you a fresh perspective upon viewing again. Having our family and friends there made it special, especially my parents. Both, had funny comments of having created me. They were not so quick to take that same credit after the numerous knuckle headed things I did growing up. I’m already excited for the coming holiday season when SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA will be out on DVD and streaming. We will have just finished filming Harsens Island Revenge and into editing. And so the storytelling cycle continues. Thank you to Karl Manke for trusting us with his story. His book HOPE FROM HEAVEN became BEST YEARS GONE. Read the book. Watch the film. Giddy up as Gil Gilles would say!
I’ll talk to you all next week. I hope you all take giant steps towards your endeavors.
Kung Fu, Respect and Loyalty. The Tribe Looks Ahead to 2022!
I’m sitting and sipping hazelnut coffee while admiring the Christmas tree from last week’s harvest. I just realized when cleaning out my email messages that I missed a Christmas event/party I had planned to attend. DOH! I’m finally well-rested and attacking my TO DO’s with strength. It took a good part of a week to get caught up on my rest. I got most of the production totes stored and everyday we work hard to tie up the production loose ends from our previous SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA) film shoot. This week will also be full but I hope to get some more winterizing done. Several things in the yard need to get put away for winter. One of the nice refreshing things from last week was spending an afternoon with my dad and meeting my cousin for lunch. We meet so that I can pick up venison which is one of the main meats I eat. I actually made some venison steak chili yesterday that turned out great. My cousin and his boys are avid hunters. I enjoy nature and have hunted but I don’t find enjoyment in it. It is a very lean meat and healthy, something that the midwest hunters have enjoyed forever.
As we finish all the wrap up business on SNIA we’re prepping for post. One of the production drives have landed with the editor. We have established a production flow between editor and director. Our DP is doing a first batch of stills to help establish the color palette. He’ll be working with our director and editor in finding certain shots. Meanwhile a few VFX pick ups need to be looked at for a really cool sequence in the film. Dennis Therrian is being prepped on the film as he’ll be doing our sound design and composing our film’s score. Some VFX model work will begin soon in Canada with one of our amazing artists. Anyway the course for the film is being set and I’m excited for everyone to start looking at it.
At CDI we’ve been looking ahead to the future. I’ve been working on the next script for ‘OF SMOKE & MIRRORS‘ my working title on the reworking of the feature script. A short film SMOKE & MIRRORS was finished just as we started filming SNIA. A wonderful commercial piece that we used to do a proof of concept short. I think it does just that- gives a great look at what the full feature will be like. Nathaniel Nose directed the short and he is who we’re eyeing for the feature. The script is the key to everything. This will be a late 2022 or early 2023 shoot from my best estimates.
WILD FAITH: HASTINGS – For those who have seen the feature film “Wild Faith” you’ve been treated to a story for the whole family. Inspirational without preachy just good lessons from a more simple time. Now we have the first season (8 shows) ready to film. It will be part of several talks I will have in the coming weeks. The key with this is CREATIVE CONTROL. We are being selective at how we finance this property so we don’t have strings that will hamper the integrity of it. It will happen and our perfect timeline would be the second half of 2022.
The Spring is always an exciting time coming out of winter. We’ll be doing a feature or two this first half of 2022. We’ve been doing a heavy evaluation of properties and some of these will be included in my distribution talks ahead. But I really think I’ve landed on the right property. It will showcase all your favorite CDI troupe in a great story.
As a side note – this previous news made me think of a recent discussion. The story/script is the most important part of the process. For many filmmakers this is just an afterthought. We need a script and some actors and we’ll get to shoot all this cool stuff. CDI evolved in part because of how poor the scripts/stories were out there. I say this 100% from an actors perspective. That is why I’m always floored by the actors who will emotionally commit before reading a script/story. Anyone can be excited from a good pitch but having that translated to a tightly woven script is another thing. I know many actors who only read their parts and that too is having ‘blinders’ on. I also have told actor friends that you can glean information about their characters sometimes from what other characters say about them. EXAMPLE: You might find out your character has a wife, children or a pet from other character’s dialog. Perhaps gossip reveals that a character previously worked construction before their white collar job, all in the script. The whole story needs to be absorbed from the outside and the inside- internally and externally.
So perhaps a good rule of thumb is A) Evaluate content fully, quietly B) Don’t sign on to anything without reading the entire story and vet the production’s reputation C) Once attached learn the entire story before focusing on just your role’s world/words – important information might exist within the script.
Just my two cents from my experiences. There is a great word EXPERIENCE.
The great GOOD, BAD and UGLY as I like to call it. The goal is to take this accumulated knowledge (Remember Bruce Lee’s – the best way to learn a technique is to get hit by it) EXPERIENCE and translate it and apply it to your situations allowing it to become WISDOM. Now I’ve had my fill over the recent years from some individuals severely lacking experience in certain areas. Yet that want to present from a point of assured confidence that dances in arrogance. Arrogance usually follows someone who has experienced and learned a little yet thinks it gives them license to talk down to someone. A teacher who forgets that he is also a student will be humbled.
From my associates in business I get many complaints about the youth in several areas. (never their use of technology) But I always point out that most of us who have found some success have done so with the assistance of good mentors. For some that starts with a father but not for everyone. It is those special people who come in your life and help shape you. I have had a handful of these people and I’m happy that I recognized by lack and their gain. I emptied my cup and showed patience, listening and learning. I am fond of the old KUNG FU (David Carradine classic) TV show where all the boys have gathered at the Shaolin Temple. They wait and are being watched. Each day they are asked to go home and as time advances and patience is lost – most leave. In the rain those few who remained seem to have the potential for sincere growth. They are invited into the hospitality chamber and served tea. The unmindful who gives into their urges and drinks immediately are asked to “please go home” – shocked the few get up to leave. One is stopped – “Not you, please sit.” When asked why he did not drink he responds that he was respecting the opportunity. He was waiting to drink- being mindful and appreciative of being there. My soccer player/coach, martial arts lifelong student and teacher and a camp counselor all influence how I live. To the frustrated elders know you can influence and guide the youth. To the youth, empty your cup of your perceived absolutes and learn. The journey is a two way street and the glue that binds it all together is RESPECT and LOYALTY. The latter cannot be taught save by example. Those few who observed loyalty and the benefits of the practice and decide to give in to this practice. It is hard for many to give up selfish ambitions mixed with a lack of patience – it often leads to isolation, frustration and hardship that lasts until mindsets change.
“Getting deep, Shaolin Monks, kung fu and drinking cups…What? What?” – Gil Gilles
BEST YEARS GONE has recently finished a second run in Lansing, MI over the Thanksgiving week. We might explore a Detroit area and Grand Rapids showing. Also we’re exploring a few key festivals mainly based on places we would like to visit. I’m in hopes that after my next conversation with our distributor that I’ll have some updated info on our home video release. I’m glad that the films are being met with enjoyment and laughs. I loved one review that likened it to STEP BROTHERS and JOE DIRT which I love Step Brothers but Joe…okay I see it:)
THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer)- is now in season with the passing of Thanksgiving. Our distributor BMG wanted myself and Melissa Anschutz to do a promo inviting folks to subscribe to Encourage TV and watch. We were going to use a few places in Algona, Iowa as the back drop when filming but got too busy. We were going to shoot something at the office by the wood stove but decided we might save that for WILD FAITH promo. We shot in front of the Christmas tree, 3 takes- all funny and DONE. While doing some work last week I did play Forty Nights in the background. It was fun to watch and recall all the shooting we did in the deserts outside Yuma, AZ. Take a watch on all three and make it part of your holiday tradition.
I could rattle on about watching all the CDI films…but I’m sure you will get there in your own time as the nights grow longer and the outside colder. A good night to light a candle or fire and watch a good story unfold. I’ve got some yard clean up and some holiday shopping to do so I’m gonna wrap this up here. It was a pleasure to spend this time with you. Until next week. Be good to one another.
Star Wars Talk & CDI Film Updates
OK. Pre-Star Wars I was SPEED RACER, MR. ROGERS and SCOOBY DOO.
I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee from a ornate Star Wars mug with various scenes upon it. Like many in the storytelling business around my age some inspirational credit can go to George Lucas and the original Star Wars film in 1977. In anticipation for the last in the Skywalker story, yes we have tickets, we’ve been watching them all in story order. IF I was 7 years old and Part 1 of the Prequels was the first film I might have still liked the ships, lasers, etc…but ‘A NEW HOPE’ was just gritty and did not dumb things down for kids. We could take it George including Han firing first. When we went from the three prequels to SOLO, such a difference in the world and story telling. The prequels felt like video games with planned segments that really felt like watching your friend play a video game. But SOLO is like taking the best parts of James Bond and Mad Max put into a gritty ‘New Hope’ like world. ROGUE ONE again just better character development in a world that felt more grounded in reality.
I actually can speak into this having done a trilogy of films. It was important to try and keep the world cohesive despite the changes in style from director to director. Also because I have been looking at promo material personally and as a company, I’ve been playing The Quest Trilogy behind my accounting work. It’s very satisfying to have the linking storyline. It was always my goal to see if I could take some “obscure” stories from the Bible and tell them in a ‘Star Wars’ type fashion. The stories actually adapt over quite well and when you add what I call the “Chuck Heston – bible film effect”, you have our style.
I will say that it is a pretty sure bet that we’ll return to this genre again. One script is complete and the other two outlined stories are forming up. I’m not sure when all this may happen but we will see.
I also put my first SciFi script to pause while I finish writing the script for “Hope for Heaven” which is my working title. We are working with a few different titles but I need something when I write. It has many of the great qualities that ‘Lost Heart’ had by way of characters and story. I’m a good many pages into the story and how it starts can sometimes be the hardest. But it’s flowing and when I did do my first test read with one of our development people, it was strong. This film will shoot in late summer/early fall in Michigan. The nice part is via a few agent talks we might have a good lead on a very important casting aspect. I’m looking forward to continuing the writing this week.
LOST HEART rough cut by Scott Magie working with our director Jesse Low is looking good. I talked about the view last week. This week we’re prepping some things for the music and sound design to follow. I know that poster/DVD artwork is starting and that will be exciting to see. Again just proud to have this be part of the Tribe CDI films.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – Following our premiere we saw a “best film” and “best actor” nods at the Hollywoodivine Film Festival and won ‘Best Film’ at the Equus Film & Art Festival. 2020 will have many more events and showings as the film moves out deeper into the world market. I’ve had several people reach out this week about how this film touched them. I’m so proud that it is becoming a voice for veterans and dogs. Two groups that truly understand loyalty and service. Watch it yourself on Amazon and other platforms and if you enjoy it add it to your DVD library.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Help us start a family holiday tradition with the telling of FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. (All on Amazon and many platforms)
It has been a true joy to receive an abundance of fan mail on these films from around the world. I saw the breakdowns and the films are making their way to you. Some all our friends in other countries be patient, the CDI films are coming. Many of you already know that because you can watch the films on TV and DVD. If you have watched them feel free to vote and leave your thoughts on http://www.imdb.com and remember these are films.
WILD FAITH – This film also continues to be enjoyed and shared by new audiences. I had some fans from this movie also communicate this past week. They were Civil War era fans and so I had them seek WICKED SPRING. It was a Civil War film we produced back in 2000. It can be watched also on Amazon.
I’ve been taking meetings and looking at filming the balance of our production slate for the next 2 years. We have many scripts and it just depends on several factors as to which gets moved into active development or pre-production. We’ve had a few wonderful meetings and with the new management involvement in 2020 I’m excited to see where it leads. I’ve been working on a few ‘Character Reels’ and a new 2020 sizzle reel along with what will be a CDI showreel.
Next weekend our first family Christmas starts and so I have a bit more shopping to do and we’ve been enjoying the season. I hope you all have a holly, jolly holiday season with your family and friends.
Production Ramble and Film Updates
It is a chilly and wet morning here in Lansing, Michigan. It’s been a crazy balance of film and life as we move out of summer. I’ve had a string of fix-it projects with our roof, car brakes, wisdom teeth removal and my computer. Note: I did none of those things directly. The computer hard drive failed and had to be replaced. I was starting to reload files from external drives when luckily the company was able to retrieve the old data. I do have to reload my script writing software which was due for an upgrade. Add on the fact that we’re re-doing a bathroom and that adds up to a good deal of domestic work. We also added a pair of oak book shelves last week that up-ended everything in the house for two days but now looks wonderful.
We’re working on a small narrative book video next week and that will be fun. We stepped out this week and supported Shane Hagedorn in another acting role in the Detroit area. It’s nice to see filmmakers developing and growing in their art. We met some nice people and had an enjoyable time.
Speaking of premiere showings we have one coming on the 14th of Sept in Owosso, MI for MAN’S BEST FRIEND. Tickets go up for sale the 4th or 5th on the NCG Owosso website. Keep up with the MBF facebook page as we’ll be updating there. It is open to the public and we’ll be having my co-stars Don Most, Garry Nation, Tim Abell and David Reardon in attendance. So if you want to see a powerful film about our wounded vets and adoption dogs – come join us.
WILD FAITH is finding an audience out there. This past week I had several people come up and tell me how much they enjoyed Wild Faith with a few having watched the movie multiple times. Next up a group of us will be traveling to AZ to attend the Wild Bunch film festival. Once we are booked we are going to invite our Yuma, AZ family and see if any want to come visit.
My dentist this past week was all smiles after he and his daughter enjoyed watching part 3 of The Quest Trilogy – The Christ Slayer. He shared some of the insights she took from the film. She GOT IT! Because she watched all three films. The movies can be watched as a stand alone but they are meant to be watched all together. So one of our goals this holiday season will be to let people know that the films are all part of a trilogy. I’ve also decided that I will be writing another biblical era film. I have one on deck now but the cost has put it a step beyond my means. But that could change as we expand our circles.
We don’t USE people – We DEVELOP people. I go into every media relationship wanting the same long time relationship I share with several of our #TRIBECDI – Composer and sound designer Dennis Therrian is a good example, he and I go back to about 1997. In media now I hear about how ‘fluid’ people are and hardly keep a job beyond three years. Many are people who cannot deal with any conflict and need to be right all the time. Add to this that our industry is naturally fluid – in it’s flow…(Planning) few folks – (Shooting) army – (Post Work) few folks.
A freelancer has to make more good choices vs bad choices in a year or they will fail. This industry is based 100% on referrals if you’re amongst the wise. We as Indies have a small margin of error due to budget constraints. If you as cast or crew are doing what you love and YOU see the effort by production to give cast and crew a good ride while working to make a quality story. You should be supportive and loyal to the nth degree because it’s rare. For you under 25 folks you will realize. Many of you from your ‘Office Space’ cubical. Yeah… Don’t let your ego sink you. Before I sling arrows let me admit my biggest WEAKNESS. It has always been that I care about people. I truly do. I recognize that dreamer fire burning in some people. And I’ve seen people who’s willpower cannot match their dreams – let me translate LAZY.
I can see people’s success and fail potential. I see those battles of willpower when the dream becomes hard. Almost impossible until – it happens. I’ve bet on people that they could escape their self sabotage and live their better self. I’ve won more than I’ve lost but I’ve surely lost. The TRIBE works in a very tribal way thanks likely to my CDI partner Jeff Kennedy’s anthropology courses. If you aren’t pulling your weight your peers know. They see the lack of focus. They see the attitude and that person will find themselves pushed to the outer rim. I also will state that CDI is a tribe of artists that live on the alpha end of the spectrum. They are savage in their hunger for success as an artist.
I can tell you as an older lion that surviving in this industry long term is a badge to itself. That said, I love to develop appreciate, hungry and extremely talented artists. When you take away the environment for drama and BS, which is a trap for all groups of humans gathering, these artists potential shines even more. Making great art inside a shit-storm is a hard go. You have to control your artistic studio, workshop, world, set. Do this and watch your project get even stronger. The energy when a crew believes…when they see the world, is amazing.
I offered a script to one of our crew guys on ‘Lost Heart’…NOTE: I like my crew to know the story they are creating. Cast or crew I just would have to know what I’m selling hours of my life to. Okay…but he said he was enjoying piecing it together each day. This ‘interest’ in the art from the crew is what helps to elevates the final story.
If you prove yourself to be untrustworthy, undependable, unfocused, unprepared – you get my point. The crew will often work around you rather than with you. If your drama overly seeps into the set, they might ignore but they remember. See again as a martial artists, I see the hot set as a dojo. I mentally bow when I enter and I bow to my fellow cast and crew. We all stop our own time from ACTION to CUT and live those moments together that is the STORY. That is some intimate shit. And some artsy sounding shit at that. But it’s true.
Back to the topic, I’ve been doing this walk a good long time. I want this to keep creating and so I’m not looking for friends or social peeps, BFF’s or any of that. I’m looking for select artists whereas the Tribe see’s them as a good asset. I can say that of the cards that people have brought to the CDI table over the years to play, the best card was always loyalty. You work to create an inspiring place for artists to develop projects void of time-wasting, energy-stealing drama. That is the goal. How successful were we? We’ll let the projects tell that story as I believe the end product has a lot to do with that production energy. It absorbs into the story just like seasons when you shoot. An October movie always has a strong haunting and introspective vibe. Again that saying, Making great art within a shit-storm is a hard go.
I’ve been working hard to develop people because I think I knew where we were heading. I see the on-going slate of films peppered with a few TV series. That takes talent, dedication and organization. Again, praise to all the good stuff happening in our state. Back in the day there was Lynn Drzick (West Side) and Mike Kallio (East Side) and a shot gun smattering of filmmakers in Michigan. Working to TV stations at nights trying to complete films shot on FILM. Okay. I see movies on Vikings, Detroit Hustle, Firefighters, Sex Trafficking, Body Swappers…all in our state of Michigan. Very cool!
I’m going to slide out of here and get with my day. Be good to one another. Thank you for letting me ramble over coffee. I hope to see some of you Sept 14th in Owosso, MI at the MAN’S BEST FRIEND premiere showings. I’ve heard good things about the theater tests but I’m waiting to be surprised myself. Coffee cheers!
Have a great Labor Day weekend.
Weighing In on Feature Film versus Commercial Production. Release Dates!!!
New York Time Square – I’ve had success and setbacks. But taking a group of sailors/artists out to sea is always an adventure. Every great thing ever done started as an idea. I’ll tell you something that I see around me that I really like. And this kudos centers on my state of Michigan but extends beyond that. I see DOERS. I see people finishing. I see people reaching. I’m not a better artist. We’re all artists who either create or derive some pleasure from the art of others. Active is always more conditioned than observer. The football player will always be in more condition versus the watcher of football. The artists who stretches his imagination, cooperation and does will always be more conditioned than he/she that watches.
It is hard to make any movie. A bad movie requires lots of work. Try organizing four of your family or friends to go bowling. Scheduling. This happens because of passion and compensation. Being compensated for something you would do for free is golden as a goal. When someone is required for a lengthy stretch of time/days/weeks compensation with agreement is better than free even when you can get it. Bad cold. Flu. Fever. I’ve had it on sets before. But everyone of those artists is working towards the common goal. You take a vitamin C packet. Rest, best you can and wait to be called to set. People not fully committed can and do flake. But I carry a zero tolerance for that. Too much benefitting too many artists at stake. I’ve missed a grandma’s funeral being on set. She encouraged me all through my career, she can and did understand. It is a total commitment to process. I hear horror stories of crew attitudes and walk off’s. I’ve only dealt with those issues in the easiest of days where the rigor of “war/filming” can test everyone’s limits. We at CDI try to be a fertile creative ground to grow within. Not perfect but we strive individually and collectively. Negative folks can allow the positive flow to align them or they are removed from the circuit of energy.
I’ve recently seen a few debates between film producers I know and commercial crew members who dog his hiring practices. Both tried to argue their points while the negative slings and arrows flew. Producing commercials (production service) is very different than film production (investment). Again with said producers, I disagree with his model of business creatively and otherwise BUT he might also disagree with mine. I’m okay with that. I think that producers who produce for profit – narrative story in a VERY competitive field, are entitled to set an offer however they wish. I think compensating will draw more experience to the project. That in turn effects the timeliness, quality or both. But getting that experience is the catch 22 for crew and talent. Who is going to trust a 500k film on the back on a first time actor? How hard is it to land in the director or DP chair of a financier feature film? Sometimes these smaller projects help develop people for the path ahead. You can star in a story without the stress. You get to shoot a film versus being the clap board 2nd AC.
Some productions are in that middle ground because of budget. Yes. I’ve done 4 min automotive commercials with larger budgets than a feature film. Meetings, notes, tweaks…not as exciting as a narrative story. When you mix experience level the goal is to raise people up and not have it brought down. This requires the right leadership in the right place. All this? Maybe bowling would have been easier:) So if you’re making good money in commercial production don’t try to apply that to narrative filmmaking. LOYALTY is what brings crew into the bigger game. It is a two way street. They work to help tell a beautiful story with audience changing power. Those few filmmakers that grow are smart to take their team with them. Some producers do sell out and take this composer who did this or that…this designer is more…they worked on…TRUST ME on this one. Stay with the team that got you there. Now they might need to keep growing with the collective. Soldiers all gotta march. But if someone likes what you’ve built they should respect the builders.
I’ve had a strong week of film business mixed with good times with the new puppy Finn and family. I made beef jerky for the studio and worked on dehydrated apples now. This week I’m going to rack the GRAPE APE wine to the secondary. I put a deer worth of venison into the freezer. Wood cutting for the office stove will continue this week. Let’s do some bullet point film updates.
- The Christ Slayer artwork is just truly beautiful. We’ll be announcing Feb streaming purchase, March DVD, April EVENT SHOWINGS on the big screen across the country. Post work is full steam ahead for the next couple weeks.
- Wild Faith artwork for the theatrical and DVD has begun. Wild Faith will be hitting theaters across the US in 3/1/19, TV cable 4/1/19, digital purchase 5/6/19, DVD 5/27/19
- MBF is now re-focused on the film edit and we’re working to have a first cut by end of the year. The trailer has been getting a great response. Please follow our Facebook site and watch the trailer. https://www.facebook.com/pg/MBFthemovie/videos/
- Tis the season and feel free to take a watch on our other films. FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR are the two previous films in The Quest Trilogy.
- LOST HEART is slowly moving down the tracks and will start to pick up steam 1st of the year. Stay tune for more opportunities. Also follow http://www.cdiproductions.com
Okay. It’s time to cap off the hot hazelnut coffee. Make some breakfast and get ready for a good day. Yesterday we went up North for a belated Thanksgiving fest and today is a family bday party. Go Lions!