Keep following your dreams. Die creating, reaching, growing and giving! SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA Premieres!
This entry into the old blog outlining the journey is unusual in that I’m typing it first a day late. To be fair if you also follow me on social media’s Facebook, you knew I was traveling back from Iowa on Sunday. But I’m here at 9:30 pm drinking some hot tea and eating trail mix, recollecting on my last few days. A whirlwind to be sure. Members of our production team traveled to Algona, Iowa almost 80 years after a group of German PW’s gifted something special to the small town. German PW’s, you say? Yes. For many in the USA and elsewhere abroad, they were unaware of the large amount of German PW’s kept in camps across the midwest. Most ran by WW1 officers pulled from civilian life and the injured American soldiers taken off the front lines and sent to homeland MP duties. At this one camp in Algona, Iowa something special happened. A unifying endeavor of captives gifting captors, while the world is at war.
This story, SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– was meant to be told now. Based on true events, this film was created by our hardworking CDI tribe. A group of artists that I hope will be recalled for their contributions to preserving history and storytelling – entertaining and occasionally educating. Education by offering perspectives, often unseen, causing rifts in people. By looking at multiple perspectives, a more full picture can be established. A better understanding could be achieved.
This first set of premiere screenings were the most important because it was accomplished with the help of these folks and it was their history. The laughter and the crying followed by more laughter, I loved that. Someone described it as a rollercoaster of emotions as you bounce between perspectives. I’m just very proud of it. We had a killer opening with added theaters and expanded screens. There are good folks watching the film as we type this. I love that feeling. Out storytelling is happening with communities of people. This is the added joy of a theatrical watch. We have many new updates on screening opportunities. We have theaters reaching out and that is because of all of you. Thank you.
The Bitter of life– Someone very close to me, a mentor for sure in several areas, has been eagerly awaiting this film’s release. A lover of history and WW2, he always wanted updates on the film. Somewhat unexpected, he started having complications when we were in studio mixing SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, and had a stay in the hospital for tests. A BEAUTIFUL Iowa snowstorm the night before our premiere, made Algona into a winter wonderland. Radio, TV and newspaper interviews in the morning followed by a great hearty brunch. An afternoon to prepare and rest a few beats before the activities start. Two hours before we unveil this inspirational and joyful film to the town where it all happened, a call. Unbelievable news. He’s gone.
Perspective. I greeted many beaming faces that night and sincerely enjoyed the glow of pride emanating from these wonderful people. The loss I was reeling from was also an artist in percussion and woodworking. He would often share stories of ZZ Top, Chicago and more, often ending in- the show must go on. It did go on. I was bathed in the good energy of all these people, inspired by the actions of their own past citizens and relatives. The SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA project and I had suffered an emotional hit a few years earlier with Rance Howard’s passing. He was passionate about 1940’s farming. Hours talking about farming- and many other life things, from that era. He loved the story, but sadly passed before we went into production.
The film will travel to Michigan next week- a premiere showing in Lansing and GR, with a TBD afterglow for folks to mingle and talk. I will not be at the premiere next week. I am going to be with family putting someone special to rest. But I’m very proud that we’ll be showing our cast and crew and our home state in this wonderful story. It will start playing next Friday –
One of my favorite questions to some of our oldest in attendance, was asking if we captured the time period. Their overwhelming squeal of delight, the confirmation I care about. Not perfect, motion picture is an illusion, best when the audience lends its imaginations and opens their minds. After watching it a few times on the big screen, we found even more to polish before home video (DVD, streaming and broadcast TV) later in 2023. That is how the artists at CDI roll. I’m just proud of the artists and the stories being preserving and assuring it is not lost. This movie is the next Iowa ‘Field of Dreams’ as special things do seem to happen in Iowa. But many states have their own stories that deserve to be remembered.
It has been a long few days and still much to do this week. IF you have recently watched our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA in the theatre please go to http://www.imdb.com search our film and leave your feedback. We’ve had so many people reaching out who had heard fragments of stories from a grand parent or great grandparent, about German PW’s. I’m excited for Germans to see this film and we will be targeting to show somewhere special in Germany in 2023. We will do a Hollywood showing next year as most of German actors are out there. It will be fun sharing this film around the world and in time for Christmas 2023 you can own it.
If you watched Silent Night in Algona and enjoyed it, you can watch others by our troupe/tribe like BEST YEARS GONE, WILD FAITH, LOST HEART, MAN’S BEST FRIEND, WICKED SPRING, ASHES OF EDEN, FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH (Iowa) and The Quest Trilogy (FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER) – You can explore http://www.cdiproductions.com and we’ll be updating even more for the first of the year. MERCHANDISE?
And while you enjoy, we also will be preparing more stories to tell – casting and crewing up in 2023
Also strong development meetings in Iowa on the new script SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE, looking to shoot in 2024. Just blessed to be able to do what I love to do, affecting millions, with the power of a story. I have another talk this week on another film that would have me reuniting with a filmmaker from my past. Truly, a special weekend in Iowa and I’m just sad, one special person did not get to see it, or-
Keep following your dreams. Die creating, reaching, growing and giving. I’ve been inspired by both the comedy and tragedy of life. Don’t take people, time and kindness for granted. Until next Sunday-
Good – eve – morning! I have a very busy Sunday with flea-markets, family and friends and so I’m doing my update now. I love this picture above from our upcoming SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA because it shows courage in the face of uncertainty. That is the world that we’ve been living in with its challenges and the tolls it has taken. We’ve managed to stand and face these obstacles and still manage to create our stories and hope and enlightenment. To add some humor and escapism to the lives of millions. Tens of millions and when adding all of the audiences of all of them together the totals are humbling. At CDI we are committed to telling our stories highlighting the best aspects of ourselves. I’ve had fans of THE QUEST TRILOGY, MAN’S BEST FRIEND and WILD FAITH reach out over the last week. I’m reminded of what we do for people and I cannot even begin to tell you the appreciation we as artists have for those who support the arts. Our backers, our sponsors and our audiences – the STORY that needs to be told and YOU are why we take time away from our families to film. I just wanted to take this fine Easter Eve to express our appreciation.
HOT ROD LOVE is a CDI film in active development that has a few great themes woven into a great 1975 small town drag racing world. We’ve been preparing to present this project to several of our past supporters. This is coinciding with the BEST YEARS GONE kick off to the home video campaign on July 5th. We’ve been having a great time looking at different tracks around the country.
We are all seriously excited to see how the world responds to BEST YEARS GONE. The theatrical response was very strong and I was happy to see how the German actors also received the humor well. I hope it translates around the world. We’re nominated for ‘Best Comedy’ in an upcoming –
This week is going to be exciting on many fronts. COLLECTIVE DEVELOPMENT INC. expanding into music videos. We are excited to announce that the OFFICIAL VIDEO for DEEPFALLS first single “Revolution” will premiere on April 19th!
This week will be the SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA teaser trailer post production work on color correction, music and sound design. We’ll also start some theatrical poster designs along with a special VFX featurette. The 1st cut of the movie itself is done and now director Anthony Hornus is working with our editor on the second cut of the film. From there it will be honed down to a final picture in a third cut.
BESTSELLER the dark and moody thriller from the twisted mind of Christopher Knight arrives on home video on May 31st. We’ve been dripping PR out at the films Facebook. We worked very hard making this intense film that showcases absolutely beautiful Northern Michigan.
This past week I had four different meetings over possible CDI associations. An association is where a group has their funding and not the experience. When you are entrusted with funds you need to succeed or the well will go dry. Many films never get finished and when that happens it hurts the artistic market. But I also have to look at all the variables and decide if a collaboration will be beneficial. Sometimes it’s easier to just fund it ourselves controlling those variables but we are open to discussion. I’m proud to say that I’ve secured one of the next screenwriting/producing endeavors. I’m not ready to announce it yet but I will say that I’m extremely excited by the opportunity. We have our TV series based off WILD FAITH being evaluated by a few solid companies. With two new platforms requesting WILD FAITH just this week I’m inclined to feel that this TV spin off project will soon go into production. If it is meant to happen it will!
This week will also start the delivery of the elements on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH documentary to DeskPop Entertainment. We will be meeting this week to further discuss the premiere. We might talk festivals as some of the large ones want to host the premiere. We shall see. We entered SMOKE & MIRRORS into a few fun festivals to go enjoy the spooky season. I got my start as a monster hunter. I will have some exciting announcements on several of the CDI library titles including KNIGHT CHILLS.
I’m going to wrap this up. I’ve been enjoying soccer which has been indoor but outdoor starts next month. But the great news is my running is getting back on point. I’ve done some great clean up in the yard but still have some to go. The chickens have been kicking out the eggs. I’ve had to work with outdoor loving Luna (new doggie) who has a passion for squirrels. I’ve finally got her to stop jumping on the fence. I’m looking forward to warmer breezes so we can do more outdoor meetings. I hope you all have a wonderful day with your loved ones. I am going to recharge and tackle the week ahead with enthusiasm.
Happy Easter! Coffee Cheers!
This morning as I awoke and looked out the window I half expected to see a witch flying on her bike or a flying cow. Okay those are old references to the Wizard of Oz and Twister. I heard Iowa got a few bad tornadoes. The world watches on the Ukraine invasion by Russia. Battle on the soccer grid, at the Olympics or even the boardrooms of business, but why an invasion? This feels like more of Putin’s war versus a Russian war. But I do think that Putin did unite most of the world against him. It is nice to see our government born from a similar desire to have and maintain freedom, be reminded. You want to think our leader(s) would be in the trenches fighting any US invaders but would they? Or would they jet to one of the isolated US territories? I sincerely wish this conflict to be resolved quickly but I don’t know. But if a friendly country asked for help in protecting their airspace after a country has already declared themselves at war due to the sanctions, sounds reasonable. As for the rattling of sabres over nuclear weapons, not reasonable. Radioactivity goes into air, water, food and few creatures can survive in that toxic environment. I’m going to hope that the internal government in Russia finally has enough of Putin trying to capture some last glory and ends it. Let’s all hope peace comes soon.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA
Our WW2 Christmas drama is in post-production with a first cut of the film due this month. From there our director and editor will work to chisel out the best performances and scenes. In Canada model building is underway and soon we’ll have our story. But instead of just giving you an update I’m going to give it to you right from the – editor’s mouth. Nathaniel Nose had this to say about the footage being cut together.
“The raw footage always tells the story of not just the script, but also what happened on set. This set had a group of passionate people. Both the performers and the crew clearly cared a great deal about the film they were making. The most enjoyable projects to edit are the ones where passion, decency and goodness went into the production. It is evident in the footage that the people who made this film embraced those virtues.” – N. Nose
Many of you watched the BTS video and now we’re starting work on the first official teaser trailer. Still photos continue to roll out and showcasing the beautiful work but our camera, grip and electric team.
BEST YEARS GONE – Our next to market film is being presented this month to licensing platforms around the world. We’re awaiting word on a few festivals selected to possible showcase our fun film. I’m excited to see the film start appearing in advance marketing. June is when the DVD and digital purchase happens. Sept 1 will be digital streaming and broadcast TV. I hope that folks really enjoy this film we labored to make during the Covid crisis between the two Michigan lockdowns.
BESTSELLER – Some may recall that CDI stepped in to reboot/reshoot the thriller based on the book of the same name by Michigan author Christopher Knight. I’m happy that now the film is getting a full worldwide release with Deskpop Entertainment. This film will also do a digital release Sept 1st along with Best Years Gone.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, our feature length doc on the history of grappling is completing distribution paperwork and we’ll start delivery of it this week to Deskpop Entertainment, releasing it worldwide. We’re also exploring a Las Vegas World Premiere likely in July/August timeframe.
Staying with the topic of Deskpop Entertainment we’re looking at deals to release AN ORDINARY KILLER, a former Vietnam vet turned detective works to solver a small town murder. This film is based on the true story which was one of the longest cold case files solved by DNA. This film’s management is being transferred to the Red, White & Blue Project Inc. so that more veteran needs can be met. This amazing non-profit previously documented the plight of the Afghanistan children in OUTSIDE THE WIRE: The Forgotten Children of Afghanistan. We plan to remaster the doc and re-release it. Also it looks like KNIGHT CHILLS, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and GHOST TOWN will get converted to HD for re-release. We’ll take the steps one at a time. All of this takes work and it is very satisfying to see these titles get a second or in some cases third life.
For the Easter season I would ask all the fans to watch our three biblical adventures, Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer. Help make these three films part of your traditional family watch. I received word one of our fine actors passed away.
Also new promotion on WILD FAITH as we make a push to launch the 8 show season one of WILD FAITH: Hastings. LOST HEART and MAN’S BEST FRIEND are building their worldwide audiences and I am thankful for all the nice notes from fans.
I want to thank everyone for all the kind words on the passing of Daphne, our 14 year old doggie. Finn our little boy has always had his sister. He also has dealt with anxiety and fear issues (big trucks, fireworks) but has gotten steadily better. He was not doing great alone and was taking a few steps back. Well, we have a new loving member to our family pack Luna Mae. This beautiful girl had a few bad hands dealt in her life but now is settling in nicely. She had to learn some of Finn’s quirks but is helping to balance him out. She is very easy going and loves her new house and yard. She also loves hanging at the office with her new daddy.
We spent all yesterday putting outdoor Christmas stuff away and cleaning up the yard. We have a good ways to go with all that but we got a nice start on it. Last week we had some great meetings with several of the CDI Tribe. Much discussion in on our newly announced film HOT ROD LOVE. We’ve started investor and sponsor talks and are excited to pull this all together. This film will be 70’s summertime fun and already we’re getting some great attachments to the project. Reach out if you want to be involved on the business front. We’ve started to reach out to a few agencies on our Native American casting needs. A great piece of Michigan history plays into our story.
I also want to take a moment to recognize a very special father and son filmmaker team (Michael & William “Pops” McCallum, from my home town of Lansing, Michigan. Sadly, Michael lost his father. I’m not close with Michael, but I do admire his drive, tenacity and his past relationship with his dad. In our one sit-down years ago I stated that the films he made with his father will always be special. I think many of us artists who have locked horns with our parents admire/envy this relationship they had. So to my fellow Lansing artist Michael – my thoughts are with you. RIP to your Pops. And Michael, keep on being you with all your fire and passion. Your dad is surely very proud of you. From reading your story, your Pops had a heavenly reunion or two in the making with some very special people. He left you with all the tools you need to be the best you. With that I’m going to go make some eggs, bacon and refill the ye ole’ coffee cup. Have a great week ahead and be good to one another.
This morning was in the negative degrees outside but the sun is out and that is nice. I’m sipping on the hazelnut coffee and I’m thinking over last week. I have to admit with the cold outside my energy gas tank was running low on Thursday. I had a big meeting on Friday but it was rescheduled due to illness on their end. This new strain of Covid has been really making the rounds and I know various parties and people dealing with it. The vaccinated folks I know have had a mild go of it but I have at least one relative who is in the hospital after foregoing any vaccination. I’ve also followed a few folks who have been really having a struggle with ventilators and such. I’m not going to grandstand either way but I do wish you all a healthy week ahead. Do your part, whatever that is so that we can get past all this. It has been a point of concern now for the 3rd year as we plan our new artistic endeavors.
ACTOR ADVICE- I know at least a couple individuals who work in our circle that also state they have a passion for performance/acting. The issue comes when perhaps they are great workers behind the camera but in front of the camera is not as strong. Acting for film can also consist of how you break down and learn the script. Taking tidbits from the script and use that to add layers upon layers of character complexity. To play larger roles you need to really know, KNOW the character inside and out. Dreams, hopes, fears and more all play into a character arc that can have many changes throughout a story. If you are an extrovert and like the socializing, an acting/improv class might help you get comfortable with a crew. If you are more “keep to your self” you could do your own scene study. You could keep recording and working a monologue until you can make someone watching it laugh out loud or opening cry – all good signs in your performance. So if your peers have never seen you push a moment, a scene to that level – you need to show them. You also will get stronger as you show yourself you can mine out these feelings and put them to camera. Some people are good without the camera but add that amazing device and some freeze like it is a pointed gun. So to the few out there who want to evolve from extras or featured extras into larger roles, follow that advice. Put those reads down and work it (keep doing it) until it truly moves people watching it. To want something is great but if you are not there you NEED to put in the work.
BEST YEARS GONE – The final delivery pieces have been uploaded to our distributor which means I should have home video dates soon. In the meantime we will explore a few more theatrical runs and festivals. Our director is picking a few select festivals that would be fun or align with the festival’s audience. One of the first to respond is a 19 year old London festival and so the UK will be getting an early look at ‘Gil Gilles’ and gang. I have not released the distributors poster yet as I was waiting on those home video dates. But we have some fun and special things lined up for the home video release. How many out there have a “Gil Gilles Survival Kit”? See http://www.cdiproductions.com where G$ is handling our growing merchandise section. 2022 Lunch boxes? Action Figures? Coloring books? Who knows but man are we having fun with it all.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – First I want to say how sorry we are that DP Dan Chipman just lost his father to this Covid. Our hearts go out to Dan and his family. Speaking on a happier note we’ve been rolling out still photos of the film chosen by and color corrected by Daniel G. Chipman (his professional name) and man are they beautiful. I also will announce that Adam Towner will be reaching out to cast and crew to collect captured memories from on set and put together a behind the scenes. As he is doing this our director will be crafting ideas for the first teaser trailer. It was a wonderful experience and it will be nice to have something for cast and crew to remember fondly that CDI adventure. So the future months will bring us some great updates.
I had someone reach out last night saying their family watched WICKED SPRING for the first time and loved the camera work and the themes presented. CDI once had a sister company Lionheart that I part owned and we produced VA area projects under. When we separated we took Wicked Spring as part of our deal. Since we’ve kept is active and I’m so happy that they’ve brought the resolution up to HD for new and old audiences. Decades later and fans are still being moved by this simple story of men at war. Take a watch and leave a review and let us know your thoughts. Too many enthusiasts it is a top film for them. Others who don’t appreciate as much pacing and character development find the start slow but I love it. I’m proud of our director Kevin Hershberger who has carved out his own niche with TV docu-series and working costume and B unit are larger films. He is a good example of how far passion can take you and he loves that 1800’s time period too.
Several other older films in the CDI library are being evaluated for new release campaigns. What one would you love to see streaming in HD? Heaven’s Neighbors? Knight Chills? An Ordinary Killer?
Talks were had this week with a TV show runner of sorts about WILD FAITH: Hastings and it was met with strong enthusiasm. This was another great perspective on how strong a property we have with a feature film proof of concept and tens of millions of views. I think we’ll be back to the 1800’s with the Murphy family it is a matter of when. I’ve started a FB page where we’ll track the development of the series. @WildFaithHastingstvseries
Also looking at a Spring shoot, I’m in the final stretch on scriptwriting a new story that I’ve had in my head for a while. My best pitch of it is “A 1975 American Graffiti” with a few great influences film-wise. What influences? Cannonball Run, Caddy Shack and a few others. It is an ensemble comedy with a few great themes written throughout it. The 1970’s will be fun for our artists to tackle. I’m already growing out my hair for that 70’s feathered look:) And wardrobe will be fun to find and we all likely have some already. HRL is the initials to the script, can you figure it out? I will be done with the script this week with a good polish to it also. From there the producers will get a read and we’ll discuss the next steps of bringing on our funding and start casting. See: ADVICE TO ACTORS UP ABOVE
I have two other possible scripts to write and I’m evaluating which project to take on in February. Both are work-for-hires and CDI would likely produce both as films. I do have two other personal scripts underway which I’ll return to and plan to finish in 2022. I love to write especially on these cold days.
I’ve been playing phone tag in trying to connect with a few new contacts. Some are casual contact to get to know one another and share war stories. From that foundation sometimes endeavors are born. I’m really excited about one opportunity that just recently came about. This opportunity comes on the heels of a conversation I had last week, about how much I enjoyed working on the music video “Off to the Race” – so there is your hint. I LOVED growing up in the MTV music video golden age. It was a great collaboration platform between musicians and filmmakers as both are storytellers. Above is a pic of the MSU party bus the band “Vertical Bridge” came in to the premiere of “Best Years Gone” in Owosso, MI.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the documentary of the history of grappling is having the EPK put together and a screening link for the few business folks to review. We’ll plan a premiere for the near future and will look to put a deal together in Feb for home video/worldwide. It takes several months to a year to put a full home video campaign together. But we might do a series of event screenings leading up to home video. All in steps. Follow us @fortheloveofcatchdoc
SMOKE & MIRRORS – is being loaded to film freeway to submit to a few fun festivals. This is one of the two personal scripts I’m working on. I love the time period and it also has a tinge of steampunk to it all. The short will become a great feature film and audiences will enjoy this fun and spooky romp. Follow our progress on @Smokeandmirrorsmovie
As I’m typing I received messages praising The Quest Trilogy and Lost Heart aka Bigfoot, UFO’s and Jesus. Last week I had a nice note on MAN’S BEST FRIEND. These films are really helping people and that is truly priceless. If the films aren’t your cup of tea I understand, although there are many different flavors to choose from. But try something outside your norm and give it a chance. I’ve found so many gems and seldom are they the most advertised films.
I’m going to wrap this up and I might even work on some script writing for a few. I want you all to stay safe, warm (especially those being hit by the big storm) and keeping working to make 2022’s kick off great! I’m going to go get a fire kicking in the office and prepare for a productive week ahead. Maybe another coffee fill up although it is close to noon. I switch to water or tea usually in the afternoon.
Be good to one another!
I’m sitting here sipping some hazelnut coffee and pondering the great week we had. We celebrated our second week’s success with a bit of laughter, discussion, drink and music at our guest house. I will try to put a few of the recaps down here for everyone to enjoy but again I will have to keep it brief as we have a wonderful sponsored meal today on our day off by Smithfield Foods. Following that is a theatrical screening of BEST YEARS GONE (BYG) for our cast, crew and guests. While the films are very different in tone, style and content it shows the attention to quality our artists give while storytelling. BYG will always represent “that film” we did between Michigan’s two Covid lock downs. It was an added little thing we were able to gift our tribe of artists on their day off. In hindsight we did realize that the showing did create a lot of additional communication work for our office folks but we’re happy that we are able to share the story. It was directed by our own Shane Hagedorn and features some of the usual suspects in the CDI tribe. Several cast and crew here shooting now on ‘Silent Night in Algona,’ also worked on BYG and will get to see it for the first time. I love the cameo scenes with Jim Greulich and Victoria Jackson and also Lana Wood and Terence Knox. Jim and Terry are here on location so they will get to see it for the first time. The others get to see a CDI film on the big screen.
My random updates –
- A BMG promo starring Josh Perry promoting our ‘BIGFOOT, UFO’S and JESUS’ was filmed. It was so much fun to watch and get to be back with Josh again. Josh is such a natural but he has a very challenging dramatic role in this film.
- This week I’m suppose to film a BMG promo promoting THE QUEST TRILOGY that consists of our three biblical features FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER shot in a very ‘Star Wars’ looking way. Now that I’ve mentioned it you might be able to see the influence. This is the season for these films all the way up to Easter and I love the fan mail I get every year as families enjoy these stories on TV and streaming. We might do a theatrical marathon one Sunday in Michigan.
- Thank you to all the fans of MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND who took a watch on the film in honor of Veterans Day. I’m so happy that I’ve gotten to shake some of your hands. Our sponsored meal today is at the VFW which also provided us with the two locations used in our ‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA’ and so if military/veteran films are your thing you might enjoy a watch. I still find it fitting that when the RV broke down on the way here to film it was a Marine that went out of his way to help us. Semper Fi!
- With the large amount of extras and community helping us all the CDI films have been getting a good watch. WILD FAITH, LOST HEART (also known as BUJ), ASHES OF EDEN, WICKED SPRING all getting love. I enjoy the daily comments I get from new folks discovering our stories. Everyone has a personal favorite but I think they are really enjoying our overall style as storytellers. You can leave a review on our Amazon Prime page and/or the http://www.imdb.com movie page. On behalf of all the artists we thank you deeply.
- We do have a Facebook page for ‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA’ (SNIA) so please join us and follow along for more pictures and updates.
- This week we really got to see the German actors start to tell their part of the story. Our first week focused on our Tietz family story and introduced some of the town folks. But now we are moving into our camp scenes and the scenes have been beautiful, moving and even frightening at times. We examine the good, bad and ugly of the war, but also show how ultimately love, compassion and forgiveness can win the day. In this true event piece those attributes did outshine the darkness.
- We had to plan, pivot and work with a few spots of rain and even some snow but we did and created some amazing art. Some of the stills are so beautiful they look like a painting. That is kudos to the entire team.
- BEST YEARS GONE will be playing the Celebration Cinema in Lansing, MI over the Thanksgiving week. So another great opportunity for people visiting home to watch the film.
I’m wanting to expand upon the great scenes I saw unfolding this week but I have to get ready to shower up for this sponsored lunch. MSU plays again today and so I hope they get back on track. It would be great to see them play in a good holiday bowl. My next blog will be posted at the conclusion of our filming. Once back in Michigan and I go back to Sundays for releasing my blog and have more time to reflect and post more pics and we prep them. Until we sit for another coffee chat have a safe and productive week and be good to one another.
This Sunday morning is a near perfect temp with a touch of cool and low humidity. I want to welcome our new readers/subscribers from Ireland, Turkey and more. I’m sipping some coffee and this morning will include some eggs from our ‘girls’ laying almost daily. I’ve had a relaxing weekend that started with Shepherds Pie at Pizannos a bday gift from my good friend Johnny D. Saturday had us run some fun errands including a stop at the Blue Gill for a wonderful Perch sandwich. Today will likely be a bit of grilling after the flea market. I’ve got venison steaks ready to go – steak and eggs? Maybe:) While I might take a relax physically my mind is always working. Last week we had many great moves on the chessboard. I’m so very happy about the way things are progressing and I’m excited for what lies ahead.
As for life lessons or insights that apply to our artistic endeavors- enthusiasm. A skill set is needed but how you apply that skill set is what really counts. I’ve encountered a lot of jaded artists in my journey and it doesn’t matter how qualified if they cause people to always walk on eggshells. It’s easier to give an opportunity for growth to someone who is enthusiastic and excited to participate. As we get closer to locking up cast and crew on the next CDI endeavor SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – I’m thrilled by our team. We producers will work hard to give everyone a great experience in return for their hard work and skill set. It all shows on the screen when the final story is complete. Our scout trip for next month is set. I was organizing our lodging and transportation needs and also made several steps trying to open certain product placement deals. Our film gives several opportunities to highlight great products that were in use in the 1940’s and are still in use now. IF you have a product you would like to align with our WW2 Christmas film don’t be shy. I’ve started working my character in the film and I’m thrilled to play such a stabilizing role. I play the camp commander and while many characters have arcs that drastically change due to circumstances, my role is the steady backbone. My hair grows like a weed and even with my recent haircut it its again starting to look long. Trust me I’m appreciative that I have a full head of hair. I will be getting the Robert Conrad haircut soon and I’m enjoying hunting up a few good props. We will be announcing a few new actors this week. We’re working on filling a few new departments and soon we’ll be working vendors. Aside from the prepping for our next adventure lets look at some of the top updates from last week.
- I started the week with a belated bday hang with dad who was homebound with his ‘Sadie’ who had recently been fixed and was recovering.
- I had a great call with a literary management company over properties. I’ve had projects in the Hollywood development system which can be slow and if the execs in charge move on your project can also get swept. I’ve also had a script given the “Hollywood rewrite” and it was gutted of much that made it special. But it also paid a few years of option payments. I use to call these properties “sacrificial scripts” but I have seen good studio/indie hybrids that were very good. So I’m going to comb through the scripts and see what I don’t plan to produce and sign them over for sale. In the days gone by I would try to keep actor/producer attachments and that makes it too heavy. These properties will be free and clear and we’ll see if they sell. I’ve had a few script sales and it’s not an easy process but with some of the awards the writing has brought – maybe.
- Speaking of writing I did work on the SMOKE & MIRRORS feature script some. The short film is about done and we’ll be rolling that out soon. It is a humorous/spooky steampunk-type story. I’m excited to show folks and it will make a great extended feature film.
- I had a meeting for HASTINGS, the Wild Faith tv series planned for midweek but had to reschedule. But I did get a bit of feedback on the interest level of the parties evaluating the series. I’m smiling. Let’s leave it at that for now.
- Thursday was a good day of business calls and also had a great soccer match. My slight injury from game one has improved greatly and my strength and conditioning is now almost where I want it.
- BEST YEARS GONE sound design is about done and music is close behind. Our winners of the battle of the bands will be shooting a music video in the near future. I have to go in Friday and do some Voice Over work which will be a blast. The deal for the Sept 11th event is being passed back and forth but it is happening. We hope to release some PR end of the month once we put pen to paper. Also an Owosso, MI two showing theatrical premiere is in the works. The trailer has been getting great feedback and I cannot wait for people to experience the entire story.
- MANS BEST FRIEND fresh off our Crown Award win has been getting some additional attention. I want to thank all the fans again who take the time to reach out and tell me how the film has affected their lives. With all the unfortunate animal abuse and uncared for veteran stories in the news this film hits home for many.
- THE QUEST TRILOGY has its own share of fans. The biblical time period is a great world to weave a story within and I think at some point we will return to this genre. We do have a few great stories to tell it just is about time and funding. Do you have a favorite biblical era film we’ve done? Do you have one you think we should consider?
- BESTSELLER is coming to audiences via BMG general market and I’ll be having more conversations about other films in the CDI library being released. Ashes of Eden? Figure in the Forest? An Ordinary Killer? The Patchwork Girl of OZ? We will see…
- I’m about to start work soon on another audio book in a series that I’ve been narrating. You can take a listen to book 1 and if you are a Civil War or history buff you will really enjoy. https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Diary-and-Memories-of-a-Civil-War-Soldier-Part-1-Audiobook/B09237FGF8?ref=a_pd_The-Re_c13_moreAuthors_0&pf_rd_p=722bd3f0-0234-421b-a023-824edcd1a86b&pf_rd_r=1QFZM61E421TDVR7TGY5
So as you can see I’ve been just moving right along. This week ahead will consist of meetings, in studio Voice Over and more. Several big developments underway but until they blossom no need to go into it all. The doc ‘For the Love of Catch’ released the trailer where over 20k saw it in a few days. The feature length doc is in full edit mode and we hope to have a cut soon. The 2nd half of our soccer season starts this Thursday and I’m looking forward to that. To all my artistic friends keep planing seeds and nourishing ideas. The harvest awaits those who put in the work and so get out there and start creating. Again we thank all of you friends, families and fans who have helped us get this amazing stories out there. I’m going to wrap up here and in a short while it will be time to fire up the grill. Until we get together next week. Coffee cheers!
I’m sipping the coffee but in the early eve of the 19th. I have another busy day tomorrow with some family activities and such but I wanted to give you a few thoughts. I just read something about Chadwick the Black Panther actor not getting the part of Drax in a Guardians of the Galaxy film but it exposed him and opened the ‘Marvel’ doors for the future casting. We are getting down to the last few castings in SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. This is hard because you are trying to build the right chemistry. We’ve had some requested reads that just didn’t make the grade. Sometimes it is nerves. Sometimes it is too much confidence, perhaps they don’t fully commit or make interesting, unique choices. I recall when we were casting WILD FAITH we were reading many actresses as Hester the half Native American tracker. Some good attempts but the mark kept being missed. Melissa Anschutz who is an amazing actress, could have played any of the roles because of her commitment level. She is the only one who found the bullseye. But convincing her to take a role where she says a dozen or so phrases was…interesting:) But the pay off was most excellent. You can get tired when casting but the focused work will show in the end product.
WILD FAITH (Free with Ads)
Almost 5 million viewers on Encourage TV. We are in a few conversations about the HASTINGS TV series. So if you have not watched the film please do. If you’ve enjoyed it before show your support for this film. If you would love a TV show based on this film let your voices be heard.
WICKED SPRING – We got some great practice at reproducing the Civil War era with our 2000 film. This was done when CDI has a sister company Lionheart Filmworks. The feature is now managed by CDI and Lionheart went to the films director Kevin Hershberger. I’ve been proud of all the TV work he has done. He LOVES history and it shows. Anyway, for streaming we now have an HD version of the film. The distributor did a high res version and from what I’ve seen it looks really good. It is just amazing what new technology is allowing us to do. This success could give new life to some of the pre-HD films.
Speaking of pre-HD much like last year when we released the CDI Classic Collection Double Feature #1 Heaven’s Neighbors and Figure in the Forest. This year my goal is to do Knight Chills and From Venus. Also I might explore a full HD campaign with Knight Chills. We have had two great companies approach about a special BluRay release and so I will be circling back to those discussions.
BESTSELLER is not from as far back as the classic collection but a few moons ago. It will be rolling out with a full campaign this fall.
NEXT week we have two of the films, MANS BEST FRIEND and LOST HEART, of 5 finalists in the Crown Awards in Dallas, Texas next week. They announce on my Bday (June 23rd) the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners. I love both films like children. I just hope whatever attention the films garnish pushes more audiences at these two powerful and heartfelt stories. This month also saw the beginning of the ‘Lost Heart’ roll out under the name ‘Bigfoot, UFOs and Jesus’ for the General Audience. I love the enthusiastic response that I received from so many of you. So it doesn’t matter what title you watch the film as – just enjoy it. Both of these films can be watched. Which is your favorite?
BEST YEARS GONE team has been putting the final touches on the first official trailer. The plan is to drop the trailer on Tuesday or perhaps Weds, perhaps. We are going to start having Travis Hayward start planning the music video once the trailer color correction is done. We are in the process of setting up a couple of premiere events for September. The films sound and music is roughly half done. I will be meeting with Dennis Therrian this week and get a better update.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – This awesome doc film will be releasing its official teaser July 4th and I’m proud of all the hard work that has been going on with this project.
I’ve been doing some script work on a few projects that I’ve been meaning to get back to. Even just a little creative writing a day can be really refreshing. We discussed HASTINGS previously and there is some development happening with the post work on SMOKE & MIRRORS. I’ve been doing a lot of scene work on this feature script. We have several great things developing but they are not ready to be spoken about. Somethings are left best for when the deal is done.
WRAP UP –
Tomorrow is Father’s Day and I’m so thankful to still have both my parents here to love and guide me. I know my father worked very hard and that is where I must get some of that tenacity. I got to see my dad yesterday and I hope to see him tomorrow. If I don’t it is because he has a funeral for a classmate. Unfortunately, even at our age we are starting to see the occasional alumni obituary. This can only get harder as you travel down the path and lose more friends. It pains me to even think of that so I’m just appreciate them all. Even now I still owe a few calls. I do try to stay up and check on people. I look forward to a few nice sit downs and catch ups this week around my bday. For those asking I will likely pick a patio on Tuesday for a few hours in the afternoon/early eve and on Weds celebrate more chill with family.
Aside from this the chickens are producing eggs although we’ve had two Finn escapes whereas he chased the chickens. He seems to have shown restraint having caught two but not bit them. I’ve been harvesting some herbs and rhubarb and the berries also are ripening. So I need to bottle up the aging ‘berry’ wine into bottles and prepare to put another 5 gal in motion.
Upcoming First Looks at ‘Best Years Gone’ and ‘For the Love of Catch’ – BATTLE OF THE BANDS – Music Video New!
( Zen like Kwai Chang Caine-I loved Bruce Lee but David Carradine brought something special to the role)
As I sit here sipping the hazelnut coffee I’m listening to the chicken’s egg song. I can say that the egg dishes around here have improved greatly with the use of the home eggs. This is the start of my birthday month and the heat is finally arriving in Michigan. Yesterday the veggies and herbs got planted in the raised planters so we’ll see how that goes. This week was full of calls and business dealings lets look at some of that after I reflect a bit. Last week we talked a bit about a situation whereas someones actions were counter productive to the whole. While this could have been an isolation and remove, at least temporailiy instead I saw it as a learning situation. I talk about development versus cancel and so a productive, insightful conversation took place that clarified some of the expectations and also became a teaching moment for myself. I could have reacted negatively but with a little perspective, patience and listening – I’m happy to say that things are back to flowing along swimmingly with both parties having grown. Last week contained some gems. My point is that you can apply this to any situation in your own lives. Instead of growing drama the situation was used for growth and insight. I’m not a fan of drama unless on the screen. Many use it to gain attention, sympathy and/or to work LOUDLY to try and secure their worth. As I’ve said before and worth saying again, work quietly and effectively – trust me it is noticed by those who run things.
Who wants to talk movies? We have several really good things to report on. Where to start?
LOST HEART fresh off its showing at ICFF (Christian Oscars) and will compete this June 23rd (My Bday) in the Crown Awards for ‘Best Picture’ against 4 other films one that is MBF! The General Market release BIGFOOT, UFOS AND JESUS has started and it can be watched on Amazon Prime (See link below)
All our stories are meant to promote unity but even as this new release rolled out and you people negative judging off a film title. One person was outraged at the inclusion of Jesus WITH Bigfoot and UFOs and apparently we all will burn in hell for the title yet they have not seen the film. In the same thread someone did not WANT to watch it because Jesus name was listed in the title. PEOPLE ARE JUDGMENTAL! Period. Christians talk persecution and judgement yet they too judge and persecute just as good as anyone. I’m sure from the clothes that people once wore to church to whatever the gossip floating around the congregation was, people judge. I just ask people to watch and not judge a book by the cover. That is an old piece of wisdom. But I did have a lot of people reach out in kindness having watched the film. I’m excited to see how the roll out continues but these little observations are fascinating. So many negative, depressed people with filters that put a unhappy spin on everything. Press play. maybe you can change/clean up those filters and receive laughter, joy and ultimately health.
I noted that MBF or MAN’S BEST FRIEND is up for ‘Best Film’ at the ICVM Crown Awards in Texas this month. Covid kept this film from people submitted and now it is being recognized. Actually tribe CDI has two of the five films – good odds. I also had a few fans of the film pass their love along. One such person made note that Paul was an Oscar worthy performance. Oscars are very political and I’m not saying it would not be great to accept one but the response of the fans is better than peer acceptance. If Paul is respected as a good voice – mission accomplished.
BESTSELLER will be prepped for a new campaign with BMG under their General Market label. I’ve enjoyed dealing with Chris Wright on this new release. We will be looking at other projects that might get a new push.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – discussions are gaining strength and my hope is that some of the sponsors we are bringing on board SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA will follow us to the TV series.
Post-Production work on BEST YEARS GONE is racing around the track! A small pit stop has been made to polish up the audio on the first official teaser. Maybe we will look to release it on or just before my birthday on the 23rd of June. Music and sound design is being worked on daily and part of that is the soundtrack. We had a ‘Battle of the Bands‘ and our celebrity judges, producer team, director and composer had their work cut out. With songs from around the country we found the perfect song for our film. The winner’s song will appear on the soundtrack and we’re going to produce a music video with them. Our film’s Director of Photography Travis Hayward will be directing the video. As a child of the MTV generation I’m excited. I have a video of our director announcing the winning video and I think we’ll post that on the FB site tomorrow morning. A great way to kick off the week. Go to the FB site and watch what the judges had to say and you can listen to many of the songs yourself.
(The Christ Slayer – reuniting with this ‘brother from another Perry mother’ in SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA)
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is gaining momentum. We’ve been announcing new cast members and I’ve had some great talks with some amazing talent. We’ve also started to fill the crew spots starting with the recent announcement of Nathaniel Nose (Dir/Editor/FX on ‘The Christ Slayer’ and editor on the upcoming ‘Best Years Gone’) will be joining us as the FX supervisor and editor. We’ll be focusing on camera, G&E department in the coming weeks. We’re also making great inroads with the local people proud to have their local story brought to the world. Here is a great story that just ran –
We are starting to approach sponsors and businesses that want to align with our WW2 Christmas story. We will be announcing some of our loyal past sponsors excited to join us once again. Stay tune and if you wanna help with your company please do reach out.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film on the almost forgotten grappling art being resurrected by a handful of martial art greats. Director Curran Jacobs is a two time world champion in the Catch-Can style and he manages to capture the collective passion for Catch in a arena often riddled with competitiveness and division. The process for this has been educational and will give us a template for future docs at CDI. The first official teaser will release on July 4th.
RIP to Ray Nikolaison
I’m not sure if I tackled every project update but we hit on a few main topic ones. There is a flea market down the road I want to visit. Now that I’m looking for WW2 relics/props it has taken on a new level of enjoyment. Today they cancelled the streaming memorial for Ray Nikolaison but we’ll get a link later. Ray was the man behind The Book of Ruth, Journey of Faith and was a sales rep early on for FIGURE IN THE FOREST. RIP With that check on mortality go do something with loved ones and be kind to all.
My first sips of hazelnut coffee on this Sunday morning. I’ve been recovering the last two days from my first of the season soccer matches. My legs are in good shape but not ready for the constant run and directional changes. Yesterday my legs were stiff and tad heavy giving me the ‘mummy’ walk – “COIN!” (Old Scooby Doo reference)
I had a very productive week on many fronts and I’m just so pleased with how everything is moving along. But before we get into all the film updates let take this moment to celebrate mommas. EVERYTHING I’ve done in this life I’ve done because I was brought into this world. Every story that started as a spark in my imagination and brought to screen is because of her. (Dad also had something to do with it:) But I’m just so appreciative that I was given this opportunity. We will have the moms over this afternoon for an early dinner. A few love gifts and a good meal. I LOVE you momma:) Happy Mother’s Day to all of you. That counts if you mother child or animal, so again – thank you to all the mothers for what you’ve done, are doing and will do because that is what mother’s do. LOVE.
Maybe let’s try a TOP TEN Updates
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH documentary is now in editing. We had a post meeting last week and we’ll even having a teaser trailer coming soon. This is about the history of the grappling arts and the evolution of “Catch” as told by those who love it the most. Hosted and directed by two time world champion Curran Jacobs. We have some great interviews. Big Kudos to Dan Chipman our mobile production and Adam Towner, B camera and post. This just might be the first of many documentary collaborations between #Tribecdi with The Red, White and Blue Project Inc. You can follow us on IMDB and Facebook as we have pages for both now.
- BESTSELLER – This “Hitchcock” like thriller adapted from the book by Christopher Knight has been signed for a new release campaign. This film stars Melissa Anschutz, DJ Perry, Ralph Lister, Taylor Nichols and Lana Wood. It has really only had a limited DVD release and so this new push will be much greater. It is R-rated (language and implied violence) but is done without being overly graphic. This film captures Michigan in the fall in all it’s haunting glory. I will have more info as we go but I believe the idea is a late summer/fall release!
- BEST YEARS GONE – the first pass on dialog clean up is complete. Last week our director and composer discussed music cues and even sound design ideas. Color Correction is happening as we speak along with the edit of our first official trailer. As if that wasn’t enough- we’re planning the premiere, manufacturing merchandise and more official stills are being prepped for delivery to our distributor (BMG) so they can begin poster art. Lotta fun ahead with this movie and I think audiences will really enjoy it. I need to add that the Battle of the Bands judging is underway by our team and celeb judges. We will be announcing a winner this month!
- LOST HEART is really a film that has a lot going for it. But to try and convey that via shelf art alone is hard. The film is a story is about music star Hannah Sweet going back to her home town for a funeral but the B story is the town of ‘Lost Heart’ itself. It started with fan mail before Christmas from men who had lost the remote and via wife/girlfriend and was made to watch ‘Lost Heart’ and really loved it. I recall one gent saying that he would have never watched that film except by his wife’s choosing. But he loved the Bigfoot, UFO (UFA?:) and humorous mystery in our story. In a meeting with our distributor I recall telling these stories after discussing the demographic audience that is being drawn to our story. A joke was mention that if the title was “Bigfoot, UFO’s and Jesus” the film would find its partially missing male demographic. Guys hanging out amongst themselves are unfortunately not going to randomly watch a film named ‘Lost Heart,’ which is a name I truly love. It was pointed out to me that a title like “Bigfoot, UFO’s and Jesus” would also attract more women who were equally into the mystery aspects, like my own cousin Angie. So I stand corrected. This GM release should add to our overall audience by revealing the wonderful B story of our film. It was a nice hidden gem inside our story but I think we need to be more direct. So a ‘General Market/GM’ campaign release is underway with a new title, poster art and trailer. I will share this new artwork at the end of this update. But I’m very excited because this film/story deserves to be seen by many, many, many more people from around the world. And so it will.
- WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – I want to do a polish up on the “Hastings” scripts for simple grammar mistakes but I had a few more connections start to open up on the WILD FAITH TV spin off. I’m excited to put that into play to shoot next year. I know the feature is growing an audience around the world and so the series would have a nice welcome audience.
- MBF/MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This film has been working its way into the marketplace. I was told a new deal was just executed taking the film into Latin America. I know it is making its way into territories around the world. The top two questions I get with this film 1) Will you do more martial arts filming? I do have a great concept that will eventually make it to script. 2) What was Paul’s sentence, will there be a sequel? Right now I like keeping Paul’s fate in limbo with audiences. Will there be a Part 2? Never say never. If you have not watched this film – watch it. If you have and enjoyed it, pass it along. Thank you to the many fans of this film out there.
- The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) – A special message is spread across these three stories. Actually several lessons are presented and the way the story is told – everybody can take something positive away. The film series just ran through the holidays at Sony/Pureflix and again I so appreciate all the fan mail letting me know how much you enjoyed our stories. It is humbling and powerful what can be done with a story.
- SMOKE & MIRRORS – This early 1900 short tale is getting the final touches. Maybe we’ll cut some teaser in the coming weeks. It’s spooky. It’s kookie. Wait a minute! It’s a really fun little film that was derived from one of my feature script. This will make a great feature film. All in good time.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – We’re making great strides on all fronts. Last week we announced Garry Nation and David Reardon coming on board. Our German casting is almost complete. Discussions with the art departments has started in earnest as we prepare to create the world of 1944 Algona. This week we should start in on our sponsorship endeavors. We have a lot of excitement in these circles and we’re excited to align with these brands. To do what we do at these modest levels requires the assistance of the community and our sponsors. Thank you to all of those supporters past and present. And here is an additional cheers to our future ones! This week we should roll out two more of the great talent associated with this film. I’m beyond excited to tell this story. If your company or business wants to support this based on true events WW2 home front drama please reach out.
- TRIBE CDI – The biz of the biz, I had a VERY productive week working with Bank of America to streamline our fleet of films. All this is to help streamline our inner workings. This all can make a days work only a few hours. Also had a good meeting with another one of the team (Tiger) who oversees dispersement amongst a other things. We will be prepping some of those to go out in the coming weeks. Thank you. As you all support the films, we get to keep making the films. I’m excited to see in the next decade what stories are brought to life on screen! Thank you also to Dean Teaster (COO) and Gary Davison and his team. David Gries & Carl Weyant who maintain the website. #Tribecdi is not a catching hashtag it really does represent a tribe of artists and the business that supports it.
I just enjoyed a wonderful breakfast bagel with our own eggs and 4H bacon – so good. The yard is really looking good and the warmth is creeping into Michigan. I look forward to having many enjoyable meetings both business and social in the coming weeks. I’m going to end this here with some great new poster art for Lost Heart’s new general release. Be good to one another. Be safe and keep following your dreams.
PS: The new trailer is almost done and I really do love it. I could not stop smiling.
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 my good artist friends from around the globe. I saw many new readers from Peru, Ireland and Cuba just to name a few. I don’t know how it is in your part of the world but here in Michigan (Southern Canada) just kidding – the ice and snow started to melt showing us patches of earth. Spring is in the air and the wood bins are full for the final blasts of cold. Plans are being made for the Spring already with an expansion to the chicken-land enclosure and maybe an outdoor gazebo. Within the office I’ve been doing some tinkering here and there all while jamming to some good tunes. I think that is what led to the idea of the Battle of the Bands. BEST YEARS GONE which is closing in on a final cut will soon move into music and sound design with Dennis Therrian. But we’ve used many featured artists on past films. WILD FAITH used Trace Adkins narrating vs singing but we’ve had several artists join us. On LOST HEART we got to hear John Carter Cash and his wife Ana with The Cash Collective and Roanoke featuring our young lead Taylor. Anyway, this was an idea to take a few of my music artists friends higher on the ladder and give them a chance to experience some of the other great artists out there looking to have their voice and stories told. So if you have original songs that you own all the lyric and music rights, submit the song(s) to the wall at – Facebook
In April our Judges will listen to the finalists and give their comments. From there our director will review and a winner will revealed. So submit your songs – rock, rap, country! Good luck!
LOST HEART has still been getting lots of national PR and on streaming sites like TUBI it has been climbing joining WILD FAITH. Critics are what they are but here is another review-
We have some exciting ideas bouncing with our distributor. The film seems to be hitting well with the female audience but isn’t drawing in men as much. BUT when men watch they are actually enjoying be causing of the fun UFO and Bigfoot elements in the story. So we might be designing some artwork that reflects some of that because it is a really fun movie. Like I’ve said, I challenge you to watch it and not laugh somewhere. Cry is a good possibility too. I had some fan mail that thought they were in for something lighter in tone like a Hallmark film but were surprised by the power of the drama.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND is also on the rise and the distributor thinks it can go even further with a new campaign so I’m looking forward to see new art, trailer and PR push. This film is really making the circle through the military friends and families marching towards 1 million viewers on Encourage TV and playing many more channels.
These three fine stories that I promise you are unique in their genre, are being featured on many sites as a series. Sony/Pureflix is doing a special Easter season push as is many of the outlets and platforms. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. What I love about the first one is that it depicts a time before Jesus started any ministry. When he was still crystallizing his teaching and how to “put the words of the heart on the tongue”. But many people were not happy or content to see a pre-Jesus. The man BEFORE he fully became what others now expect. It’s a unique perspective that some missed. But those who missed are people just looking to ‘devil the details’ and they often miss the lesson altogether. Enjoy the films and let me know what you think and if you see the unique perspective of a man who is a work-in-progress.
DEVELOPMENT & PRE
Several projects are in motion with our doc ‘For the Love of Catch‘ filming the next several weeks. Some VFX post work is being completed on SMOKE & MIRRORS a spooky short that we filmed with the CDI Tribe. HASTINGS continues to advance down the development road. The good news that will be announced this week is that SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is officially moving out of development into pre-production. We have been casting and will have more exciting announcements including the casting of our young female lead. It’s…
We’ll also start discussing crew and put several tasks in motion creatively. I’m beyond excited to have the CDI Tribe do a WW2 drama. I’m thrilled that this was the script Rance Howard and I spoke so many hours on. Being that this is all ‘based on a true event’ makes it even better that this moving story will be told to the entire world.
WRAP UP – If you are a musician with original music drop it on the wall for BEST YEARS GONE or just go listen to some of the great music being added. I want to thank Mr. John Two Hawks joining Dennis Therrian as our second celebrity judge with more to follow. I spoke with John yesterday which was a great catch up. I blame/thank John for my love of NIGHTWISH. John has played with them on a few occasions and I really enjoy their sound. His full bio can be seen on the FB site where the ‘Battle of the Bands’ is being hosted. IF you have a company that wants to align with either our next release BEST YEARS GONE or our new SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA WW2 film. If your product was around in 1944 we plan throw back packaging. And if your company was not well, we can make it look in the style of 1944. We will have many exciting supporters and sponsors to announce now that this is moving forward. I hope you all have a great week. Stay safe and be good to one another.
Hazelnut cheers! A beautiful snowy morning here in Michigan. I want to welcome all the new readers from Germany, Sweden, Germany and China. I appreciate you stopping by to take a read and apply what you can – where you can in your own personal journey. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the unity topic we’ve had for a few weeks. My fireside meditations led me to the analogy of a spending train. We’ve got so much developing here at CDI we’re thundering down the track. The occasional hater throwing rocks out of boredom or a need for attention. If a few people threw rocks at a speeding train what would happen? They would bounce off the steel hull and be gone down the tracks. The train had places to go, people to see and things to do. They would never stop the train to debate or waste time – they would stoke the fire and full speed ahead.
In this time of Covid it’s a great time to stoke the fires of passion within. Build up your reserves of energy and get yourself in your best shape. Do all those things that often get neglected because you have others things to do. How many hours saved by not spending two hours in a car commuting back and forth to work places. More time to read. More time to update. More time to plan. From March 2020 I have been putting this into practice. While I could list so many things missed in 2020 I could also make a list of the things I got done using the extra time. Again as I write on such topics of motivation and such I say again that I am not better than anyone. You have the ability to make changes in your situation and it starts with a thought. Thought powered by the imagination, focused by the will, held strong by faith in yourself and your life purpose.
This week was very productive against a backdrop of ice and snow. Let’s see if we can do a TOP 10 updates from the week. Refill your coffee and let’s take a look.
- Additional “end of year” tax materials supplied for the fun part of filmmaking. We’re streamlining this process all the time to try and better the overall process.
- Our WW2 Christmas drama Silent Night In Algona is now formed as a corporation. We’ll open the account soon and start bringing on the funds. We still have a few units to assign but within 60 days of entering into pre-production. Casting has been full speed ahead with a national casting for our young lead. We’ve also been doing a lot of casting within the tribe of talent we’ve used before. The audition reads have been great to see the words ALIVE! I’m excited that we’ve almost got our lead family cast. We’ll announce that in a few weeks likely dripping them out or in pairs. This project will be a great story of love and unity set in small-town USA in 1944.
- I had a wonderful call from Darby Hinton, an actor best known for playing the young lead on the Daniel Boone TV show but has reoccurred or guest starred on many of the great shows of Hollywood. He was our ‘Gerald’ the shopkeep in WILD FAITH. He was one of the folks I offered a read on season 1 of ‘Hastings‘ the Wild Faith TV series. He called to tell me he wasn’t blowing smoke – he has read and been part of shows with great writing and THIS (tv series) is great writing. He said he reads at night (like myself) and to his wife’s regret he had to keep reading. He asked if I had writers meetings, other writers…to which my response was just me and the voices in my head:) I would ponder and spill notes out onto paper. From those legal pad notes I just dive in and start writing. I’m going to get the 8 shows edited up and ready for outside presentation. If you haven’t seen the pilot feature do yourself a favor. A fun film with a powerful message.
- Best Years Gone – So this week we prepped the new audio studio and I’m beyond thrilled that it is amongst the pines and forested fields that we’ll breath the audio and music into these stories. We will be rolling some new still photos out this week. I just might have a Valentine’s Day gift for our cast, crew and fans and I think we’ll give it to you on Sat. the 13th on the BYG Facebook page. Are you already part of that? If not come on over. We have some exciting things still in store including merchandise that is coming and the BOTB. (Battle of the Bands) I’m working to get that launched. We are also soon to have the next draft of the film edit now that Shane (our director) has given his new round of notes and adjustments. This film is heartfelt and will be funny for sure.
- The CDI website http://www.cdiproductions.com is undergoing updates. First you can now subscribe to the tribe which will become a center of updates. I even thought of my blog existing as a weekly send out. But the film pages are updated. Streaming is now connected to our distributor’s ENCOURAGE TV. Merchandise is slowly coming together with a few new items. This will explode by year’s end. We will also be doing artist spot lights and have some of their work on consignment. If you have any ideas feel free to drop a comment. From those subscribed we might start looking at pre-orders and that could allow some larger piece orders. Lunch box? Bobble heads? Posters?
- LOST HEART & MBF are the most recent releases. Both are growing their audience nicely and I so appreciate all the fan mail from folks. We’re not big festival folk at CDI but like to select a few. In my experience and opinion the festivals best serve if someone from your team can attend. But with everything going virtual you are essentially paying to have them do a free streaming of your work. But new circles of exposure and if people are truly impressed you can have lifelong fans. I’m a person who in the last handful of years I’ve not attended industry mixers and such. But with the absence of even my few – I’m looking forward to talking film and the arts not by phone or zoom. Again get up to speed with the CDI stories with a watch on these two films. Do you have a favorite CDI film? Comment and let me know.
- THE QUEST TRILOGY – The CDI Tribe earned their desert stripes with this trilogy of biblical adventure stories. I’m excited that PUREFLIX (Sony) is going to do a big push as a series to their viewers. Now with ad based Video on demand everyone can take a watch and experience the CDI films. These films have the trademark style and quality that you’ve come to expect from our storytellers at CDI. The bible is full of stories many untouched because of the R or X rated material suggested within. We haven’t tackle those stories but did find “unexplored territory” to address with our speculative storytelling. I think this is more interesting versus retelling the same handful of stories. I do have my next trilogy of stories to tell back in the sands but that is a way down the path.
- This year we will have SMOKE & MIRRORS finishing. This has no deadline so it got moved down the release line. But this decision allowed us to make some more aggressive choices on VFX work. I LOVE this short and I’m excited to see it develop into a full feature. I am retooling the feature based on the short film. Knowing locations really helps in planning the story. David Gries and Melissa Anschutz are MUST SEE in this film. But those that know their work will not be surprised in the least.
- ‘FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH‘ – the CDI associated with Red, White & Blue Project doc will start shooting again this month. I think we’ll have some sort of promo video for this documentary in the coming weeks.
- We also have something special coming from one of our crew/associate producer Nate Robertson. Nate was our foreman on the last film that set sail through the storm of Covid. Nate took a job that already had pressure and had it magnified by Covid procedural pressures. As a show of how our system at CDI is strengthening. The producers create a bubble of harmony for the set to exist within. Inside the set, the flow is controlled by the AD. The flow was there, time was managed and Nate was able to express some of his artistic self via a BTS video of sorts. I know we’re excited to see it. I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg.
If I forgot anything it will have to wait until next chat. I’m going to make some good food and watch the football contest and the commercial creativity. I have a few emails/calls I might make to get a jump on my week. That is another good secret – work with people you truly enjoy. I never roll my eyes or stress over phone calls. They are always good touching of bases between fellow adventurers in life. We discuss our separate ventures, our shared ventures, and those yet to be made. I don’t have a close relationship with everyone as time won’t permit. But those who do know me truly, I think would speak well of my intent. My intent is to see dreamers win. I want you to break poor patterns and do better by yourself. If the artistic path is a true calling that calling grants faith in yourself and a purpose. The latter is priceless and exactly what is missing from many people. People who check many ‘success boxes’ yet still are unhappy. To me it’s like the moment when Obi-Wan puts the helmet on Luke to further test him against the remote droid. Reach out. In those moments of sensory deprivation if the calling is heard – have faith. If you don’t know ‘Star Wars’ you are now assuming I have had a stroke.
If storytelling is a great road winding up a mountain – many people are at various places some higher and some lower. What I’ve always prided myself on is being in good company at wherever place I’m at on the road. Climbing higher only changes the view but it’s still about the laughter and fellowship that accompanies the climb. And when my time comes to leave this world where I’m at is where I’m at. Always a work in progress. So the secret is enjoying the early struggles of beginning filmmakers or the challenges of the mid-road struggles – have friends on the journey of storytelling. Have friends outside the journey of storytelling. Have these things and your journey while unsure at times will not eat at you with stress. Living by ‘Best Efforts’ will allow one to laugh off the failures (with friend), toast the wisdom learned (with friends) and forever be the better person. Getting along with a little help from my friends.
Be good to one another.
Coffee Cheers. I’m sipping a steaming cup of coffee and sitting here pondering the business from the past week. I’m a person who attacks things in private. You don’t or won’t find my nose stuck in a video game for hours. A five minute time out to play ROBOTRON or JOUST is an occasional occurrence. I fight everyday to gather the funds for new endeavors and to keep the business of all the other films moving forward. I’m feeling good about everything and had a few things happen this week that could be good lessons for whomever reads this.
First – CDI is not a company that pays just a few and seeks out free help in places that require highly skilled individuals. We hire as wide as we can afford which has been limited in the past few years. Increase in days expands costs across the board. We do things that others do not like lodging. Commuting when reasonable is okay but long trips on each side of a shoot day can burn someone out quick. Actors in the day before helps them to settle and focus before entering the ‘world’ we’ve created to film in. These are all costs. Over the years I’ve learned to simplify my life so that I could focus on the stories. Our money negotiated to the max with the help of many who love stories, including our sponsors, makes this possible.
Along these lines, we only can hire so many people. The producing staff often works much harder for less when and if hours are broken down. Often the effort is not worth it if the accumulation of shells and beads is the only measuring stick one has. Producers sport a point of two from the back end which is like a lottery ticket bought just in case the universe wants to reach out. It also is a badge of honor that they were part of a the “officers” who made the film happen. At CDI even an “associate producer” title is honored. Other outfits may throw around titles but at CDI is means something. For us at CDI is means representing the company. Attitude. Motivated. Experienced. As one who has coached here in the USA and overseas and as a martial arts sensei and still always a student – when someone is deemed ready they are approached. Filmmaking with tribeCDI is just that- a team, a community and a group of film warriors ready to problem solve daily to win the pieces of the puzzle.
My budgets restrict how many artists I can develop with a paycheck. Even the ones who would PA (Production assistant) free the costs are still additional with each person. We like to try and really feed people. I recall one set in Nashville in the 90’s that had a few loaves of white bread, a pack of lunch meat, mayo, mustard, ketchup and a stack of paper plates. This was for a large cast and crew. I ate it without any issues but I could see what certain actions did for a project. That one 15 min producer call that gets a sponsored meal from some great establishment is so worth it. My mind often is filled with ways to give our cast and crew a better experience. In return I just ask for their very best at their task on either side of the camera. The cast and crew can see the care and work we’ve put into our productions. Bottom line is we do care.
So in summary -I never once could demand to be on a team. I had to show my skills, develop my mind to the game and make them want me to start by my performance. In martial arts I focused on my skills and tried to effectively communicate to students below me. In time you become so valuable that they want you representing their tradition or organization. I see many lack the patience for many things of worth. It is a hard skill and one that I deal with still daily. Don’t let past failings or short-comings hold you back. That is your earned experience. Don’t be looking ahead too soon in hopes of being seen as more important. Be in the present. Be excited to learn the new lessons. Get to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. 2020 was a year to test that discipline and practice what I preach. Be present. Be patient. Become the best version of you.
Another example that provides me with a nice lesson to share is – When life gets you frustrated with all the external issues turn within. If I’m out-of-tune inside, everything I try to do fumbles. I don’t see the pokey dog bone which I kick. I can’t get a software to work right (I can’t get me to work right)…you all know what I mean. Meditation. Prayer. A nature walk. Thirty minutes on a heavy bag. Tai Chi – tend your inner fire. I DON’T HAVE TIME, some will scream. But you must or time will be wasted. Like in healing there is treating the symptoms and treating the source. Focus on that inner-fire and watch how everything starts to turn around. BALANCE is achieved and by stoking the fire of the internal the external starts to change. I’ve used all this solo time to really increase that fire stoking. Take 15 or 30 minutes to change your frequency and watch what happens.
BEST YEARS GONE – The second pass now with director Shane Hagedorn‘s refining is underway. A few notes we’re passed from the circle of co-producers to our director. I’m more inclined that maybe the first look should have came after the second pass where the director is now engaged. A rough cut is built from director notes and editor’s eye. Now a large % of my notes would be stuff that our director will address. After the director and editor do their cut I will give it another look. I look for mistakes but recognize subjective versus a mistake. I have to have confidence in my directors. Their own subjective choices play strongest – the too many cooks in the kitchen issue can exist. I’ve seen it happen but if I respect the boundaries, it sets a standard. Sometimes the closer the role is the farther I might want to be from nuisance choices in editing. That is why you take the time to match the right script to the right director. The writer and the director work through the story fully. Do not underestimate the pairing of the right story and the right director. It is a skill unto itself.
As the edit moves along we’ve made progress on upcoming merchandise and the Battle of the Bands! Exciting stuff. More stills are being batched to release. Our own Dan Chipman is working a BTS so our cast and crew can remember the crazy year of 2020. Our fellow producer and AD Nate Robertson also has a special video being worked on. We’ll be having a story/interview coming out on all that very soon. This movie is heartfelt and extremely funny. In my talks this week with our distributor I was told how much they all enjoy the humorous offsets CDI scripts have gotten known for. Meaning serious topics are discussed and when it gets a little uncomfortable it gives us humor. They used the end of the Wild Faith trailer with Ben Lily and Hester hoping they don’t need God’s help today. I was happy to report that BEST YEARS GONE will have humorous moments. Yeah. maybe a couple;)
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND I’m told has a new marketing campaign they are discussing. They want to get this film more into the mainstream. They feel it’s a great film that has a lot of play in it. The release was going to include theatrical and fest events but the Covid mucked that up a tad. But the film is being well received and has been seen by maybe a million of so people. It will find a much larger audience it just needs a bit more time.
THE QUEST TRILOGY is being treated as a series as it readies its run at Pureflix. I’m so proud of these films and I think general audiences will enjoy them. It’s a distilled down parable trying to remove all the white-noise and paint something where the dots are actually connected. Whatever your walk of life take a watch and I think you will find them vastly different from anything else you’ve watched/heard on this subject.
LOST HEART – If you want to read more on the actors from Lost Heart, see some BTS and read a few PR links please visit the new pages on http://www.cdiproductions.com – thank you David Gries. And if you still haven’t seen this film do yourself a favor. Have a laugh. Have a cry. It is truly a ray of light. Light? Strange lights in the sky? Watch the film and it will all make sense.
In wrapping this up – my week was spent doing end-of-he-year tax stuff for CDI and the films. Thank you to Dean Teaster, Melissa Anschutz, John Mashni and all the good folks at Davison & Associates. We also are working development hard. We only have a few final funding pieces to arrange on the WW2 film before full green light. We also have had more great talks on the Wild Faith spin off HASTINGS. Again it is not IF it is WHEN. We’ve been doing casting for our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA German’s and our young lead. Are you 8-12 who plays young shoot me a reel it will get looked at. Speak fluent German? Send me a reel. We’ve been having internal casting talks and we’ll be announcing as soon as we move into pre-production. I’m also looking at portfolios for paint on glass or digital matte artists. Fun, fun stuff! Beautiful falling snow. Time for some more coffee. Have a great week.
Be good to one another!
I’m back in my lazy-boy for a few with my coffee at hand. I’ve been at my second stay with our crew at the Hilton thanks to one of our new CDI sponsors. These kind of deals really help filmmakers create the best environment to create within. The journey of a film is so important to how it comes out. I have to say that once again we’re working with such a great group of artists. Again I’m proud of how everyone is united in following safety practices because together we want to exit 2020 with a high note. The TribeCDI troupe is once again doing what we do best. That is telling a story and BEST YEARS GONE is methodically getting it done. We the Covid about we’ve been limiting any outside visitors and testing weekly. Shooting this time of year can bring cold and flu issues so the added precautions have been helping protect from all these.
Hospitality and Health is our position for craft plus. And by that I mean having a health professional on board to not only safely disperse craft for preventative measures. I even heard of work-out, stretching sessions in the morning although I have not participated. I have my own daily routines but it is a valuable role which has been making a noticeable difference. Meals have been prepared by another sponsor that being Sparrow Hospital. Again we have been working to make this shoot a safe and fun shoot.
Horses, hot rods, roosters, rockstars and more – I’m home to rest with family, do payroll, Covid Test and prepare for the last run. All this is excited but really its so we’ll have something exciting top talk about with you in 2021. We do have something exciting to talk about now!
LOST HEART – So on November 7th we had our first public premiere watch of the Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson led film. This film was shot in Michigan and is a wonderful blend of humor, drama and intrigue. I’m waiting on full numbers from ENCOURAGE TV but we know at least 20,000 tuned in to enjoy the story. That is easily the largest premiere we’ve had. Usually it’s theaters numbering 600 at max capacity. This was safer and reacher MANY more people. Melissa, Don and Victoria are off to Nashville today for The Mike Huckabee Show promoting the film.
This movie will play again Nov 21st free on Encourage TV. If you’ve seen the film please post your vote and review on our http://www.imdb.com page for “Lost Heart” – pass it along.
Once we get LOST HEART full launched past the premiere we’ll evaluate the offers to carry it exclusive for a while and I’ll let you all know. Further down the line will be streaming and DVD. It is exciting to see audiences finally get to travel to Lost Heart Michigan. How beautiful does Michigan look in the film? I know. It’s a place of great beauty.
THE QUEST TRILOGY is getting a new campaign to make audiences aware of these biblical adventures produced by CDI. They are meant to be watched in the order of FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER (Present, Past and Future) – I know these films are expanding into many more countries. If it is in any of the 80+ countries that are part of our reading circle here please send me a picture. I love watching them in other languages.
WILD FAITH – I had some very nice fan mail this week that thanked CDI for making a film like WF. Both were from African American ladies who watched the film with their daughters. They really related to Grace and Haddie and it gave them conversation after the film. I’m happy to say that the strength behind the TV series is growing. We have multiple interested parties and we’ll look to put the deal in motion once we finish the endeavor at hand. But thank you so much to those that take time to send those messages. I sincerely am so happy that the film is being a bridge of understanding. Love over hate.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – this movie continues to grow an audiences via word of mouth and I hope this Veteran’s Day we can get some kind of watch party going. I’ve had a chance to meet a few of the fans of this movie in person. These men and woman were service folks so that made it all the more special.
I’m having a few issues with the new layout with WordPress. I lost part of my typing here so I’m going to wrap this up. I need to do some unpacking and about to eat some lunch. I want to thank everyone for stopping by.
Be good to one another!
Coffee Cheers! Again if you own a coffee roaster and want to get your brand name out reach out and we’ll use your coffee in our upcoming production of BEST YEARS GONE. I’ve been having the same issue with brewery and distillery options. We’ve always made product sponsorship deals with various companies and showcased them in our films. But they are slow to commit on this go-around and I have to guess that its the Covid effect on their businesses. If I don’t make a deal it will become just a created label. So whatever your business is if you want to discuss our sponsorship program reach out to me on here and we can talk.
I got my Covid test back that was super easy at Walgreens from my car. I’m clear. So I will report to the hotel this weekend under our new corporate deal with Tru Hotel/Hilton. Speaking of sponsors I want to thank The Candleberry Company for their sponsorship. Lerma Transportation is onboard to assist with the craft service. And it looks like BIOCLEAN will also be a sponsor again and in these times it’s good to have them on board. We are going to run a very safe set because Covid is not the only enemy. The flu and common cold is also a hinderance so we hope to keep everyone healthy. We have more cast to reveal including my old amigo Terence Knox (St. Elsewhere, Tour of Duty) and another CDI alumni from “Chasing the Star” will be joining us! I’m excited about the team of artists and we’re going to have a great time telling this story.
BUT…we have another movie rolling out as we’re starting to film. LOST HEART had a successful cast and crew screening in New Era at The Double JJ Resort. Music, interviews, food and fun followed by a wonderful film. Weeping, laughter and everything in-between. I was happily surprised by how engaged the audience was. We had a good number of local randoms mixed into our crowd. Bottom line is I think we have another hit. The local, regional and national media is kicking. From smaller reviewers like Noah Kaser below to Mike Huckabee who will be hosting Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson in Nashville. The film is truly funny and has heart warming messages about dreams and family without being heavy handed. Please do tune in Nov. 7th and 21st on ENCOURAGE TV (A Free app) to watch the premiere event and the film. It will start 7pm EST on those two dates (Nov 7, 21). Won’t you please join us? Noah below said he’s reviewed 200 films this year and LOST HEART is in his Top 5! We hope it makes your list also:)
Once we get past the premiere showings on the 7th and 21st of November we should know where the film is headed. Likely an exclusive run on a network before it goes wide. It will also start making its way around the world.
I’ve had a few good meetings over our Mid-Western WILD FAITH turning into a TV series entitled “Hastings”. We have interest on a few fronts and if everything works out we’ll film 8 shows this spring. It will be a wonderful thing to see the beloved characters back in action. Several sites are streaming it but Encourage TV alone is closing on 3 million. Add in broadcast TV and foreign and we have a large and growing audience. I’m excited to put this in motion and to bring BEN LILY back into action.
SMOKE & MIRRORS is just looking awesome and sounds just as amazing. We are having some VFX work done and after credits – Shazam! Done:) Finishing up the feature script is on my things to do this winter.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – We have Veteran’s Day approaching and I’m so proud that this film is making the rounds. Much of the festival and event play got squashed by the lock down but the film itself is growing via word of mouth. You can watch it free via Encourage TV yourself and leave your thoughts. I see that Brazil now has MBF.
I’m also excited as we enter the holiday season to start pushing THE QUEST TRILOGY. This adventure trilogy is shot using the “style” of the original Star Wars films. You can see it in FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. It was filmed in the Yuma desert where RETURN OF THE JEDI filmed. It is a unique series of films and again is not preachy but thought provoking. Watch them all together to get a greater story and enjoy them with your family.
FEW QUESTIONS FOR MY READERS–
- Has anyone read my story in the cat book released this fall? Thoughts?
- Who has seen “The Quest Trilogy” all together and what were your thoughts?
- I’ve got several past thrillers and horror films perfect for the Halloween season, favorites? Scariest?
- Would you be excited for a WILD FAITH tv series? Favorite characters?
- MBF – Who do you agree with? Again a real thought provoker.
- Have you ever used a Candleberry Co candle?
This past week has been getting warmer wardrobe around and a few rehearsals on BYG film. We picked the last of the beans from the garden. The crockpot with beans and additional veggies and a pork roast will be filling the house with good smells. The Autumn Ale has been enjoyed at a few meetings. The chickens are doing good with the coming of the colder weather. We took a nice nature walk with Finn yesterday and I just love this season. I’m just feeling great about the coming week and I will be seeing some close artist friends that I usually only see when filming. Get yourself artists with a positive attitude and that vibe will transfer to the story.
Thank you again to everyone at The Double JJ Resort. It is a wonderful place to visit for golf, horseriding, waterpark and more! I’m going to get back to a few pre-production things today and I’m thinking of doing these next batch of blogs on a Monday since our filming for the next few weeks will include Sunday. So I might be doing a delayed blog OR I might do a video blog recap which might be easier. We will see said the wise man. Be good to one another!
‘Best Years Gone’ revs up beginning to Announce Sponsors and stars! Also Lost Heart premiere and more…
In Michigan we are waking up to some chilly mornings and that has me rethinking my wardrobe on this next film BEST YEARS GONE. We were ready to shoot in April but with the virus shut down it has dragged us into fall. So I need to re-look at my clothes and such because Oct/Nov can be COLD in Michigan.
We have our shoot blocks set and we’ve put a few days between blocks to let us adjust, pivot and deal with any issues that could arise. We also pulled the shoot location down to better scout, prep and film this next story. We have some great locations forming up and cars, did I say cars? We will once again have some cool rides showcased.
We’ll be announcing this week the addition of a new guest star to our cast whom we’ve worked with before and is always a joy. Additionally we’ll be announcing the first of our sponsors. We have several jumping on board to get millions of exposure eyes upon their goods or services. The first is our longtime partner The Candleberry Candle Company. They have helped make our away from home trips more special. The other is Lerma Transportation that has been a sponsor since we filmed the biblical adventure trilogy in Yuma.
But before that we have an exciting event coming up. We’re doing a cast and crew screening that will be filmed so that we can bring the event and premiere right into your homes for one night only via ENCOURAGE TV. It is a free app and will allow you to watch several movies of ours including the premiere. It costs nothing and you don’t have to provide credit cards or anything. So download it now and enjoy the product of CDI and other filmmakers. November 7th is the online LOST HEART premiere.
My CAT book that I was a contributing author has been released nationally and I’m curious as to what you all thought of my story in there. If you take a read please do let me know your thoughts! It might make a good Christmas present.
WILD FAITH – We are enjoying a beautiful surge in audiences watching and sharing this film. Here is the Encourage TV link –
The millions of views is giving us solid ground to launch the TV series. I have some important meetings coming up about the series. Our hope is to film those in the Spring 2021 before filming a WW2 drama in the fall. I do love this movie and seeing all the positive reactions made me feel grateful.
Also building an audience with over 400k+ views on just Encourage TV is MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – watch free here!
I’ll wait to push THE QUEST TRILOGY but I’m excited to watch and see the films as they bring us into the holiday season. The three films FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER will reach even more audiences this year!
The chickens in the new coop have been doing great. The garden harvest is going strong with green beans coming in now. I harvested the HOPS and last week we had the first test tastes of the AUTUMN ALE. I need to rack the wine to my secondary and that will be ready in a few weeks. I have some wood cutting to do since I’ve already had the office wood stove kicking on two different days. I also had an unusual situation yesterday. I had a weak and stumbling bumblebee and I had recalled reading about at the end of the season they can overwork. Their sugars drop and they are unable to fly and often die. I took a drop of molasses and put it near. It drank and after a few minutes flew off. I was really happy that I could help. We are going to head off in a few to one of the last flea markets of the season. I love looking for props and wardrobe. I found a great piece for the next film in some tattered mechanic jump suit for only $1.
I hope that during these times you all make the extra effort to show kindness and understanding to your fellow human beings. We have a lot of issues putting pressure on our lives. Make sure not to vent that on loved ones or strangers. They are also likely facing some of the same challenges and maybe some you are unaware of. Be appreciative of the family and friends in your circle. Enjoy the time with one another and keep creating!
Flea Market Finds!!!
I’m fresh back from one of the local flea markets. I love to find past treasures that often end up as props either for a film set or a character. Not just for me but for others also. I’ve been just on cloud nine with the soon-to-release LOST HEART. I was really happy with the writing blend and even more on how Jesse Low and the cast and crew all performed and captured the story. I was heavily influenced by Spielberg when I was growing up. I think LOST HEART has a good mixture of humor and adventure and leaves you with a ‘feel good’ vibe. A film like MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND could not do that and keep the message strong. WILD FAITH had that uplifting ending as did FORTY NIGHTS and even THE CHRIST SLAYER. But CHASING THE STAR was written as the ‘Empire Strikes Back‘ of the biblical adventure trilogy. I’m excited that for this holiday window (Thanksgiving to Easter) they will be pushing the trilogy as a whole. They are best when seen all together. A new TRILOGY trailer will be edited by our distributor.
Back to LOST HEART you say! As I told our team – the film is done. The film is delivered to the distributor. It will be seen by millions around the world. So good job to our team. But we are now fighting for the icing on the cake. The theatrical events and premiere be in drive-in, theatrical or yes, even online. We are exploring a one night online premiere that would allow EVERYONE to participate in the event. The idea we have is a good one and would be DIFFERENT, but could be powerful. Its would include filming the pre and post party and broadcasting that with the premiere showing. The film will also be going to various networks to evaluate for ‘exclusive release’ or a period of time where the film can only be seen at this channel for a month or two. I would enjoy seeing it play on TV a while before the whole home-video release. We will see as talks continue this week. I don’t care how you all see the film we’re just looking forward to it being seen.
This month will be some investor dispersement as several of the films are earning steadily along. There is a fair amount of bookkeeping work that happens so that end-of-the year accounting goes smoothly. Watching the films and leaving reviews is a couple ways you can help small business. Many of you have been supporting us as shown by the numbers and the fan mail and we cannot thank you enough. You are why we tell these stories and we will continue to entertain you for many years to come.
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- More talks on the WILD FAITH TV series ‘Hastings’ including with possible partners in a western studio. I’m excited to see the on-going adventures.
- Putting presentation materials together on the new WW2 film slated for 2021.
- NEW poster art and setting up first interviews with our Catch-Can documentary.
- NEW poster art underway and audio evaluation with SMOKE & MIRRORS dir and post-audio.
- Announced make-up department for upcoming BEST YEARS GONE the ladies from Gals and Ghouls.
- Soon to announce some of the first sponsors working with us on the BEST YEARS GONE movie.
- Worked final edits on my new book contribution with editor on ‘Second-Chance Cats’ book and signing deal on the next book contribution which is a book featuring dogs. My story is about my Luke Brown who was my inspiration in the MBF film.
- This and a few other opportunities has me thinking about literary representation again.
- LOST HEART BTS is forthcoming – just wrapping up some paperwork.
Is it MSU football time yet?
I’m going to sign off and do a few things around the homestead and the office. This past week I got to peel off a day and go to a couple of lakes with family. I’ve been getting things around for the beer and wine making and I’m going to get one or both of those going. We have new fall crop in the garden and we’ve started taking tomatoes. We had a few days that reminded us of fall coming. I know that wood stove and chill will soon be in the air. I hope everyone keeps the course and try to have patience with one another. Coffee toast – we’ll talk again next week.
I’m sitting and sipping hazelnut coffee as a gentle rain falls outside. The morning started with bacon and eggs and that can’t be bad. I’ve had a very rewarding week and have been basking in a glow for much of it. Lots of good business unfolded this week but the highlight was a producers watch on the film at the media center on the big screen. It was epic and Michigan looked just incredible. It was the first time all us producers had been together in a good long while. And it was a watch full of laughter, tears and joy.
We’ve had a few ‘outsiders’ to the production circle watch the film and I really believe this film has something for everyone. We will use the next few weeks to set up as many theatrical, drive-in and other such event screenings as possible. I feel as we’re evaluated by several TV networks that someone will take an exclusive window before the streaming and DVD home video rolls out. UpTV, Lifetime, Hallmark, ABC – battle of the network stars. Just joking although we use to love watching that TV special.
If you want it to play in your area you need to reach out to the venue and get the name/contact info for mgt. We will be doing a few premieres and I really want it to play LA deeper into the year. Not sure with the state of things it will happen but we will see. I know we will be playing in the area we filmed in White Hall/New Era and would love to play Muskegeon too. So LOST HEART is about to be on the move and whether you see it on the big screen or your personal big screen we hope to bring you a few smiles.
Onto other film news…
THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) will be getting a powerful new trailer showcasing all three of the films. The idea is to really start to promote the three together. When seen out of order or not seeing all three does effect the overall understanding of the story. As the window for these films (Thanksgiving to Easter) starts I’m excited. I love all the fan mail from around the world these movies have brought. These biblical adventures are a good watch at any time.
WILD FAITH – So exciting developments continue – apparently the film was nominated in 2019 for several categories at some Red Letter Awards. Nominated for BEST ACTOR (Shane Hagedorn), BEST ACTRESS (Lauren LaStrada), BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (Darby Hinton), BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (Christine Marie), BEST SCREENPLAY – (That DJ Perry guy), BEST DIRECTOR and EDITOR (Jesse Low) and BEST PICTURE. Their announcement went unseen and so…just more people feeling the power of this story.
HASTINGS the TV series is under active development and I have a series of talks and proposals that need to go out. As I told our team with the TV series it is WHEN not IF. Stay tuned and some of your favorite characters may be coming back to tell their on-going story.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – So for the first time since all this virus lock down I went for my dental clean. The receptionist is married to the dentist and they have seen all the films for several years now including his daughter. I got my temp taken and they gushed on how much they LOVED MBF and that it was their new favorite. She admitted that tears were shed watching the movie. I have to say this little exchange made my day because it reminded me that daily our stories are having an impact on people. The receptionist was former military and said usually she is yelling at the screen because of the things they do wrong in military films. She exclaimed that we really did our research because it was spot on. Again I’m so happy the military community respects the performance and the film.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – MBF director Anthony Hornus will be directing this WW2 era drama. We’re still in the development phase but things are coming together nicely. We are still looking for German and/or German speaking actors. Also we will be doing a national casting for the young boy lead in the film this fall.
SMOKE & MIRRORS – This is shaping up to be a great little show piece for the forthcoming development of the feature. Directed and edited by Nathaniel Nose (The Christ Slayer) this 12-15 min piece is another great CDI period piece. Early 1900’s – great location, car, clothes and a cast of quirky characters. I have some post discussions this week. David Gries is the lead in this short and again shows the amazing and talented folks we have the honor of working with. The poster art is also being worked on and we’ll release that once completed. A new CDI page will be coming to http://www.cdiproductions.com (Subscribe to the Tribe)
Victoria Jackson returning to the Tribe in ‘Best Years Gone’
BEST YEARS GONE – Were going to be meeting to identify the VFX shots and such that can be filmed before the main circus. We are still targeting end of Oct pre-prod and Nov shoot. Lots of talks with sponsors and such about this film that will be a great addition to the TribeCDI films. We have more cast and crew to announce and we’ll be doing that starting this week where we’ll meet the ladies from Gal’s & Ghouls:)
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – CDI is helping produce a documentary film about the history of catch-can wrestling. We’ve got a lot of great people appearing in the doc to discuss their passion for this old fighting art finding a new golden age. More meetings before cameras start rolling. With my love of martial arts this is a pure joy project for me.
I could go on about other projects either getting new releases or new development but I think you have a good picture of the situation. CDI is on the move and will just keep doing what we do. Music, Animation and many other exciting things will be happening at CDI in the near future. We keep adding to the tribe and the projects keep growing in number and scope. I saw a few posts this week about and from a MI company having all kinds of issues with one of their “producers” whose job should be to eliminate issues not create them. But once I saw who they were talking about it all made sense. Again just be careful who you create with. It should be a wonderful experience and not marked by drama and nonsense. As I watched all the LOST HEART cast and crew names scroll down the big screen I was deeply moved. From organizing after-school video camera shoots to where I am now is just…amazing. I am so thankful to be on this journey and with such amazing artists. If you like the style of storytelling CDI has gotten known for you will not be disappointed in CDI’s new offering LOST HEART. We’ll see you soon:)
Stay safe and be good to one another! Have an amazing week. Stay on target. Focus. Direct your energy to what you can control, enhance, organize and don’t forget to laugh daily.