HELLO CLEVELAND! Updates From Indie-Gathering and More…
I’m back in my comfy chair sipping on some hazelnut coffee having just returned from a dentist cleaning. I’m writing on this fine Michigan Monday after returning late last night from Cleveland, Ohio. Some of our BEST YEARS GONE team traveled for the 27th Indie Gathering International Film Festival. It was nice to be around storytellers and talk our craft. It was extra special because we were joined by Detroit filmmaker Harley Wallen representing ASH & BONE, a cool horror film that is a true tip of the hat to some classics. I have to say that actress Erika Hoveland gave a funny, disturbing performance in ASH & BONE and does an incredible job in BEST YEARS GONES, as Sylvia. It was cool to have Michigan filmmaking represented and Erika co-starred in both films. Shane Hagedorn, directed and co-starred in BEST YEARS GONE and also had a supporting role in ASH & BONE. Amazing to watch these films almost back-to-back and to see the range of Erika and Shane’s performances. I only appeared in BEST YEARS GONE but I’m humbled to say I received the festivals ‘Best Actor‘ award, for my Gil Gilles performance. Gil, Gil, Gil…he is truly a character and if you have not seen either of these films you can watch BEST YEARS GONE now on Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google and more. ASH & BONE releases in October. Congrats to Harley and his team. Congrats to all the folks at the Indie Gathering. We had some great Mexican eating also. Thank you Melissa Anschutz and Deskpop Entertainment.
Soon I will unpack and likely take a nap. The above film event in Cleveland kept me up past my bedtime. I’ve got a good sleep pattern down and closing down a bar mixer was already over my sleepy time but we had to pass on the 2am to dawn tailgate with grilling and games. If I was 24 I would have been there but…and I’m still tired. We talk about that often. Sleep. Many like to impress folks with how much midnight oil they burn. How hard their grinding. But I can say, that experience and life has shown me that good rest results in better quality use of time. You can say, I worked eight hours straight but how productive were you. Some can do the same work in three focused hours with good rest behind them. Even those meditations, sleep shut down for even 15-30 min can reboot you. Sometimes when flustered people will say, I don’t have the time to take a rest. What results is often mistake-ridden, half-ass work versus taking a few moments and getting better results.
I’ll get my rest on soon enough but I wanted to get some updates out to all of you. BEST YEARS GONE, might have 1-2 more special events planned but it’s now spreading out to different areas of the world on home video.
- Going to PR the release dates and info on the premiere for FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, once locked in.
- VFX, Color Correction, Music and Sound Design on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is in full swing. Interested theatre chains are starting to give their interest. We have to lock down details on the Algona premiere this month. A new theatrical trailer will also be coming in advance of the premiere.
- HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE development work will continue in full. We’ll be looking to lock our dates for next year. Some scouting will happen this year also – so exciting to be able to tell this story. This is another epic period action/drama and it will be one fun ride.
- I am debating a few moves on SMOKE & MIRRORS, our short concept film. We might just post it for everyone to watch. It’s a really cool, stylized piece and I think folks will really enjoy it. We will get around to this feature script in the near future.
- BESTSELLER, the thriller from the mind of Chris Knight is playing to home video audiences. We have a few reviews and interviews coming up. This film really keeps you on the edge of your seat once things start rolling. If you enjoy these kind of spin-chill films, take a watch.
I’m not going to carry on and on today as I need to unpack and catch up on a few things, rest being one of them. I’m glad that I’m making the effort to slow down and enjoy some of the wins. God knows we’ve had our losses. But I’m really starting to realize that these things happen in their own time. I’m trying to be better at being happy for the personal wins. I’ve found in the past that personal recognition often came with resentment and some form of negativity from others. I found it interesting that after winning that ‘Best Actor’ award which was a nice metal medallion on some olympic-like neck strap. Without thinking about it, I just slipped it into a pocket and carried on. I did not wear it around. It wasn’t a decision with myself – should I wear it? Yes? No? I never thought that. I believe I was thinking about the second half of my burrito that the lunch waiter accidentally threw away instead of wrapping up. My acting might be good but my hand communicating isn’t. “Wrap it up in foil please,” came out as “toss it out” please. Okay, I’ve wandered. My point is, that if my getting recognized gets more eyes to watch our collective art or help projects get made, I’m happy. Does my ‘self’ need the personal recognition? It doesn’t appear that way but maybe deep down, I’m sure it does. The writer in me is really proud of all these stories. I’ve had a few nominations on my writing and I do recall that feeling good. Honestly, I did not expect to win. I mean, come on, it’s Gil Gilles. BUT, folks do seem to like ole, Gil. So from Gil and I, I want to give one more whole-hearted thank you. I’m going to go unpack and try to get my flow back in order. I’ll be back with you all on Sunday, our normal day. Until- Coffee Cheers!
Power of ‘Purpose’ PLUS the TOP TEN CDI Updates
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.