“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ― Sun Tzu

Posts tagged “Melissa Anschutz

Welcome 2021! Hazelnut Coffee Cheers

Happy 2021! Hazelnut coffee cheers.

Outside this morning is a winter wonderland. We had a cold front move through Michigan that first put ice on everything -followed with a heavy dash of snow. Now it looks like a beautiful Norman Rockwell picture outside. This has been perfect weather for all the indoor activities I’ve had to undertake. I’ve always worked to enter the new year more prepared than the previous. Just by the addition of the previous year’s experience I’m better prepared. But I also find Santa Claus most always want me to stay in step with the changes in technology. I’m still a PAPER person. The trees! I LOVE trees and would be fine with paper made from hemp. I hear a leather is being made from cactus. Even with my love of paper I still need to evolve. I just start to get the hang of something and they change it. But it really is quite amazing – we are living closer and closer to a Star Trek world.

I should be doing product reviews-

I was due since last year for a cell phone update and finally I did. My phone went from a model iPhone 7 to 12 PRO and so I had to migrate all my data over. I also had to learn the new this and that – the camera got more complicated but takes great pictures. Also I got two new audio devices. One is a JBL Echo 3 I believe which is a wireless speaker but this one has a microphone and can be used in group conference calls. You can set it in a room and talk from around the room and it sounds great. It also jams out in a most excellent way in between those biz calls, Lastly was pair of Apple ear buds and I pray I don’t lose them. Like sunglasses – if you buy expensive ones even if a fix it plan – you will lose them. But a cheap gas station pair and 30 years they will still be around. So my business tools are being updated and I’m thankful.

Our industry use to shut down for several weeks during the holidays and still does. But with social media mixing with our business does it ever really shut down. During these times are when I enjoy doing my writing. I have writing goals lined up for the year. I’m doing my official page by page this week on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA with our director Anthony Hornus. Our last writer/director collaboration resulted in MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND which is a powerful story. If you have not watched it hop over to Amazon, Tubi or any numerous platforms and take a watch. This next story is just wonderful. I wrote it a handful of years ago about actual events at a WW2 German PW camp in Iowa. Rance Howard was my consultant on matters of the WW2 era and farming doing that time. The scout trip had me speaking with all manner of people in the area who all had stories to tell. We are very close to a full GREEN LIGHT. That means funded and moving forward to those unaware. We are starting to look at locations, casting and more but again that moves to high gear once fully funded. But the timing between getting the script locked and getting green lit should be perfect. I’m very much looking forward to telling this story. I will be getting a traditional WW2 haircut on the run up to filming this one.

The other project playing front and center is the spin off TV series from WILD FAITH. As our audience grows by the millions, we’re looking to do something we have not yet done. We have interest from several sources and its just looking at all the possible combinations and options. I’ll have a few conversations about the TV show later today and into next week. Like above, if you haven’t seen WILD FAITH due yourself and favor and return to a simple time. It is quality watching for the whole family. John Hughes asked to read the script several years ago and left a message that the film has all the charming qualities of the old Disney films and TV. I think he was right on the money and that Wild Faith will turn into a memorable series. And yes that will have ole Ben Lily returning.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH will resume filming this year. That is the doc film we started end of last year. It is about the history of catch-Can wrestling and the passion of a handful of martial artists bringing it back.

SMOKE & MIRRORS will be completed this year. VFX and credits are all that need to be completed. The feature film script is something I’ve been working on. I had a nearly finished script before we did the short. Now I am doing a page 1 rewrite having gotten to know the characters even better. This is a great ‘Steam Punk’ early 1900’s world and the characters are amazing especially those played by David Gries and Melissa Anschutz but no surprise there.

(Finn visualizing – more walks, more treats, more…)

I hope that everyone is ready to visualize their goals and get after them. I’m going to enjoy doing some writing on this beautiful day. I plan to go stoke the wood stove in the office and make a few calls. After I want to sink into some script writing. I hope you all have a safe start to your new year – work hard and be kind to one another.

DJ


Event Links, Interviews, Film Updates and Seasonal Thoughts…

Good morning. I’m sitting here sipping the coffee and writing to all of you. I want to thank all our readers from around the world stopping by to touch base. I appreciate all the artists out there taking the time to stop by and share a few moments of their Sunday. I’ve been still doing lots of film work on the developing, post flow and and release and PR aspects. I have a few podcast interviews I’ve agreed to do. Here is a recent one. Isaac has been a long time friend and his “mission” is positive content.

What I try to explain is that at CDI we are not tailoring any film to FIT any particular audience save the age rating that we keep in mind. You don’t want to F-BOMB all over your PG film. I’m a lover of colorful language at times and I enjoy R -Rated entertainment. Sometimes it helps the story and sometimes it is just too much for my taste. Despite my start in horror films which I still love, I’ve always been more about atmosphere and mood vs slash and gore. I have several friends who that is their passion. I’ve reached a place where I enjoy the consistent flow of fan mail that says how this film or that film has helped them. As a writer I’ve really grown to enjoy those moments that ultimately teach us something good, bad or ugly. So bottom line we’re beyond grateful for the acceptance by the “faith film genre” but our films about faith – “those strong in faith, those lacking faith, finding faith, seeking faith, losing faith and holding on to what they have.”

Our films are for everyone to invoke tears, laughter and offer a different perspective through filters we all share. Moments of entertainment and escape from our own lives and to have a few message gems hidden within. The 50 year old me also loves not being up all night in a dirty location, covered in corn syrup (blood) which bugs LOVE by the way. Showing up on a western town set with a cup of coffee wearing a low hanging gun rig is a lot cooler to my body clock. I truly enjoy that after years of bringing other peoples stories to screen I’m finally getting my own stories told. And they are touching people and giving them hope and new understanding. I told someone in a meeting yesterday I’ve never been more proud to be a storyteller. I use to say that if we made a bad scene nobody dies on an operating table but we do have the ability to help many, many people. We’re still trying to pull the numbers in from our 2 day showing of LOST HEART on Encourage TV. We know it exceeded 30k views maybe as high as 100k and the beautiful notes followed.

I’m not so much into “shocking” people these days. If there is any shock I want to give fans/audiences is that person who watches Paul Landings in MBF: Man’s Best Friend and says “Is that DJ Perry?” that feels good. That film on Encourage TV (This is a paid by ads site where audiences can watch free w/ ads) but MBF is climbing to 700k watches and this is one stream. Our distributor monetizes dozens of streams and foreign territories. I’m excited to see all these films travel. The holidays are exciting because that is when families and friends watch films. And in these times of few recreational choices these stories are being watched more and more. I guess I just want to say thank you. To all the fans that have been with me since I was running bloody IN THE WOODS (Me as Rookie firefighter with Jim Grulich – fighting monsters) * Amazon Prime – to my newfound fans from playing Jesus in The Quest Trilogy, Ben Lily, Niles Cass, Paul and most recently the character study known as ‘Gil Gilles’ in BEST YEARS GONE now in post-production.

I’m going to ask you all to explore our films. Each one is truly hand crafted. You can tell the artists care about the stories. That has been true since the early days. You can see so much heart in Jeff Kennedy’s HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS – a beautiful PG-13 film that we placed too heavy of swearing into for our audience. I told you I like colorful language at times. A live and learn in many ways. Followed by FIGURE IN THE FOREST also directed by Jeff Kennedy which was a beautiful story led by Dean Teaster who many know from our recent films. These have been pressed into a 2 DVD “Classic CDI Collection” and I’m exploring talks of uprezing as these were made in the SD (standard def) days. For next year we do plan on releasing KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS the first two films from CDI that was our playing with the horror and comedy genres. It is nice to have existing copies of these films. Thank you to those that have purchased.

PICK THIS UP AND SEE WHERE WE STARTED FROM-

https://www.ebay.com/itm/DVD-DOUBLE-FEATURE-Figure-in-the-Forest-2002-Heavens-Neighbors-2005-movie-/363016656566

But lets give a run down on a few of the current films-

ASHES OF EDEN – If you’re excited about BEST YEARS GONE recently filmed – directed by Shane Hagedorn – check out his first collaboration w/ CDI. It stars Melissa Anschutz and you’ll see many of the #TribeCDI – I play a lovable drug dealer named Donnie:) It is a great story that premiered to a 600 person crowd at the CCFF to a standing ovation. Shane is great at weaving emotional scenes and it shows in this earlier effort. Check it out free on Amazon Prime, Encourage TV likely Tubi and Pluto TV. Here is the teaser!

I LOVE the new campaign underway for THE QUEST TRILOGY – they are told in this 3 fold story that starts in the present, falls back to the past and leaps to the future. The thread in the three films is the Devil and the Angels which makes this a unique story. It explores the possible effect of all these events from the perspective of the angels serving and fallen. Please do take a watch on FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. Happy Holidays! Leave your comments on the IMDB, Amazon pages and/or to me here.

WILD FAITH – We are aggressively in talks with a few parties about bringing back the Murphy family and friends from WILD FAITH in a TV series currently titled HASTINGS. I have written the first season consisting of eight forty-four minute shows. I’m looking at a few ways to put this together business-wise. I had a few “first right of refusal” situations not legally but by using good business fairness. I had a very productive talk this weekend that might give us the results we are looking for. The pilot feature WILD FAITH shows what a powerful world was created and these ongoing stories strengthen and carry forth the evolution of these beloved characters. The bad news is that I’ve been enjoying the lack of facial hair and soon I might have to start that walk back towards Ben Lily. I guess I could do that.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – To answer a few fan questions – there is no immediate plan to do a sequel to MBF but never say never. Someone else asked if I had my eye on any action films. I still like films that are heavy on character drama and include action vs an action genre film. But do I have a Bruce Willis DIE HARD like movie in me? Giddy Up!

PS: There is a chance that MBF might play at the Capital City Film Festival Drive In Event since it was scheduled to play before the shut down and was nominated.

LOST HEART – A beacon of light and laughter that has been expanding across the USA and the world. I think the UK is getting to travel to Lost Heart. Our beautiful state of Michigan is giving a wonderful peek to the world. I haven’t gotten any real ‘Niles Cass’ fan mail, shadowed by that Josh Perry, love you buddy:) …but I’ve received many messages from viewers expressing their love of the story and characters. It brought them some comfort in these different and for many difficult times.

A few asked about the EVENT on ENCOURAGE TV. They are also playing the Cast & Crew Event – Enjoy!

PRE-PARTY FOR ‘LOST HEART’

The AFTER GLOW

The thing is I feel blessed by all the good things abound. I’ve always worked diligent and consistent as I find that gets bests results. Starting, Finishing and everything in between. I’m starting to develop a need for some breakfast although lunch is creeping up too.

WRAP UP:

We’ll be back in action finishing the filming on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH doc film first of the year. We have some exciting merchandise conversations happening. We’ll be pulling the paperwork together on the WW2 film SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA early in 2021. Just take this time of holiday reflection to plan the upcoming year. What did you do that you want to repeat? What did you do that you want to remove? We’re all a work-in-progress and we can change our course with a handful of decisions. Be the change you want to see. Don’t worry about changing others just allow yourself to be a living example. Show people you are not lip service by leading by actions. Less talk and more self action. This holiday season be mindful to people and animals less fortunate and in need.

Enjoy the season.

DJ


Full Debrief On CDI Films

Good morning everyone! I want to welcome and thank all the readers from around the world. I’m sitting comfortably in my Lazy-Boy chair with my hazelnut coffee. Below is just a partial list of where all our fellow artists friends stopping by last week were from. The entire world is pretty united by what we’ve all been facing. I always said it might take an ‘Independence Day’-like alien attack to unite everyone but instead we got a virus. I was disappointed to see the issue weaponized politically over the last couple months. But there is no political spin to the actual science. I have friends that like to look at the stats and minimize the impact. But right now the death toll in the USA is as if our city of Lansing, Michigan was just destroyed or disappeared pending how dramatic you want to be this morning. Now this large nation has many cities and hey it’s just one BUT if it was your city that becomes an issue. And we might lose a few more cities worth of people before this passes. So if we can unify our actions and if this new batch of vaccines rolls out we might find our way back to something resembling normal.

But…we should remain aware of health and safety. We should plan for future unified responses. Federal, state even down to local we were not quite prepared and life accountability was being placed on officials. That’s different than leaning for or against taxes or new laws. So political affiliation aside I don’t fault officials for doing too much. Too much is often better than not enough but in this case every bit of over-cautious (a good thing normally) is causing economic hardships. It is a no-win situation because you cannot manifest a perfect. And on both sides politically they await for each other to misstep so they can blow that up into the next headline. Needless to say I’ve been personally disappointed in how much conflict we’ve participated as a nation. “I told you so” and “cancel” culture mentality is not helpful in growing cooperation. Information is often given with insult that results in the passing of knowledge falling on deaf ears. Most people don’t know that part of my college degree was communications at MSU. Most people are just horrible communicators and don’t even know it. They rush to social media lobbying trying to build support for or against a person’s words or action versus privately and respectfully communicating behind closed doors. With nobody else to hear there is no temptation of grandstanding. Given feedback is exchanged in an environment of respect where the person is respected enough that the meeting happened privately.

EXAMPLE: At CDI over the years, the need to meet with someone for course correction on set has arisen. If you respect that person which you should, you address any issues in private. I’ve seen way too many sets where problems are addressed loudly with finger pointing and throwing people under the bus. How do you think that effects that person and their respect for the company? How does it ultimately effect performance?

These are the things that people fail to grasp. When they want to achieve the same success at running a set as CDI it is done based on principals that starts at the top. A loud mouth, insulting CEO, producer, director or what-not will bring toxic devastation to a project. I’ve seen way to many production companies getting along by using up passionate volunteers and trading them up for the next batch. You are always starting over. Your quality is not increasing as your people’s experience and confidence grows. DEVELOPMENT is a key to success. Not just YOUR development but the development of a tribe of people. Look beyond ME to WE and you’re starting out on the right path.

OK. Film updates. Hmmm…do we have any? Maybe a few:)

BEST YEARS GONE – Much of the writing above could be applied to the above writing. We had been funded and ready to shoot this film since March. Much like some of the world leaders in government and business, I was faced with hard choices about when to set sail, safely with the best chance to succeed. Nothing save possibly experience gave me any added insight but like everyone else this Covid was/is a new variable. But I was the last one held accountable for the ship, cargo and crew. We started months earlier reading, studying and developing our safety protocol. The producers including Nate Robertson who is also our 1st AD took this job very serious. I appreciate him because a failure on his part is personal and painful but a failure to me is more direct. I’m responsible for everyone’s actions including his. So to have Nate and all the producers work so hard to prep a safe project meant the world to me.

Beyond that 75%+ of the crew are returning warriors with maybe another new 25% coming on board their first CDI film. I want to thank all the cast and crew for playing by the rules which included masks and face shields, sanitizer, distancing, morning check in’s and individually catering and craft. Over the years I’ve been on projects that were hindered by colds, flu and such. So the idea was no matter your individual feelings about Covid this was about WINNING. Note the goal of “winning” was getting safely to port with all our cargo (film pieces) safely. We also did pre-test and weekly test between our shoot blocks that we spaced slightly to give time to adjust and rest crews a touch more. There are many things we did not like with the added spacing but it worked for this film. We did manage to keep two positive Covid folks from bringing that on set. Two crew members had to await test results when they were exposed on off days between blocks. I’m happy to report the positives are now healthy and the caution hold on two crew came back negative. But our battle plan worked and we have the entire film IN THE CAN. We use to really use that term when we shot film.

Congrats to Shane Hagedorn our director for his calm leadership through it all. Travis Haywards led his department with a friendly demeanor knowing a few short years ago he was the young artists. I remember taking him as 2nd AC with our FORTY NIGHTS camera team a handful of years ago and now he was the DP. Another example of CDI development priority. Every crew member was truly a joy and that is rare as many of you will find out. We’ve found new artists that I’m sure will be ready to roll with the TRIBECDI when the time comes. Check out http://www.cdiproductions.com and SUBSCRIBE TO THE TRIBE. The film is exciting filled with humor and heartfelt relationships. The movie is about family, dreams, love and faith and has an automotive race car theme running throughout it. We’ll be announcing this week the addition of the films editor which is Nathaniel Nose, best known for his directing and editing on Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy, The Christ Slayer. The film will surge forward in post-production and we will look forward to bringing it to you in 2021!

We’ll follow the lead-in above to THE QUEST TRILOGY. A new campaign is launching for the holidays that puts the series in the proper order. The series is much more enjoyable when you watch in the proper order of FORTY NIGHTS (#1), CHASING THE STAR (#2) and THE CHRIST SLAYER (#3) and there is a NEW OFFICIAL “THE QUEST TRILOGY” trailer we’ll be highlighting this coming week.

Our #2 film CHASING THE STAR was listed as Pureflix’s second recommendation for Christmas films. I’ve heard people say that did not like how dark the film was. But under King Herod those were the times. The Magi order as depicted is the order seeking a celestial messiah to save mankind. No elves, jingle bells or snowman but an honest look at a possible internal conflict the three wise man faced. We know the nativity statues worldwide but what do we really know about these men? Very little. So we work to put a face to those men and their quest. Here Pureflix has invited you to watch-

https://insider.pureflix.com/movies/best-christian-christmas-movies-2020

And The Quest Trilogy will also be coming to Pureflix as a series in Feb 2021 running to Easter 2021. Enjoy the NEW trailer here – please share it with family and friends.

IF you enjoy these films do drop us a review at http://www.imdb.com, Amazon.com or anywhere you can. I hope your family enjoys this trilogy of films.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This film keeps growing an audience. I was at the bank doing some business deposits when the teller told me she had cried watching MBF. She noted it was such a beautiful film and she had been telling friends and family about it. If you’re proud of our military brothers and sisters and love dogs this film might be just what you are looking at.

WILD FAITH – This fun and powerful film has been seen by millions of people. Those millions love the world seen at a simpler time with a story of love and faith amongst the Murphy family. Right now we have a handful of companies interested in seeing this film roll out next year as a series. The first right of refusal partner has the proposal and I’m looking to get a green light before the 1st of the new year. If so cameras could roll in Feb./March on HASTINGS. These stories will follow the same tone as the feature and we’ve got a good gameplay forming up. PS: Happy Birthday today to director Jesse Low!

LOST HEART – This amazing film is our new 2020 release. On Nov 7th and 21st we streamed our filmed cast and crew premiere event as well as the film itself for two nights free. After some great national PR topped off with our stars (Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson) traveling to Nashville for the Mike Huckabee show, the film will start its licensing run and roll out. The event was filmed and edited by Nathaniel Nose who did a wonderful job capturing the beauty of our state. It continues to highlight Collective Development Inc. as a Michigan company and Lost Heart as our new release. We will plan to stream the event perhaps on the CDI website and CDI’s FB site next week. I would also like to see the event end up on the DVD. IF you watched the film one of the two nights please do go VOTE and leave a review on the LOST HEART http://www.imdb.com page and feel free to request it from networks and retailers. Thank you for allowing us to do a special premiere and share with all of you. Another great film that I’m so proud of. I watched last night with my mom and I will call my dad who also watched the film last night. I’m happy they are both here to see it.

WRAP UP – I’m going to wrap all this up. We’re having the first light snow here in November and yesterday I did some winterizing. I have a few more things to get taken care of. We harvested the last of the ground veggies from the garden. I might bottle up the new wine next week. I finally have almost all my stuff unpacked from filming. We’re going to do pie-drops this week but just gonna lie low with Thanksgiving. We don’t want to get any family sick. I had a pair of close family come down with Covid. One said, he would rather have the flu four times over and said if he had been less healthy I might have been carrying a coffin. This victory of getting BEST YEARS GONE shot and into editing leaves me feeling satisfied. I was looking forward to the holidays and will still work to make it as special as possible but like our film set, safely.

Be good to one another and we’ll talk next week. Have a great Thanksgiving by being thankful you have your loved ones with you. Stay safe and be kind to one another.

DJ

PS: I spend a good part of an hour trying to delete copied blocks of text and was too afraid to add photos. I need to roll this WordPress back to non-blocks. I thought I lost this morning’s update so you are getting no pics or corrections but you’ll get the info.


Horses, Hot rods, Roosters, Rockstars and more…

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!

DJ


A Few Days ‘Shore leave’ Before Back to Sailing the High Seas! Weekly Top 10 CDI Updates

Good afternoon. By the time this gets posted it will likely be almost eve but better a tad late than never:) I’ve been coming down off an “acting high” from the current project we are working hard on. All I will say is “magic” and leave it at that.

I think what will best for me today is to do a TOP 10 updates

  1. The BYG ship is launched and sailing strong on the high seas. I’m so appreciative of the cast and crew and we will continue the strong tradition of storytelling:) Follow us at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11808308/reference
  2. Today ‘Lost Heart‘ star Melissa Anschutz was on The 700 Club and will be on Mike Huckabee next week. https://www1.cbn.com/melissa-anchutz-produces-and-stars-lost-heart
  3. I haven’t watched this yet myself but here is an interview I did with my friend Isaac at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc8roA3CkN0 talking about the CDI films.
  4. If you have not downloaded the ENCOURAGE TV app please do. It will allow you to watch many of the CDI films streaming including the 2 night special event Nov 7th and 21st that will be LOST HEART with the EVENT premiere also! Thank you to Double JJ Resort again for all their help.
  5. I saw a sneak peak of the new trailer for THE QUEST TRILOGY campaign about to launch. It was so exciting to see all three of the films put together into one powerful trailer. Watch FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER with your family.
  6. In our national PR campaign this week we’re focusing on the amazingly talented Taylor Dupuis who played the young lead in LOST HEART. Also check out her music in her band Roanoke.
  7. Some very encouraging meetings have been happening regarding the TV series spin off from WILD FAITH. I have to put a few things together on our end but we have some strong interest and that is growing as our numbers keep climbing. If all goes well we will film 1st half of 2021.
  8. Once we wrap the current film project we’ll be also finalizing the funding on the WW2 project to be helmed by Anthony Hornus. That is a touch down the line but like everything else, it’s here before you know it.
  9. We recently gave out the deliciously scented sponsor candles from The Candleberry Company. If you have not explored this company and candles are your thing, check them out. Hmmm…honey is my favorite but I love many of them. Our cast and crew love them and look forward to them every time. If you want to expand your brand via sponsorship and/or production placement – reach out. https://www.candleberry.com
  10. I’m looking forward to a winter season of writing. One of my endeavors will be to finish SMOKE & MIRRORS. The short proof of concept piece will be done by the end of the year. VFX work is underway and I think people are really going to enjoy this tale directed by Nathaniel Nose director of The Christ Slayer.

I’ve landed back at home for a few days before off again but as I hinted at above – the current project is following the same path as previous. Get good, positive, hard-working artists attached to your story and you’ll create something special. I hope everyone is having a great start to their November. This will be the busiest month of my year followed closely by the October we just left behind. I’m looking forward to the holidays in whatever form this Covid environment allows. I’m going to unpack and unwind for a few and I’ll talk at all of you again next Monday.

Coffee cheers!

DJ


Covid-Free and What’s Up With ME (And CDI Updates)

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.

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS

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

  1. Has anyone read my story in the cat book released this fall? Thoughts?
  2. Who has seen “The Quest Trilogy” all together and what were your thoughts?
  3. I’ve got several past thrillers and horror films perfect for the Halloween season, favorites? Scariest?
  4. Would you be excited for a WILD FAITH tv series? Favorite characters?
  5. MBF – Who do you agree with? Again a real thought provoker.
  6. 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!

DJ


A Morning Reflection on ‘Mr. Brown’ and Updates From the Films – Casting/Crewing

Hazelnut coffee is toasty warm goodness on a chilly Michigan morning. Welcome my new readers from Vietnam, Indonesia, China and more. I suspect some of the new films are releasing to our friends in Asia. I know Poland, S. Korea and more have been licensing. Let’s start by talking about 10-4 two years ago. On a very different day which was warm and windy we said goodbye to Luke Brown (Mister Brown). He was our furry boy that we spent several years fighting his illness until we finally had to let him go. We did it at home and it was sad but beautiful and peaceful and not under any duress and for that I am thankful. Shortly their after we brought the “dog-faced gremlin” Finn McCool into our family and with him came happiness again. Today I awoke thinking about my boy and a glance at the date let me know why. I know many of you have lost those special family members and they always bring out the best in you. If you have been thinking of enhancing your life with a furry family member do so. And I encourage you to adopt and let the joy enter your life. Our old Daphne is still kicking it no longer quite the spitfire starting the play fights. She is enjoying her winter years for sure as is our remaining cat Lulu. You can read about Lulu as my contribution to the book-

My next contributing story is in a dog book and is about Luke Brown and his encounter with a reindeer. I will surely let you know when that is available in the next year. Yes. Lonnie (Book editor) we were at the Jackson hidden raceway.

Raceway? What am I talking about – well, BEST YEARS GONE! Our next CDI film is full speed ahead. We will gather to start filming at the end of the month. We will be looking at resumes and talking with recommendations for a few crew roles but also looking ahead to 2021 where we have a TV series HASTINGS coming together and a WW2 film. If you have strong office experience we will be looking at coordinators. On this film we also have a few crew spots in G&E and camera support. Feel free to reach out direct if you have the experience and/or interest in joining the tribeCDI. We have some incredible cast, crew, sponsors and a funny yet inspiring story to tell.

I mentioned WILD FAITH‘s growing audience giving spark to the TV series. I really want to bring this to Michigan and it looks promising. This winter I will make the push to get this fully greenlit (financed). This will require adding more artists to the CDI team. We might start working with a casting director just to help bring options to the table. We producers are mostly actors and enjoy taking the time and care to make sure the chemistry is proper.

Speaking of chemistry – I think audiences are about to be in for a treat with LOST HEART. This is week #2 of our national campaign and it’s exciting to see the build up. I know that the reaction has been great. Mike Huckabee saw our EPK (Electronic press kit) and watched our trailer and has invited Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson onto the show. We are getting ready to have our cast and crew premiere screening at the Double JJ Resort on the 17th of October. We are filming the pre-party and afterglow as part of the event premiere screenings via Encourage TV on Nov 7th and 21st. I will be having family and friends for the Nov 21st showing since I will be back from filming BEST YEARS GONE. We’ve been posting other interviews and PR that our artists have been participating in. Many of these are being posted on our Lost Heart FB page @lostheartmovie

THE QUEST TRILOGY – Anytime is good to take the adventure and watch FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER but the holidays make it even more special. Our distributor is doing a new campaign which includes a trilogy trailer. I’m excited but if you wanna get the jump on watching them – go right on ahead.

Okay I’ve spent the last 10 minutes trying to figure out these insert blocks vs writing – technology. I’ve had several fans reach out over MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND and I want to thank you. This pandemic had interrupted and killed some of the PR/festival/event roll out for this powerful film. That said, people in their own time are finding, watching and being moved by the film. As I noted in the opening Luke Brown was my inspiration and was beside me while I wrote the script. It is a great tribute to my furry buddy and I think it is connecting with many audiences out there. Take a watch free with ads on Tubi or Encourage TV and of course on Amazon and many of the other platforms.

SMOKE & MIRRORS – the music is done and our director Nathaniel Nose LOVED it. We’ll start to put the credits together as the color corrected footage comes to us from DP Jesse Aragon. I’m excited to finish this feature script over the winter for forthcoming production.

We’re currently attaching sponsors onto our Lost Heart premiere, our ‘For the Love of Catch‘ documentary film and onto Best Years Gone so if you have a company, product or service needing millions of eyes please do reach out. This week was also prepping for winter. This week wood was cut but some needs to be split on our Viking Days:) I racked the wine to the secondary this weekend. We brought out all the fall decorations. Our chickens are doing great getting to know their new home. We’ll do some more work around the homestead today and next week (tomorrow) -it’s back to the business! Coffee cheers. (LOOKING FOR A COFFEE SPONSOR!)

I apologize for losing my flow of words trying to figure out all this new block stuff on WordPress. I might have wanted to throw my laptop once this morning. Be kind. Be safe. And keep at your creative endeavors!

Talk with you next week.

DJ


‘Lost Heart’ National PR, Location Scouting ‘Best Years Gone’ and More…

I’m sipping coffee from one of my artists amigos Jason Varhaus – cheers! This has been just a wonderful week of getting things done personally and with business. Where to start? First as always thank you to all of you from around the world who tune in weekly. If you know someone else who could benefit from following this blog do give them an invite.

LOST HEART is our next CDI film. The film has a national campaign underway with our distributor BMG. The film is going to have a unique virtual premiere on Nov 7th and they’ve added Nov 21st as an encore. This is perfect as on the 7th of November many of our crew and cast will be shooting our next film BEST YEARS GONE. The national PR has been lining up including the one of the top TV personalities Mike Huckabee will have Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson on his show. It will air Nov 14th and 15th. I know Victoria Jackson has been doing the Eric Metaxes show promoting the film and the list keeps growing. I did an interview this week with Isaac Hernadez for his show and will share that once it airs.

This past week we’ve had several meetings over our upcoming shoot for BEST YEARS GONE. One of the cool highlights was taking a walk out into the woods where an overgrown 1970’s racetrack still stood. We walked the entire track and imagined what it was like back in the day. Location scouting has been full ahead to help get our shooting schedule in place. I’ve been rehearsing and putting wardrobe together. Originally we were gonna shoot in April vs Nov so my wardrobe has to change slightly. This is exciting to be on the run up to filming.

THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) – the season is upon us as I was contacted by a German company wanting to license for Polish TV. This year our goal is to help people/companies realize that it is a TRILOGY of films. You can watch individually but there is a greater story at hand when you watch them all together. BMG is suppose to be cutting a new trilogy trailer so I will be excited to see that!

WILD FAITH – The movie keeps climbing with audiences and if everything goes right we should be filming the 8 show season one early next year. Audiences love the characters and the depth of the stories told so I think we can bring something really special. It was also shoot in Michigan and I can’t recall too many TV series filmed in our great state.

MBF: Man’s Best Friend – This fine story wins the most fan mail this week. I think MBF is a great word of mouth story. As people watch and enjoy it – it is recommended. Our theatrical and PR on this film was hampered by the shut down this year but audiences are still finding it. If you like the CDI storytelling this is one not to miss.

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This really cool poster was created by David Gries who also stars in the upcoming CDI short. It was created as a commercial product my taking a portion of my feature script and making a short. It is a great time period and is full of spooky and fun. It is in final post and we look forward to letting folks see it. It is also part of our package to get this movie launched as a feature with Nathaniel Nose (The Christ Slayer) directing.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – Cameras have started rolling on this non-profit documentary film on the art of grappling. We’re in the planning stages for the next phase of shooting. If you want to give to a non-profit this year and be part of something great please do reach out. We have some great people and sponsors getting involved.

Of course we have more development going on but I think we’ve covered enough. Today we are putting ‘brick paint’ down on the porch. We have more garden veggies to harvest. I still need to rack the wine to my secondary. The chickens are getting bigger and loving their new home. I need to get to some wood cutting in this week which is always fun. I hope you all have a productive and fun-filled week. Until we meet again next week be good to one another.

DJ


September Updates: Premiere, Shoots, Chickens…

I’m dealing with new format changes with my WordPress but with my hazelnut coffee beside me I’ll get through it. Those who read my last post have an idea of the swirling issues we’ve been facing. One of our fellow actor/producers had their significant other pass. This event fell right as we were gearing up for the national PR on LOST HEART. After a beautiful life tribute and send off on a high school football field our attention is falling back on LOST HEART. Essentially we pushed everything by two weeks after discussing with the distributor and parties involved.

If you did not read the previous announcement I will lay out the rough details. First we’ll be doing a private ‘welcome party/media night’ on Friday 16th of October and the private cast/crew screening on Sat 17th of October. This event will be shot by director Nathaniel Nose to be ended and delivered to our distributor by Oct 30th. We have a call Weds with our distributor to discuss the ONE NIGHT ONLY EVENT DATE in November. You can subscribe in advance to ENCOURAGE TV, it is free and easy.

Encourage TV

Following that the distributor will choose our exclusive partner for a TV release and home video will follow. A new and exciting roll out in this new and exciting age. I will have more info next week and we’ll be throwing out the PR this week!

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Speaking of director Nathaniel Nose (The Christ Slayer) – we’ve been putting the music and sound design to our short concept film SMOKE & MIRRORS starring David Gries & Melissa Anschutz. The poster art is almost complete and you can follow along at our developing FB page –

https://www.facebook.com/Smoke-Mirrors-105528581284615/

We discussed ENCOURAGE TV previously but it truly has become a great place to watch films. Our other films are skyrocketing on the site. WILD FAITH has been gaining 300k+ views per week and MBF has been growing at about 100k/week. THE QUEST TRILOGY is on there and we’re preparing for the big HOLIDAY push for FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. I spoke with someone yesterday who saw the middle film not knowing it was a trilogy. That is my goal for this holiday season is to get the awareness that there are three films. The few notes of confusion by some viewers on CHASING THE STAR stem from the fact they did NOT know it was a series of films. It greatly helps the overall story if you watch all three together. So that is my goal – and to have it seen by millions more than last year!

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH‘ – Our documentary film on the sport/art history of Catch-Can Wrestling is underway. We’re taking donations and planning the next phase of this shoot that shows the passionate individuals bringing back this art. We will be starting a FB page to follow in the near future.

BEST YEARS GONE – This fine story has been putting pieces in play as we adjust to everything going on. We will be staging parts of the film more mid-Michigan to control certain aspects of filming. Also we are exploring breaking the shoot up into a few smaller shooting chunks. We’ve been doing some character work between us and I’m happy to say the characters are coming right along. Almost screen ready! Are you ready? Good!

I almost lost my blog update once because of this new format but I recovered it. I’m gonna call it good enough and wrap this up. I will say that I got the AUTUMN ALE bottled and the ROTHGA (Return of the Hoppy Grape Ape) will be next. We took down the old garden fence and replaced it with a brand new one surrounding the chicken coop. The three ‘golden girls’ are adjusting nicely and even Finn (our young dog) is getting use to these strange birds in our yard. We now have a large quantity of wood to cut up for the wood stove so a few viking days of chopping lie ahead. I hope you all have a great holiday weekend. Be safe and be kind to one another.

DJ


MBF Screening TONIGHT in Texas, Festival Dates, Development and More…

Welcome new readers from Vietnam, Canada, Israel and the UK and USA. We’re so very happy to have you joining us. With the spring forward in time we awoke to sunshine which is nice. Yesterday the winter stuff left and the spring stuff came out in the house. Snowmen decorations were replaced with rabbits and Easter items. We also did a full clean on the house and I’ve been working with the basement. I’ve been doing some repairs and cleaning after we got rid of our basement stove which we used at holidays but now we have two ovens with the new stove. So that older one moved along to a couple in need. Now I’m looking at getting a stand up freezer to replace our deep freezer. Organization of the homestead is an on-going thing. I’ve already started some of the yard clean up and I’ve enjoyed getting outside. Let’s look back on the week-

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MBF: Man’s Best Friend which released at the end of 2020 is building momentum after its first WIN at the Equus Film Festival in Kentucky. This week we’ll be announcing a few of the new festivals and those in Bedias Texas can watch the film TONIGHT! See the ad above and so we’re excited that so many will get to see the film tonight.

We’ll also be announcing our participation in –

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This is a large and growing festival in our backyard of Lansing, Michigan. We’re proud to be showcasing at this festival. The last time was the 600+ sell out of ASHES OF EDEN a few years ago. More details soon. Additionally we are officially in the ICFF (International Christian Film Festival) in Orlando, FL where once again we’re up more ‘Most Inspirational’ feature film which is my favorite. Why? Because it represents ALL the artists and we did what we setting out to do. Under the ‘People’s Choice’ I was nominated for ‘Best Script,’ ‘Lead Actor’ (Paul Landings) and ‘Best Filmmaker’ now that last one is my least favorite because they named me personally when we all know it is a team. So I take that last one for the entire producers team that works so hard. Either way we are so very appreciative and proud of the story.

LOST HEART 

This beautiful film released the 1st trailer last week. If you missed it here it is again. Watch and share to your friends, family and groups. Melissa Anschutz stars with Don Most and Victoria Jackson and a slew of amazing talent. Music and sound design is underway as is VFX and color correction. We’ll be announcing DVD poster art in the coming days and working on our release. Enjoy and share!

 

WILD FAITH continues to be a top viewed film on Tubi, Valorous TV and Amazon Prime. Please do enter our world of Michigan 1875 and meet our cast of characters in this powerful drama. We’re putting the proposed deal together now for the TV series more once the ink is dry. This TV series will be a great thing for the state of Michigan. It will allow an opportunity for us to work with many artists in our state.  Please do take a watch and let me know your thoughts. I look forward to playing Ben Lily again.

BEN screenshot

THE QUEST TRILOGY start your journey with FORTY NIGHTS follow it with CHASING THE STAR and bring it home with THE CHRIST SLAYER. This Easter watch the trilogy with your family and start a new tradition. These films are not ‘preachy’ and just present an interesting, powerful perspective to these stories. We also stole a page from ‘Star Wars’ and present these films in a cinematic fashion similar to the original three SW films. I think the merge of styles worked really well and I’m proud of this endeavor. It is what has given confidence to the WILD FAITH tv series mentioned above.

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Rance Howard appeared in all three of the films. He told me playing the Devil was a career highlight after a career of ‘good guys’ he got to play the ultimate ‘bad guy’ – yes you did my friend.

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BEST YEARS GONE is our next CDI venture. We announced Shane Hagedorn as our director. If you want to see his previous feature take a watch on ASHES OF EDEN on Amazon. We’re starting to roll out our cast members as we’ll enter official pre-production this coming week. We’ve been looking at DP reels from across the country and having talks. If you have a DP reel and want to be considered for the May shoot you can send it to me or to our director Shane.

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We announced the first addition to the cast this past week. Some will recognize Jim from Man’s Best Friend as the Sheriff. I first co-starred with Jim in a monster creature feature IN THE WOODS, years ago. It was my first starring role. It will be a joy to once again share the screen with my old friend. Congrats to Jim! How about another cast announcement? I want to welcome another actor friend whom I’ve known almost as long as Jim. Mr. Greg Mason. Greg has been with Tribe CDI since our maiden film KNIGHT CHILLS those many years ago. Congrats to Mr. Greg Mason!

Greg Mason

We’ll be announcing more amazing talent as we go. We’ll also be locking more crew end of this week also. It is going to be another great shoot and I look forward to working with everyone. Follow our FB and IMDB page for this and all the CDI films. We’ll also be starting to talk to sponsors and product placement partners.

WRAP UP

I submitted and had accepted my new story for the upcoming book on dogs at Christmas. I have two stories in the book release on horses and this fall 9/15 I believe…the book on Cats is released. I have one story in that book about our dear Lulu:)

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I’m also returning to work on a few other screenplays. Development, development, development…and maybe a few TV shows:)

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I’m off to get some breakfast and do a few things around here. Tomorrow I’m back on the attack with all our projects. Thank you all for your support. We appreciate it so very much.

DJ


Experience Education, Spirit Excellence Awards…Looking to 2020!

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Welcome back my friends. I hope each and everyone of you had a good Christmas time with family and friends. I’ve had a wonderful week of just eating, drinking, laughing with our family. We had several celebrations and I’ve had a nice time touching base with people. I’ll be spending time with some family and friends this eve which has me missing a really cool event. On Christmas Eve I received notice that I was selected to be recognized for ‘Producer of the Year‘ for the 2nd Annual SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE Media Mingle. Also ‘MBF: Man’s Best Friend‘ is being recognized for Feature Film of the Year. I’m beyond grateful for the recognition and I wish I could have attended. I did take the time to film two acceptance speeches and sent those over. I wish I could have been there in person but I need more than a week notice especially during this busy holiday season. But I am humbled and ever so appreciative to SOE and Skeeter Murray for this honor. Speaking of MBF…

MBF: Man’s Best Friend will also be playing Bedias, Texas Feb 9 at the Christian Film Festival. A film that plays awesome on the big screen.

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One of my 2020 goals is to be a bit more out-going on attending events/film functions. I am going to be in-person Jan 11 at 1:00-3:00 in Grand Rapids at Baker Book House event. I will give address next week but I’ll be reading one of the two stories I have in the book THE HORSE OF MY DREAMS. Come out and buy a book and I’ll sign it. I’ve had others ask and yes, bring any other ‘DJ Perry’ swag DVD, poster and I will be happy to sign that also.

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So again I want to thank Skeeter Murray who does a great job highlighting mid-west talent. Congrats to all the recognized artists and I’m truly sorry to miss the ‘media strut‘ – gotta love it! When I saw the awesome awards poster I had to laugh because they chose a pic from our “Wild Bunch” film fest adventure in AZ. Of course I’m the only one on the poster with sunglasses on. It’s my Snoopy “Joe Cool” tribute. (See pic at the TOP)

But seriously, being from the middle of the state I don’t keep up with the social film scenes in Detroit or the Grand Rapids area. This being a Detroit area event means even more to me. We are all Michigan. We’ve pulled a lot of great talent from the Detroit and Grand Rapids areas, so I know the talent here.  Happily, I’ve watched the artistic communities grow in Michigan, from the UP of Michigan to the small remote towns around the state, all due to technologic advances. To be given recognition with a Lansing zip code is a great honor. Making it happen in the LA (Lansing Area) was our joke back in the day.

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I had an unpopular opinion of the film incentives only from a filmmaker stance. Those giant studio films can drive up rental expectations to the smaller outfits. More Michigan artists opportunities needed to be present vs the import of casts and crews. A film grant fund would be my choice. Qualified companies who have a track record of existing in the state for several years, eliminating the rush of new companies wanting to bite on the fund. Plus make the filmmakers come pitch their projects to a committee vs all this social begging. Help them learn to exist in real business environments vs seeking the short cut or easy path. As we know, those who use short cuts or take the easier path usually rob themselves of their experience education. Don’t shy away from the hard work you will need that grit later in your career. I HAVE SPOKEN. Guess who got Disney Plus for Christmas?

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Did anyone watch all 6 of these films this holiday season? I had a steady stream of beautiful fan mail from many of you over the holidays. I had many contact me over the biblical adventure trilogy to thank us and tell how their family really enjoyed the stories. I had Ben Lily fans reach out and number one question was about the TV series. And of course ‘Paul’ from MBF has a growing fan club out there. I enjoyed hearing from so many veterans and their families. The pleasure and honor is all ours.

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I had one rather amusing communication that a fan of one of my actor/producers was supporting them. She had watched several of the CDI films and she saw I was also into film. She recommended a few films I should watch made in OUR state. One was WILD FAITH and the other MBF, both feature great actors she said. I decided to have some fun and asked her about her favorite scenes. She replied that she loved all the rich characters in ‘Wild Faith’. In MBF she loved ‘Paul,’ especially the “bar scene” and thought the female prosecuting attorney was a real b@%$!. Yes, Melissa Anschutz, did bring it as the prosecutor.

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Overall it was fun to have someone recommend our films and give a few of her favorite scenes. I don’t always get such open and honest feedback. She tickled me when she replied she’ll stop telling her favorite scenes so she did not ruin these two great movies for me:) If I come across that communication again, I will have to let her off the hook. But she did make me smile. So during these winter months, please do take the time to watch our films and share your thoughts with me. I hope we make some of you smile.

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Talking about smiling – LOST HEART – We’re closing in on what will likely be our locked picture cut. We had a good meeting over the work flow to post sound just before the holidays hit. It will be really exciting to see music and sound sweetening begin. I’m extremely happy with the progress of this film. The story is dramatic with humor set within being told by a great group of quirky characters.

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Onward to 2020! 

I talked about development quite a bit last week. Things haven’t changed much on that front. We’re going to have fun evaluating some new projects. My screen writing assignment will continue as I close in on the first 1/3 of the script. So much great work to be done in 2020. I’ve been organizing everything here and prepping for the next wave of stories to be told. This is when you make those goals. Write them down. Look at what you achieved and what fell short. Look again at how you spend your time. Whom you spend your time with. Keep those toxic elements afar. Don’t be distracted by shiny objects. You would be surprised what even one day full of focused work, not scrolling FB, can create. Remember it is the journey not just the destination my friends. Be brave. One foot ahead of the other. As you encounter one another – Be good to one another. I’ll see you all next year!

DJ

 


Better Than George Lucas? Build Your Own Brand and Prove IT!

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(The Fort – Tribe CDI – 2019)

Welcome new readers from Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, India and beyond. We’re in the final days of 2019 and so far it has just been a great season. This past week I’ve had a few meetings at the fort with the fire burning bright with ideas and friendship. We have some great updates to share with everyone but before that lets looks at someone else’s art.

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Star Wars – (NO SPOILERS)  – I went to see Star Wars at 7 years old and it was the seed planted in me to become a storyteller. Last week I got to see the final film in a series of interconnecting stories started by George Lucas. My issue with many films these days is just trying to do too much. Instead of one star ship in pursuit there has to be 100. Tension is created in moments. Those can feel stolen when trying to do too much. Character development is still king in my world of viewing hence by love of shows like BLACK SAILS. Bringing together all the ‘Star Wars’ loose threads was surely difficult but overall I really did enjoy the final film. That said, I feel truly like the torch has been passed. I feel like I do a good job of creating characters on the script page with depth. I feel we have stories to tell and we will. The goal is to create a few classics in this lifetime. In 2020 will see more writing, producing and continue to try and captures hearts and minds with our stories.

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(WILD FAITH brand – Hastings TV series in development at CDI)

I see a lot of talented artists who spend a lot of time creating in someone else’s world. But the bottom line is you don’t own the brand. There are several filmmakers that do a great job creating fan films from video games or Star Wars and The Mask. That said, all that hard work is building someone else’s brand. I’m a fan of brands also but I let it influence my work but I don’t work with someone else’s brand unless hired to do so.

All three biblical adventures in THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer) are all on Amazon. I was given an opportunity to produced these adventures with a ‘Star Wars’ feel. The cinematography and often the music was influenced by the Star Wars style. Star Wars was influenced from earlier works like THE SEVEN SAMURAI. A good reason for your own brand is that you don’t have to ask permission to create your own world. And if you succeed those people are becoming fans of your work. Again instead of the hardships of growing an audience around your brand, if you pick a strong brand with dedicated followers you can get a jump on exposure but…. I mean if you create a great Star Wars fan film you might get millions of hits. But try adding a price tag, although you cannot sell someone else’s brand, and it becomes like buying a knock off cologne. If a non-official derivative of someones brand  is offered free you may get a lot of eyes but unless the creators take notice and hire you, you’re just building someone else’s brand. Beware of legal also with others brands. Just my two cents.

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So again just like role playing, cos-play or any fun group activities, fan art has a place but film work is really hard  work for someone else’s brand. My advice is do your own thing or work WITH an emerging artists to create a shared brand. Again I’m not a “my way is the only way” person at all. But I’m not into fan films or hobby films or anything that isn’t building our brand. Now you can build your skill set (acting, directing, writing) with the previous two mentioned types of films so there is value. I do appreciate anyone who uses their imagination to create. We just have long term goals and so those need to remain in focus for us. It is a hard industry to survive in. Take that from a survivor.

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Please do enjoy the holidays with a watch on the trilogy and watch all three in order. Poor ‘Chasing the Star’ sometimes takes a few rocks because someone did not realize they were watching part 2 of 3 films. In time audiences will understand they are a trilogy and a bigger picture will emerge upon watching in order.

I also see a few people who thought the Magi story had nothing to do about Christmas. Maybe I should have added Heat and Cold Miser and a reindeer or two:) But for the few audience members who don’t get it, many DO get it. We don’t dumb down our stories but challenge and encourage people to talk and discuss often hard topics. So ENJOY a watch and discussion.  At one of my distribution content meetings we had discussion about more biblical adventures. I might have my next three films and one of them is written. So we will see said the wise man.

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MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Due to the season where many are enjoying family and friends and watching films, I’ve gotten a spike in fan mail. This film has been generating a good buzz and we have some exciting events and showings coming up in 2020. But you don’t have to wait. You can watch on Amazon today! If dogs and/or support of our military touches you, please do take a watch.

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LOST HEART – The fine cut is getting close. After a wonderful first cut by editor Scott Magie, welcome to the CDI Tribe, a second final cut is near. This week we had a post meeting with Dennis Therrian (music/sound), Jesse Low (Director) along with Melissa Anschutz, Shane Hagedorn and even John Mashni made a stop by. Come mid 2020 we will have a most excellent story to share with you all.

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In the meantime – please watch the CDI Film collection and share your thoughts.

DEVELOPMENT 

HOPE for HEAVEN – is the script I’ve been working on. It’s been developing in a wonderful fashion starting with some great characters. We’re working development on several properties that could go full green light in 2020/2021.  A sequel to KNIGHT CHILLS, perhaps? We’ve had a few screen and camera tests. WW2 drama – coming together. Kids adventure film – might happen:) WILD FAITH TV series:) With some of the new meetings and opportunities before CDI, I promise we will continue to create. Thank you to all of you for your continued support.

WRAP UP…

Ok. We had a wonderful first Christmas gathering yesterday. Friends tonight and several gatherings in the week ahead, including two more family Christmas gatherings. I am down to just a little bit of shopping. I give thanks to those who sent a card or gave little love gifts, much appreciated. But the most important thing you can give anyone is a bit of your time, laughter and joy.

I’ve been questioned about my verbal non-involvement in politics. It’s because much like the ‘golden rule’ I believe in focusing on what we all could benefit from. When people are drained from endless debates, divided by priority differences and angered by the never-ending shortcomings of each another – I say relax. Sit back and watch a story with universal messages woven within. My friendships with people are more important than trying to convince someone I’m right about an obvious self-opinion. So set aside your differences and focus on what brings us all together. Fellow human beings trying to live a meaningful life with health and joy. Even if it is for a few days, try it and you might find it a better way to live, to cope, to exist, to grow, and to be the better you.

Fear leads to anger, anger to hate and hate to suffering – MERRY CHRISTMAS!

DJ


First ‘Lost Heart’ Impressions and Christmas Season Updates

Welcome new readers from Vietnam and France! We are in the Christmas swing here in Michigan. The house is very festive with the tree and wreaths up, a few outside lights and our holiday candles lit! (Thank you Candleberry Co) We’ve taken a few shopping trips out and about but also spent just some good family time including watching some of our favorite holiday shows. Rudolph, Raphie and his BB-gun and just a slew of good spirited content. Speaking of…

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So go to Amazon or any of your favorite platforms or purchase a DVD and take a family watch. I would love to answer any questions you the fans might have. Let’s look at a TOP 10 from the past week developments.

  1. I had another great talk with the author of the book I’m translating into script format. A deep, insightful person and the script is now underway. I’m enjoying the story I cannot think of a better way to spend time while forced inside by the cold.
  2. Another film project that is looking to shoot in 2021 with lots of prep in 2020 is moving along. I’m excited about this project but until we are 100% green lit I’m going to just sit on those updates. I will say that it is another period piece:)
  3. I had meetings over another film that is developing nicely. It is tied into one of our past CDI projects. Some of the business is coming together and even some camera tests this weekend.
  4. Yet another film perhaps in development – a western perhaps. We did a script read this past week and it gave us a look on where the story needs to be tightened.
  5. I concluded some accounting/payout on a recent commercial project that we did and this week we’ll be dispersing $ to the investors on two of the CDI films. Also more revenue rolled in so we’ll just keep the train moving into the new year.
  6. I did some recording for an audio book by another author friend. It was the sections of the story that surrounded the Civil War. So fans of that time period might enjoy this when it is completed.
  7. I’ve been working on putting some promo materials together for a new management relationship I’ll be entering for 2020. It will cover acting, writing and some producing. I’m excited to be working with this new company.
  8. MBF just played in Kentucky and is part of the awards show tonight. Thank you to the Equus Film & Art Festival. Watch for a few more events in the new year!
  9. I’ve been doing some planning on a new biblical adventure trilogy and that is coming along strong.
  10. Also Wild Faith TV series ‘Hastings’ will be one of the projects being pitched around for 2020. How many out there would like to see a sequel or TV series?

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LOST HEART – So I got to watch the first rough cut on the film. As the writer, I was again moved at hearing the words that started in the imagination. To meet the characters on-screen that were dreamt up and have them make you laugh or cry.  The story WORKS! It more than works, it is truly worthy to be another step on the Tribe CDI climb. The actors are not just good, many are great. Our cast is just outstanding led by Melissa Anschutz. If you know her you know she takes no prisoners on-camera. This is her most powerful role and that says a lot. Victoria Jackson…all I can say is after this movie you better still take my calls:) Your phone is going to be ringing. Right story. Right words. Right actors. Between now and the end of the year Jesse our director is taking in our notes and will do the last fine tuning cut. This allows him to input his style into the transitions and to fit everything better with the envisioned soundtrack.  I cannot say enough about Taylor, our young lead. She already is a star if you’ve heard her sing. I met her as an actress on ASHES OF EDEN (Take a watch on Amazon) first and saw her potential ability. Learning of her musical gift and knowing our story needs, her casting and this story met in a perfect place. You will see. And Ponceman…an awesome talent with an awesome last name – Perry. He has Down syndrome but is not defined by it. He allows himself to be an example and inspiration to others. I’ve seen first hand a child with Down Syndrome in Yuma, AZ amazed and satisfied that we were making a movie and someone like HIM, was the co-star. THE CHRIST SLAYER, part 3 of our trilogy. Part 1 Forty Nights, Part 2 Chasing the Star take a watch. If you haven’t watched you need to so you can see what I’m talking about. Anyway – (call with Jesse Low) Yes. Exciting times. So I’m trying to give a small snippet that reflects tone of our story to our distributor’s marketing team. We are in talks on a music video and we’ll be looking at a trailer for the new year.

I’m going to call it here. We might do something in the holiday spirit again today. Tomorrow will start a busy week with lots to do. I’m ready and excited to get after it all. Writing, distributing, developing and renewing friendships by the office fire over coffee, wine, whiskey or water. I’m grateful for all my family and friends and so reach out and add to your own. In the words of Lost Heart’s Hannah Sweet “Success doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have anyone to share it with.” What wise man wrote that;) Work hard but not to the demise of your foundation, your strength, your roots.

Note: I see lots of cool projects developing in Michigan and that is something. I’ve been Michigan since day 1 and I know the production wasteland from whence we came. I was just reminded that my first starring film IN THE WOODS is 20 years old. That classic put me on the world map and gave me a creative rope to climb. I don’t work ‘no pay’ these days but for those that need to showcase themselves, no pay’s serve a purpose. It surely will weed out the lazy. Knowing your own worth and being lazy could be two sides of the same coin/argument. If people are not biting and you need to be seen – a serious attitude and some dedication can open doors. Or you can spend that on Actors Access send outs. Just kidding AA.

My point is WOW, we have some great storytellers developing out there.

I’m looking forward to Tom Norton’s new film. That MASK project, Lance and team are doing, the hard work shows. Dan Falicki’s DWARFHAMMER film (I’ve loved his painted film style since the ‘cave dancers’ in another piece.  NECROLAND had an epic amount of actors, action and extras. I see banter both ways about NO PAY projects and know YOUR WORTH. The fact is I could have held out for “my (perceived) worth on IN THE WOODS and might still to this day be waiting on that starring role. But what he offered was a showcase. As the star, I slept on the couch and catering coming into the apartment was my wake up call. Ultimately the charming film took more rocks than roses initially from critics. We showcased moments of potential excellence in a look, an effect, a mood – we grew by doing. Consistency comes with practice and honing the craft (usually hitting marks, finding lights, know the camera like an old college drinking buddy). If I was starting out as an actor in this Michigan climate, I would be very happy. Invest your time in four or five of these ‘no pay’ (which they do pay with opportunity) showing diverse sides of you. After perhaps consider a move into the competitive ‘Paid Only’ film circles.

So if the ‘No Pay’ part puts you off, triggers you – just walk away. It’s potentially someone else’s chance to shine. Sometimes a more casual, less stressful environment allows talent to gain confidence. That reminds me of  another great example. A good buddy Johnny D has played smaller supporting roles in several CDI films. He recently got to star in CONFIDENCE OF A TALL MAN by Lansing filmmaker Michael McCallum. Johnny D was allowed to showcase a deeper range of emotion in a story that he connected with deeply and his confidence grew.

Additionally, some people are just NOT good at auditions and are so angry because their nerves get them disqualified from the bigger roles. Now on the other side – filmmaking is making your day and pressure is part of that, so you need players. I mean the basketball term of someone who will make the buzzer shot in pressure but not airball under stress. Be the ball Danny…nananan…

OK. I carried on a few but maybe a few nuggets of insight exist. Keep creating and growing.

DJ


2020 Casting Needs and New Official Title Logo For ‘Lost Heart’

My hot hazelnut coffee just got served up in my Oswald’s Bear Ranch mug from Newberry, Michigan. It tastes just divine and so the quiet Sunday begins. Yesterday we went up North for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner because family was in from overseas. Unfortunately my alumni MSU did not take it to the Wolverines yesterday.

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I’m working hard to bring the fleet of CDI films tighter together and to move CDI into new waters. Merchandise is one of the things we will continue to work towards. I want to explore the release of Blu Ray via CDI for some of the films. Also looking at re-releasing some of the ‘old school’ CDI films. Many know that the 1st CDI film “Knight Chills” has had a sequel in development. Things are truly moving on that front just the order of business keeps changing slightly.

Other development projects moving include the book I’m reading and breaking down to become a script. I love being paid to read and write and that is how I’ve spent the last two weeks. This week should be the last week on my read and I’ll start to organize my notes. What has made this easier is that I really love the character development. I will put out an early hint on CASTING. We will be SEEKING – twin girls 18-25 with some serious acting chops. If you know of anyone that fits we want to see a REEL of their work.

The other project coming together to shoot in 2021 with some serious development in 2020 will be a WW2 project. We’ll be looking to start casting during the first of the year. What we’re looking for is German looking actors and speaking German can get you considered for a larger role. So if you have an acting REEL again we would love to see it. Also some video of you speaking German would also be helpful. We will be doing something formal soon but as in the past- come to my blog and you get the early news.

Both of these projects have had the intended distribution lined up. I’ll be having a meeting with BMG this coming week to discuss overall plans for tribe CDI. Reels links can be sent here to the WordPress.

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MBF – I want to thank all of you out there for your support and taking the time to watch the film. I spoke to a few people yesterday one in the military, who was worried about the heaviness of the film. I think there is much light in the film but the darkness is real, not the fluff found in many films. As part of a wonderful festival MBF will screen in a great time slot – Friday, 6:45 at the Ovation Theater at the Kentucky Horse Park, 4089 Ironworks Parkway, Lexington, Ky., 40511

I know that co-star Greg Mason and a few of our producers will be attending. I will let you know if more cast and crew can attend. You just know this is going to be an A plus showing and we’re excited to do so.

We are working on setting up a few other charity showings with the next one possibly in Jan. in Grand Ledge, MI. I also know one is being set up in Naples, FL for the first of the year.

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WILD FAITH – I’m excited to have some discussions on this movie with our distributor this week over a follow up film or the TV series. The film has enjoyed a good run so far and I think people would enjoy seeing these characters again. Yes?

I’ve had a lot of fan mail as of late because of all the film. I enjoy communicating with you all even though I get behind. One fine gent was watching many of our films including my past westerns. He was asking if I’ve ever played an ‘outlaw’ and I had to think. I’ve played bad guys in several films GPS The Movie comes to mind. Donors. Deadly Renovations, Locked in a Room and let’s not forget BESTSELLER.

I heard another fan asking about where BESTSELLER can be found. This was the response from author Chris Knight. Be warned many of these are rated R for the violence.

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Hi DJ,
They can go to www.americanchillers.com (shopping maul) to order.
Please do order direct. This film is as close to a Hitchcock film that I’ve helped produce. I think Melissa Anschutz gives a great performance but wait until you see her in LOST HEART.
Now with all that said, I cannot recall playing the bad guy in a western. That could change as we’re looking at another possibly film that would have me playing…wait for it…an outlaw. I think I have a descent ‘outlaw’ face if you cover up that babyface.
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With our friends Norm and Susan from ‘The Double JJ Resort”
LOST HEART is closing in on the rough cut. The word is that it is running a little long but that is what thew fine editing is about. Often actors will be put back if a scene gets cut but that is them just looking at themselves and not the whole story. Too much fat can weaken a performance where something something taunt is more powerful.
* I recall in MBF when Paul gets served violation by the Sheriff we had about 4 line exchanges before we got to the meat. As Paul developed he doesn’t beat around the bush. He gets to the topic at hand when upset. We just right into the meat of the scene and it plays so much better. Edits are often good for everyone. Oh, except mine. Just kidding:)
This week we’ll start moving some artwork on LOST HEART over to BMG to start concept work on the DVD cover. I’m going to announce our NEW OFFICIAL font for the film. Enjoy.
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OK. I’m going to wrap this up. We have another family gathering celebrating two birthdays. I do love the holiday season and catching up with friends and family.
Be good to one another.
DJ

Purpose and Persistence – Movie Updates

My name is Paul Landings

I’m told it is national coffee day, so my hazelnut coffee is to be recognized, cheers! The past week and the days leading up to it have been jam-packed with activity. On a personal level I’ve had a fill of loved ones facing health struggles including a dear Uncle of mine. Last weekend we got to visit and share a few laughs as he was always that family storyteller I looked up to. Sitting in his chair or around a fire up in Harrison we were always treated to mysterious and exciting stories. His tales of Bigfoot and strange lights in the sky can be seen as an influence in my writing like ‘Lost Heart’ which sadly he will not see. He is nearing the end of this journey and soon to start a new one.

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Others who have not lived the same full life are facing challenges that make us ponder our purpose and value while living our relatively short time. I’m proud that I outlasted all the slings, arrows, naysayer and doubters to do what I love to do. If my time here were to end early, I’m happy and doing what I always dreamt of doing. I work with some amazing people and I think in our own way we are helping.

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The Movies

I’m not a person who puts high value to trophies and awards knowing that some are just vanity. But the awards that recognize the team work are the awards that matter most. The ‘Inspirational’ and certain individual awards to others like Josh Perry, stepping outside the limited views of society to be nominated for “Best Supporting Actor” makes my heart sing. Filmmaking is NOT an individual thing but a collective thing, hence Collective Development. Being that we’re not submitting to these festivals our distributor is, we have surprises every handful of days. Lets look at a bullet point of some of the updates.

FILM UPDATES

  • Hollywoodivine International Film Festival will happen next weekend and we have (3) films MAN’S BEST FRIEND, WILD FAITH and THE CHRIST SLAYER nominated for ‘Best Film’ – two of those for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Most Inspirational’ – All three of our film’s leading men were nominated being yours truly, Shane Hagedorn and Carl Weyant – just incredible. Lauren LaStrada again for “Haddie” in ‘Wild Faith’ – Josh Perry as mentioned above ‘Best Supporting’ – All three films nominated for ‘Best Cinematography’ – two nominations for Jesse Aragon and one for Patrick Dowdle. Lastly the amazing score of ‘Wild Faith’ by Dennis Therrian.
  • Wild Bunch Film Festival will be happening on the same weekend. Ben Lily, Hester Thickett and Emmett will all be in attendance with Darby Hinton, who is my ‘Best Supporting Actor’ competition from another western film. I LOVE the genre and I’m looking forward to representing the film that garnished 13 nominations including again Dennis Therrian’s score. Other nominations include Best (Film, Faith Film, Produced Film, Best Lead Actors (Shane and Lauren), Best Supporting Actors (Melissa Anschutz and I), Best Narrator Trace Adkins, Best Children Actors for both Joe and Xylia and Best Director. If we win anything or nothing it will be a good moment representing the CDI TRIBE!
  • In Randolph, VT the 1st Green Mountain Christian Film Festival will take place Oct 18-19. I think all three films MBF, Wild Faith and The Christ Slayer will play. Among the nominations announced thus far I was granted a ‘Best Supporting Actor’ Nomination for ole Ben Lily in ‘Wild Faith’ – along side Burt Young from ROCKY fame who is an Oscar Nom and whom I met a handful of years ago at Norby Walter’s Night of 100 Stars. ‘The Christ Slayer’ is nominated for a ‘Most Inspirational’ with more nominations to come this week.
  •  LOST HEART editing is underway and we should be climbing to the 30 min mark and we’ve had some PR from Creative Motion and a few other publications. Look for PR to really hit hard 1st of the new year.
  • I’ve had such powerful and heartfelt responses from those watching ‘MAN’S BEST FRIEND‘ and I cannot express how much that fills me with joy. I took a moment this week to read some of the wonderful reviews on our IMDB and Amazon page. I know that you can’t please everyone but overall I think the film is finding its audience. Thank you.  The DVD is suppose to arrive this week on Amazon and once it does we’ll be sharing that with all of you.
  • The book THE HORSE OF MY DREAMS by Revall/Baker Publishing is now out and you can read two of my stories in there. You can get online or at your favorite bookstore. It will make a great Christmas present. Mom no need to get one Santa might have you hooked up this year:) I might do some book store readings or some other PR we will see. I have more books coming that will feature a few of my stories.
  • BUY HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Horse-My-Dreams-Stories-Horses/dp/0800727185
  • We are almost done with a second abridged version of a ‘book video promo’ we did for a publisher. It has been a lot of coordination but in the end it will be worth it.
  • Development talks continue as we prepare for 2020 and what CDI will produce in the years ahead. We have some collaborative meetings in the weeks ahead and we will be charting a course soon.

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I’m going to wrap it up here. Again if you haven’t seen the films in our library please do take a watch. You can also look at more of the film details on http://www.cdiproductions.com

Have a great end to your weekend and a wonderful week ahead.

DJ

 

 



FOUR Secrets of Filmmaking – Plus CDI Updates

Good morning from HOME! Yes. I’m sipping some coffee after a few puppy cuddles and now I’ll be sharing with all of you some updates and insights. First I want to talk about LOST HEART. What a ride we had. First it was just amazing to go from just a blueprint with the script to capturing magic. This script has been hailed as one of my best pieces of writing. I know that writing is much like a film in that it’s subjective. But the story did a great job of painting interesting characters in unique places and situations. It was my first script with Melissa Anschutz in the lead and she performed beyond all my expectations. Much like Shane Hagedorn in Wild Faith, it was great that my scripts could be used as starring vehicles for my friends/peers.

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While we were filming LOST HEART, WILD FAITH was rolling out across the nation. Wal-Mart’s and other retailers around the country starting carrying the film DVD and the fans responded. I had so many people approach me the last few weeks who had watched several of the CDI films. One day in prep – Shane Hagedorn (Emmett) got stopped by a maintenance guy who had seen Wild Faith. Already thrilled to met Emmett, he was further thrilled to be led into a room where Melissa Anschutz and I worked accounting. His eyes got big and his smile wide as he got to meet Ben Lily and Hester Thickett. This meeting of fans played out several times during our multi week stay. All around town – handshakes and kind words. I’m so proud of both Shane and Melissa – they are true leading talent. Everyone sits around and wishes for a starring role but only a select can really ‘lead’ a film. It’s not easy physically, mentally and keeping that arc requires constant adjustments. These two along with my ole workhorse buddy Anthony (Tony) Hornus made up my senior producing team. We have a great associate producer team that helps us do what needs to be done.

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Jesse Low made his third film with CDI (Forty Nights & Wild Faith) and now Lost Heart. Nate “The General” Robertson led a great production campaign. One of his very best to date. We had Nancy Oeswein and Witney Wagner working with CDI for the first time in our office. I think it was a great collaboration and while they had to jump into a very existing system they adjusted and brought some new ideas to the table. I look forward to another future collaboration. Now it cannot be all rainbows so what were some of the issues. Now before addressing that I will again say that prep is so important because it allows a production to aim all its efforts at the immediate problem solving. I see too many businesses run in reactive mode putting a bandaid on something but that in turn causes three issues. Put in the hard work in advance – it pays off. We did this and it was apparent on set and in the final footage.

  • Communication – making better communication is always the goal. While we are VERY good we always strive for better. Most small issues arrive from assuming and not knowing. We are all guilty of that at times and work hard to correct that.
  • Focus – when we are at work people need to set aside their personal relationships aside and focus on the goals of the day. From Call to wrap a film crew works to get its puzzle pieces (Footage). Time is the essence each day and focusing on task will result in earlier days, less mistakes/damages and make a better final product.
  • Representation – When you work for a company you not only represent the film company but the craft as a whole. One of our major locations had someone call and warn them before shooting about “filmmakers” because of a bad experience they had. When asked if it was our company they replied NO. CDI was defended by the owners by telling them their experience had been 100% positive. It is why I am so protective and communicate with locations that all companies are NOT equal. I’m not even comparing subjective final films but how we conduct ourselves while working. I’ve had people try to “drop” my name or our company to gain access to a place. Location owners all know to call us first if approached because if your operation is ‘slash and burn’ meaning getting footage by whatever means possible, that is conveyed. Or at the least letting them know we are not connected. Our team was raking up mulch at one location after the shoot. Pride in how your company/work is looked upon as a fine quality.
  • Positive Attitude – This is something especial required of KEYS. You set the department tone.  For example at CDI vulgar or aggressive outbursts are not tolerated without being addresses. Those examples again show poor communication and tells others that you’re not in control of your department. We always have a few that rise to the new challenge and fly while a few perhaps need more time under an experienced key. Skillset is only part of the equation – being able to motivate, inspire and lead a team with positive enthusiasm is the sign of a great leader. CDI is about developing leaders.

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Once things are running smooth I get to sit back and watch everything. I get to ninja about and observe. I see who treats their gear proper. You should always treat gear as if you own it. Watch someone who does own the gear care for their gear. This is much like the care given to our locations. I can see when outside personal issues intrude upon someone’s focus. I see when personal interactions interfere with work flow and cause distractions. I see when people rush versus moving quickly with care. I see when people are not fully conditioned for feature length shoots either due to lack of rest, poor nutrition and/or lack of prep. I’m proud to say our production only had a few occasions where these things happened. But it is easy to spot on a film set that runs smooth. It is the job of management (producers) to sit back after and evaluate performance. This leads to rehiring or perhaps realizing someone needs more development. Sometimes it was a person was used in the wrong place and would be better suited elsewhere. But applying the 4 principals listed above will improve any production.

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MBF: Man’s Best Friend – This film is about to heat up! A premiere in the director’s home town is being explored first. The film will be releasing into select theaters and home video in the next few months. We got to do a small private screening in pre-production and…(SMILE) – I cannot wait for people to see the film. It showcases beautiful performances by wonderful actors. The hardworking crew made this story flow and it shows. So get ready for this story that showcases the plight of military vets and adoption dogs to come to the big and small screen.

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The Quest Trilogy – The films are continuing to produce even in the non-holiday season. These are adventure films set in biblical times and so they can be enjoyed at anytime. So as we prepare to market for the holiday season ahead – enjoy now. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER.

I’m going to do final wrap up this week on LOST HEART. We’ll meet next week over post process again and to evaluate the shoot. I have a few acting reels to update – one with Ben Lily (Wild Faith) and one for Jesus (The Christ Slayer). I additionally need to work the final paperwork on the new agent collaboration for my screenwriting/producing. Lastly, I have a week-long vacation in the U.P. coming up. But right now it is about unpacking and also getting the yard/house caught up from week’s away. I hope you all enjoy your weekend and the week ahead.

Be good to one another. Doh! The coffee cup is empty.

DJ

 


Day 5 and some Wild Faith Updates

NOTE: Due to storms and internet this is being posted on Monday

Good morning from LOST HEART:) Actually I’m writing in the late night here so I can post before bed. We at have a very full day tomorrow plus we producers are moving into the production rooms after a nice stay during pre-production in the suites. Our crew is enjoying their condos and the area has a serene nature to it. This is the grounds where the infamous ELECTRIC FOREST festival takes place. We were offered passes to this but we had work to do. Plus the older I get the idea of tens of thousands of people does not appeal to me. But it appeals to many people in the 50-70k range. We’ve knocked down our first four days of shooting and after a day of rest we are back at it. We had our biggest day yesterday with lots of extras at a beautiful location in Whitehall. It is a Bed & Breakfast owned by the mayor of the town and her husband. It is called The Lewis House. I got to make some great moments with Don Most, Victoria Jackson and Melissa Anschutz. Old friends and new are being made on this shoot. These two talented actors from Michigan will be joining LOST HEART. I’ve enjoyed all the positive on the story and script and it is a pleasure to see how invested each actor is in their role. Also the artists behind the camera have worked very hard to capture our moments. The heat was very hot but we had good holding areas and won our day.

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WILD FAITH just keeps getting recognized. We did not enter this festival so it has been a surprise and an honor to first be recognized with a JUSTICE AWARD and now they announced recognition for set design. IF you have not watched this film and you like what we’re creating please do take a watch.

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I posted some PR earlier. Almost immediately I saw that some young living historian we had in the film negatively commented that the film wasn’t worth watching he heard because they were only seen for like 5 secs. First I told him, watch it. The flashbacks to war are much longer than 5 seconds. He also was going off someone else so I told him to watch it. Also people are subjective in what they like and don’t like but make up YOUR mind. Also if you love to present your impression of a Civil War soldier to an audience our film probably will give you once of the biggest showcases of your career. Millions of eyes foreign and domestic but for this fella if he did not get enough screen time the project wasn’t worth it. I can say that in twenty years when an older man looks back at a film that immortalized a younger him in a great story, it will be worth it. It isn’t always about you. Sometimes were are part of something bigger together. I sincerely hope this person finds some peace in his life. I can’t always figure people out. I was nice. He was nice back. He wants to still watch the film. Watch it and make your own opinion. Don’t be a sheep.

IMG_7269.JPG Kudos to Jen Raine and Austin Two-Feathers and let’s not forget our director Mr. Low seen in the background. He cares about these films like we do and LOST HEART will make his third with CDI in the directing chair. Congrats to all the cast and crew.

MBF: Man’s Best Friend – We have a lot of upcoming announcements concerning this film but I am going to make you wait. It is past my bedtime and I have our second biggest day shooting on LOST HEART. So I will withhold a little until next week. I’m also trying to confirm a few things.

Have a great Sunday!

DJ

 


LOST HEART – Scout Trip and More

Happy Father’s Day! It is a rainy, cold Michigan day. I am lucky that I got to spend some time with my daddy this morning. I enjoyed a little breakfast of cornbeef hash and eggs. Today I feel pretty good having just returned from a whirlwind scout up North with our advanced scout team for LOST HEART. That is our next CDI film that will start filming in July. I’m excited about some of the beautiful locations we discovered and new friends we’ve met. Yesterday I was a touch under the weather due to multiple conditions but I didn’t get my full sleep due to a cabin loft bed that seemed more fun when I was 12 years old. Add in second day of soccer sore, less sleep and perhaps the sip of peach brandy and I was just tired.

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A Northern location scout – the team seen here with actress Kim Harsch (2nd from left) who co-stars in MBF. Also from left to right Anthony Hornus, Shane Hagedorn, Melissa Anschutz, Me and director Jesse Low.

As I’ve stated before, getting our daily filmed footage is only one of my goals. The other goal/priority is creating a memorable experience for the cast and crew. I think the latter will help us get the best footage. The cast and crew on Lost Heart should be very happy when they see where they will be housed. Lots to do in their down time also but we’ll be announcing more on that later.

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I wanted to announce Mr. Don Most will PR this week but we’re combining that announcement with another exciting one. That is the additional of Josh “Ponceman” Perry to the cast of LOST HEART. If you saw THE CHRIST SLAYER you got to see what an amazing talent he is. I’m looking forward to our time on and off screen. We also announced a young actress Cassie Dean who will be working with us for the first time. We will work to make her feel welcome.

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Our cast and crew is lining up and we think this might be one of our best productions yet. The story/script has gotten some great reviews and I look forward to having it brought to life. We always are trying to make the best story with our limited budgets. Many people don’t have any idea how hard it is to raise production funds. I’m sure some of my fellow filmmakers understand that plight. It’s why most all film projects fail to launch. CDI is not some big faceless corporation it’s actually a small Michigan-based production company trying to tell some good stories. I appreciate the artists and it is one of the traits we look at in our hires, appreciation.

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This week is going to be working to get the final funds into the account. Getting the commitment and getting the actual money can be a task in itself. Many investors don’t always understand our timelines and that can hurt a production. We will also be announcing a few exciting new sponsors. We’ve been targeting Michigan-based companies and we’re proud to align with them.

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MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This film is now being mixed with a few final audio tweaks being done. We will deliver the film on June 30th and they are already gearing up the theatrical marketing. This week is putting the end credits together and soon we will have another completed film.

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WILD FAITH – Our western is building its home video release. The digital rental on Amazon and other retailers will be June 24th. July 2nd is the official DVD release but some faith retailers were given a slight advance on the release. If you’ve seen the film please do leave us a review on IMDB.com or Amazon.com

I’ve gotten word the the legendary Lana Wood will be joining Darby Hinton at the HAPPY TRAILS VA STYLE film event in October I believe it is. I will keep updating everyone as I get more information.

A few of the discussions as of late have been about the WILD FAITH TV series. Once the film fully gets out there we’ll see if the characters in the film are a hit with audiences. If so we’ll be looking at bringing you a full season of the WILD FAITH story.

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THE QUEST TRILOGY keeps adding audiences worldwide and I have enjoyed a handful of fans recognizing me from those films. Again if you haven’t enjoyed these films check out FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER on Amazon and other fine retailers.

This rain and cold is causing a postponement of my nephew’s Bday party and I too might have to reconsider a get together I was going to have for my birthday. Thunderstorms are not good for outside yard parties. But we did get the garden in and I also worked in some grass seed where needed. The rain is good for that. So this week will be more cast and crew agreements and working to lock locations. And…learn my lines. Yes. Even when you write the script you still need to work your lines although it is a touch easier.

I will let this end here and I’m going to organize my work from the scout trip so I can start Monday off right. Be good to one another and keep chasing your dreams.

DJ


Welcome JUNE 2019 – Updates

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June has just started and it has been unnaturally chilly and very wet with several storms passing through the last month. The yard is bursting to life with growth and soon berry season will be upon us. I’ve been harvesting rhubarb for wine-making and I think it is time to bottle the HOPPY GRAPE APE wine I made last season. I look forward to sharing some wine in the months ahead. I’ve been enjoying our soccer season and although most of the games have been wet and rainy I’m having great fun. I’ll keep working on the yard that is again the target for a returning woodchuck I named ‘Dig Dug’ 🙂 He caused me to redo the entire front porch of the office/fort with a ground wall, cement, rocks and logs. It looks nice but wasn’t planning on that being the priority. Today if it dries out it will be grass mowing and grilling.

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On the personal development front it looks like the new representation for my screenwriting and acting is underway. Paperwork will be exchanging soon and I might’ve had a first writing assignment on a TV show had LOST HEART been on deck. As a first assignment I did not want to try and do too much with all the pre-production at hand. Let’s talk on that…

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LOST HEART – We’ll have a locked schedule tomorrow and I’ve already been in first contact with several actors and agents. I hinted last week at the return of Don Most to CDI’s LOST HEART and after my Friday conversation with his agent, another trip to Michigan is happening. He will be starring opposite Melissa Anschutz (Seen above as Mother Mary) who is playing our lead. If my final conversation start of the week goes as good, we’ll be announcing Don with another great co-star.

We’ll be having another production meeting this week with our director Jesse Low and our team. Some crew talks have started and so we’ll be reaching out. All I can say right now is that the location on this project will be beautiful. The lodging and such may be one of our coziest yet. I’ve said it before but aside from getting great footage at the end of the days I want our cast and crew to have a memorable shoot that they can laugh, smile and recall for the rest of their life.

We are interviewing some office staff UPM’s and Prod Coordinator’s so if you think you qualify please do reach out. You will not regret it:) More on this fine project will be announced throughout the month. I look forward to seeing some old faces and meeting a few new ones on this shoot.

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I’ve made a lot of updates on WILD FAITH and The Quest Trilogy so today I’m going to pass along a list of some of the foreign territories releasing the films.

FORTY NIGHTS – Brazil, Benelux, S. Korea, Mexico, Romania

CHASING THE STAR – Mexico, Africa, UK, Greece, Netherlands

THE CHRIST SLAYER – Mexico, Brazil, S. Africa

WILD FAITH – Latin America, Benelux

  • Digital rental is June 24th for WILD FAITH

These lists will keep growing with each film market. I believe they just returned from the Canne Film Market so we’ll have more territories we will release into. I want to thank our hard working distribution folks.  If you are a buyer and your reading this – do reach out to Bridgestone Multimedia Group.

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MBF: Man’s Best Friend – So I was in studio doing some final narration last week and I also got to hear one of the final pieces of music for MBF’s powerful ending. We’re in discussions with our distributor as we prepare to cut the final theatrical trailer. It is a beautiful thought-provoking story and I think audiences will take to it. We deliver the film June 30th so soon after theatrical audiences will get to watch the film.

We have some other exciting development underway on several fronts. I look forward to the continued release of the trilogy and Wild Faith that might include a few special screenings. I know it will be playing HAPPY TRAILS VA STYLE this Oct. I believe. I will give better date and time once the screening time is set. We will know soon if we will play at the WILD BUNCH film fest. They have wanted the film since we started it. Also some great developments that could push the TV series even further. My new agency-to-be also really likes the film and there might be a few possibilities there to assist as well. I really enjoyed watching the DEADWOOD Movie. What a great world they created. Congrats to all the artists involved with that film.

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Don Most looking to return on CDI’s next film “Lost Heart”

I’m going to wrap this up. It was nice yesterday at a family graduation party to see Doug Emerson who follows this blog. Also met another nice lady who had seen THE CHRIST SLAYER in Texas. I had attended a memorial for another old friend prior to that and it was nice to meet some great people. Several of them expressed how much they enjoyed the films. Aside from here in this blog or doing an interview I don’t carry on too much about the films. It is nice to meet some of the people “in person” – and to hear what they enjoyed about our films. Our films have been seen by millions of people over the years but I seldom get to speak directly to them. Know that we do truly appreciate you all taking the time to listen to our stories.

OK. I’m going to go mow the lawn (Movie Star activities:) and fire up the grill.

Have a great Sunday and week ahead.

DJ

 


Top 10 Film Updates “And at the end of all your rainbows may you find a pot of gold”

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Top of the morning to you all on this frosty, spring-like Michigan day. It is also St. Patrick’s Day and being that I’m largely Scot/Irish I’ll be toasting to your health today.

“May you have all the happiness
and luck that life can hold—
And at the end of all your rainbows
may you find a pot of gold.” 

My college alumni team Michigan State University advances in their Big 10 Championship and will play U of M today. Go Green!

I also subbed in for the last indoor soccer game last week with my new team. Nice guys and I look forward to a fun season. It was good to run the engine hard and get those running legs working again.

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(He WAS so small — about 50lbs and growing)

My little boy Finn is growing like a weed and giving us joy every day. Now the ice tundra is leaving us we can enjoy a lot more yard time. I especially enjoy the outdoor meetings at the fort that includes dart playing.

Today we will have the mother’s over for corn beef and cabbage and I’ll be drinking a few PB&J Porters from my friends at Elk Brewery in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

To the film updates…how about a TOP TEN for the BIG TEN tournament today.

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(Mr. Trace Adkins)

  1. The cat is out of the bag (what a bad saying) Mr. Trace Adkins has joined our WILD FAITH movie endeavor. You can read about it here. https://www.prlog.org/12759600-country-music-stalwart-trace-adkins-joins-collective-development-incorporateds-wild-faith.html
  2. The first of the theatrical screenings announced in Grand Rapids, MI – Get your tickets here. This is remastered and should be a great viewing experience. https://celebrationcinema.com/film-info/woodland-mall/wild-faith
  3. May 6th is the WILD FAITH DVD release and I’m hearing in Walmart in June or July.  Did I tell you how much I love the cover art? I do.
  4. We have just gotten word on The Christ Slayer that will be showing at the International Christian Film Festival. We’ve been nominated for 4 awards that we’ll PR this week. 1) Most Inspirational 2) Best Film 3) Best Director (Nathaniel Nose) and 4) Best Supporting Actress Melissa Anschutz – I’m super proud of our cast and crew. DVD and Streaming available now – in theaters starting April 19th.
  5. Upcoming director of LOST HEART Jesse Low and I are so close to a final script. I have a review once I finish this blog. It is really fun script – emotional and funny.
  6. LOST HEART Location scouting and vendor talks continue while our producers work to lock in the final investments. Northern Michigan is such a beautiful place. It will be great to have it in front of our cameras.
  7. Also with LOST HEART we’ll be announcing the addition of two knuckleheads to the cast, Mr. Shane Hagedorn and some guy, DJ Perry:) We’ll both be playing supporting players in this fine story.
  8. MBF: Man’s Best Friend has a locked picture edit and is moving into sound and music with Dennis Therrian. The story is really moving and I’m thrilled by the final story.
  9. Once MBF is moved over to sound the final VFX and Color Correction work will begin. Once that is complete we will cut a new trailer from the edited and color corrected footage.
  10. Last week I recorded two commercial voice over pieces. It went great and I hope the client is happy. I know the director was so we’ll see. Again, feel free to approach me with a project just come with an offer. This is not a hobby for me it is how we put bread on the table and wine in the glass. (Actually I make wine)

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(Looking ahead to the new roles)

I’m going to wrap this up so I can refill the coffee cup and get to my LOST HEART review. Have a great end to your weekend. Be safe and have a productive week ahead.

DJ

 

 

 


Auditions, Updates and Other News

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I want to sincerely welcome everyone out there for joining me again at ‘Clawing my way to the Middle” blog. I had a multitude of topics to discuss but events of the last few days have put my head in a spin. On a personal note I lost all my grandparents years ago but have enjoyed having that relationship with my lady’s grandparents. One of them passed away last week. She was 89 which is a full life but it still leaves a hole. She was a great supporter of our films especially the biblical adventures. Unfortunately she did not get to watch THE CHRIST SLAYER part 3 of our trilogy. We talked about it last time we were together. So I’ve had a few trips up North and will spend a few more days this week up there for visitation and the memorial.

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As if that wasn’t bad enough a dear and close friend and associate lost his home in a fire. Also lost were the family pets and that is just devastating to hear about. This week it will be about helping him get back onto his feet. Luckily he himself did not perish in the fire but my heart goes out to him.

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I had planned to discuss a topic with acting but after all the tragedy it has lost some of the punch. Basically I considered a role in a feature and was even willing to do a sketch read of the character from sides. The issue is that in ALL situations I will sign an NDA (Non disclosure agreement) so I can read the entire script/story. I know few successful actors that will jump on a project sight unseen unless they have immense trust from previous work. Their position was that a script will be provided once talent is signed on. Ummm…once you’re trapped contractually. But many actors due to lack of choices do just that – sign on sight unseen. I’m too far down the path to do such a thing. Also a director will a major lack of experience and it was a polite pass. Value yourself and know what you’re getting involved with. I do wish them luck on their storytelling endeavors.

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I did agree to do two commercial voice over jobs. It pays well and I don’t have to get a hair trim. Anyone need a viking in your film or TV show? That’s me right now. LOST HEART is also developing nicely. As you all know we announced our director Jesse Low (Wild Faith, Forty Nights) and our star Melissa Anschutz playing country music star ‘Hannah Sweet’. She is returning home to her small Northern Michigan town of LOST HEART for her father’s funeral. This week we’ll be announcing Dean Teaster as the father Harrison. Also amazing actor David Gries will be announced as playing the younger version of Harrison in a few very important flashback scenes. So again you got the early skinny here. Later this coming week I will go page by page with our director and lock up a shooting script.

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MBF: Man’s Best Friend – I have a first cut of the film edit. I did a first review for the story and it’s powerful.  It got me at the end of the film emotionally. We need to review and trim for pacing but the story is there and it’s powerful. I was so proud to see the great work by everyone. A couple of weeks of trims before the next phase.

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This past week we’ve been promoting the current digital release of THE CHRIST SLAYER and the upcoming March 4th DVD release. Also April 19 the film will play select theaters across the USA. I’m very proud of this film. As with every film when we get to credits we go over and over and try to put as many eyes on it as possible. But we always make an error of missing a name or more likely misspelling a name. It’s why we run the end credits by so many people. I was unhappy to learn that one of our incredible actresses had her last name spelled wrong. So Brittany Risner my deepest apology. The DCP theatrical is loaded, DVD’s are in the warehouse and digital is released. That film was so massive with VFX and digital info that it took days to render it. There is just no fix to the issue but I wanted to openly apologize here.

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The film minus the ‘Jesus haters’ is getting a great reaction. I state it again, you don’t need to be a Christian to enjoy the stories of Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments or any other biblical stories. Also these films are not biographies or meant to be some historical documentary films. They are parable stories with lessons taken from the teachings of Jesus, presented in a unique and artistic way. No more. If you have not seen it yet I ask that you take a watch. The films are different from what you usually see on the topic I assure you. The first two films FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR can also be found on Amazon Prime.

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WILD FAITH is also preparing to ride into theaters next month March 23rd. I will be publishing cities and screens for both THE CHRIST SLAYER and WILD FAITH once provided. We’re also preparing some PR for this fine film that includes the addition of our added story narrator. I will again be publishing cities and screens once that info is provided.

I had planned to chit-chat more on various topics but my mind is on some of the recent events. I’m feeling good about the various CDI releases and I’m excited to get my notes over to our director and editor on MBF.  Check in at http://www.cdiproductions.com during the week. We will be posting a few casting notices there in the next week or two.

Enjoy the balance of your weekend and have a great week ahead.

DJ

 

 

 


LOST HEART Advance News and more…

Well, well, well last week’s blog entry made a large impact. We had maybe the most readers from around the world. It was crazy to see all the countries represented. It was a great week and I’ll speak on some of that. I’ll also give a few open spoilers before released in PR next week. But I want to sincerely thank all the people who joined me this past week. I’ve got the hot hazelnut coffee here by my side and I’m going to get into some updates. I will note on a few things I noticed this week.

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We had our 3rd film in THE QUEST TRILOGY – The Christ Slayer release to amazon, google play, Christian Cinema digitally. This film is unusual as it is available on home video (DVD will be March 4th) and will be releasing into theaters for Easter on April 19th. I had a big conference call meeting with the VP of BMG and 8 executives/employees from the theatrical company. I’ve never been in on a call quite like that as we’ve never had national releases. The call also touched upon WILD FAITH that releases into theaters March 23rd and will roll to home video after the platform release. I’m so happy that these films that do play great on the big screen due to the strong production values brought by our artists. I’ll be getting lists of where the films will play city and theater chains. I’m hearing that we have in MI early interest from Emagine, Celebration and Goodrich who carried the film before. Canada is being considered for theatrical and I hear that a deal in Brazil could be close. I was just proud to have all these talented people focused on our films.

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I had a goal of making a trilogy of biblical adventures that would appeal to a broad audience like the Chuck Heston films of old. I’ve noticed that beyond the normal trolling that films with a religious topic or theme also get attacked. If you’ve watched The Christ Slayer and enjoyed it I encourage you to vote and share your thoughts. When you see a two sentence slam on a film versus an intelligent write-up/review it’s pretty easy to make up your mind on which review is more accurate. I’ve noticed on past films like Chasing the Star, that people don’t know their history. They complained that the film was dark. Ummm…King Herod’s reign was dark. They called it unGodly because it focused on a different religion with the Magi. Ummm…this is accurate and Christianity wasn’t close to being a religion. I don’t mind if someone doesn’t like something but when they claim something isn’t accurate is silly when only their education is what isn’t accurate. Lot of viewpoints are subjective but that doesn’t make it wrong. It just tells me that films like these were badly needed. So feel free to watch all three films now on Amazon but if The Christ Slayer plays near you in April please do check it out on the big screen.

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Wild Faith should roll out new artwork and we should start to see more PR on this wonderful film. There are also some few things in play with the distributor that could lead to our TV series. We had good talks over this film which I think will play great all across this country. I hope my Canadian friends and fans get a chance to see this film on the big screen. But I learned that in Canada they have different ratings boards for each territory. So you could have to pay for multiple ratings but they still might elect to do just that. I’m excited to see this again on the big screen. We’ve remastered the film for the new release and added a great new addition to the film with a surprise story narrator.

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MBF: Man’s Best Friend will have a first edit end of this week. We’ll spend two weeks refining the cut before moving it along to Dennis Therrian for music and sound design. The theatrical company has an early interest in the film and with a good amount of lead time we’ll be able to do some great marketing. We’ll also start work on a new trailer in April cut from the edited film. I’m excited that while we deal with all this new release business this film is right behind it.

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And right behind that film is our newly announced movie LOST HEART. Our FB social media  and IMDB pages are now active.

FB: https://www.facebook.com/lostheartmovie/?modal=admin_todo_tour

IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9640414/reference

We will start announcing cast this week as we move forward. Also you will hear it here first but CDI will once again be teaming with director Jesse Low (Forty Nights, Wild Faith) on LOST HEART. We met with several talented directors and some of them could end up working with CDI in the future. But for this next journey we’ll be working with Mr. Low. Also we’ll be announcing Melissa Anschutz, who will be playing the title role of ‘Hannah’ in the film. A big congrats to them both and we’re looking at April/May timeframe to shoot. The film will again be distributed under a deal CDI has with BMG.

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I’ve also been working hard on the end-of-the-year tax work for the films. On a personal level I’ve been in talks over finding the right literary agent to do work for hire writing and to sell a few scripts I don’t plan to produce. I’ve got a few outside CDI films I’m looking at for acting but we will see. Even if paid I don’t like working hard on films that never get finished. I have a few of those lingering in my past. But I believe I will be directed towards the right projects. I will be playing a fun supporting role in Lost Heart but you’ll have to wait to hear more on that.

Yesterday I spent some time cutting up firewood for the office stove. I’m going to work on finishing a few other business items today and get a jump on things for next week. Again I was just so happy to see the HUGE spike in readers and from so many countries. Keep following your dreams and telling those stories and creating that art. We’ll talk next week. Feel free to check out http://www.cdiproductions.com for other film updates. We will have a few holes in our casting that we’ll be looking for soon.

Have a great Sunday!

DJ

 


Wrapping up the 2018 Year – Looking Ahead to 2019

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New readers from Samoa and China joined us last week. I know that the filmmaking experience (resources, distribution, audiences) changes slightly from culture to culture. But at the heart of it we are passionate beings who love engaging in the storytelling experience either as listener/watcher or teller. I love being a creator and being an audience member. So yesterday basically two years to the day we finished the final elements to THE CHRIST SLAYER. Our director Nathaniel Nose came in and we polished the final mix/design with our incredible Dennis Therrian. His musical score is absolutely one of his best. The complexities and grandiose arrangements take you back to the classic days of Hollywood. We worked with Mr. Sundberg on our color correction, conforming and final composition. Last night at the office we shared a few beers and looked at the wide-screen, color corrected final master. A few of the final VFX shots have to be rendered into the timeline but I was blown away. Jesse Aragon, our DP did a wonderful job. This was the final film in The Quest Trilogy and is likely the largest scale production to date. CHASING THE STAR had more animals but the VFX in THE CHRIST SLAYER makes it the largest scope to date. Both the director and I liked the epic inspiration of Lawrence of Arabia and that soundtrack was with me in Yuma, AZ when we filmed.

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The previous day we tweaked a few Mother Mary lines. This film has some powerful female characters in it. Especially the roles played by Melissa Anschutz and Christine Marie, who appear as they’ll be co-starring in a CDI film this spring. Brittney Risner and Carl Weyant give a classic Hollywood love relationship. And Josh Perry, will simply steal hearts. Amazing supporting performances across the board by Dean Teaster, David Gries, Bob Shepherd and more.  Taymour Ghazi, Shane Hagedorn and my departed mentor Rance Howard brought the power one last time. Rance’s performance might be his last feature film role he ever performed. The final scene we share together in the film was our swan song to working together. I’m very proud of it. We talked for hours about that final scene. He made notes and adjustments – just two costars working out our motivations. I recall being so proud of Rance and feeling how special it was, never guessing it would be our last story together. Now all the elements will start to be pulled together for an upcoming delivery to our distributor. We’ll soon get to see how audiences enjoy this film as it travels to theaters and to home video. Stay tuned for CDI’s most epic adventure yet this Easter season.

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I’m excited for everyone to get back to the office in 2019. I will be ready for a slight rest from the intensity of final post. You work end credits so hard knowing that by Murphy’s Law some misspelling or missed ‘thank you’ or name will take place. If your ever on the receiving end of that – know the filmmakers likely did not intend that. I had one situation that was suspect only because the misspelling came after working on a project whereas one producer on that project was NOT brought back on a film CDI was hired to reshoot. Either way, it showed a disregard for my brand ability to draw my audience to that film. No business reason why, so perhaps it was a true mistake or maybe it was personal. I don’t hold a grudge, but it makes me less likely to work with that company again. I passed the second time I was invited but it was partially timing, pay rate and the role also.

NYC Time Square

Integrity matters.

When in post this week, I was sent a news story that a Detroit-based – I struggle for the right word. I will use filmmaker, because he has made films. But in a promotional news story for FOX he claimed to be a producer on our CDI Ghost Town movie, our 2006 Lionsgate film. SMALL ISSUE  – he wasn’t. He did not exist in pre, prod, or post production and was caught trying to do some head shaking actions in conjunction with this film. I didn’t really like, nor trust this person from day 1 and tolerated him out of respect for one of my producers until that head-shaking point. After that, I was done with him. Easy enough. These people burn themselves out as their true nature is revealed. But I would never go on a TV interview and openly lie and use it to promote myself. I was questioned if I should have legal bring it down. I might. But the justice in all this is I get calls on people about their character, integrity and true place in the film community as I see it. Yes. My opinions and sometimes my direct knowledge of someone’s actions. I’m always honest. I warn or endorse people simply by saying if I would work with this person or not. I’ve been contacted often. It’s a small film community and I do know many people who trust me to shoot them the straight skinny. And I have.

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I recently had a great discussion about what another peer filmmaker is developing. All of it was heavily tainted in my mind all because one of his close partners. I’ve had first hand experience with that person and actually let them go. Not a bad person at all. I just would not risk any further capital on his efforts. Would you re-enter a situation with negative elements/variables? This fellow filmmaker lamented the often true statement of how every set he’s worked on has had the cancer of negativity. I’ve had a few “negative” situations like this over the years but those elements were isolated and corrected or dismissed.

Bottom line. This is not some vanity game for me but a noble tradition of storytelling. I’ve been blessed to have several great crews working with us but that all starts at the top. That means conducting good business, constantly streamlining your communication and having a solid battle plan. I believe in our artists and I’ve grown as an artist with many of them. We don’t participate in these popular film challenges, although they teach new crews excellent finishing skills. One friend, had his possible award-winning short disqualified because run time ran over by seconds. He could have either A) Organized a social media gripe that his team was treated unfairly for petty seconds of overrun or B) Accept responsibility that as team leader it was a costly mistake made by their team or him. In football they say it’s a game of inches. So start taking accountability as a new year’s resolution and watch the new growth happen.

I’m in hopes to discover a few good projects, properly funded to come act on this year. I also have to connect with the script/role as you always should. Aside from that, I plan to produce 2-3 features with CDI this year. I’ve had many new folks reach out about financial involvement and we’ll entertain those interested parties once I’ve addressed my current backers with opportunities. Beware of any investors that also bring too many strings attached. Sometimes those strings can be the downfall of a project. I’ve seen it happen.

Other Films-

We’re around the 1.3 hour mark on MBF and should have first cut in a few weeks. I would love to lock a cut by the end of Jan. we will see where we sit very soon. I think many of you enjoyed the behind the scenes MBF short we released on Christmas Eve.

WILD FAITH new art, theatrical dates and more should be announced soon. It’s heading back to big screens in March across the country. Home Video dates follow close behind. Those dates can be found on the FB, official Wild Faith or IMDB sites.

I’ve been in the trenches hard-working on these new films to bring them out of post. Once I get a few days rest here while our tech guru’s assemble and deliver – development will continue full ahead. I also plan to set my goals in writing for the new year and see how close I came to last year’s goals. Have a great wrap up to your year. Be safe and plan your 2019 approach. If you would be so kind you can take a watch on our past and forthcoming films. Handcrafted from our family to yours.

Have a great Sunday!

DJ