Hello new readers Uganda, Brazil, Singapore and more – I’ve got my hazelnut coffee beside me. I spent the morning watching/reading some random news. I went to bed as LIVE video of Grand Rapids, MI protest/riots/chaos unfolded. Whatever happened in GR was not on the national radar. Only the big cities are covered but every community has been touched.
My history is that I was brought up upper-middle class by a stay-at-home mother, from kindergarten on and a father who was raised a part-time foster child by a kind family who helped raise him on their family farm. He put himself through college at MSU serving in the National Guard and worked hard to build everything he ever had.
We lived in a great secluded neighborhood nestled in the woods outside of Lansing. Our neighborhood had several various nationalities, religious denominations and such. But I do recall one of the fine African American neighbors going around before moving in and talking with all the neighbors. Even at a young age it seemed unusual but this was the early 70’s. Even interracial relationships were seen as rare back at that time. But our neighborhood picnics were great and we all felt like one community. This was a rare and beautiful thing.
I went to the public schools and my elementary school included all the children from the nearby projects. I got to go to school with children of all races. In 5th grade we also had a big influx of Mong children. I cherish those days and many of those classmates are still friends. We learned to appreciate one another and the differences between us. In the days of the afro a distinct advantage was given when playing eraser tag in class. We often were treated to food and music from different places. I have to point out that teachers have the greatest opportunity to plant these seeds. We had some wonderful teachers who loved everyone equally. They worked to make sure barriers were broken down.
Middle School brought all the kids from various surrounding communities. Many of these pre-existing elementary relationships moved forward with us. Some grew apart but individually we all carried those lessons from elementary school onward. Fights and situations occasionally arose but most were over non-racial issues. Jealously as young hormones develop and the war of words that would go too far. But here new friendships were made some that carry on to this day. Off the top of my head – my friend Dwight, bi-racial who now is into politics. Donny now a police officer that I see occasionally at a mutual favorite Chinese restaurant. Community.
High School – “Should have been a Big Red” again saw an evolution as an even more diverse group was brought together. The biggest fights I ever saw was over someone cheating in TONK, a card game. The fight was not over difference in skin color but over cheating. Jealously fueled a few more scuffles as young hormones led people even deeper into new emotions and feelings. I continued to have friends in many circles from my interest in martial arts, soccer and yes, filmmaking. Friends were gathered by common interests and conversation.
I spent time during several summers in Denmark as part of an All-Star soccer exchange program. Living in the homes and participating in daily activities gave a wider view of the world to everyone involved. I went to LCC the community college while on a waiting list for MSU. My growing interest in film was pulling my attention from certain studies to scripts, storyboards, cast and crew organization. Lastly, I attending and graduated from MSU in a cobbled together degree that was attempting to fill in for a lack of a film program.
I’ve been a camp counselor, soccer coach and player here and overseas and a martial arts instructor. I’ve always looked at the PERSON. We are all gifts that are each wrapped a little different. Isolation and lack of exposure to different groups is what leads to or continues to extend the perceived difference. I can say that having friends of all colors and creeds keeps one from purposely speaking harmful words. And it makes it harder to sit by and listen. I have spoken up in kindness on several occasions to offer a different viewpoint to someone speaking ill.
I’ve found that an entire race often gets blamed for the actions of a few. Our impressions grow from our experience. Good or bad experiences will shape these attitudes one way or another. It is why – me personally, am not a fan of “school of choice” which while you may or may not save your child from some childish harassment you are also taking away the opportunity for that young person to have a science partner or gym class teammate that could instill lifelong perspective moving forward in life. A view that we are all one people. That we are same on the inside with interesting and colorful differences on the outside. Don’t leave a past of segregation only to enter a present day self-segregation. Cross the isle and be surprised at what you can learn and take away. Thank you to the TEACHERS who planted the seeds of harmony.
FILM UPDATES –
I enjoyed a great week of fan mail on our past film projects like THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer), WILD FAITH (Very timely) and MAN’S BEST FRIEND (Thank you). If you want to watch thought provoking and positive stories please do take a watch. If you like what you say leave a few reviews and share with others. That is happening and the fan base to this movies keeps growing.
LOST HEART – This amazing film is in the final stretch of sound design and music. We’ve been putting a fine tooth comb over the credits trying not to make any errors of misspelling or missed credits. I had a good discussion with our distributor over this film. We’re all very excited to share this with everyone late summer/early fall.
LOOKING AHEAD –
BEST YEARS GONE – This week we announced the addition of Victoria Jackson. This will be the second time she has worked with CDI. You can read about it below.
Director Shane Hagedorn and I have been going over the script reworking some dialog to bring the “Racing” elements in the script out stronger. The character I play Gil, had his best days when he was chasing his dream of being a race car driver. This movie will have some great elements of music and such in in. We have a few more actors to announce and next week we’ll be looking at our new proposed shoot dates in August.
- We’ve also been pulling together the business on the 2021 WW2-era film and made a few more great steps this past week. Only a handful of units to move on this project and we’ll have this one ready to go.
- Also some great talks over ‘Hastings‘ the proposed WILD FAITH tv series. I had talks with our distributor over pre-sales and a few possible investors. This series is growing stronger by the week.
- We are still looking at the animation division – evaluating our scripts.
- Merchandise site is going to be going up – we’ve got some great things to offer our fans. I have a meeting over that this coming week.
- Soon I should be announcing the new home for some of the CDI associated projects. We have some agreements to review but things are almost all set up.
I’m sure I’ve missed a few updates but I’ve got some work to get done today so I’m going to end this. I’m not sure what any of you might take away from all this but take the time to get to know one another. Embrace the differences between us. Know that within our hearts and minds we are the same. Excessive force is real as is the danger that those tasked with enforcing laws. The athlete, soldier and law enforcement can all fall victim to adrenal flow. But someones pre-existing perceptions can breed compassion or excessive force. Protest is a great show of unity but rioting can cause those negative seeds to root even deeper.
As an artists I believe in the power of the story to enact change in people’s thought, actions and deeds. I believe we are all wired to love a story and when engaged we can enlighten someone to a different way to think or feel. The confinement due to the virus and the economic damage to so many has only served to fuel this fire. I would support the peaceful approach to protesting but understand the power of feeling in control when the world seems to leave many feeling powerless. The power of the mob ruling the night is addictive but is wasted frustration that could be better channeled. I am not one to judge but I see more positive paths to change.
Be safe and we’ll chat next week.
So this morning started with the news of an elder family member passing at the ripe age of 89. I had the pleasure of meeting him a dozen years ago and connected with him over several games of horseshoes. Yesterday marked the 3 years passing of our furry daughter Joplin who was with us for 15.5 years. Finn our new boy just celebrated his first year with our family. The wheel keeps turning. I’ve said before one of my daily goals is to just laugh. I focus and work extra hard on certain days so I can do in-person meetings vs just a string of calls. I push a business call or two and call to touch base and reconnect with old friends and associates. Actor/artist Terry Jernigan and I recently touched base after too much time. I have a list of people who I need to catch up with. This is all in-between planned calls with associates in other countries and time zones. I don’t love phones but until those Star Trek transporters are ready for commercial use, phone works. I asked Santa this year for one of those old school hold phones that plugs into your iPhone. I’ve been pretty good so maybe Santa will look after me.
Speaking of iPhones – I met this past week with filmmaker Nathan Quinn. We were celebrating his finishing of his first 90 min feature installment of NECROLAND. With the amply amount of extras, effects, props and such the film has succeeded strongly in one place, it surely paints a chaotic world. The film unfolds in broad strokes that tries to reveal a world-wide crisis somewhere between magic and science. Think steampunk without the turn of the century feel. The show does have interesting characters but the film plays like more of a tv pilot. I say that because several groups of characters are introduced but few are fully developed. It reminded me a bit of the old GI-JOE tv show. This guy has a cool hat and a whip. This lady has some sort of cyber implants. But we don’t know too much of anyones backstory. I could occasionally see where improv performances struggled but I also felt a few real moments. I also have known Mr. Quinn for many years and he’s not a compromising type. NECROLAND has moments of feeling child friendly but the profanity and gun massacres with head shots, will hinder that. I’m speaking of distribution because I love Danny McBride, George Carlin, Redd Fox type humor. I’m fine with violence when it isn’t just going for shock value. But I understand there’s an audience out there for everything. But those that love the violence and the R-Rated aspects will want more of it and less “Goonies gone wrong” I think. I was also impressed with some of the editing work during the montage sequences. It was trippy and dare I say enjoyable, which begs Nathan who has a background in music – to maybe add a rocking soundtrack. If you played something like Black Sabbath’s “The Mob Rules” during some of those Necrit attacks! NOTE: I was quiet during lots of the production because I just wanted to see the story. A HUGE amount of man hours in that film not forgetting the stuff that pre-dated it and did not make the cut. I know he’s doing some polishing (I suggested color correction) for the DVD. I think a group of friends gathered together on a Saturday night could really enjoy this film. I think this film marks an important place in the Ironcore development. I’m more excited to see where it all goes from here. In a feature film direction – I would say a more targeted audience, fewer characters allowing more character development. But in a series format like LOST and countless others you can have 20+ main characters. I think Ironcore is going to start direct sales with the DVD so take a look when it becomes available. Congrats to my friend for leading a team of artists in using your imaginations and creating some cool art. Countless artists have been given a chance to participate in their own love of storytelling and being in front of the camera thanks to Ironcore.
It all starts with a script. I’m just about done with my read on the book I’m turning into a screenplay. I loved the character development and the gist of the story. I’m also honored the author wanted me to present the story in script. This film has the intent to distribute behind it and we’ll be shooting this later next year.
I had good meetings over our projects in development with our distributor. We discussed what has been moving strong at the markets. I’m enjoying this growing relationship as we keep telling our stories and they push them out into the world markets. One of the main topics and updates was on LOST HEART. Next week they will start concept artwork for the DVD cover. Our team has been getting elements over to the distributor. We will also be doing a watch on the rough cut before director Jesse Low fine tunes it.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – the response is strong and growing. After the non-profit premiere success we’re pivoting a bit on the event theatrical. The film will play next month in Kentucky for the Equus Art & Film Festival. We have non-profit showings being set up for the first of the year in Lansing, MI and Naples, FL. But in the meantime keep passing the word and over the holidays make sure your family watches this powerful story.
WILD FAITH/THE QUEST TRILOGY – All the CDI films are enjoying time with families around the world. We just got some breakdowns of all the countries and platforms that are playing our films. Just like this blog it is a great international family of those who enjoy listening and telling stories.
I’m excited that the holidays are here. I have a dinner with old friends on Monday and Thanksgiving on Thursday. I hope you all enjoy some time with your family and friends.
Have a great week!