Good morning! I’m writing you from the deck of my patio that has hop vines wrapping around all it. (The pic above from the spring) The squirrels are busy picking the last of the ripe mulberries and birds are singing while playing in the bird baths. Without question the coffee sits beside me flooding me with the wonderful taste of hazelnut. If I cannot find a coffee sponsor in the next few years I just going to open a coffee business. I have to try harder with some of the local Michigan roasters.
The office fridge might have seen its last days. It’s almost fully defrosted and we’ll see once we plug it back in if it lives. If it’s dead I’ll be getting a more fuel-efficient replacement. The one now was from my buddies basement where we would skip class at MSU, drink beer, play pool and listen to jams. It’s been a worthy chiller of beverages so we will see.
This week was a hot, humid wave that’s not really to my liking. It was followed by just a few extremely beautiful days consisting of warm air and cool winds. During the heat wave I got a lot of writing and paperwork done while watching the various nations go at it on the World Cup soccer field. Let’s look at a few of the movie updates.
I’m happy to say that the domestic home-video deal on the 3rd film in The Quest Trilogy – THE CHRIST SLAYER is signed. It will join parts 1 & 2 at Bridgestone Multimedia Group. The Christmas theatrical will be followed by an Easter home video release. I’m excited to have all three out there together which will reveal more about the overall storyline. Interweaving of the story arc goes through all three stories/movies. IF you have seen part 1 (Forty Nights) or part 2 (Chasing the Star) please do leave a review on amazon or IMDB and leave what you took away from it. I think people unaware that it was a trilogy felt part 2 kind of left them hanging – well it was meant to. The next few months will see things heating up PR-wise on part 3 with more BTS and still photos releasing. It really is an epic way to end the trilogy. I know Dennis Therrian will do another incredible score. The VFX work coming in is just incredible, not surprising as their previous work included BLACK SAILS (One of my favorite series) and ROGUE ONE just to name a few. They built models and created digital matte paintings just for this film. This film was a really cool step for us as a company allowing us to use as many VFX shots as we did. I have director Nathaniel Nose to thank for all that.
I will use that example in discussing development work at CDI. I’m trying to make more time to sit down with people in our field. Directors, actors and those trying to produce content. From the earliest days of CDI it was about bringing cards to the table. CDI is an actor/producers company looking to tell powerful stories. Currently we have momentum behind my scripts – distributors like the content and final product. Talent loves the style and depth of the characters and situations. We also have some talented writers within our ranks. ADVICE – IF you’re bringing a script to the table the best thing is to also bring the money.
BUT THIS IS THE HARDEST PART! Yes. I know this. After many years in this industry – a truth is – every NEW variable could lead to new advancements OR disaster. The wrong crew or cast can be devastating to the overall quality of the final product. I’ve been scrutinized because I would rather pay a broader crew base a modest wage versus overpay a name talent, at the expense of the crew. It’s a difference of opinion in business models and a happy medium does exist. I feel a larger name can move more initial units but a bad movie with a larger name will also die off quickly. I had to turn off a multimillion dollar film lately. It was long, plodding (nice camerawork) but after an hour plus we still had 45 min plus minutes to go. We didn’t care about any of the characters. That’s the result of either a poor script or just bad chemistry as you know they had a huge crew base. I’m saying that I would rather have a modest, long-term success with a good movie vs a flash hit with a bad film. How long before it gets lost in the shuffle of bad films? What do you have to show for all that hard work years later?
OK. I went slightly off topic. But anyone new is a wild variable, and therefore a risk. Skill is only part of the equation whereas personality/character is the other big factor. Do they play well with others? Positive? Respectful? I’ve had others say “so and so” is a great artists but grumpy or aloof and that’s just how they are. Well, they can go be that somewhere else. I have reduced all this down to a simple saying – Always be a sail and never an anchor.
So with these sit downs – I’ll be getting to know people and informally evaluating to see if they would ever work well into our system. The CDI system. What does that mean? Well…these films were not the result of some money thrown together to rush together a film – perhaps with no accountability. I shudder when I hear of all the films being done with no script or the script is just an afterthought. I recall one time an actor friend telling me they were on set and the director was having them write the script on the spot. He called it interesting and I called it incompetence. I guess it was both. But here we’re taking on investment capital and we must give best efforts. This company was founded on best efforts and striving to always be better. CDI today is built upon its earliest endeavors. Future CDI endeavors will be built on current endeavors. This is a tradition not a hobby. Not a film challenge but an evolution. This is a business that works in deep creative waters. My expectations of myself and the producers/directors are high. My expectations of the cast and crews are high. If you are not serious about the process and the end result – off the deck. No point in trying to sign up here.
Now some people just don’t know any different but once shown a better way they are willing to adapt and thrive in a more structured endeavor. Others can try to drag negativity or bad habits from previous experiences but I’ve been doing this a long time. If you start to feel like that anchor, stating obvious problems versus presenting viable solutions, being a sail – I’m going to drop you at the next island. Lose your professionalism and respect and the immediate gangplank walk could be your fate. I don’t fire often but I’m more than willing to do what needs to be done. That said, every firing has been a failing on my part. A failure to properly evaluate someone before a hiring or just failure to lead that person to a better way of co-existing on a film set. Management is something I enjoy because I’ve had the opportunity to create the environment that I want to work in. The environment that allows the best creative juices to flow.
I guess in summary – you could be involved in a CDI association or collaboration IF you have your own funds and seek a machine (production unit) that runs like a CDI film. Now $ still rules so if you bring a majority of the production funds, unless decided differently in contract, we consult or bring options to arising issues. That controlling entity makes the final decisions. Those decisions need to be made with wisdom and balance or trouble can quickly develop. I think I make fair decisions and I’ll say, I’ve made unpopular decisions. But I think it’s about working to be able to see the big picture. Not being drawn in by the ego into trying to force something to fit that does not. Don’t say yes to things that should be told no.
I had productive talks this past week with an experienced director talking about possible CDI collaboration. Our management at Collective Development Inc. was recommended to him. We shared mutual Hollywood horror stories usually stemming from fast-talking, car salesmen-like distributors and wanna be producers, mucking things up. Much of this proposed collaboration will just depend on pros, cons and schedules. I have another past producer collaborator getting close to having his next financing. He wants my involvement again. Evaluate: Content, Script, Schedule… All these variables when kept in-house tend to run very smooth. Adding these outside variables are where most issues lie. Most of the rough waters are in the associated projects but that is also where collaboration exists. But make sure they are a good fit. So I have more phone calls and meetings this week to network and get to know a few folks working hard telling their stories.
WILD FAITH – Lots of exciting happenings here. The home video deal is being worked on while we discuss the option of also launching a TV series. I am really pushing hards on this as I love the character I play. I love the world we built. I love the talent (both sides of camera) and know we would incorporate lots of Michigan talent into the various shows. We’ve been working to set up some additional theatrical showings and we wanted to look at showings in LA and/or NYC. The costs involved were steep and for me I’m watching the bottom line versus the red carpet strut. But I’m happy to say we’ll be screening at the AMC in Burbank as part of the invited line up at the Burbank International Film Festival. I think I’m going to make the trip and my LA-area amigos can finally see one of our films on the big screen. It plays great theatrically and I will enjoy the conversation with film friends after. You too can join us on Sept 8th in Burbank. Read about it here-
Our last film Man’s Best Friend is having the post materials organized as editing is about to begin in full. The opening credit sequence was heavily discussed and that is being worked on. We will also start having more solid talks about the 1st teaser trailer. Also trying to get the right color correction on the first stills before we start releasing those. The story is in puzzle form and soon we’ll start to assemble the film.
I’ve really been enjoying the writing as of late. I’ve taken a few good script concepts and I’m infusing/weaving that into what will likely be our fall film. It’s been refreshing to be back into the imagination and putting it to page. Some location scouting and ground work is also being done. I will say that the initial script concept was to be shot in another state. I was so happy with our last crew that I am revamping the script to Michigan. I’m sincerely thinking we can convince a few of the MBF crew to return:)
Well, it’s a beautiful day and I might spend a little time engaging in some writing. We will also likely go walk a flea market. I love what you can find at those things. I often find props or things that a story might hinge around. No soccer today as we have a BYE week before starting the second half of the season. Next weekend I have a class reunion which will be interesting. I did actually see a Michigan-based, non-CDI project casting that caught my eye. I asked a few questions and we’ll see if any chemistry exists. If not, I’m happy to wait until fall. I do have a script to finish.
Be good to one another!
I awoke to a light rain and I got the coffee flowing while making chili for todays MSU game. As I prepare to get into the movie updates for the week I want to thank our new Czech Republic readers for tuning in. I LOVE fall and it is really setting in here in the Michigan. It was a good week whereas many projects moved on down the line. I’m trying to get my brain moving enough to recall some of the stories that might impart some lesson. I’ll just jump into updates and we will see what flows.
BESTSELLER is now in our post sound studio and our editor got to know Dennis Therrian, my post-supervisor. Again finding artists who are not only talented but take great pride in their work is the key. I’m excited to see the layers of music added to our final picture. CGI work and sound design will also be taking place as well as color correction. Be ready for many more updates in the coming months.
ASHES OF EDEN – yesterday we kicked off 42 showings of the film in the Detroit area. (Canton & Novi) and the first audiences went to the theaters last night. If you are in the area and you want to see a powerful, professional story told mainly by Michigan artists please do take a look. It is at the Emagine theater chain so go on-line and pick the best time for you. We look to be close to signing with another big theater chain and will be announcing more on our national distribution deal in the coming weeks.
This week saw me getting to review THE TERRORIST with a finished music score. Also DEAD QUIET released an advanced poster for the horror film slated to release in 2015. I had a small role in a SMALL TOWN SANTA, Christmas film for a producer associate of mine. It is now out on streaming and will start selling DVD’s in Oct so as you get closer to the holidays it could provide a nice watch. I look forward to seeing how it unfolds. I do a small role in DIVISION 19 and I’ll be keeping my ears open for updates on that project.
SUPERMODEL SHOWDOWN shows 1-3 are now on Indieflix.com so check it out if reality TV and travel is your thing.
That really covers most of the projects in post or releasing. The big question I’ve been getting is – what next? We’ve got a handful of projects in development but I may be close to signing onto a new project. It is best described as a Sci Fi/Western and I had good Skype talks with the director. He extended an offer and we are talking terms. It would have me shooting a handful of days in December outside of Las Vegas. I will keep you in the loop on this project and my potential involvement.
This week had me catching up with several of my friends living elsewhere like Terry Jernigan and David Borowicz. I always enjoy reconnecting and sharing laughs with these friends of mine. Okay I’m off to stir the chili and get a few things around this morning. I hope you enjoy the remaining weekend ahead.
What a week, what a day… where to begin? We had a blitz of media leading up to the Lansing, MI release of “ASHES of EDEN” that kicked off last night. It will keep playing in theaters for another week and starts the Grand Rapids, MI run on Monday. We’ve received new national distribution offers this week to consider and will keep hitting the theatrical cicles. I think Detroit area is next for this film. We also have a nice support of directors DVD, posters and T-Shirts. Our first night was a great kick off and we had a handful of the stars show to do some signings.
I was with my CDI associate/close friend Dean Teaster who tied the knot last night. It was a great dinner and social and I had one of the best steaks I’ve had in a long time. I tried a bevy of drinks last night and was reminded of my age with a small ache this morning. I was able to meet up with our “Ashes of Eden” keys and enjoy the exciting stories from the nights first showings. So if you have not had a chance to see the film please do. (Look at the CELEBRATION CINEMA websites)
On deck is our final pick up shots for the dark thriller “Bestseller” and we have all those details just about worked out. It will be fun to return and capture these last few pieces. It will included a little bit of in-water work but at least I won’t be bumping my head on ice:)
An exciting drop that I will give you here first is that “Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventure” will look to launch on Indieflix’s AFTERDARK programming this forthcoming Friday. It is funny with a little sexy mixed into it all. The 1st three shows will be available on there and I think audiences will enjoy this adventure.
We are also about to start shopping “DONORS” which is another thriller starring Niki Saletta best known for “7th Heaven” and also co-stars in our upcoming “The Terrorist”. She does a wonderful job in both films and we are happy to have her artistry.
My parents both had birthdays this past week and we are have a party for my dad today and likely hosting a dinner with my mom first of the week. We’ve been using the smoker and grilling a lot and soon fresh garden veggies will be in abundance. Besides yard work that I need to get done this weekend we are going to put a cleaning on a new purchase. It is an old late 1800’s hutch that Doc Holiday would have been right at home with. It needs a little work but will be a great piece in the office.
My only advice this week for filmmakers or anyone working in art as business – don’t allow yourself to be dragged into peoples drama. Don’t associate with people that will tarnish your good name and work. Let those people isolate themselves and they will burn themselves out. It is funny how when I hear of projects that are disorganized cluster%##@@’s – I’m never surprised to discover that one of those handful of known screw ups is somehow involved. VET people out! If you are going to invest (I didn’t say donate like these social hand out sites) invest – talk to people. I would be happy if anyone were to talk with our past E.P’s because you would hear that we stayed on schedule, budget and handled ourselves professionally. Now, I’m not the only one that runs a tight ship in this area but there are only a few. There are many BS’ers out there trying to tell you what they think you want to hear and others still that will laugh and tell you how disorganized they are as if that is truly funny. No. Funny is when your work reflects your effort.
I need another coffee before going to see how we are going to clean up this old timey hutch.
Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll talk with you all next week. If you go see “Ashes of Eden” feel free to send me your comments here.
A morning of fresh coffee and the surrounding love that comes with peaceful Saturdays. Yesterday was a nice relaxing day whereas we smoked ribs for 7 hours and had a nice dinner. I did some mild puttering around the yard, workshop and office but nothing too taxing. Our neighborhood was relatively peaceful with just a few random BOOMS. The dogs all stayed pretty calm and it has been fun to watch Luke (Our dog that had surgery) enjoy the yard, the bed and other places he had previously been restricted from. Today I’m going to try and put in a screen door on the double french doors to my office. May the TOOL TIME spirits smile upon me. Today burgers and more relaxing seem to be the call of order. I had several business things that had built up on me at the week’s end so this morning I knocked those out. It included another distributor who wanted to see ASHES OF EDEN, acting reels sent around and some additional PR work. Now that is done and I can focus on all of you. Let’s jump into some film updates starting with the exciting theatrical info on ASHES OF EDEN.
ASHES OF EDEN Theatrical Updates
Please do check out our facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/ashesofedenmovie
If you haven’t heard we will be screening our film at Celebration! Cinema in both S. Lansing and Grand Rapids Woodland mall locations.
The Lansing screenings are July 11-20. The times are various with some days up to 3 shows a day. In Grand Rapids, we have been selected as one of just a few independant movies to screen as part of an Indie film series. Those screenings run July 14-Aug 28. Tickets can be purchased HERE.
It is very important to get as many tickets sold to these screenings to give a strong impression to potential distributors whom are waiting to see if our film has the legs to run. Please email, text, or bring a friend. We encourage you to spreed the message to your friends and family and thank you in advance.
We will have mechandise at the Lansing screenings for sale. DVD’s, T shirts and Posters. Look for these items to be for sale at the Lansing screenings and online soon.
For Detroit area, we are currently in the beginnings of talks with Emagine Theatres to screen our film there. If you have a theater chain in your area that would be open to a screening run please do pass their info along.
On “BESTSELLER” we now have our dates for our pick up and a few crew members will get an invite this week. I wish we could bring everyone back but we only need a few for this final shoot. At the end of this month the dates are set with us being up north the 28-31 with some prep, our shoot, wrap out and meetings as we prepare to lock a first cut of the film. We will do a test audience screening of the work in progress and if all good – off to music and sound.
In other good news – we released the PR on “Supermodel Showdown” TV series and the run of the 1st three shows. See here – http://www.prlog.org/12344397-supermodel-showdown-costa-rican-adventure-arrives-at-indieflix.html
More to come on this exciting news.
I also got word that the music work on “The Terrorist” is moving right along and also CDI Sales Group will start doing some submissions on the thriller “Donors” that has just rolled out of post.
I’ve had a few people ask me about upcoming acting roles. I went back and forth over a couple of local films but a deal just could not be made. It has to meet certain qualifications in quality, story and yes, pay. Right now I’m just excited about doing my final return on “Bestseller” and beyond that is anyones guess. I’ve got many people interested in me as they move their projects along but until ink is dry it is still open season. I do know how much work a film well received can bring but I always just look for the one for one. If one film performance brings one new film you will always keep working. I’ve got 6 films and a TV series rolling out this year to audiences and I’m happy with them all. I’m just not one to let the artists “itch” overcome me and cause me to jump on a project just to do it. I will save that enthusiasm up and as anyone who has worked with me knows, I’m serious about my work and I will bring 200% to a film role. So for now I’m just focused on Mark Franklin (Bestseller) and I will refocus after that on what is new/next. I’m also thrilled that family, friends and fans will be able to go see ASHES OF EDEN in the theaters. I’m proud of this film and so I’m asking you to check it out.
Well, I’m going to get another cup of coffee and go look over the garden and pond. I hope you all have a great weekend and be safe.
Hello and good morning from a balmy, yes I said balmy, Michigan. Yesterday was a good day getting the yard in order for a small gathering today. It was nice to do some straightening and decorating with our patio lights and such. The garden now has hops growing in it thanks to my brother and our veggies are sprouting nicely. We also gathered a couple of pounds of mulberries which will be for the next wine mixture. Maybe a raspberry/mulberry or just straight mulberry. The yard took a beating with the building of my home office/fort but is now looking very good. We have a wonderful yard full of wildlife. The addition of the pond creates yet another thing to comfort while pondering the next moves in our business. We added a few more fish and I think they like their new home. So let’s see, only two snaffoo’s (SP?)
1) After I grilled up some BBQ chicken yesterday, I was cooking up some steak bites left from a fondue a few days earlier. I forgot about them on the grill.
2) I also was going to set out some ham steaks for our ham/pineapple kabobs today. Forgot that too.
Let’s just say after working in the yard all day and food shopping until 1:00 am my mind wasn’t working at 100% – it’s showing its age:) I needed my legal pads:)
BREAKING NEWS – the theatrical showings are starting for “Ashes of Eden” and you can join others here in showing your support.
We are still waiting for corrected billing, trailer and poster on the theater site but ticket sales will be here.
I will likely be going to the Saturday 2nd day showing but I know that many of the film principals will be going for the Friday night kick off. I will be at a dear friend’s wedding dinner that night but may catch up for the afterglow. I know that plans are underway to also sell posters, DVD’s and I’ve even heard T-Shirts. It should be DONNIE on the shirt saying “I always have a plan” – that would be cool.
Also you will get the PR drop here 1st. Our “Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventures” TV series is getting a featured run on Indieflix’s AFTER DARK channel. We will be testing the first three shows and if the response is good we will release the final five. It is a fun, informative show with a nice dash of sexy. It is the lone project that I’ve actually directed and I think it is unique in that I had no idea that most reality shows were not reality based. This show really showcases what went into making the show as well as the show itself. It came out feeling like something maybe the SPINAL TAP folks would make. That is good with me:)
You can join here in anticipation and prepare to laugh and enjoy yourself.
Our “Bestseller” pick up date is being locked for our shoot. We’re starting to get what we need around to do this. The one nighttime water scene should be much warmer to shoot as I’m told the ice melted last week. I’m joking…am I?
I also had meetings with our partners on the “Donors” film and our CDI sales team will be pitching/selling that on the foreign market. “The Terrorist” also has a composer on board and will be moving towards that final picture.
Let’s see – aside from that if I was going to share any advice points from the week –
1) IF you contact a business contact of mine and try to sell our business relationship as something more than what it really is know that you will likely be made to look foolish when that contact calls me direct to get the real scoop.
2) If you are asked to give solid feedback on a proposal/script and the day you provide that feedback you’re also endorsing a project of obvious sub par quality – NOTE: That can directly affect how people view the quality of your opinions/viewpoints.
3) Hard work will get my attention while asking for handouts will not.
Okay, I may have missed a few things but I have some stuff still to do today so I’m going to leave you with these words. A few good updates and a few informative pointers. I also have another soccer match tomorrow which will be HOT but fun. I also hope our USA team keeps moving forward in their cup quest.
Have a great Saturday!
Sipping the hazelnut coffee and taking a few moments with all of you out there. On the personal level I’ve enjoyed the explosion of goodness coming from the garden and this week on the full moon I started a batch of AUTUMN AMBER beer. I will bottle it before I leave to go shoot “Bestseller” and I will enjoy a few upon my return Nov. 3rd. It is a Killian’s Red like beer and I’m already teased by the smell. I think I may also have to do a batch of hard cider this fall. We saw victory in soccer last week and I also found some great treasures at a local flea market including a prop bag for my upcoming role as writer Mark Franklin. Let’s start there…
BESTSELLER – All I can say is what a great group of artists that we’ve already assembled. This film is really going to be great fun. We’ve tightened the script, we’re looking at new exciting locations, schedules, castings, crewing and preparing to tell something exciting. I’ve worked across from the film’s lead Melissa Anschutz in another short film entitled “7 Stones” and she is great. Her performance in the soon to premiere “Ashes of Eden” is going to throw her directly into the mainstream of leading ladies. We were both in the cast of that film but didn’t work off one another. This “Bestseller” will reunite that same synergy from “7 Stones” but with much more intensity. We will be launching a website soon and also announcing some key cast member. I’ve already had a few distributors ask about the film to which I replied “patience”:)
ASHES OF EDEN – We had our 1st post production meeting over sound FX placement and music beds. It was a great meeting and we plotted out the work for the next couple of weeks. We’re in the studio twice next week to plot the rest of the film out. This movie will be coming out just as “Bestseller” mentioned above is coming in. A sneak peek of the theatrical trailer was given and we had thousands of views from 36 countries. I want to thank all my international fans for your support. We will be doing another special peek and our interested distributors will also be given a first look. We have something very special because this trailer isn’t all the best moments thrown in but merely a peek at a film that really is riveting from start to finish. You don’t believe me? Well in November a short week after I wrap on “Bestseller” we will be doing a special Cast/Crew premiere followed by a Michigan premiere event for the public. I think we are doing two showings and there will be a VIP party. We’re talking about Nov 8th that Friday for Cast/Crew and Saturday the 9th for the public event. Now I would watch the http://www.ashesofedenmovie.com website for exact information but for you blog followers I’ve given you an advanced heads up. I do think this film will be one that will represent Michigan’s best.
“Supermodel Showdown” Costa Rican Adventure is making great strides and we will be releasing a promo piece soon. We are doing some polish work but the 1st look by a potential sales agent resulted in all positive feedback. This show will be fun to watch I promise. Most of the traffic is being sent to our Facebook site.
Sales, licensing and development work continues and we’ve added a new sales person onto CDI and it looks like we will be adding another attorney onto our team. We’re growing and some days it is hard to keep up with everything.
Lastly, I’m looking forward to being an audience member and attending actor/filmmaker Sam Logan’s premiere this week and supporting my dear friend and CDI executive Dean Teaster, who plays a powerful role in the film. So DJ Hermit is going to be making an appearance at the event and I’m excited to just watch without the producer worries of technical issues, performance acceptance and so on. That gets to be Sam’s job on this sure-to-be wonderful event.
Okay, well I’m off to work in the yard, rack some beer, attend a family cook out and play soccer tomorrow. I hope you all keep following your dreams and goals. Give your best at whatever you do and remember to spend some quality time with your loved ones.