I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee on a VERY snowy Michigan day. Negative degrees outside and blowing winds. But we will most definitely have a white Christmas. When we all left off, I had the premiere of SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, in Iowa. It has performed beyond expectations with several extensions (Algona until the 29th) and expansions into other theaters. (Follow our FB page) I did not attend the Michigan kick off at Celebration Cinema, as I was attending a funeral and memorial up North. My week stayed very busy with trying to deal with family things. Working with our team on prepping materials for the upcoming releases. It looks like we were able to get the film to a downloadable link for theatre owners. I was reporting and prepping for end-of-year check dispersement on the movies, which will happen next week. Lastly, was trying to get the Christmas stuff around. So, this Christmas is a bit chaotic with the death in our family, the blizzard and our film’s window of release.
Once we have this delivery of the film process set up, we’ll turn to looking at film festivals and a German screening. There is even talk of showing at one of the US military bases in Germany. This film will have an exciting journey ahead of it. The film has definitely gotten the positive response from the people I care about most with this story. I had an opportunity to speak with several elderly people and they gave high marks on the re-creation of the time. The regional people were so proud of this story and it is resonating with people everywhere. The film has already generated some heartfelt fan mail that is just humbling to read. That is the power of storytelling. Thousands have seen the film and many have seen it multiple times, taking friends and family. In Michigan, we’ll be looking at doing a special Owosso, MI screening and also a run around Detroit, MI in the new year.
Our battle plan with SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA), will continue through 2023. I’ve been re-reading a supernatural thriller for a possible CDI associated film. Also in 2023, we’ll get the foundation put in on our next CDI feature film, Harsens Island Revenge. We have already started scouting and we’ll be announcing our director early in 2023, as we enter the casting phase. So again, update those reels. I was able to take a few good meetings while attending the SNIA premiere. I’ve finished the first draft on the SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE, and some development actions will be underway in 2023. If all goes as planned we could be rolling cameras in 2024.
REFLECTIONS AND GOALS –
Every year, I do deep reflection on the past year. Success, failures, trials and tribulations, all equaling growth. This year has had great harvest being the biggest release year I’ve had since 2005. We saw BESTSELLER, BEST YEARS GONE, SMOKE & MIRRORS, FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA release. Has anyone reading here, seen all five releases?
I set business and personal goals. I set goals on home fixes or improvements. I set goals as an actor, writer and producer. I set goals for/with Collective Development Inc. (www.cdiproductions.com) – new projects. New divisions. New endeavors. New collaborations.
This year saw a few music videos release under CDI’s production. As someone who was there when MTV started, I loved working in that medium.
OFF TO THE RACES from the movie ‘Best Years Gone‘ by Vertical Bridge
LOVE these guys. From our state of Michigan! And these gents are also from MI and really, really kick ASS.
REVOLUTION by the band DeepFall
This year full of releases and we did produce and prep several projects. HOT ROD LOVE, the CDI racing comedy set in the 1970’s went back on the shelf this fall. We had some funding. We had some sponsors. We had some participation from track owners. SOME, doesn’t cut it in filmmaking. It is truly one of the funniest ensemble comedy scripts sitting at CDI, with Caddyshack being the tone inspiration. Everything in its own time. I had to finally let go of a look I was developing for my character in that film. I am setting my “acting/producing” sights firmly on 1926 with WW1 veterans going head to head with the Purple Gang mafia.
This past year, I did turn down two different acting roles. I usually do so for one of three reasons. One. Not connecting with the role. Two. Not connecting with the story/script as a whole. Three. I cannot give the project the due attention I put into all my roles. I don’t phone anything in. I take each and every role very serious. That is why once business is out of the way, you get 100% effort, no less. $200 or $200,000 will get you the same performance. With acting performances, audiences got to meet Mark Franklin, Gil Gilles, Mr. Hosworth and Col Lodell. Vastly, different gents. have you met any of them?
The last gent was an honor and a very complex character to play. Let’s talk, Col Lodell. First the name of several characters based on actual camp assigned people, were altered. The events are true cut the characterizations are just that, not meant to be a biopic. That said, the camp commander that I portrayed, took his internal motivation from his faith in ‘The Golden Rule’. To treat others (Captured Germans) as you would want your PW boys treated. The filming was cold and rugged and that plays on everyones face in the film. A grit that cannot be manufactured on a stage or with a LED wall. We’ve been experimenting and will use LED walls in future VFX but there is something about a wild wind in your face, eyes near watering, and experience something closer to what these actual men did. We get to hear CUT and go back home. Every perspective has a story and they all dance closer and closer to a true event that helps to restore a touch of the humanity we all seem to have lost. Unity. Love. Even with a world at war. The fallout. The anguish, shame and soul crushing heartache.
My backstory was after serving in combat in WW1, Lodell, is pulled from academia, back into action as a camp commander. Seeking out Nazi-rot that grows inside the camps threatening lives and a PR nightmare should an escape happen. A majority of the PWs are farmers taken in desperation and forced to fight. Surrender came fast, not willing to fight to the death for Hitler’s war. Real threats. But like a needle in a haystack. The heaviness of supervisions production in many ways mirrored Lodell’s challenges. I channeled much of my real heaviness of responsibly to my performance and it works.
EVERY soldier just like the prisoners of war, missed their own bed, toilet, lazyboy, pet, family. I love a scene in SNIA where Col Lodell is just watching a Christmas scene of Santa and his nurse ‘elves’ giving children presents. He is the man with the most medals and he is as sad and homesick as the lowest prisoner. WAR hurts us all. I think that is why many SPORTS came about so that things could be handled more easily for both parties.
I’m happy that people are enjoying the film. Lodell, had to be the Col Potter of MASH. Leadership on screen or in real life takes many qualities to do it even semi successful. Lodell, has the secret to leadership but you’ll have to watch the film. I got to get more clean cut and play in the world of my dearly departed grandfathers. Burt Swope, in the Navy and Robert Emerson flying cargo in the Pacific, I believe in the Army. Air force was started in 1947. Anyway. This film captures everything that is nostalgic but also makes you feel as if you are living in it. Not some black and white flicker, cold and distant but in living color. If you can see SNIA on the big screen do. Otherwise, after running our theatricals into March or so, we plan to screen in Germany and a few film festivals. It will start DVD and home video around Nov 1st is my best guess. Meeting next year will tell. TRIVIA: On that scene above, my face got so cold I blew a take unable to fully pronounce my words. I asked for a moment, gave the face a rub down and a few good smacks before ACTION nailing it.
I think the performance will open a few new doors. I always tell actors, don’t get frustrated by people because they don’t see what you don’t show them. This is usually followed by, I don’t get a chance. The 14 year old filmmaker in my rolls his eyes. Almost everyones phone is a studio, where you can work a monologue a thousand times. Comedians and magicians work their craft over and over. If you get the slightest bit off when a camera comes close, you need to work on that. That camera should be that old friend, never glanced at- yet always embraced. Being natural leads to comfortable which leads to the environment to make interesting. In 2023, don’t get in your own way with doubts and ‘cannots’ and all that negativity. See dead ends, as paths of the maze mapped and now known. The true path becomes closer.
WRAP UP –
I truly do LOVE winter. I always have. It teaches you a healthy respect for nature. You admire the beauty of pines that thrives under the blankets of snow. Crackling fire, destroys the old leaving nurturing ashes to sprinkle for the spring plantings. Writings and new ideas like to seep into the pondering mind. A season of hardship and helping where you can. When everyone does a little the world is a better place. We here at TribeCDI are resting and rejuvenating with our loved ones. But rest assured the call of the storyteller rides these cold Michigan winds. Tomahawks and Tommy guns. Hot Rods and Painted Horses. I want to thank all our cast, crew, sponsors, supporters, families, friends and FANS. Tom T. Hall use to have a song, I wish I had a million friends – and I’ve complained about Facebook ‘Friends’ vs acquaintances – but with so many of the films being seem by tens of millions and I’ve been blessed to read your notes of encouragement and connection. I do feel like I have millions of friends, because you accepted our stories, our characters, into your homes. You’ve hunted Bigfoot with Niles Cass in Lost Heart. You felt for Paul Landings and his terrible loss in Man’s Best Friend. You’ve laughed with Ben Lily in Wild Faith. You’ve taken comfort during the holidays watching a relatable Jesus, in The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) And I could go on- my point is thank you. Sincerely, from a childhood dreamer who started with my friends and a VHS camcorder, thank you.
Next up New Years Day! So Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
This morning was in the negative degrees outside but the sun is out and that is nice. I’m sipping on the hazelnut coffee and I’m thinking over last week. I have to admit with the cold outside my energy gas tank was running low on Thursday. I had a big meeting on Friday but it was rescheduled due to illness on their end. This new strain of Covid has been really making the rounds and I know various parties and people dealing with it. The vaccinated folks I know have had a mild go of it but I have at least one relative who is in the hospital after foregoing any vaccination. I’ve also followed a few folks who have been really having a struggle with ventilators and such. I’m not going to grandstand either way but I do wish you all a healthy week ahead. Do your part, whatever that is so that we can get past all this. It has been a point of concern now for the 3rd year as we plan our new artistic endeavors.
ACTOR ADVICE- I know at least a couple individuals who work in our circle that also state they have a passion for performance/acting. The issue comes when perhaps they are great workers behind the camera but in front of the camera is not as strong. Acting for film can also consist of how you break down and learn the script. Taking tidbits from the script and use that to add layers upon layers of character complexity. To play larger roles you need to really know, KNOW the character inside and out. Dreams, hopes, fears and more all play into a character arc that can have many changes throughout a story. If you are an extrovert and like the socializing, an acting/improv class might help you get comfortable with a crew. If you are more “keep to your self” you could do your own scene study. You could keep recording and working a monologue until you can make someone watching it laugh out loud or opening cry – all good signs in your performance. So if your peers have never seen you push a moment, a scene to that level – you need to show them. You also will get stronger as you show yourself you can mine out these feelings and put them to camera. Some people are good without the camera but add that amazing device and some freeze like it is a pointed gun. So to the few out there who want to evolve from extras or featured extras into larger roles, follow that advice. Put those reads down and work it (keep doing it) until it truly moves people watching it. To want something is great but if you are not there you NEED to put in the work.
BEST YEARS GONE – The final delivery pieces have been uploaded to our distributor which means I should have home video dates soon. In the meantime we will explore a few more theatrical runs and festivals. Our director is picking a few select festivals that would be fun or align with the festival’s audience. One of the first to respond is a 19 year old London festival and so the UK will be getting an early look at ‘Gil Gilles’ and gang. I have not released the distributors poster yet as I was waiting on those home video dates. But we have some fun and special things lined up for the home video release. How many out there have a “Gil Gilles Survival Kit”? See http://www.cdiproductions.com where G$ is handling our growing merchandise section. 2022 Lunch boxes? Action Figures? Coloring books? Who knows but man are we having fun with it all.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – First I want to say how sorry we are that DP Dan Chipman just lost his father to this Covid. Our hearts go out to Dan and his family. Speaking on a happier note we’ve been rolling out still photos of the film chosen by and color corrected by Daniel G. Chipman (his professional name) and man are they beautiful. I also will announce that Adam Towner will be reaching out to cast and crew to collect captured memories from on set and put together a behind the scenes. As he is doing this our director will be crafting ideas for the first teaser trailer. It was a wonderful experience and it will be nice to have something for cast and crew to remember fondly that CDI adventure. So the future months will bring us some great updates.
I had someone reach out last night saying their family watched WICKED SPRING for the first time and loved the camera work and the themes presented. CDI once had a sister company Lionheart that I part owned and we produced VA area projects under. When we separated we took Wicked Spring as part of our deal. Since we’ve kept is active and I’m so happy that they’ve brought the resolution up to HD for new and old audiences. Decades later and fans are still being moved by this simple story of men at war. Take a watch and leave a review and let us know your thoughts. Too many enthusiasts it is a top film for them. Others who don’t appreciate as much pacing and character development find the start slow but I love it. I’m proud of our director Kevin Hershberger who has carved out his own niche with TV docu-series and working costume and B unit are larger films. He is a good example of how far passion can take you and he loves that 1800’s time period too.
Several other older films in the CDI library are being evaluated for new release campaigns. What one would you love to see streaming in HD? Heaven’s Neighbors? Knight Chills? An Ordinary Killer?
Talks were had this week with a TV show runner of sorts about WILD FAITH: Hastings and it was met with strong enthusiasm. This was another great perspective on how strong a property we have with a feature film proof of concept and tens of millions of views. I think we’ll be back to the 1800’s with the Murphy family it is a matter of when. I’ve started a FB page where we’ll track the development of the series. @WildFaithHastingstvseries
Also looking at a Spring shoot, I’m in the final stretch on scriptwriting a new story that I’ve had in my head for a while. My best pitch of it is “A 1975 American Graffiti” with a few great influences film-wise. What influences? Cannonball Run, Caddy Shack and a few others. It is an ensemble comedy with a few great themes written throughout it. The 1970’s will be fun for our artists to tackle. I’m already growing out my hair for that 70’s feathered look:) And wardrobe will be fun to find and we all likely have some already. HRL is the initials to the script, can you figure it out? I will be done with the script this week with a good polish to it also. From there the producers will get a read and we’ll discuss the next steps of bringing on our funding and start casting. See: ADVICE TO ACTORS UP ABOVE
I have two other possible scripts to write and I’m evaluating which project to take on in February. Both are work-for-hires and CDI would likely produce both as films. I do have two other personal scripts underway which I’ll return to and plan to finish in 2022. I love to write especially on these cold days.
I’ve been playing phone tag in trying to connect with a few new contacts. Some are casual contact to get to know one another and share war stories. From that foundation sometimes endeavors are born. I’m really excited about one opportunity that just recently came about. This opportunity comes on the heels of a conversation I had last week, about how much I enjoyed working on the music video “Off to the Race” – so there is your hint. I LOVED growing up in the MTV music video golden age. It was a great collaboration platform between musicians and filmmakers as both are storytellers. Above is a pic of the MSU party bus the band “Vertical Bridge” came in to the premiere of “Best Years Gone” in Owosso, MI.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the documentary of the history of grappling is having the EPK put together and a screening link for the few business folks to review. We’ll plan a premiere for the near future and will look to put a deal together in Feb for home video/worldwide. It takes several months to a year to put a full home video campaign together. But we might do a series of event screenings leading up to home video. All in steps. Follow us @fortheloveofcatchdoc
SMOKE & MIRRORS – is being loaded to film freeway to submit to a few fun festivals. This is one of the two personal scripts I’m working on. I love the time period and it also has a tinge of steampunk to it all. The short will become a great feature film and audiences will enjoy this fun and spooky romp. Follow our progress on @Smokeandmirrorsmovie
As I’m typing I received messages praising The Quest Trilogy and Lost Heart aka Bigfoot, UFO’s and Jesus. Last week I had a nice note on MAN’S BEST FRIEND. These films are really helping people and that is truly priceless. If the films aren’t your cup of tea I understand, although there are many different flavors to choose from. But try something outside your norm and give it a chance. I’ve found so many gems and seldom are they the most advertised films.
I’m going to wrap this up and I might even work on some script writing for a few. I want you all to stay safe, warm (especially those being hit by the big storm) and keeping working to make 2022’s kick off great! I’m going to go get a fire kicking in the office and prepare for a productive week ahead. Maybe another coffee fill up although it is close to noon. I switch to water or tea usually in the afternoon.
Be good to one another!
Upcoming First Looks at ‘Best Years Gone’ and ‘For the Love of Catch’ – BATTLE OF THE BANDS – Music Video New!
( Zen like Kwai Chang Caine-I loved Bruce Lee but David Carradine brought something special to the role)
As I sit here sipping the hazelnut coffee I’m listening to the chicken’s egg song. I can say that the egg dishes around here have improved greatly with the use of the home eggs. This is the start of my birthday month and the heat is finally arriving in Michigan. Yesterday the veggies and herbs got planted in the raised planters so we’ll see how that goes. This week was full of calls and business dealings lets look at some of that after I reflect a bit. Last week we talked a bit about a situation whereas someones actions were counter productive to the whole. While this could have been an isolation and remove, at least temporailiy instead I saw it as a learning situation. I talk about development versus cancel and so a productive, insightful conversation took place that clarified some of the expectations and also became a teaching moment for myself. I could have reacted negatively but with a little perspective, patience and listening – I’m happy to say that things are back to flowing along swimmingly with both parties having grown. Last week contained some gems. My point is that you can apply this to any situation in your own lives. Instead of growing drama the situation was used for growth and insight. I’m not a fan of drama unless on the screen. Many use it to gain attention, sympathy and/or to work LOUDLY to try and secure their worth. As I’ve said before and worth saying again, work quietly and effectively – trust me it is noticed by those who run things.
Who wants to talk movies? We have several really good things to report on. Where to start?
LOST HEART fresh off its showing at ICFF (Christian Oscars) and will compete this June 23rd (My Bday) in the Crown Awards for ‘Best Picture’ against 4 other films one that is MBF! The General Market release BIGFOOT, UFOS AND JESUS has started and it can be watched on Amazon Prime (See link below)
All our stories are meant to promote unity but even as this new release rolled out and you people negative judging off a film title. One person was outraged at the inclusion of Jesus WITH Bigfoot and UFOs and apparently we all will burn in hell for the title yet they have not seen the film. In the same thread someone did not WANT to watch it because Jesus name was listed in the title. PEOPLE ARE JUDGMENTAL! Period. Christians talk persecution and judgement yet they too judge and persecute just as good as anyone. I’m sure from the clothes that people once wore to church to whatever the gossip floating around the congregation was, people judge. I just ask people to watch and not judge a book by the cover. That is an old piece of wisdom. But I did have a lot of people reach out in kindness having watched the film. I’m excited to see how the roll out continues but these little observations are fascinating. So many negative, depressed people with filters that put a unhappy spin on everything. Press play. maybe you can change/clean up those filters and receive laughter, joy and ultimately health.
I noted that MBF or MAN’S BEST FRIEND is up for ‘Best Film’ at the ICVM Crown Awards in Texas this month. Covid kept this film from people submitted and now it is being recognized. Actually tribe CDI has two of the five films – good odds. I also had a few fans of the film pass their love along. One such person made note that Paul was an Oscar worthy performance. Oscars are very political and I’m not saying it would not be great to accept one but the response of the fans is better than peer acceptance. If Paul is respected as a good voice – mission accomplished.
BESTSELLER will be prepped for a new campaign with BMG under their General Market label. I’ve enjoyed dealing with Chris Wright on this new release. We will be looking at other projects that might get a new push.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – discussions are gaining strength and my hope is that some of the sponsors we are bringing on board SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA will follow us to the TV series.
Post-Production work on BEST YEARS GONE is racing around the track! A small pit stop has been made to polish up the audio on the first official teaser. Maybe we will look to release it on or just before my birthday on the 23rd of June. Music and sound design is being worked on daily and part of that is the soundtrack. We had a ‘Battle of the Bands‘ and our celebrity judges, producer team, director and composer had their work cut out. With songs from around the country we found the perfect song for our film. The winner’s song will appear on the soundtrack and we’re going to produce a music video with them. Our film’s Director of Photography Travis Hayward will be directing the video. As a child of the MTV generation I’m excited. I have a video of our director announcing the winning video and I think we’ll post that on the FB site tomorrow morning. A great way to kick off the week. Go to the FB site and watch what the judges had to say and you can listen to many of the songs yourself.
(The Christ Slayer – reuniting with this ‘brother from another Perry mother’ in SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA)
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is gaining momentum. We’ve been announcing new cast members and I’ve had some great talks with some amazing talent. We’ve also started to fill the crew spots starting with the recent announcement of Nathaniel Nose (Dir/Editor/FX on ‘The Christ Slayer’ and editor on the upcoming ‘Best Years Gone’) will be joining us as the FX supervisor and editor. We’ll be focusing on camera, G&E department in the coming weeks. We’re also making great inroads with the local people proud to have their local story brought to the world. Here is a great story that just ran –
We are starting to approach sponsors and businesses that want to align with our WW2 Christmas story. We will be announcing some of our loyal past sponsors excited to join us once again. Stay tune and if you wanna help with your company please do reach out.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film on the almost forgotten grappling art being resurrected by a handful of martial art greats. Director Curran Jacobs is a two time world champion in the Catch-Can style and he manages to capture the collective passion for Catch in a arena often riddled with competitiveness and division. The process for this has been educational and will give us a template for future docs at CDI. The first official teaser will release on July 4th.
RIP to Ray Nikolaison
I’m not sure if I tackled every project update but we hit on a few main topic ones. There is a flea market down the road I want to visit. Now that I’m looking for WW2 relics/props it has taken on a new level of enjoyment. Today they cancelled the streaming memorial for Ray Nikolaison but we’ll get a link later. Ray was the man behind The Book of Ruth, Journey of Faith and was a sales rep early on for FIGURE IN THE FOREST. RIP With that check on mortality go do something with loved ones and be kind to all.