Premieres, Post-Production Updates and More…
Good afternoon my friends. I’m back from a few errands this morning and sitting down to some reheated coffee from earlier. It has been an extremely busy time here at CDI and even my Friday had me on several hours of online meetings. But all extremely productive. Let’s start with this poster art above for our ‘FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH‘ release. It will start will a two show (6pm and 8pm) at the Owosso, NCG theater on Oct. 1st, 2022. The home video release with be on 10/4/2022 – here is more info from IMDB. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12741924/releaseinfo?ref_=tttr_ql_dt_2
So if you practiced any martial art or enjoyed the MMA/Pro-Wrasslin’ this will be an informative and enjoyable watch. I know Amazon Prime will be releasing and we’ll let you all know as we know the other available platforms. I will be attending our premiere as many of the CDI tribe to support our own Curran Jacobs who directed. If you’re in Michigan you might want to attend – an afterglow will take place most likely at ROMAS next door but that’s not locked in yet.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – My last meeting of the week was with our Algona friends helping to pull together the Algona, Iowa premiere. We’ll also do one in Michigan before the theatrical run starts 1-2 weeks after the (Dec 10th targeted date) Iowa premiere. Our goals is to have it play chains across the midwest where all these camps were located.
A few days earlier we met at the studio in the pines and reviewed the first half of the film’s dialog clean up and talked design and music. It really sounds great and my favorite part of the process ‘music’ is on deck. We’ll return this week to review the second half and start looking at the sound design aspects. Meanwhile in Canada the VFX and model work is being finished. I cannot wait to see those scenes once the work is done.
This film also represents a new level in product partnerships with brands like Hersheys, Hormel, Smithfield and Lerma Transportation involved. Our goal is to have them also assist in the theatrical marketing. For home video release I would love to see some ‘limited time’ vintage packaging released to the public. How about 5 cents Hersheys like in 1944? The new trailer is being worked on and it will be done in a few weeks.
BEST YEARS GONE – So yesterday kind of last moment I was offered some MSU football tickets and an invite to stop in as a guest at a get together for one of our investors. It is close by and so after the MSU game seemed well in hand, I stopped out. My history with these folks goes back to 1998 when we became famous at CDI for blowing up a car on their road in KNIGHT CHILLS. It was a barn party, but this was no ordinary barn, but a way tricked out venue for performance and drinks.
The entertainment was first class with guest musician Laith Al-Saadi from American Idol being featured. Also met a Red Wings legend Darren McCarty, very polite gent. I had some good talks that could manifest as sponsors or investors in the future, but overall just had a great time.
I had a few Moscow Mules followed by some coffee before I had to make the drive home which reminded me of ‘Icabod Crane’ in the Sleepy Hollow tale. In the dark woods on a full moon, trees bent tight across the road – twists and turns – hauntingly beautiful. Thank you John and Rhonda for a great time and yes, we’ll be discussing some special event screenings.
So the best part of the night was when I found myself sharing a stand up table with a fella Richard who was there from Detroit networking. I got explaining to Richard how I knew the party hosts and about our film endeavors. He asked about a few titles and I rattled off the two films that just went to TUBI, BESTSELLER and BEST YEARS GONE. He replied that he had seen BEST YEARS GONE and really liked it. I said, “no way” – but he insisted. Yup. Twins. Racecars. He said, google up the poster and I’ll tell you. So I pulled up our poster from IMDB. He said, “Yup, and that guys the lead,” pointing at Gil. YOU DON’T SAY:) I proceeded to say something to him as Gil, about light beer. He was surprised to find he was drinking with Gil Gilles. I don’t always get to meet my fans so this was a treat. So if you haven’t seen BESTSELLER or BEST YEARS GONE take a watch on TUBI and drop us a review on http://www.imdb.com
I’m enjoying taking the extra time this season to prep and attend a few more film events. We have several premieres ahead and are in ACTIVE development on HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE. We’ll be planning a few scouting trips in the weeks ahead. We are going to start sitting down with possible keys later in the year. I want to get a teaser poster underway as a pre-production battle flag. This is a great story from history and I had a chance to pitch it around to a very attentive audience last night. More meetings this week to lie the foundation down and discuss future creative directions with this story. We’re starting to look at vehicles that fit the pre-1927 timeframe. I’m extremely excited about this film that will shoot next year.
But it keeps getting better…
NEW SCRIPT WRITING PROJECT!
I’ll be doing PR soon on the new script writing project. Yes. The ink is dry. Green light – Phase 1 of the next collaboration out of Iowa, is set. The story will be an 1800’s tale that showcases a major event in Iowa history. I’ve been researching for months now and I’m ready to start weaving another powerful story.
MISC WRAP UP
I had another paragraph WRAP UP and I accidentally deleted it. Lets see if I can recall in no particular order. The hops harvested and squash is right behind it. I trimmed the apple trees and next up is the mulberry trees. I have a possible movie interview on Monday out of Nashville, TN. Tuesday is set to be the FADE IN…day where I start writing on the new script. Weds is our development and premiere meeting. Thursday out to review and tweak more audio on the second half of the film. Friday might be the start of the new bath install with a little help from a much more handy friend. Thank you for all the support and communications out there. It really means a lot to our artists.
Coffee Cheers, be productive this week.
Whirlwind of Activity- Ride the Synergy
It’s the beautiful eve of July 9th and it has been a busy yet enjoyable week. We launched right off July 4th, into the July 5th home video launch of BEST YEARS GONE. It is making its way into living rooms across the country. I’ve had people send pics of their DVD either purchased online or I’m told certain Walmarts. Like the cool ones:) I really enjoyed hearing the laughter in the showings of the theatrical run. It is why we charted a course with another comedy HOT ROD LOVE, gunning to film this fall. If you take a watch and have yourself a few good laughs, leave us an amazon or imdb.com review. I enjoyed some many aspects of this film and I truly did a few firsts in this film. You will have to watch to find out.
Via some little promo videos we’ve gotten to know some of the cast and their characters. So far we’ve gotten to watch Dean Teaster and Erika Hoveland.
This week I think we’ll be seeing the twins and others talking about their experience. So to all those taking their watch this first weekend, thank you.
I’m trying to make arrangements to break away Saturday for a few hours to come tour the convention and watch the festival premiere of SMOKE & MIRRORS. (Sat. July 30th) I’ve never been to the festival, this will be my first. I’ve heard good things about it over the years. I’m actually going to return to my revamp of the feature script after we shot the short concept film. I love how it came out and really painted a stronger visual in my head for the new version of the script.
I’m happy to say that my previous writing project is complete. I’m so excited about CDI telling that story next year. It’s called HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE, and it will have CDI storytelling in the roaring 20’s. We have some advance location scouting underway but this will just be some early development work. I have had the pleasure of living in my imagination in the post WW1 world for several weeks. Again, a great time period for the CDI artists to story tell within.
Currently, our WW2 Christmas story SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, is marching towards a locked picture. We’re close to a director/editor cut review. Any suggestions will be made and a final edit pass will be made before we lock it up. From there it will be to Dennis Therrian and post production work. He’s already playing with arrangements and building his sound FX library. A new poster version is almost complete and discussions on the theatrical trailer have begun. We released a cool video last week of the model building. We’ll be showing more of the VFX work in the weeks to come.
BESTSELLER, our mystery thriller, released May 31st – I’ve had some fans of the film comment on the “masterful mood” that it invokes and the “unexpected intensity” on display. I don’t want to give anything away on this one but if you like the hair-tingling, heart-thumping, edge-of-your-seat movie rides, this might be for you.
I’ve had a noticeable amount of fan mail increase on MAN’S BEST FRIEND and WILD FAITH, telling me the NBC Peacock Streaming crowd have joined the viewing audience. It’s an honor and we do hope their audiences will get to watch more TribeCDI films. To answer a few questions I received-
“Yes. I was a martial artist before I was a professional actor. That scene in MBF was a thrill, to finally showcase some fighting arts. The actors I worked opposite off did a great job. I’m proud of that scene. ” (Man’s Best Friend)
“No I’m not a method actor to the point that ‘Ben Lily’ actually manitou’d in his buckskins. Note: In the film, Ben, is an idiot, and isn’t using the word ‘manitou’ properly. (Wild Faith)
THE QUEST TRILOGY – I’m excited to be working on a new way to present the trilogy during the holidays. Having someone intro each of the films and talk a little about each one. I also had a good development talk with one of our past backers and they want to reengage on some additional biblical stories. I have a few great one’s on deck- another trilogy perhaps?:)
LOST HEART – One of our co-stars in this movie got complimented strongly by their peers while at a signing convention. By peers I mean, other legends. It was nice to hear that they really enjoyed it. That’s how our circle usually gets larger because friends of friends, become fans the stories and want to explore participation if a certain story calls for it. We are working on some new marketing angles for this film and its alter ego, BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS.
I made some progress in pulling deliverables for a slate of films from the CDI vaults that will be making its way out via Deskpop Entertainment and BMG. I also have been exploring some additional business in audio books having enjoyed the process on the series of audio books by author/musician Ronnie Lee.
For the Love of Catch – we’re still waiting to hear from the targeted festival, Toronto. We are also awaiting home video release dates from Deskpop Entertainment. I’m waiting word on several endeavors and we’re all excited but trying to have patience. It can be hard, but just like the long anticipated releases, the day will come.
We had the week off from soccer for the holiday week. We’ve been having berry explosion here in the yard. That means fresh berries on everything and I eat 60-100 mulberries a day off the trees. We have wild squash and pumpkins from the garden days growing strong. My hops are growing mighty – just a great year for all the plants! The chickens have been roaming again now that the bird flu subsided. They LOVE the mulberries. But so does the wild birds, squirrels and everything else. Blueberries are new this year as it takes a few years for them to start kicking fruit.
I’ve been putting this together tonight because tomorrow is a full day with a morning flea market and my dad’s bday dinner later in the day. (It was on the 8th) But, I’ve enjoyed the vibe of this cool summer night catching up with all of you. I hope you have a productive week. I have several meetings as per normal, but will also be attending the 4H auction where we get our pork for the year. I hope you’re all having a good balance in your day to day of fun and productive. Life is about the journey, not just the destination. Thank you to everyone who has been reaching out. I appreciate you all. Have a great night. A peaceful Sunday and a week of achieving goals.
Coffee Cheers, (In the morning)
Welcome to May! TRIBE CDI Springing Into Action!
Hazelnut cheers to you all out there. Greetings to our new readers from Germany, China, Thailand, Ireland and more! In Michigan we’ve had another warm up before a small cool off coming this week. It was an exciting week full of new developments. On the home front it was a week of yard work and today will be the first mow of the season. The chickens have been laying eggs and that is exciting. They love their greens especially dandelion greens which are extremely nutritious. I tried some last year and while a bit bitter they could make a good meal. I have not seen any morels yet just inktip mushrooms. I’ve been harvesting catnip and soon rhubarb for wine-making. We are blueberries but they will not fruit this year. But the apple trees look full and the black raspberry and mulberry look like they will be abundant. This week we assembled two large stand up planters that we’ll use for veggies since the old garden became ‘Chicken Land’. I also worked on the steps coming across the wood bridge and the steps leading into the office. I hope we might be able to have a few CDI and family gatherings this year.
Having my two Covid vaccinations out of the way and no I did not have any side effects save maybe a touch more tired for a day. This allowed me to attend one of my first out-of-town business meetings which would have included a boat ride but the weather would not permit. But it’s exciting that the ice is breaking and projects are starting to move ahead in strength. I feel deeply for places like India having a major crisis and I’m happy to see the world stepping up to help where they can. Michigan too has had their issues but my hope is that things will slowly move towards a more normal.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA announced two more cast members in Charles Edwin Powell and The Ponceman. This week we’ll announce two more actors. Both have been leads for us bringing their unique presence to the film. My hint is that both actors were in MBF. (Man’s Best Friend) We’re adding to our crew weekly and one area that we’re looking to add depth to is our AD department. I had talks with a few last week and I want to keep exploring so when we get to projects like a TV series we can have the crew we need. If you are an AD please do reach out. AD is assistant director and work as the foremen of the set working to keep the schedule. We are also launching our sponsorship and product placement this month for those wanting to align their product and services with this WW2 holiday story.
BEST YEARS GONE is progressing as planned. The dialog edit is complete and next is sound design and music. We will also be going through the final Battle of the Band submissions and looking for our winner. The plan is to shoot a music video and play it at the premiere. We have a great plan for a premiere and will be looking to do that in July or August. The trailer for BYG is underway by the talent Nathaniel Nose who edited the feature. It should be done by end of the month! Merchandise beyond the auto stickers and such will be coming soon! Watch the merchandise site on http://www.cdiproductions.com for new items! Our distributor will start working on poster art soon which is also an exciting time.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is in editing and the teaser should release soon. I’m excited to see all this come together and it might be the first in a series of documentary films.
SMOKE & MIRRORS is also finishing its post process. It had no real deadlines so it has moved slower than if we had investors to make happy. This gothic, steampunk short will be finished this year and the feature script is being worked on by yours truly.
BESTSELLER – This Christopher Knight book turned into a thriller will be released with BMG under its new general market label. This mystery-thriller stars Melissa Anschutz, myself, Ralph Lister, Lana Wood, Terence Knox and Taylor Nichols. I’m looking forward to this film getting a wide release into the marketplace.
LOST HEART is a pleasant surprise for many who think the story is another run of the mill Hallmark film with country music and redemption themes. It has Bigfoot, ufo’s and even the Devil’s Crossroads which appeals to its own market. So the General Market release will have different art and title but will be the same wonderful tale. The film is up for multiple nominations at the ICFF this month in Florida with our own Melissa Anschutz, Victoria Jackson and Don Most scheduled to attend. I will be riding post here in Michigan but I might get away to a fest later in the year. Nashville maybe? We will see.
I want to thank all the fans who have been watching the #tribeCDI films and reaching out with kind words for Man’s Best Friend, Wild Faith, Lost Heart and The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) among the many. Go to the page associated with Amazon and IMDB and leave a message. It helps to expand the viewership and offset the trolls who like to hunt films. Anyway, thank you so much for your support. You all are why we make the stories. To hear how well they’re being accepted and also affecting your attitudes so positively is a wonderful thing for the artists to hear. Most of the films can be seen free with ads on Amazon, Tubi, Pluto TV and Youtube (Encourage TV) so take a watch.
I’ve had some new business people reach out about more film ventures and we’ll see where that leads. I’ve been flowing with things and just working it step by step and things are happening. I’ve been having some great talks and texts with some industry friends – discussing their plans. I am continuing to seek a path literary-wise and slowly pulling my actor materials together. I’m not against outside projects at all even though I have turned several down. It just has to be worth taking my eye off the assortment of projects at CDI. Just like the re-assigning of BESTSELLER to BMG it is an effort to keep looking for opportunities for past stories while finishing the present ones and planning the future endeavors. But I truly love the people I get to work with.
Soccer season starts this week and I haven’t been doing the kind of running soccer requires. My cardio has been heavy bag work at best and so we’ll see how the gas tank is this week. I imagine a good amount of post-game soreness but for some reason that always feels so good to me. I’m going to let you all go so I can get the lawn mowed and might have to fire up the grill. Stay focused on your plans and don’t let small set backs derail you. Those failures are steps towards success if you keep at it. Experience can only be earned so don’t be afraid to do once you’ve evaluated the situation. I look forward to talking to all of you next week. Be good to one another.
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Turning 50 and Exciting Film Updates
So I want to give a welcome to our artistic minded readers from around the globe. This past week was a good one with a few milestones. I think the most recognizable one is that I had a bday. I turned 50 years old. I find that kind of hard to believe as I feel as young as ever. The occasional knee or lower back issue will remind me once in a while I’ve got mileage. I had a great quiet day visiting with my dad in the morning and dinner on the patio with the moms. My surprise gift was a beautiful fountain that flows down in three falls. It is part of a new lawn area for relaxing and soaking up some nature. The patio is also a very serene place to do some work. The hops have grown up around it giving some wonderful shelter.
Speaking of hops I’m close to putting a run of beer and wine in motion. I’m also about to start picking some mulberries and I’ve been harvesting rhubarb. The garden strawberries are getting stolen perhaps by a lucky rabbit. We have some much wildlife about it is just a joy to watch them all each day. I know one of the other belated bday gifts and I don’t want to drop it here but it is for the entrance into the back yard. The stone path that that leads to the fort office. Speaking of office today I will be installing a high end air purifier. I’ve started taking some small in-person meetings at the office and so safe is a good thing. Let’s look at some film updates.
WILD FAITH continues to grow an audience and we’ll be having additional discussions on ‘Hastings‘ the TV shows. I will return to work on some of this now that my Movie Magic software is updated to my operating system.
THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) keeps widening the audience. In a few short months we’ll be hitting our prime window again. We are working to have a cool trilogy trailer.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – Thank you to all our fans of this heartfelt movie. We are working to see if we can get a few more festival showings out of it also.
LOST HEART is almost complete. We are mixing the audio and doing the final paperwork on a few drop songs. Early feedback has been just wonderful. Soon audiences will get to make up their own mind on all that.
BEST YEARS GONE – A new version of the script is being reviewed. We spent a few weeks punching up some dialog and highlighting the ‘Racing’ theme in the film. I’m excited by some of the developing deals. Music. Rock & Roll. Drop the beat! It is going to be a fun film. We have pushed the film to our last window of 2020 to try and put some distance between us and the virus. Plus it is giving us time to put a few great things into play. It has been giving me ample time to put together my next personality I’m bringing to the screen.
DEVELOPMENT continues and the ink is nearly dry on two other CDI projects. Also we’ve reassigned three CDI associated films to a new distributor and we’ll be doing some PR on that as we head into the fall season. Overall just so many possible new avenues to explore and develop.
I’m going to end this here so I can likely give the lawn a mow and do some mulching. I also need to pick up and install the office purifiers. In our town of Lansing we are seeing how one viral hotspot can from from zero to eighty plus in just days. I see many gatherings and even shoots taking place with little or no precaution. I just hope that these outbreaks don’t send us backwards into a more restrictive situation. Masks are not political they are just a common denominator of health. Help knock this virus back by doing your part.
Stay safe out there and be kind to one another.
7 Updates – The Harvest of Hard Work
So last week was productive but also a week of dealing with the major absence of one personality from our furry pack Luke. I had fires burning both outside and in the office via the wood-burning stove. With Daphne and Lulu close by I swept leaves and organized the packing of yard items. Luke use to love to lay in leaves and patches of sun moving several times during the day. Daphne and Lulu did this with a few random tossing of the little ball for a chase. I also this week got a few supplies for my next batch of wine using our wild grapes, hops, some mulberries and a touch of rhubarb. I also got the materials for making dark ale for the winter months. I want to thank you all for letting me talk on the personal last week. Those personal issues all play into our art and our motivation. This week I’m going to do a “Just the facts” post because I’m going to do more yard work later on this beautiful fall day. MSU pulled out a win yesterday but the Lions have a week off. Let’s look at some updates…
- I signed contracts on two stories I wrote for inclusion in an upcoming book on horses called THE HORSE OF MY DREAMS, by Revell Books. I want to thank Callie Smith Grant for inviting and accepting my two stories. It’s showing me another way to use my imagination and storytelling beyond just screenplay. It will be a print and electronic book releasing this fall and it might make an excellent Christmas gift.
- I finished my 1stofficial draft of LOST HEART. This screenplay will be our Spring 2018 film and the 1stof a new deal with BMG.
- I also had a meeting over CDI non-family/faith content that went good. They have interest in a Sci Fi script I’m working on and a few other properties. It is great when you have a good meeting. I’ve had a few go South because of people looking for leverage by kicking at the production value or looking for an angle. But this company is producing and releasing for some great A list production companies. I was treated as an equal and that is a good start.
- I also might be digging into writing on another biblical adventure this winter. I’m going to be having some discussions on that this week. I have been actively talking with literary representation because I would like to have a more streamlined process. I have screenplays I don’t plan to produce so I should sell them off. Many talent and their production companies are looking for strong content. I have to do a new literary resume as an intro to the work.
- There is interest in both WILD FAITH and THE CHRIST SLAYER for a studio backed limited theatrical release. Wild Faith will most likely get that on the way to our home video. We have a wonderful deal underway that includes an additional of a celebrity narrator to our film. The narrator is our “Henry” grown into a man, thinking back on this and perhaps many forthcoming tales. The TV series is a real possibility and if so I’m excited by the Michigan work.
- The Christ Slayer is in process of color correction set up. Also sound and music work progresses along with a little dialogue clean up. I hope we can get the studio-backed theatrical. It ‘s depending upon if the excusing of a HOLD BACK clause can happen. What that means is that our digital and on-demand is set up along with DVD release. There is usually a window of time given between theatrical and streaming. With the target holiday being Easter all these targeted release dates are being pushed together. The film is epic and emotional and I sincerely hope it gets the larger theatrical with the home video release.
- To tie into the above topic – our MBF: Man’s Best Friend film also has the early interest and I see this film also rolling into the theatrical deal. All these films were built upon a home video deal but now as our distributor rides into theatrical – we do also. It will be a true blessing to have these films brought to theatres all over the USA/world. We’ll just keep focusing on telling the stories. But I did see a rough 20 plus minutes of the film and it left me with a big smile. The final three scenes I watched included Greg Mason, Tim Abell and Jim Gruelich. I cannot say enough how thankful I am to be surrounded by such great artists. The movie is nowhere near the climax and the power in the scenes is just popping.
In summary – we’re also exploring other expansion with our website and merchandise. It is a time of wrapping up business and developing new business. Thank you for spending a few moments of your time here. Keep plugging away at your personal goals. Every step is a bit closer to your dreams. Have a great week ahead and don’t forget to enjoy the season!
Getting to Know the CDI System and Project Updates
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!
Marching into March! Updates!
So again this morning I enjoyed watching our squirrel friends eating the strawberry tops and some aged bread. My desk now looks out over the favorite feeding spot for our furry friends. Our yard is already a haven for wildlife with our acorns, mulberries, edible mushrooms and our garden full of abundance in the season. This winter we had a few cold days coupled with a heavy snow here or there but overall not too bad. This week I might bottle up the next batch of wine “Frankenberry” which was a use up of fruit taking up freezer space. We have a lot to celebrate as of late and I foresee more toasting in the near future.
This weekend started with a nice surprise bday gathering at a local place called DUSTY’S CELLAR. I had a great blond ale that tasted a lot like the last beer I made. Also had some aged ribeye that was wonderful. The full moon also allowed me a few indulgences. I eat junk food (donut, cake, candy bar, ice cream) only during 24 hours of each month. It makes those things a little more special and keeps my sugar/junk intake very low. To anyone who might try – it was only hard the first month or two. Sugar addiction is real and while I seldom partake I know it can be a real challenge. My funniest moment that night was walking into the wrong private room. “Someone order a stripper?” Just kidding – it was funny for sure.
This Sat I had a chance to see BLACK PANTHER and it was cool to see an exotic take on the superhero genre. We always see the NYC-type big city so it was great to see a story based in Afrika. My brother got to join us and that is always fun. A good movie in my opinion. I did re-watch “Raiders of the Lost Ark” this week while doing some desk work. That is truly a great film in my book. Okay, we’ve come around to talking about movies. I guess we can discuss our movies.
This week saw “Wicked Spring” premiere to digital streaming and remastered DVD this past week. It is on various platforms but Amazon Prime is the big one. Read about it here – https://www.prlog.org/12695043-digitally-remastered-cdi-civil-war-epic-wicked-spring-hits-amazon-prime.html
The Amazon link is here – https://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Spring-Brian-Merrick/dp/B079HWQQKC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1519913275&sr=8-3&keywords=Wicked+Spring
This film is the one we cut our teeth on as producers. This is a wonderful primer as we’re about to premiere our new 1800’s action/drama “Wild Faith” this month. We did a great Showbiz Weekly radio show and we have more PR leading up to the March 16-22 run at Celebration Cinemas in Lansing and Grand Rapids, MI. Tickets can be purchased now online –
You can also read an earlier version of the film here – I would appreciate any reviews-
Book your tickets here –
This past week and the week ahead will be important meetings for the film and possible TV series. I’m just excited to have family, friends and fans watch this film. Those that have gotten the advanced look have raved about the balanced blend and pacing which is a hard thing to achieve. On the indie level I see that people often become close friends with all the talent and there exists pressure not to cut certain scenes. This can be because of an insistent writer. Or not wanting to hurt feelings – but the overall film needs to be a deciding factor. I think those involved will be very happy. I’m also excited to have friends from out-of-town coming in to see the film.
THE QUEST TRILOGY
As the 3rd film “THE CHRIST SLAYER” is being worked on we’re about to put the Easter push on the first two films “Forty Nights” and “Chasing the Star” which are great adventures to watch at any time. But families gather at the holidays and these films are built to be enjoyed by the whole family. Have you watched these films? They can be found on Amazon Prime and several major platforms or on DVD.
MBF – We made some good advances on Man’s Best Friend, and we’re so very close to moving into pre-production. We’re into a slight push from our ideal time and so the sport theme in the film may change but it does nothing to our story. We’ve had some great strides made by the Red, White and Blue Project non-profit that is sponsoring some of the military vets so they can do some educational events as well as filming. If you want to see how your company or you can get involved feel free to reach out to me direct.
Aside from all these endeavors I’ve been looking at future acting possibilities and preparing to cut some checks back to investors. A few new deals underway and I’m just flowing with 2018. I had updates on a few projects I thought had faded out but apparently not. One could mean a script sale this year so we’ll see how that works out. Always good to have a few irons in the fire. But a few of those irons are RED HOT. Soccer season is also soon upon us and so I’m going to be increasing my conditioning. I had a good winter of healing last year’s battle wounds and I’m ready to go at it again. With our few nice days I was able to get a lot of yard work done. I’m excited for Spring.
Have a wonderful day. If you feel like supporting feel free to watch some of the films at your leisure at home or experience them on the grand screen. We will be announcing other play dates throughout the Spring/Summer for “Wild Faith” – have a great day!
End of Summer Updates –
Last night I enjoyed watching a pre-season Lions game while doing some work. This past week was very home-centric since my furry boy came home from the MSU hospital after an extended stay. We held meetings in the house vs the office so I could keep an eye on my buddy. I’m happy to report he had a really good week and is recovering in his own home. It did allow me to focus on the paperwork and get a lot of stuff done.
We’re making a run at setting up a new film to shoot this fall. While the business paperwork has been getting organized our team has been locking locations and doing some initial casting. We’re first reaching out to our large circle of talent and trying to identify the right talent for a part. I’ve enjoyed meeting a few new actors and/or watching their work. The film working title MBF has strong themes of our military vets and shelter dogs. The reaction to the script has been strong and we’ve got our distribution deal in place. I love filmmaking in the fall and we’ll see if we’re meant to go this autumn.
This week I do start a new batch of wine that is bubbling up a storm. It is rhubarb and mulberries I harvested. I’ve wanted to make a wine with rhubarb for a while now since my grandma use to grow and cook with it often. So ‘Ida’s Wine’ is underway. The garden has been giving tomatoes and beans in abundance. Will we see a Green Gobin 3 batch? Perhaps:) The HOPS are also looking really good this year.
The Quest Trilogy
Forty Nights will be pushed with the second film Chasing the Star starting in September. For those outside the business – September is the start of the Christmas push for product.
Here is a nice review for “Forty Nights/40 Nights”
And a brand new review for “Chasing the Star”
Stay tune for new pre-sale DVD sites!
The Christ Slayer – as said above when the title cards read coming Christmas 2018 that means a home video release in September. Before that we’ll do a theatrical run as wide as we can. These films were not set up as theatrical as a business deal but they do play great on the big screen.
We’ve played with many posters and are getting close just have not gotten the right first image. The music is being composed and VFX is being worked on. It is looking like we’ll finish this film end of the year. If time permits we’ll try to do a cast and crew screening. In 2018 we’ll do some theatrical and lock the home video release. We are in talks on the TV series and so a few things are still up in the air. But the film looks great and I’m excited to show audiences. Our trailer is making its way into ‘western’ and ‘Civil War’ circles of interest. A behind the season teaser should finally be ready to show this week. (Fingers crossed)
Aside from all this business we’re getting ready to put the final top layer of shake siding on the office/fort. It was being painted this weekend (forest green) to match the roof. I have another soccer match this afternoon to battle one of the top teams. We’ve had a good second half of the season with only one loss. I’m looking forward to next week and making some good progress on our endeavors. As a last note it was cool to see “Wicked Spring” playing Parables TV last night. We produced that film 17 years ago and to see audiences still enjoying it makes me feel good. I think we’re creating some classics now that audiences will be enjoying for decades to come. That is the conclusion I’ve come to recently. If I’m going to spend moments of my life developing, producing these films I want to reach high for quality. Now enjoyment of a storyline can be subjective but quality of production is undeniable. Okay, be good to one another. Time to finish off the coffee pot.
Thank you for your time.
The Forty Seventh Trip – the final week UPDATES
The last week of the 47th trip around the SUN:)
A whirlwind week leading up to the bday weekend. Forty seven trips around this star we call the sun. We had a busy week leading up to the weekend whereas we had a small gathering of folks for my bday and the CDI gathering. I had a busy week because of the dropped elm tree causing a lot of chaos to the yard. All the small stuff got burnt up and the logs stacked and/or organized. The garden is getting a lot more sun with the dead tree down. We smoked a pair of pork shoulders and a large turkey to have sandwiches at the gathering. So the latter part of the week I got to conduct business to the wonderful smells coming from the smoker. The house, office and yard all got a good grooming which is always nice. The spring cleaning is over and time to enjoy summer. My brother made me a wrought iron arch that you install logs onto and also the upper siding will be put on the office this week. (Happy Bday to myself) – After several years I now have a new grill – so grill N chill can power on.
The garden is growing like crazy and I’ve been getting bowls of mulberries everyday for my wine endeavors. Last night at our little gathering we had some of the “Top of the Day” Irish Stout and I think it passed the test. We had some great punch with a punch thanks to my friend Mr. Glarner and Sanctuary Spirits. The RUM was flowing like a pirate fest. Many activities every weekend in the Summer for people so I’m just always appreciative to whomever makes the stop by. I think a good time was had by all and it was a good day to reflect on all the good that has happened in the last year. Lots of excitement and talk about the next 12 months ahead. I will do a short recap of things but I believe I might need a nap before tonight’s soccer match. The temps should be much better as long as we don’t get rained out.
Okay. A few movie updates.
WILD FAITH – ADR work has been underway in the studio as well as spicing up the sound design on the battle scenes. VFX foundation work underway and I’ll be meeting with director Jesse Low to discuss more on this project. I will say some nice BTS, a new trailer and poster are just some of the cool new promo pieces coming soon.
The Quest Trilogy
The website for the trilogy will house the sites for all three films in the future and so we’ve been developing that. Also a new CDI website will be going up this Summer. Forty Nights is expanding into the General market as Sony keeps pushing the digital. We had a few nice reviews coming out on “Forty Nights” and so we’ll be encouraging people to watch the 1st film in the trilogy. We’re still exploring more theatrical on “Chasing the Star” but the film is delivered and will soon be mastered by BMG. “The Christ Slayer” is polishing the edit and VFX work has started. We shared a short model video on the FB site for “The Christ Slayer” and more will follow.
The Friday of my Bday I completed Version 1 of a new screenplay. That put a smile on my face. Scripts are the blueprints that a team works from. I’m happy to be in development mode. The back half of the year will be interesting. We’ll have films releasing as we start the creation of new content. Thank you to everyone who sent their well wishes. I had a few people I know pass away this year that won’t be going on this new journey around the sun. So that said, I’m appreciative that I can keep clawing my way to the middle:)
Release Updates & Helpful Tips
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!