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

Posts tagged “nation

‘Man’s Best Friend’ Screens to First General Audience…

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And where do I even begin to describe last night? If you are not up to speed we had our Michigan premiere for our recent CDI film “Man’s Best Friend” at the NCG theater in Owosso, MI the home turf of our director Anthony (Tony) Hornus. In all my years I’ve been to premieres where after a showing people have all kinds of polite things to say. What I’ve found is that the screening itself doesn’t lie. With 270 people in each show you had a sea of viewers. The crying, laughter and even the occasional murmur such as “Shits about to go down now” give truth. We sit in our little studio mixing and watching with our small producers group but to witness a full theater absorb and react is…an artists dream.

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In many ways I am living my dream. I’m doing what always made me happy and what I feel confident doing. Last night I got to see many old friends and fellow artists. It was a joy to get beyond positive feedback from folks in the military and the general audiences. Nov 11th is the target date for theatrical in N. America. So if you have a film chain in your area reach out to their management and ask them to book the film. We will be pushing to get it to all the places that are being requested. It is a wonderful film to see on the big screen and kudos to our tech team for doing such a wonderful job. I’m still in morning coffee bliss after meeting so many of you last night. I’ve had several people tell me this was our best film to date and my best performed role to date. I will let all of you be the judge of that. I love them all but recognize the power in this role. I put in the work. I watched and communicated with many actual wounded warriors to create an ‘everyman’ like Paul Landings. All I can say is that I will never forget last night. It was truly special for me and to share it with all of those who came just made it that much more special.

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IF this is your first CDI film please do work your way backwards through our catalogue and watch the growth and development of our company. Once again I’m just so proud to have worked with all the artists in front of and behind the camera.

http://www.cdiproductions.com

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WILD FAITH will ride into Wilcox, AZ this October. We just found out that another Hollywood festival (Hollywood Divine International Film Festival) invited Wild Faith, MBF and The Christ Slayer to participate after being submitted by our distributor. I will get more info out on that event soon. IF you like to stay up on the developments please seek out and join our Facebook pages for these films.   I just opened an official folder at the MAN’S BEST FRIEND facebook site for the MI premiere pictures. In the next day or so the pictures will start being posted. So join us at our FB site and follow the CDI films as they rolls out across the nation.

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Aside from all the film work we’re doing final music with the amazing Dennis Therrian on a CDI commercial project. We’ll finish that up and deliver to the client. I’m almost done with LOST HEART clean up. We’re about 15 minutes into the rough edit of the film. Jesse Low has given his adjustments and so this week will be refining and digging into the next handful of scenes. This film will be under wraps being worked on while we promote the finished projects.

One of the biggest questions asked of me last night was what is next? Development is underway – rest assured. Stay tune. I’m going to make this a shorter blog today. I’m going to let all this positive energy soak in. I so enjoyed seeing everyone last night. I was up past my bedtime:) Thankful for 11:30 pm coffee:) Speaking of coffee, time to refill the cup.

Have a wonderful morning.

DJ

 

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FOUR Secrets of Filmmaking – Plus CDI Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DJ

 


You Have to Dream It First – Updates!

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I want to welcome the 1st time readers from S. Korea and Jordan. The lead singer of a band (Shinedown) was talking about the unifying power of music. I think that is true for most art as a whole. I’m proud that this little coffee-powered blog is read by so many around the world. It has been an exciting Summer so far and I’m finally feeling ready for the next journey. By journey I mean a group of films. I’ve been doing this a while now and sometimes I need that break. More from the business versus the art creation but that too can be exhausting. I’m excited because beyond the small pockets of audiences – the nation and beyond will get to see “Chasing the Star” in September (5th) with our distributor releasing to Amazon, iTunes and a few Faith sites focusing first on DVD sales. They are allowing a premium window before moving to streaming services in 2018 after Christmas. This will be a cool Christmas because you will be able to watch Part 1 “Forty Nights” and Part 2 “Chasing the Star” of The Quest Trilogy. There are many small crossover moments in all three films which will be fun to connect for people. Part 3 “The Christ Slayer” is moving along. We were putting paperwork under our VFX team and a PR release will be forthcoming this week. I also have a meeting with the director Nathaniel Nose to discuss the 1st teaser trailer and poster. I’m really proud of all three of these films and I will look forward to the day all three are in a box set or playing TV together. You have to dream it first.

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A few of the team – (L top R) Hagedorn, Perry, Bradley, Mason, Therrian, Hornus)

“Wild Faith” – I LOVE this film. I think many of you – fans of “Wicked Spring,” “Ghost Town” and such will really be taken with this movie. A great cast united in telling a very timely story despite the 1800’s setting. Follow this film on FB or the website and get ready for a ride.

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https://www.facebook.com/WildFaithMovie/

Wild Faith website

http://www.wildfaiththemovie.com

We’ve been going back and forth over movie posters the last few weeks. We’ve had something really good first drafts but not that one great poster that brings all the elements together. Now this is only the theatrical poster not the distributors poster but it is the one we will run with for a while. A new trailer is also in the works that will be our theatrical trailer. We saw a first cut of the Behind the Scenes video and that will be refined before release. You can just see how much fun everyone had making this film.

Okay, I think some of you are good with updates on films in post and want to discuss new endeavors. Well, I’ve had a story in my head for a few years now that involves a few very important themes. Those themes are military vets and dogs. It took some time to  ponder what role to tackle after my last go playing Jesus. My conclusion was what fires up your passion? Does it have a strong business backing? The conclusion was to focus and finish this script lingering in me. The script is the most important thing I have found over the years. It is the blue print that all the departments work off of. It is what encapsulates the world and unites all these performances into a story. That first official draft was completed and I had my two CDI co-producers take a read and give feedback. I also sent the first draft to a few outside people to get another viewpoint. The response was strong and so we’re taking the next steps. This week will include a polish thus creating version 2. I’ve reached out to distribution on the subject matter and I’m doing some breakdowns. It will be filmed in Michigan and at the year’s end late Oct and early Nov is the goal. Early informal casting talks have begun – I’ve said this before, if you’ve worked with us before and fit a breakdown and you weren’t an issue, you’re being looked at. We might request a few reads at some point from some of you out there. We do have a handful of teen roles which we don’t have as many options. Those damn kids keep growing up:) So if you’re 12-19 years old male and female we will want to see your game footage. By that we mean you demo reel. We may go to cold reads if we haven’t found what we want but we like to use reels. So get those ready to go because in a week or two official calls will go out. I look forward to storytelling with you.

I’m going to leave all this right here as I’ve got a string of things to get done today ending in a soccer match. We got the upper siding done on the office/fort and the shake front and back (very top) are next on the list. The garden is giving us our first harvests. The berries have been in full boom and my brother, an artist himself – created this as a birthday present for me. It is a wrought-iron arch with our former elm tree adding the beauty.

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Have a great Sunday!

DJ

 


Creating Sanctuary in the Chaos

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(A sip of coffee) What a week. I have to say weather-wise it was very cold but quite mild compared to other states. Lots of great developments including getting all the business taxes submitted to our movie accountants. Only my personal taxes are left to tackle. I’m really staying focused on the films because I think unity is something we all really need right now. I’ve almost eliminated any social media viewing for pleasure save STAR WARS updates. There is so much hate, anger and fear – and Yoda taught us those things lead to the dark side:) But seriously, we all have different priorities pending our lot in life, but I’m saddened by the chaotic state of our nation. I think the health of our planet and the future we leave the children of tomorrow should be the priority.

I mostly enjoy people and that is never based on the clothes they wear, the car they drive or the house they live in. It’s based on their attitude, humor, compassion and how they treat their fellow human beings. I think we’re back to a dark place in America like pre-9-11. As tragic as all that was at least we saw the best in people rise from the ashes of those towers. The intangible tower of UNITY. Now if anyone values or dares looks at things differently, they’re considered STUPID right-wing, IDIOT liberals, ignorant ASS HATS. There is no real communication just shouting and babble.

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Beautiful – by artist Jeff Butler

I’ve seen the left think Bush was the root of everything wrong. After that it was Obama who became the target. What people fail to understand is that all that negativity is poison spewed is also poison to the self. The crazed look of hate and non-rational ranting heard from both sides has damaged people badly. We’re a country of change complete with checks and balances. Trust in that and don’t be swept up in the chaos of it all. Seek clarity. The best actions are made when they come from a place of clarity.

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I want to be part of sanctuary that grants clarity. When people are no longer are able to cope with wild emotions that have pulled them so far from their normal orbit – they will crave peace. Once the TV NEWS gets turned off and they immerse themselves in a darkroom -the lights dim as the wind, music and beautiful visuals appear- messages of hope. FILM truly can be a sanctuary. We’ll be here tending that sanctuary ready to give peace of mind to all who enter. Maybe we can send calmer, cooler heads back out into the world. In America we must seek compromise – same side of the table negotiations versus hate and gridlock. It cannot be an all or nothing mentality where certain policy is only good for some. We’ll face many more challenges in the future and we’ll all need those moments of sanctuary. Allow yourself to go there. Let the venom be purged and your mind become calm.

Now to the films…

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FORTY NIGHTS

We’re excited that “Forty Nights” is getting an expanded 2017 release. The change in name from “40 Nights” to “Forty Nights” will allow people who ASK for the film to find it easier. Many first run retailers who were asked in person likely typed “FORTY” and – Nope. Nothing in our system. So this expanded release will correct that issue. It will also have (in my opinion) stronger art work. The previous cover was a rush job by Wal-Mart. The cover was not our Jesus, and it was…poor quality in my opinion. The film is now being digitally re-mastered and may include a few extras goodies. I hope to reveal some new artwork in the coming weeks.

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CHASING THE STAR

We met last week over the second film which is now in final VFX and color correction. This week we start to work on the end credits and we’re going to be setting up theatrical play dates soon after “Forty Nights” 4/4/17 home video release date. On Friday I had the first draft of our home video deal with BMG. We’ve got a bit of back and forth but should have an exact release date soon. This film lives up to what we started with “Forty Nights” and I’m so excited to see audiences take this second journey –  Chasing the star!

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The Christ Slayer

Once again, I’m in a race against the harsh desert of AZ trying to get all our investors and business in line. It has not been an IF but WHEN on these films and often these folks don’t realize what we face time-wise. We’re often the small investment and the urgency is not always understood until they feel the desert heat. That said, we’re moving strongly forward with the worst case situation being us having to shoot on the other side of the AZ summer. (124 degrees is too hot) With all the pieces falling into place I would rather shoot in March, so I’m going to push hard. Last week we announced our director Nathaniel Nose. Before that we announced our returning cast. Soon here we’ll be announcing our new leads in the film. We’ve found two of the four and we’re also casting a few new antagonists. I’ve had a few reels start to come in to me after requesting Middle East or Italian actors send their materials. Thank you. The crew is also shaping up nicely and we’ll be once again bringing some Michigan keys out to work with our AZ team. I really would enjoy storytelling in AZ when Michigan is buried under snow.

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WILD FAITH

The first STILL photos are starting to roll out and soon I hope to have a teaser poster and trailer. I’ve seen some amazing footage from the film and I think audiences will really enjoy what we have.

FUTURE ENDEAVORS

We’re looking at future projects and where we want to go with our film slate. We have many options to consider. Keep putting one foot in front of the next one and before long you’ll surprise yourself on how far you’ve traveled.

Until next week…

DJ