Hazelnut cheers on a nippy Michigan morning. I’ve got the fire going by my chair as I sit and reflect on a very busy week of life and work. Last night we gathered at the NCG theaters in Lansing to debut our new CDI film BEST YEARS GONE, directed by Shane Hagedorn. We had a strong crowd for the 1st show which they moved into the bigger screen to handle our sales. Also they extended the theatrical run until Oct 21st, so have day out going to see a movie. It really did play great there and I was happy to see so many family, friends and fans of the films. I love that every day more folks will get to see the story we told. The feedback has been strong ands I know the ‘haters’ always find their way but so do those who appreciate the stories. And at a kick off event I get to shake hands, take pictures and meet some of these fine people.
(Shane Hagedorn and DJ Perry greeted and chatted with many folks at the Lansing premiere)
My dad still wonders how I’m able to weave the story and all the dialogue into a script. I told him all those times of being assured of not paying attention or having my head in the clouds – THAT – whatever it is – IMAGINATION – it allows me to get lost in the story and manifest it. I’m awaiting word on another deal that would have me writing a script this winter and produce it next year with CDI. Add in the TV series of HASTINGS that is gaining momentum and 2022 could be a fun year of storytelling. Here are the Lansing showtimes- https://www.showtimes.com/movie-times/best-years-gone-156830/lansing-mi/
But before we get to 2022 we have a very exciting and important story to be told – SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA! I cannot believe that the pre-production caravan will depart next Saturday. Producers, director, art, AD, office and transportation will be doing final prep for the shoot that kicks off on Halloween. I had a wardrobe fitting last week and between the scene study which is feeling on point and the dapper WW2 uniform – game on.
We have some additional sponsor support from the Iowa State Bank so we want to thank them. This past week we filled several of the few cast and crew spots remaining. Just one or two cast/crew to go and that will work itself out. We had a few changes from illness or unexpected commits but our team will go and end the year with one great story. This week I need to pull together final props and production stuff traveling with me. I have to finish packing my clothes which needs to include cold weather gear. The nice part is this film I have like one uniform and a few hats unlike the multiple wardrobe pieces worn as Gil in BEST YEARS GONE. I am going to enjoy this final week of prepping things. There are several friends I only get to see while filming so again I’m excited to tell this story with our artists.
I know that this is the perfect season to release BESTSELLER, our thriller getting a campaign reboot but I do not have dates yet. My favorite film of the season is the animated ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and Hitchcock’s PSYCHO, which I’ll be watching to this week. WICKED SPRING HD is heading out to streaming and might be playing on certain platforms. I need to circle up with our distributor on a few projects but I’ve been quite busy with one film releasing and one going into production in under two weeks. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH feature-length doc is in the post-mixing phase and I was thinking of premiering SMOKE & MIRRORS with it at the same time. Like the cartoons you use to get before a show.
I’m putting the coffee away this morning because of the chill. I just poured the last cup and I’m going to finish this up. My next update will be from Algona, Iowa! Today we might hit the flea market seeking prop items and a stop at Tractor Supply to get some food for the chickens. They are putting on winter weight and still giving the eggs out. It is nice to always have that abundance of eggs and you do taste a difference. My alumni MSU had another good game yesterday but our Lions still struggle. I want to again thank each and everyone of you who attended our showings. If you want to leave a review you can go to our BEST YEARS GONE page on http://www.imdb.com and vote and leave your thoughts. I hope you all have a productive week ahead. Be good to one another.
I’m sipping a nice hazelnut coffee out of a Sea World cup I found in my travels. I have fond memories of the Easter break trips we often made to Florida to see my grandparents. Always such a good time in the community park riding three wheel bikes and catching lizards. We would often go to Disney, Bush Gardens (A favorite) and Sea World. Although I am glad to see the whales set free as they are a big animal to keep so contained. I’ve been in busy mode with the next shoot in under three weeks now. When we go into the last few weeks all projects have a certain amount of shuffle and settle. Cast and Crew are people with lives and sometimes that can get in the way. We’ve had a few cast and crew adjustments due to these circumstances. But once the film plays out with all the pieces in place you almost could never imagine anything different.
One thing we really do here at CDI is develop people. Some want to get by producing with whom they can until they can hire other people with a better resume. We are truly trying to develop people for the long haul. It is a two way loyalty. There are people who have lost their place in line by not making our few weeks a year, a priority. Others have followed their heart and dreams elsewhere and that is understandable. I’m excited because what I see is a 3rd generation of CDI stepping up into the ranks. It really makes me proud as we started as an organized but rag tag bunch of filmmakers. It is 25 years that CDI has been around and creating content. Coffee Cheers to 25 more!
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA
We are all so excited as we do our remaining off location prep. Tomorrow the cast and crew will get our schedule, official white script and we’ll dive into our actor agreements and arrange transportation. Most of the crew/producer team is driving into the town. A handful of flights that funnel into two small airports. We’ll start locking in the vendor gear this week and likely fire up the production insurance. I’ve got a uniform fitting tomorrow and that will be fun. I’m only in military dress in this film. A bit more formal than Gil Gilles in our last film. I want to welcome in advance another company aligning their brand with our film The Iowa State Bank, thank you!
BEST YEARS GONE – Speaking of ‘Gil Gilles’ our Owosso, MI premiere was an outstanding success and it gave us a great audience reaction. The premiere led to a week-long run and now the film is coming to Lansing, Michigan – my home town. This coming Saturday the 16th at 6pm and 8:15pm the film will playing at the NCG theater. It plays great on the big screen and the film was remastered after our first run. Sometimes you can hear improvements in the theater and we found a handful of places to sweeten and remix. We will watch a test Tuesday! The film will travel some I’m sure. We have many wanting it to play in Grand Rapids and the Detroit area. We’ll talk about screenings in other states as we go.
The CDI Library – Our distributor has us across many streaming, on demand and TV channels but I like to watch the distributors ENCOURAGE TV YouTube channel stream as a meter of how a film is moving. Both FORTY NIGHTS (part 1 of 3) and MAN’S BEST FRIEND have views that shot over a million and approaching 1.5 million. Thank you for all your support. You can leave a VOTE and review for any of the films at our http://www.imdb.com pages. This past year the distributor started advertising The Quest Trilogy together which should help. We are thinking of doing a few Sunday showings of all three in the theaters. Again part 1 is Forty Nights, Part 2 is Chasing the Star and Part 3 in The Christ Slayer. WILD FAITH with over 5 million views on the one site is driving the TV series train. The first season is written and we have some very strong avenues to work this series down. An HD version of WICKED SPRING is suppose to be moving out into streaming. If you like WILD FAITH take a watch on WICKED SPRING and you’ll see where we honed our craft of 1800’s storytelling. BESTSELLER has been delivered and will get a new campaign. I really like this film as a thriller and I’m happy it is finally getting a bigger push. We are looking at several films getting the new campaign treatment.
I’m about to eat some eggs from our chickens and we might stop out at a flea market so I can look for more props. I will likely do some pre-production work while watching the Lions. My alumni MSU had another great game yesterday. My momma is suppose to stop by to say hello. And I’ll get organized and ready for a very busy week ahead that will end with my home town getting a chance to see BEST YEARS GONE. I know the sayings of “You can’t be a prophet in your hometown” and I’m not putting any expectations out there but it is a chance for family, friends and fans to see it on the big screen and to me that is awesome. You can get tickets online at the NCG Lansing site.
Have a great week!
The first sips of the hazelnut coffee taste so good on this chilly Michigan morning. Yesterday the sinus were a bit stuffed due to the weather changes but this morning I’m feeling good. We watched my alumni school Michigan State University put another win up for the season. If only our Lions could start doing the same. Either way, football, hot cider and the harvest has been a great welcome to Fall that is now officially here.
This past week was great for tying up loose ends on BEST YEARS GONE that played Owosso, MI NCG all week. I was able to sneak into a day show on the last day with my dad. It was nice to have no pressure or expectations to meet and greet. It was nice to just relax into the story and just enjoy. The story is well put together with such great comments on the camerawork (DP Travis Hayward) the creative editing (Nathaniel Nose) – the music (Dennis Therrian and all our great guest artists). We know all of this includes the entire crew and cast. I heard lots of compliments on how the film walks the line with strong drama and outrageous comedy. And big kudos to Shane Hagedorn our director who kept the vision and created the fine blend story. NOTE: A BTS of the premiere event is on our IMDB.com page and we’ll go up on our FB page soon. Great job Dan Chipman.
We started with a two show screening premiere and that went great! We’ve been dripping out pics from that night on the BYG Facebook site. What a wonderful night and it was great to see the story on the big screen. The film was granted an extension playing all last week in Owosso, Michigan. Now we are looking at other cities both with NCG and other theatrical chains. We hope to bring it to our home town of Lansing, Michigan. Possibly Grand Rapids and the Detroit area and even Nashville, TN is being considered. This week after the theatrical we made a few adjustments to our mix and we’ll do a final review Weds before uploading the master to our distributor. I’m excited for people around the world to enjoy this story.
Today we are having a meeting for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA to review our schedule and lock that so that cast agreements and flights can be booked. We’re working hard to get all our ducks in a row so that many things are done before our pre-production week on set. Algona is not a big city so we’re working with all the resources we have. The best resource is the people of Algona who are excited to have this story of theirs told, keeping it from being forgotten. This week I’ll do some PR about our product partners and we’ll announce a few more cast. I had a few great conversations with folks this week and that is what is nice about these adventures. I get to see some dear friends that I usually only see when filming. But today is a big day as we lock up the schedule and collectively look for problem/issues in advance. We have some of the best problem solvers working to tell this story so I feel very confident.
WILD FAITH is about to hit 5 million views on Encourage TV taking us even deeper into the tens of millions who have watched the film. I had a few more conversations with parties that could assist in getting the TV series launched. Creative Control has been the main goal for me as I’ve had a few projects derailed by “experts” on what a story needs or doesn’t need. We have several paths we could take to production and as I’ve always said it is not IF it is WHEN. Have you seen WILD FAITH? If not, please do.
MANS BEST FRIEND is playing new TV channels such as Charge TV which seems to be targeted at action and macho films by Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal and DJ Perry, what? I have continued to encounter many more folks who love that film. I’m very proud of the film and the action sequences which are modest. I’ve had several people ask about ‘Paul Landings’ outcome and could there ever be a sequel. You never know and yes, I’ve thought about it. I have a good story in my head but we’ll see about that some other time. I’ve got a full plate.
LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFOs and JESUS – I had the pleasure of hearing from many who saw CDI’s last release under two different titles. I love this film and it always leaves me feeling good. Feeling down or just needing a boost of ‘feel good’ take a watch. Melissa Anschutz commands the screen and folks like Josh Perry turn in performances that will have people talking for years. This is the perfect time of year to watch this film.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Once we get past the beloved Halloween-fare it will be the holidays. I’m excited to continue the tradition of our trilogy. I again at the recent premiere got to hear from the fans of these films. Many are still learning about them and learning that there are three films in the series. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. See them in order. See them all.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the final polished cut is getting close. This weekend the audio narration was being done. A pre-mix and a final mix and we’ll be ready for a premiere. Maybe just before Christmas but after Thanksgiving for sure.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS – Our short concept film that sprung from a commercial endeavor is completed. We’re in discussions about the various possible premieres for this film using it to also help the historic Dodge Turner House. We are exploring a virtual premiere also but getting together and seeing this on a big screen would be fun. It is roughly 14 minutes so not a long film. A few festivals could be in the future for this short film story. I have been working on the feature script which I’m calling ‘OF SMOKE & MIRRORS’ to add a slight difference between the two.
ODDS & ENDS
This week I got to throw some of my dialog off Curran Jacobs who is playing the lead in our next WW2 film. I’ve been having such a great time emerging myself in the 1940’s and preparing to tell this great story. We also had a great meeting with our director and the VFX supervisor and we identified all the VFX shots or shots that would utilize CGI additions or subtractions.
I had an offer for a lead in a short which I don’t typically consider but offered to look at the script and the details which I asked for. I got a script with no details and had to pry any info out. But to be honest when I saw the email with just the script (poorly formatted) and no information – it was a polite pass. I had another call about engaging as a work-for-hire writer. On the other end of the spectrum from the no detail communication mentioned previously- this email came with a great pitch/breakdown. Success will follow the hard work. One person did the bare minimum and the other had spent some real time in organizing and preparing for their endeavor. I will likely enter negotiations this week for a wonderful writing endeavor that I’ll do over the holidays. I’ve had a handful of these opportunities approach me which is what led me to consider representation. In time I may explore the representation aspect but for now I’m happy to handle the details.
I’m going to bring this to a close. I have a few yard tasks to accomplish and I need to get ready for two groups of folks today. The ‘schedule’ meeting this afternoon and later my brother and few amigos will visit. I think the first fire might have to be lit today. I hope each of you have a wonderful day and good week ahead. I’m excited for all the developments happening and also happy to be enjoying the Fall with the family. This shoot will be the only extended leave I took this year. But it will put us into post-production on another beautiful story. This story is built on the real history of Algona and we’re proud to be telling it.
Be good to one another and coffee cheers!
A very good morning to all of you – hazelnut cheers to our new readers from Australia, Philippines, Ireland and more. I’m sitting and feeling – relief, joy, accomplishment…I’m still trying to capture that feeling. Last night was pretty crazy cool. Weds we went to the NCG and set levels for the film and the pre-showing videos which comprised of “For the Love of Catch” movie trailer and the music video for ‘Off to the Races’ featuring Vertical Bridge. In the past I’ve had some events that I primed up well for- one example that jumps into my mind is David Borowicz and I in Burbank, CA before WILD FAITH played the theater. He said let’s stop here and have ONE beer. It was the home of the 1 yard beers so that really started things off relaxed. I went into the premiere stone sober and first the first trailer started playing without the visual. They restarted it and it played great. The music video started way loud and then they turned it too low and finally brought volume back up. The aspect ratio on the feature was off slightly so bottom credits were being cut off. But they quickly readjusted. Visual, audio, aspect ratio- they had moved us to a larger theaters and the adjustments from Weds were not applied. My limited-tech self was wishing I had that yard sized beer in advance. The audience didn’t notice but we did and the second 8:15 show got the much better adjusted showing and this week the showings should be much more dialed in. But the interest and numbers for the showing resulted in us getting our run extended for the week! The kick off gremlins tried to mess with the showing but instead ended up having an amber ale with us after and they liked the film:)
I also enjoyed talking with Karl Manke the book author. The book is called HOPE FROM HEAVEN. It is an interesting feeling when you write a script and it is turned into a film passing by the director and the actors. It has to be another experience to have your book turned to a screenplay turned into a movie. Either way I think he enjoyed the experience but as a writer I know sometimes in your imagination you have it painted differently. But for me it is always a pleasure seeing the words brought to life. We will know this week if NCG is bringing it to other cities in Michigan. We have a few other chains we are in talks with and our goal is to get it to you. It is planned for roughly a Feb 2022 DVD/streaming release with our distributor. We are going out on the distributors general market main stream label. The film checks many of the boxes for a good inspirational story but the hardcore faith buyers seemingly don’t always like to see too ‘real’ of situations. The ‘Brady Bunch’ level crisis is usually what they like to focus on but that is slowly changing. Audiences loved the characters, the humor, the music (Dennis Therrian) and the edit (Nathaniel Nose) – I am going to sneak into a day show this week. Likely 2:45 show and home by dinner:)
This week we’ll be looking to see what could be done with SMOKE & MIRRORS the short we did off a commercial shoot for an audio software company Izotope. It is a precursor to a feature film we want to film from one of my scripts of the same name. We might do a steampunk happy hour fund raiser for the historic house or something online. We will have a few creative pow wows over this but however you see it will be entertaining.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is moving hard. The crew started getting agreements although our prep dates might fall back by a day. The office and AD staff are working on the set schedule which includes what we call a day-of-days that tells us actor start dates, work dates and final date so we can properly book flights and hotels. Transportation in will be a bit harder as all the close airports are small and limited flights. We are driving in with the prep team so we can bring more gear and such with us. The chill in the air this morning whispered “Wait until November.” – DOH! So this week we’re are back at it and with a more singular focus now that several projects have been concluded.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is a feature length documentary produced by CDI in association with the Red, White and Blue Project Inc. a military focused non-profit. We’ll be locking up picture soon and sweetening the sound before we premiere this fine piece of work.
I’m not going to go on much about development this week but we are always in the state of development. Several possible projects are building and growing closer to a production green light. More doors are opening weekly that we are evaluating and looking to see if they make sense and match with our schedule. So please do make the time to go see BEST YEARTS GONE on the big screen and take a friend or two. If you have seen it take a moment to share your thoughts with a review on IMDB.com
We are going to go hit the flea market down the road and look for a few WW2 era props for the November shoot. We might have to get a few pumpkins and maybe even apple cider. I finished the hop harvest and we’ve still been waiting on some of the veggies late maturing like eggplant and Brussel sprouts. Wood cutting with Viking Thursdays might start soon. The days are still getting warm but morning and nights are getting chilly. Good sleeping weather when the window is open.
I also will tell you that some great merchandise made its first appearance at the premiere and will be for sale soon online. Best Years Gone official handkerchief that people really loved featuring a few of the favorite tag-lines from the film. Also Gil Gilles approved lighters, papers, grinders and beverage cozies one with a built in opener. Fun stuff and the start of many as we start to develop the CDI merchandise line. Some ‘For the Love of Catch’ merchandise might also be on deck. Wicked Spring lunch box? maybe:) We also want to start featuring artists and carry their artwork on consignment. I LOVE seeing other artists succeed through hard work. Many expect things to just happen. I am part of a few social media filmmaker groups and I see so many unrealistic expectations. Also folks who wrote something and just think it will get funded if they just post a few messages. I called. Set meetings. Cold pitches in studio boardrooms. Many meetings where many turned up zero but eventually the right fit. But it never dropped in my lap. Do opportunities drop in my lap now? Yes. But that is after many years of struggle. So I just feel like I’m reaping the rewards of seeds planted long ago. So I’m saying even in this digital age you might have to get off your computer/phone, out of your comfort zone and go after it with a well thought out written out plan of attack. Or you can go back to social media funding where 95% of those endeavors fail to fund and if you want larger budgets that takes trust. So go build that trust and make your dreams happen. It also allows you to be pro-active versus passive which is where many like to dwell. But passive usually doesn’t prosper like pro-active.
Off to refill the coffee cup! Great job MSU! Have a great week and thank you to the full house who attended the premiere kick off last night. It was really nice to meet some of you and we’re all glad as the artists that we could give you an enjoyable night. The sign for me was that my face hurt from smiling and laughing and so I’m gonna take that as a good thing.
Exciting Developments – ‘Off to the Races’ Music Video – ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ & ‘Best Years Gone’ premieres, ‘Silent Night in Algona’…
I’m sitting here sipping the hazelnut coffee on this peaceful Michigan morning. I want to welcome the new readers from Italy, India, Pakistan and more. It is so nice to have an international circle of artists here. The last few weeks have been extremely productive and busy. This could not be more true of the film endeavors we’re working so hard on. Past, present and future all moving forward together. Outside of the film world we’ve been working in the yard with the chickens and the veggies and herbs. This past week I harvested the hops and we’ve been enjoying eggplant and other veggies. Today I plan on grilling up a few venison steaks after a late morning run to the flea market. I think the best way to try and organize the updates are with a bullet point list.
- Oct 12th Nationally this book above will release. I have a story in it about our boy ‘Luke’ who passed a few years ago. I love contributing to these books and if you need a good Christmas gift these books make a fine one to give. Pre-Order here http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-dog-who-came-to-christmas/401231
- The short film SMOKE & MIRRORS that will condensed from my feature script is now complete. Our producers were reviewing yesterday and it is really good. That ‘steampunk’ era 1900’s setting is so fun to play in. I’ll be looking at at screening to benefit the Dodge Turner house where we filmed. It will premiere and we plan to let you all enjoy it during the Halloween season. We are even cutting a short promo teaser but I’m very happy with our end result. It was directed and edited by Nathaniel Nose who directed ‘The Christ Slayer’ with us.
- The music video ‘Off to the Races’ by Vertical Bridge the winner of the BEST YEARS GONE battle of the bands is done. We’re deciding between two logos but the video is badass and we’re talking about releasing it this week to fuel the hype of our upcoming MICHIGAN PREMIERE! I think we’ll release the music video tomorrow and also if you attend the premiere you can see it play on the theatrical screen.
- The feature BEST YEARS GONE is complete but the last few days have been working to tweak color correction and remove digital hiccups:) The film will be rendered to a theatrical file (DCP) used by the theaters. It will also get deliver to our distributor so their marketing team can review and they can start playing their home video campaign that will have DVD/streaming release in Feb 2022. The premiere Sept 18th at the NCG theaters in Owosso, MI is next Sat with both a 6pm show that is almost full and the 8:15 show that is filling up. Both will be great to attend with photos and meet and greets plus the afterglow at Romas. We have a lot of details to attend to this week in preparation but next Sat the first audiences will meet the Gilles Boys and the madcap adventure that follows. This was adapted for the screen (by yours truly) from Karl Manke’s book ‘Hope from Heaven’ and so you might want to read the book after you take a watch.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has started assembling crew paperwork which we’ll start dispersing this week. Once our schedule lands in our lap we’ll start doing our cast agreements, travel and such. We’ll be releasing PR on a few more of the German actors plus we’ll be announcing our product partnership with two more major worldwide brands. Those brands being Hormel/Spam and Hersheys, both play into our story. Other sponsors include Smithfield Foods, Lerma Transportation, The Candleberry Company and more in process. It really is great to have these amazing brands working with us. We’re working on a teaser poster along with a hundred other small details. If you want to align your brand with our WW2 Christmas film please do reach out.
- This week I also received a script in the mail (I love that vs electronic) for a future film project to see if I want to act in it. I had a few conversations about upcoming scripts/films to write/produce and we had a good chat at week’s end over the WILD FAITH TV series “Hastings” and we’ll see where that goes.
- In active development is the new VFX division that we’re working to build so that we can enhance VFX shots in our stories and also use this entity to develop our own animated programming.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film is now in fine tuning and I think will be the first of a series of films. I had productive talks this past week about another documentary film to shoot next year that will build upon this current one. But ‘For the Love of Catch’ is more than just a documentary film it will be a brand that we can do many things with including hosting, promoting and live streaming a possible event. The possibilities are really exciting. As I said before, if you love college, professional, or any type of wrestling – you will find this doc entertaining and informative. It filled in so many gaps in my casual knowledge of the grappling arts as a martial artist myself. I think this film will become one of the pillars of the grappling and it really pulls the history together so that its not forgotten. It bypasses the typical competitive nature of the different schools and illustrates the common history they all share. And the love expressed by these instructors for their art is apparent in the heartfelt words that are spoken in each and every powerful interview.
- I need to circle around and look at the CDI Classic Double Feature with Knight Chills and From Venus. New artwork and maybe an entire new campaign that could include Knight Chills HD streaming. I see it:) Do you own the 1st DVD in the CDI Classic Collection? Heaven’s Neighbors and Figure in the Forest– which one or both might also get the HD treatment with a new campaign. We will see – I need to get a few things off my plate first.
- I’ve been having a great time immersing myself in WW2 footage and films. IN HARMS WAY with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas is one I just watched. They had access to so many military vehicles like battleships, but it is John Wayne. My short hair helped me start to see my character in the mirror. The line work has been just awesome. I love the things that are said between the lines. Yesterday was Sept 11th and the tributes brought back many feelings and visions of patriotic unity in grief. I think this script speaks in these ways by looking at the examples of the past and we can apply that to our present. I’m really looking forward to telling this story.
If you are in the Michigan area and want to attend our premiere please do attend one of the two shows and the afterglow at Romas. My schedule keeps me working and recharging more than socializing at film mixers so if you and I haven’t met – feel free to introduce yourself. Leave me with a card or whatnot so I can explore your art. I recall leaving a few past film events with a pile of scripts, headshots and VHS tapes of films and reels. Now a card with a link can do much the same thing. We are exploring additional theatrical play as the distributor preps for home video and foreign sales. So if you are unable to attend the film could play closer to your home or streaming will follow early in 2022. But, if you want to meet some of the cast, crew, band members from “Vertical Bridge” the battle of the band winners – this is the event for you!
(Above is from our Algona scout/prep trip- NOTE the cool car we will be using. One of many classic pre-1944 rides)
Okay. Flea market, lawn mow, venison grill N chill and prepare for a busy Monday! MSU had another great game and I hope our LIONS can do the same! I hope you all had a great weekend and stay safe, be kind and chase down those dreams.
I’m sipping my coffee and thinking about what a beautiful week it has been. It has been busy and will continue to be as we move towards the premiere of BEST YEARS GONE (Sept 18th tickets can be bought for that date 6pm and 8:15pm at the Owosso, MI NCG – Come Join the Fun!) and we also keep prepping on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. (Shooting in November) We will explore a few theatrical opportunities with the film but we’re looking at Q1 2022 likely Feb for the streaming/DVD home video release. We have all kinds of important work being done as we look to finish end of this new week. As huge amounts of data is being moved about for credits and thank you’s I also worry a touch. Because almost without fail we miss someone or have a name misspelled. It is the worst part of the final process. And changes are not easy and once delivered near impossible to change. Please know that on the rare occasions where this happens it has never been intentional. I know director Shane Hagedorn is excited as is our composer and sound designer Dennis Therrian. The daily updates are growing with excitement and enthusiasm. We want to bring this story to you. If you want to read the book that the film was adapted from you can google up and purchase “Hope from Heaven” by author Karl Manke.
Last night was special because I got to celebrate the wedding reception of Jackson Kennedy. He is the son of my business partner Jeff Kennedy, who directed several of the early CDI films. He was the young boy in KNIGHT CHILLS (CDI’s 1st feature film). Jackson was only like 3 but a bigger kid more the size of a 5 year old. Later it was discovered he was dealing with some hearing loss. Audiences even back in the day could be cruel with their words in reviews. He never asked for any of that so I’m so happy to see how well he has done in school and life by getting his Masters degree and working for a university and now married. Actually he and his wife Abby married a year ago during Covid and this was the anniversary. They had a wonderful reception for family and friends. For people who don’t know, my partner in CDI Jeff Kennedy, has dealt with severe back issues since before even his work on ‘Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town’ which would be his last CDI film he was directly involved with. It was good to see both he and Juanita so proud of their son Jack. I too was so proud of this young man and what he has become. Looking at him as a grown man illustrates again for me that indeed CDI has been storytelling for 25 years this year!
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA
Here is an interview piece from our scout trip to Algona, Iowa.
This week we’ll announce a few more of the German actors and we’ll also be announcing some of the amazing product partners and sponsors joining us in the telling of this powerful story based on true events. We are starting to put paperwork under our cast and crew. We will also start more intense work with various departments in the coming weeks. The 1st steps towards the production insurance is underway as of Friday. We will need it for locations, picture vehicles and more. Aside from all the business I’ve been working my lines and I’m excited to start reading off a few of my fellow actors.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – We had the pleasure of watching the 1st cut of the documentary on the history of wrestling. It was informative, entertaining and really educates anyone interested or curious about the history of the grappling arts. I’m very proud of the entire team and I think it could be the first of many. Director Curran Jacobs is also the lead actor in our upcoming WW2 film. He previously had roles in WILD FAITH and MBF but this will be his biggest challenge.
SMOKE & MIRROR – Our VFX artists had a few delays but this funny and hauntingly moody short film will be done mid month. I’ve also been working on re-tooling the feature film that were looking to have Nathaniel Nose direct. This will give audiences a good peek at the world we intend to create with the full feature.
WILD FAITH is a branding and I’m considering WILD FAITH: Hastings Season 1 as the more official title for the TV series. The interest is there now we just need to pull all the business together and look to a season 1 shoot likely 2022 if all goes smooth. I might get some artwork underway during this 4th Q of the year.
The window for THE QUEST TRILOGY will kick in after we get past Oct 31st – speaking of that spooky month – BESTSELLER the dark thriller by author Christopher Knight and starring Melissa Anschutz as literary agent Anne Harper will be getting a new campaign soon. I think most of the business has been delivered so I will keep you updated. Also an HD version of THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ is suppose to release in a new campaign. It was our first CDI associated animated film but will not be our last! The new special FX division is in the planning stages and I’m excited by where that can take us. LOST HEART aka BIGFOOT, UFO’S AND JESUS is growing a nice audience and WICKED SPRING HD version is about to get a new release. And we’re also looking at what films in the CDI library could also be introduced to a new larger audience.
I smell the bacon and eggs almost done so I’m going to wrap this up and get a fresh coffee. After breakfast I’m going to go put a mow on the lawn. We are having the mom’s over for a late lunch that will have me manning the grill. I’ve been grilling with hickory chunks vs charcoal and that has been a switch. It burns much faster and hotter it seems. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your extended holiday weekend. Our MSU football team started off the season with a great win Friday night. Now if only the Detroit LIONS can do the same.
Be good to one another and have a great week ahead!
Welcome to all our new readers from Germany, Uganda, China and several others from around the globe – coffee cheers! Watching the storm approach New Orleans and hoping for the best for whomever stayed behind. We all know of the tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan and Covid is continuing to be an issue in some areas of the country. This humidity has been brutal yet I got the lawn mowed up one day and even had our last soccer match for the season in this heat. I’m ready for wood stove, chili, Lions/MSU football and everything that comes with that. It has been a very active time here at CDI and with me personally but that means good things are happening. Lets look at a few of the top updates-
- BEST YEARS GONE – the film is being polished up with some color correction tweaks and a few music beds to be worked in. The tickets are open for anyone to buy for Sept 18th at the NCG Owosso theatre with shows at 6:00 pm and 8:15pm with an afterglow at ROMAS patio starting after the first show and will continue after the second showing. Get your tickets now as they are going fast! No charge for the afterglow/cash bar and we’ll be doing pictures and such so come on down and meet many of the cast and crew.
- Also a just finished shooting the music video for ‘Off to the Races‘ the song by Vertical Bridge that will appear in the film as winners of the ‘Battle of the Band’ – we plan to show the music video either before or after the film. It depends on what film footage is used/shown in the video but we’re excited to see this premiere also.
- SMOKE & MIRRORS our short concept film is almost done. We had a slight delay in the VFX but I hope to get the finished film so we can look at maybe a small premiere as a fund raiser for the Dodge Turner House we shot at. I’m excited to finish the retooled feature script that we plan to shoot in the near future with Nathaniel Nose directing.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film about the history of wrestling has a first full cut which we’ll review this week. Once BEST YEARS GONE has moved out of post we’ll move this film in once picture is locked to have an audio mix done on the project.
- WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – as the feature film keeps climbing in views via the numerous streaming sites that means good things for the TV spin off series. This coming week I have more meetings over this project. I’m excited about what this could mean for so many cast and crew in the Michigan area. CDI has been building a strong team for a while now and this project could mean some consistent work. Giddy up!
- New release campaigns will be underway for a newly up-rez’d THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ, which was CDI’s first animated feature collaboration but I will say it won’t be our last. Also Christopher Knight’s BEST SELLER based on the book of the same name has been delivered and will be rolling out in the near future. This R-rated (language and intense situations) feature is the closest to a Hitchcock like thriller that we’ve produced. I’ll be in talks this week on a few other projects from the CDI library.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has most of the cast and crew in place minus a few still being discussed. We will be getting ready to go to paperwork this Sept for cast, crew and vendors. Most of our crew is driving in so we can take more equipment and gear. Some flights for west coast folks will be needed so those will be arranged. Wardrobe is starting to gather sizes (don’t lie actors:) * A famous story with my dear departed actor costar Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty who might have fibbed on his waist size. This led to a frantic last minute adjustment on set. We’ll be having some round table discussions with art including guns with our armorer Mr. Robert Bradley. The town of Algona is so appreciative they don’t want CDI to be just coming to work in Algona they want the crew to be their guests. Once you meet the kind people of Iowa you realize why a story like ours actually happened. I’m excited and ready to tell what we hope will become a holiday staple along with your other favorite classics.
- We are having some great success with our product partners on our upcoming WW2 Christmas film mentioned above. We have another great brand joining us in our endeavor and their history/story plays into the script in a few places. Stay tune for some announcements and if you have a brand and want to align it with our story please do reach out. Smithfield Foods is our newest joining Lerma Transportation and The Candleberry Co. We are appreciative of all our product partners.
- I had a call last week about a film I was approached about a few years back and it seems they have momentum and wanted to resend the script and see if I was still interested in the role. I LOVE that they offered to send a paper script to me. Things always get read faster by me when they come to me in paper form.
- KNIGHT CHILLS – I’m just going to set this right here. This was CDI’s first film. It was both a test of ‘could we’ tell a story. We were too ambitious, under experienced, under funded but had a boatload of passion and enthusiasm. This story has stayed with audiences for many of the nostalgic reasons we love it. There is a world at play here and with the surge in fantasy role playing including new D&D movies, it might be the time for SIR KALLIO to arise. If you go and watch Part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY, The Christ Slayer…well watch all 3, imagine that world building applied to Knight Chills. The story exists in two places – the fictional here and now and the fictional inside fictional world of the imagination. This 2nd film is a transitional piece to get us into the world we always wanted to do but were unable to. This second film will be an EVIL DEAD 2 to Evil Dead 1 with the 3rd being the Knight Chills (Army of Darkness) – No. I’m not saying Knight Chills is on par with Evil Dead, I’m just pointing out the story arc. The second brings back some nods to the past and sets up for its future. We’ve had so many people interested in the story and this RESTART not REBOOT will draw some artists into our story on subject matter alone. Just something developing in the dark of the night as the cold wind starts to blow…
I’ve given a good run down of some of the happenings over here at CDI. I’ve been watching my hops which are close to harvest. The rhubarb needs another cut. The chickens are kicking the eggs out. Veggies are ripening weekly and we’ve been storing some tomatoes. The plants are doing well with water but the humid just has it feeling like Jurassic Park around here. And the mosquitos are the true beasts around here. Although the bats are trying to keep them in check there are just so many. I think the mosquito should become the new Michigan bird:) Okay. I hope everyone has a great week ahead. Keep focused on what you can control and don’t let static and noise steal your attention and time. In many endeavors you must believe first. Click on Owosso links BELOW to go to BEST YEARS GONE premiere ticket site or just google it up. See you there.
Good morning from Algona, Iowa! I’m sitting looking over a small private lake with an abundance of wildlife. This state on the other side of the big lake is not so different from Michigan save being more flatland and corn. Our director and main producer team from our upcoming SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA film has been here on a scout. Our trip in was hampered by delays and a few mishaps that are almost worthy of a comedy film. But once we arrived our stay has been incredible with so much support from the community. Tonight we are having a special BBQ by an award winning chef with the mayor and area dignitaries. We have been also getting incredible support from the area businesses all excited to have us here. Smithfield Foods is one of our international sponsors and our host on this trip. I’ve learned a few new pork grilling techniques that I’m excited to try when I get back home.
We were curious as to the availability of props in the area and we were happily surprised that almost all the props required- right down to WW2 wheelchairs and more will be available to us.
Even the period vehicles are all falling into place. I’m going to keep this short as we are about to go scout more locations today.
BEST YEARS GONE is racing around the track and heading for the checkered flag and finish line. Here is your advanced notice that if you go to NCG Owosso website and your buy a ticket for one of the two shows. Tickets are just standard pricing. The afterglow party will be free for every ticket holder. We’ll be doing PR on all this when we return this coming week but I wanted to give you all the first announcement. We’ll be doing a producer watch soon and after will be the final mix.
As noted we’ve been all over this area of Iowa and meeting so many people that either have seen our films or after meeting us are excited to watch our films.
WICKED SPRING – the HD campaign is about to roll out. I saw an early draft of the thumbnail poster art and had some comments on it including incorrect rifles and clothes that appeared a touch modern. Some alternations were made but they rolled with the wrong rifles and such and I told them the re-enactor/living historian crowd would hammer that poster and they are. To the casual Civil War enthusiasts it might fly but to my friends that live and breath the era – not. So my apologies for the inaccurate guns but that distributor marketing is not all under my control. But I do hope that you watch and enjoy the HD enhanced film. It is still a favorite of mine to this day.
Next week I should also be seeing a first cut of our documentary ‘FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH‘ and our short concept film ‘SMOKE & MIRRORS‘ and I’m excited to see these both drive towards a finished film.
I might be missing a few updates but I’m going to wrap it up. I need to eat something quickly before hitting the road. But this is an exciting time and we’re very happy with the progress we’ve made every day preparing to give our artists the support needed to tell this amazing WW2 story.
Have a great week and we’ll chat next week.
Ah…those first sips of the hazelnut coffee taste so good. I stayed up a tad past my bedtime watching the final Olympic Games on TV. Yesterday was a trip up North to deliver some of the 4H pork to some family. We stopped at a few produce stands and got carrots, cabbage, green beans and more. Also stopped and got a cherry cider slushy and it was good. So Saturday was a fun productive day.
BEST YEARS GONE – We’ve been working hard on the finish line with final music and sound design being laid in. The color correction is done and will be replaced as the master this week. Speaking of music lets talk video – music video with our Battle of the Bands winner VERTICAL BRIDGE. So Friday we were over to Onondaga Dragway to capture some B roll along with a few picture cars captured screaming down the track. Later this month we will get the band rocking out. We had to do a two part shoot thanks to the unpredictable nature of Michigan’s weather but that is how it rolls. It can go from nineties and balmy to snow, you just never know.
We were trying hard to set up a racing premiere event at Springport whereas we provided the ‘purse/prize’ and get to name the race, ‘Gilles Cup’ a 200 car spectator drag followed by an outdoor drive in like screening. But final concerns over insurance led to a postponement. I think we would all like to return and try something but in our tight timelines we had to fall back to more traditional. So Sept 18th at the Owosso, MI in NCG we’ll be doing a one night, two show premiere at 6:00 and 8:15 I believe. Also this week we’ll be setting up a premiere afterglow at ROMAS like we’ve done in the past. Owosso is also the home of the book writer Karl Manke, who penned ‘Hope from Heaven’ and I adapted it into a screenplay. We are excited to show everyone this next tribeCDI story! From there we might do a few more theatrical and a few select festivals. But we’re going to keep working hard to lay in the final pieces and mix it up nicely. Once all that is done we’ll be OFF TO THE RACES! (The name of the winning song)
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is ON DECK and preparing for a scouting mission to Algona, Iowa mid month to put in play lodging, catering and location options. We had Lerma Transportation come on board this past week as a sponsor. We’re in talks with some other great brands from that region and several that we’re in operation during WW2. I’m excited because we’re only a few crew and cast short from being fully locked and loaded. This week we’ll be announcing more crew and cast. Our agreements have come over from legal and so soon we can start putting paper underneath the crew and start looking at transportation. It is all very exciting! On deck here soon is the gathering of props, personal wardrobe and gun wrangling that will again be handled by Robert Bradley working as armorer under art department. We’ll also be starting to look at vendors for gear and such that we might need. Aside from the producing aspects I’ve been working on my character development. The hair cut has really helped me turn the page and work my lines while seeing the character more in the mirror. I plan to go visit several of the flea markets this month including one today. Happy prop picking:)
LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFO’s & JESUS has been increasing in sales along with the others that are also expanding audiences. We’ll wait another quarter and do another disperse. WILD FAITH, THE QUEST TRILOGY, MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND I’ve appreciated the fan/emails and the kind works and handshakes mainly from military friends over MBF. Our goal is to create some classics that will be playing for years.
Speaking of classics – WICKED SPRING has a newly uprez’ed HD stream that will be making its way to steaming platforms. The new art they are using makes it look a bit more like YELLOWSTONE TV show in my opinion but I hope everyone will enjoy seeing this more brilliant version of this film that has been showing to Civil War and history fans for 20 years. I need to circle back and check into some things (Art & DVD Menu) for the second CDI Classic Collection Double Feature with KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS. A new HD version of THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ the 1st CDI associated animated feature is getting a new campaign. BESTSELLER, also a CDI associated project is getting a campaign. We need to finish getting all the deliverables to BMG. Several of the others are being pitched to prep for a new campaign release. A few of the associated films had opportunities previously but could not pull all the deliverables together. I have to focus on what I can control and not what I cannot. But it is exciting to see some of the classic films get new life!
Things I’ve seen this week that would make good conversation. I did see whereas a crew person was announcing some new series project they were working on but they were complaining as they announced. Now even big studios and networks are ran by people who care about the product and they do monitor social media. To see people complaining before working day 1 would have me seriously reconsidering that hire. You want positive people who take pride in their work and in the story they have signed onto help telling. First, few of these crew people and cast for that matter have ever gone through the painful trials and tribulations of raising funds to tell a story. I’m not talking about the donation based projects but investors or funding studios whereas you have accountability. I’ve stated several times that I’ve never been able to pay an artist what I think they are worth. But we do create stories that most are happy to put their name on. I just find it such a different place from where I started to be gifted an opportunity yet you are going to flaw find. Just politely pass and move on if it doesn’t meet your standards. Again not our project but it still made me take a second look. Burn enough bridges and your opportunities will dry up and that is the way of things. I’m happy to say I think we’ll have several opportunities for years to come. I’m already excited about what 2022 could bring. Stay positive, stay focused and keep moving forward. I will talk with you all next week!
Good morning my friends. Coffee cheers. I want to welcome all our new readers from Brazil, Norway, Sweden, Russia, China and more. I love that this is a place where artists of the world can come together. I hope my words can inspire, inform and/or assist each of you on your own journey. It was a productive week with my mind grinding a bit on several things. Last weekend brought the news of several people who’s travels here have ceased. The week brought more news of pets, parents and friends who passed. That is the other side of social media and up to the moment news. It use to be a random encounter with an old friend or associate would reveal news from the past few years or months. But now we deal with news daily that can remind us that our time alive and living is finite. Our minds are trying to learn to compensate for this daily bombardment of unsavory news. I feel bad for people who cannot moderate that and self feed themselves more sadness than they can healthily handle.
I have pondered activists of various causes and I think that is a hard road. There is little rest – their minds fixated on the cause without rest. Politics, racial injustice, domestic violence, animal cruelty and poaching…the list could go on and on. If you try to take a rest -others could accuse them of slipping, losing focus leading to overall judgement. Good intentions can quickly turn to near madness. That person(s) can quickly become part of the problem contributing their own hate. This is like a passive mob mentality that while not as intense can be a slow peer pressure burn. “I don’t see you upset, do you still care?” – I’ve dealt with that years ago in some of the film business. My composure was taken for lack of caring and that was not true. I just know when emotions take over (Oh look how passionate someone is) that they don’t always make the best (efficient) choices. I often agree with causes but not the process of pushing an agenda. I’ve recently talked about how I like to speak with my art. I feel I can reach more people with the medium of film and don’t have to live in a manic state. Tell a story with a lesson and drop the mic and go boating or grill out with family and friends. Just because you don’t live in some unbalanced state of mind doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means you have learned to work smarter versus harder. Smarter for the health of the self and smarter for the cause you are trying to enlighten people to. So self evaluate and see if you are working in a way that is best for you and ultimately for your cause. Life is a marathon and so don’t burn yourself out. I’m also going to note my parents both had a birthday one day apart. I’m just blessed to still have them both here on this journey. My furry boy Luke who passed a few years back would have had a bday and several people had some nice things to say. Appreciate each day and try to lay your head on the pillow each night having done good deeds and a sleepless night will be rare. Except where dogs and fireworks exist a few less restful nights might follow.
Let’s stay with MANS BEST FRIEND, which after the wins at the Crown Awards seems to have brought even more viewers. I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to watch the film and either send me your beautiful comments and/or posted reviews on IMDB, Amazon or whatever streaming platform. My cousins in Detroit finally got around to a watch on the film and sent me these pictures. I love them because it shows that our audience is not just you humans.
Thank you. If you want to watch yourself – please do.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS has some exciting developments underway. In the sake of not getting ahead of myself I’ll leave this project for now. But this film which has endeared so many to the Murphy family just might launch in 2022.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA
While ‘Wild Faith’ is storytelling in the 1870’s our upcoming WW2 drama will take us to the 1940’s. Our producers scout trip is booked and our team will go in August to lock in the infrastructure of our next film. Our casting and crewing is about 85% in place with a few departments ands castings still to be set and announced. Our German actors are going to start being announced soon. Here was last weeks cast announcement.
We also hope to start announcing some of the sponsors very soon. I’m just loving this entire era but the hardships endured are pretty amazing. I’m excited that one of my past co-stars will be joining us. Another opportunity to “Watch and learn!” – some of you know exactly who this amazing actor is. You can see all the cast and crew here and follow along as more are announced.
BEST YEARS GONE released the first trailer and the reaction has been great. You can see it here:
We have two September premieres coming together. Sept 11 will be the race and outside premiere event and we’ll also be announcing an Owosso, MI premiere soon at the NCG. Plans for the music video shoot with Vertical Bridge are underway. The film has had the first pass on sound design and the music is almost there. I will be going in at the end of the month to add voice over. I’m excited for audiences to see this film and I think many will enjoy it. I’ve had several say it had a FARGO vibe to it. I’ll take that as a compliment.
LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS – This film continues to march forward gathering audiences who love this story. It matters not if you watch the family/faith or general market release – just watch it. I love that both the A and B story are getting their own pushes in marketing.
Same film that has all this within it. It was smart for the distributor to go at both these angles of marketing. Which marketing do you like better?
Speaking on trailers – how many of you saw the July 4th release of the trailer for our documentary ‘For the Love of Catch’ ? If you missed it here it is along with the PR. 20k+ views is just a few days tells us the audience is there.
The steampunk, turn-of-the-century tale SMOKE & MIRRORS is also closing in on being complete. I’ve also been reworking the feature script for future production. BESTSELLER should be looking at a new fall release with BMG Global. We’re looking at several films to re-release with a new campaign. Which films would you like to see? FIGURE IN THE FOREST? KNIGHT CHILLS? AN ORDINARY KILLER? ASHES OF EDEN? With BMG opening a general market division it opens up possibilities for more films to release.
OK. I’m going to wrap this up. We’re going to go visit one of the Sunday flea markets where I love to seek out curiosities and WW2 props. I’ve got a busy week ahead of meetings and such so I’m going to relax and get ready to attack the week. I’ve been having fun slowly rehearsing and building more character for the WW2 film. I’m currently reading a book written by the actual PW camp commander that my character is loosely based upon. I seem to be past my slight knee injury from soccer after a fun game Thursday. It feels good to be able to walk stairs without issue. That means might kicking drills on the new outside heavy bag can start in full. I’ve enjoyed doing my heavy bag punching outdoors. The mosquitos are making my punches even faster. I should be trying to catch them with chopsticks. I hope you all have a safe weekend and a productive week ahead.
The birds were chirping a full chorus this morning and now I’ve got my hazelnut coffee with me and I’m looking forward to our weekly chat. My “soccer legs” are getting stronger now that we are three games in. Day one after our Thursday game my legs felt seized up but day two which is usually worse, brought recovery. The movement in all directions and running for so long really shocks the legs until they strengthen the tendons again in back, hips, knees and ankles. I also got a new free-standing heavy bag for in the yard. Our training days will be better now that we can unloose some kicks. My hanging heavy bag inside wasn’t positioned proper to practice kicks. I’m just upping my kicking game to get it back to where I once was. We joked that every decade the kicks got lower. But working on kicking and soccer go hand in hand. Either way I’m really enjoying it so far. I hope our Memorial weekend off from soccer helps the healing but doesn’t set back my progress I’ve made so far. I’m coming out of this Covid crisis in tuned up shape. Let me think – any big events sitting on my mind this week?
I was approached by a former co-star (Tommy Lynch) who is now coaching and counseling. He had a student (Matthew) that is an aspiring screenwriter. He was doing a video presentation final exam like many students. He was using MAN’S BEST FRIEND as the tone of his TV series. My friend told him that he knew DJ Perry and that he could get me to do an interview clip for his project. I did so. I hope that it turned out great. My thoughts are with all the students who had to face such a crazy time with Covid.
(Some of the CDI team at ICFF with ‘Lost Heart’)
Let’s start with LOST HEART. The film was being recognized at the ICFF (International Christian Film Festival) this past week. We had multiple nominations and were given the bronze for Best Film category and Don Most won as Best Supporting Actor. I know that a handful of our talent led by Melissa Anschutz attended. While award shows are fine I’m sure the laughter around the dinner and pool are the most memorable.
LOST HEART is up next month (June) at the Crown Awards in Texas as one of five films nominated for ‘Best Picture’ along with MAN’S BEST FRIEND. CDI is also going to announce that this week the General Market (GM) release of the film is about to start rolling onto streaming platforms. Under the title BIGFOOT, UFO’S AND JESUS the mainstream will be treated with this wonderful story. We will also be releasing the new trailer with the GM poster art.
BEST YEARS GONE – Lots going on here with this film. The film even had a ‘biker bar’ pick up this past week to complete all the added footage. The color correction is progressing. Our first official trailer is getting close to an edit lock with director notes going over. The music and sound design is also moving right along. Our ‘Battle of the Bands’ is closed and the songs are being judged by our team. We’ve started to release some videos of judge John Two Hawks talking about his favorite three songs. Watch it here: https://www.facebook.com/Bestyearsgone
Next week we’ll have notes from judge Joe Pullin and after that from our team. We’ve also added a drop song coordinator in Taylor Dupuis (Pic Below) who just might be gifting us with another great ‘Roanoke’ song. We’ll be announcing the winner end of the month and prepping to shoot a music video. We also have a meeting this week about an event premiere at a race track and we are also looking to do an Owosso NCG premiere which is the home town of the book writer Karl Manke. More to come on this fine upcoming movie.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – The building of the TV series is underway. I had more send outs this past week and I think we’ll find even more sponsors as we move forward. I still have the goal of getting this TV series fully funded by Dec 31st. We will see:)
THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star & The Christ Slayer) – On Encourage TV part 1, Forty Nights is about a thousand views short of its first million watches. I’m sure this week we’ll break that barrier so be part of that. I love this series and think that it has still not found its full General Market audience yet. I’m happy that the circle of fans keeps getting wider. Here is a good review on FORTY NIGHTS that was brought to my attention.
Please do enjoy all three films in this miniseries.
BESTSELLER is being delivered this month for its new campaign. The uprez of WICKED SPRING is done from what I’m told and I’m excited to see it. It will be nice to stream the story as an HD film. We’ll be discussing which other films to render into HD format. The trailer teaser for FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is getting there. We examined a version 2.0 and discussed revisions. I cannot wait to see trailer 3.0 this week.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is moving full speed ahead. Last week myself and Michael Walton were announced as part of the cast. We’re almost done with our German casting and starting June we’ll be returning to our weekly pre-prod meeting. Art department has been prepping its breakdowns and we’ll be addressing that starting in June. We’ll be announcing more cast this week. We had a few great adds to our cast/crew this past week. We had an article come out in Iowa and the community has been reaching out in force. We are also starting our talks with sponsors and brand alignment. I’m beyond excitement for this WW2 drama to get to the big screen. Join us and follow along at
(Gil says, what what?)
I want to thank everyone again at ICFF. I’m so happy that some of our cast/crew were able to get together and represent the LOST HEART film. I think today will be a tinker in the yard and grill. Use today to chilllax before another busy week ahead. I hope you all have a great week and keep making those steps towards making your vision and dreams a reality. Be good to one another and we’ll chat next week.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Good morning. I noticed we have readers this last week from Serbia and Japan, welcome. As artists, as storytellers – we have a great opportunity to introduce ideas, in a non-threatening way via story. This has been a busy week since we also had a CDI commercial gig for a client. We do occasionally take on commercial jobs and this one required powerful narrative storytelling. Needless to say, it was a good fit. If things stay smooth we might put some more energy into the CDI commercial side, but feature film and TV will be our main focus. This week also saw additional project wrap up – crossing things off the To-Do list. It has been busy but that is a good thing. Let’s look at the top PR of the moment.
MAN’S BEST FRIEND – The NCG Theaters in Owosso, MI is hosting our two show premiere on Sept 14th. Many of our stars in attendance and the total net profit will go towards two non-profits. One benefitting wounded warriors and the other the local animal shelter. One of my dear friends and co-stars in the film has a significant other who is living her last days. They were sent an advance DVD to watch the film. It made me feel so good to hear the feedback. How it made them both feel. If we get a reaction out of that from our public audience – job well done.
Many actors dream of playing that cool good guy, speaking in that Christian Bale batman voice. Or playing the suave bad guy, like Ricardo Montalban. My character of Paul Landings is neither. He is a humble damaged person who gave everything he had for his country. In return he was given months of medical service and a parade back home. Ten years gone and he is just that guy around town. Maybe homeless or close to, with little to no support system. But I think when all these people are near the end of their rope, animals have given them a bit more time. Cancer of the body is one thing but cancer of the soul is another. As an actor who had a start in the hyper-critical horror genre I’ve suffered my slings and arrows. It isn’t always praise it can be rocks or roses. I was afraid of tackling Paul at first. I did not want to mock our fine soldiers and I did not want to be mocked. After countless hours of watching interviews, docs and footage of real wounded warriors coping with life I realized that my fear of going too far…was really just representing a mild case. It is at that point that I wanted to become Paul for all the Paul’s out there. The externally and internally wounded. The mild and the severe wounded – some require 24/7 parental care. I was no longer scared but prepared to put one story down so that it might cast a light on areas we all would rather ignore.
Fast foward – This Sat we will show the first audiences the story. It’s odd because I’ve shot another film since entitled LOST HEART, and my role in that film is well…happier:) I had found out days before camera roll on MAN’S BEST FRIEND that my beloved buddy Luke (Mr. Brown) whom had inspired some of the story and been with me while writing was terminal with cancer. After the immense heartbreak we have a new joy in a young puppy named Finn. But this Saturday I travel back to a different period of time. A darker period of time in my life. That is not to say that the film doesn’t have goodness and positivity to it all, I just had to live the darkness. My biggest challenge in my heart that keeps me from being thrilled is that I was able to take out my hearing aides and the coke bottle glasses and return to being DJ Perry. My friends and inspiring stories that helped me create Paul live on, struggling. I do hope this film will help turn a compassionate eye towards adoption dogs and our vets in need. This story is for my buddy Mr. Brown (Luke) seen above napping with his daddy.
WILD FAITH will be represented at Content 19 being recognized for a JUSTICE AWARD and for SET DESIGN.
Next month we will represent the film in AZ at The Wild Bunch Film Festival. More on this as we get closer.
We’re prepping The Quest Trilogy for a great holiday season ahead. We’re starting to look forward at the final 2019 projects and into 2020. I’ve cleaned out about 1/2 (300+) emails that I built up while shooting LOST HEART. That fine film is in editing and we’ll be meeting this week to finalize new TITLE font and discuss the first look trailer.
I hope to see some of you out this Saturday at the 1st release of MBF before the national theatrical and home video roll out. I look forward to talking with you all again on Sunday after the showings. I’ve going to finish my wood cutting for the wood stove in the office. Also have to give some love to the garden and yard. I’ve been enjoying all the veggies. I think this week will also mark the bottling of HOPPY GRAPE APE wine. Cheers!
It is a chilly and wet morning here in Lansing, Michigan. It’s been a crazy balance of film and life as we move out of summer. I’ve had a string of fix-it projects with our roof, car brakes, wisdom teeth removal and my computer. Note: I did none of those things directly. The computer hard drive failed and had to be replaced. I was starting to reload files from external drives when luckily the company was able to retrieve the old data. I do have to reload my script writing software which was due for an upgrade. Add on the fact that we’re re-doing a bathroom and that adds up to a good deal of domestic work. We also added a pair of oak book shelves last week that up-ended everything in the house for two days but now looks wonderful.
We’re working on a small narrative book video next week and that will be fun. We stepped out this week and supported Shane Hagedorn in another acting role in the Detroit area. It’s nice to see filmmakers developing and growing in their art. We met some nice people and had an enjoyable time.
Speaking of premiere showings we have one coming on the 14th of Sept in Owosso, MI for MAN’S BEST FRIEND. Tickets go up for sale the 4th or 5th on the NCG Owosso website. Keep up with the MBF facebook page as we’ll be updating there. It is open to the public and we’ll be having my co-stars Don Most, Garry Nation, Tim Abell and David Reardon in attendance. So if you want to see a powerful film about our wounded vets and adoption dogs – come join us.
WILD FAITH is finding an audience out there. This past week I had several people come up and tell me how much they enjoyed Wild Faith with a few having watched the movie multiple times. Next up a group of us will be traveling to AZ to attend the Wild Bunch film festival. Once we are booked we are going to invite our Yuma, AZ family and see if any want to come visit.
My dentist this past week was all smiles after he and his daughter enjoyed watching part 3 of The Quest Trilogy – The Christ Slayer. He shared some of the insights she took from the film. She GOT IT! Because she watched all three films. The movies can be watched as a stand alone but they are meant to be watched all together. So one of our goals this holiday season will be to let people know that the films are all part of a trilogy. I’ve also decided that I will be writing another biblical era film. I have one on deck now but the cost has put it a step beyond my means. But that could change as we expand our circles.
We don’t USE people – We DEVELOP people. I go into every media relationship wanting the same long time relationship I share with several of our #TRIBECDI – Composer and sound designer Dennis Therrian is a good example, he and I go back to about 1997. In media now I hear about how ‘fluid’ people are and hardly keep a job beyond three years. Many are people who cannot deal with any conflict and need to be right all the time. Add to this that our industry is naturally fluid – in it’s flow…(Planning) few folks – (Shooting) army – (Post Work) few folks.
A freelancer has to make more good choices vs bad choices in a year or they will fail. This industry is based 100% on referrals if you’re amongst the wise. We as Indies have a small margin of error due to budget constraints. If you as cast or crew are doing what you love and YOU see the effort by production to give cast and crew a good ride while working to make a quality story. You should be supportive and loyal to the nth degree because it’s rare. For you under 25 folks you will realize. Many of you from your ‘Office Space’ cubical. Yeah… Don’t let your ego sink you. Before I sling arrows let me admit my biggest WEAKNESS. It has always been that I care about people. I truly do. I recognize that dreamer fire burning in some people. And I’ve seen people who’s willpower cannot match their dreams – let me translate LAZY.
I can see people’s success and fail potential. I see those battles of willpower when the dream becomes hard. Almost impossible until – it happens. I’ve bet on people that they could escape their self sabotage and live their better self. I’ve won more than I’ve lost but I’ve surely lost. The TRIBE works in a very tribal way thanks likely to my CDI partner Jeff Kennedy’s anthropology courses. If you aren’t pulling your weight your peers know. They see the lack of focus. They see the attitude and that person will find themselves pushed to the outer rim. I also will state that CDI is a tribe of artists that live on the alpha end of the spectrum. They are savage in their hunger for success as an artist.
I can tell you as an older lion that surviving in this industry long term is a badge to itself. That said, I love to develop appreciate, hungry and extremely talented artists. When you take away the environment for drama and BS, which is a trap for all groups of humans gathering, these artists potential shines even more. Making great art inside a shit-storm is a hard go. You have to control your artistic studio, workshop, world, set. Do this and watch your project get even stronger. The energy when a crew believes…when they see the world, is amazing.
I offered a script to one of our crew guys on ‘Lost Heart’…NOTE: I like my crew to know the story they are creating. Cast or crew I just would have to know what I’m selling hours of my life to. Okay…but he said he was enjoying piecing it together each day. This ‘interest’ in the art from the crew is what helps to elevates the final story.
If you prove yourself to be untrustworthy, undependable, unfocused, unprepared – you get my point. The crew will often work around you rather than with you. If your drama overly seeps into the set, they might ignore but they remember. See again as a martial artists, I see the hot set as a dojo. I mentally bow when I enter and I bow to my fellow cast and crew. We all stop our own time from ACTION to CUT and live those moments together that is the STORY. That is some intimate shit. And some artsy sounding shit at that. But it’s true.
Back to the topic, I’ve been doing this walk a good long time. I want this to keep creating and so I’m not looking for friends or social peeps, BFF’s or any of that. I’m looking for select artists whereas the Tribe see’s them as a good asset. I can say that of the cards that people have brought to the CDI table over the years to play, the best card was always loyalty. You work to create an inspiring place for artists to develop projects void of time-wasting, energy-stealing drama. That is the goal. How successful were we? We’ll let the projects tell that story as I believe the end product has a lot to do with that production energy. It absorbs into the story just like seasons when you shoot. An October movie always has a strong haunting and introspective vibe. Again that saying, Making great art within a shit-storm is a hard go.
I’ve been working hard to develop people because I think I knew where we were heading. I see the on-going slate of films peppered with a few TV series. That takes talent, dedication and organization. Again, praise to all the good stuff happening in our state. Back in the day there was Lynn Drzick (West Side) and Mike Kallio (East Side) and a shot gun smattering of filmmakers in Michigan. Working to TV stations at nights trying to complete films shot on FILM. Okay. I see movies on Vikings, Detroit Hustle, Firefighters, Sex Trafficking, Body Swappers…all in our state of Michigan. Very cool!
I’m going to slide out of here and get with my day. Be good to one another. Thank you for letting me ramble over coffee. I hope to see some of you Sept 14th in Owosso, MI at the MAN’S BEST FRIEND premiere showings. I’ve heard good things about the theater tests but I’m waiting to be surprised myself. Coffee cheers!
Have a great Labor Day weekend.