We have all made that move into 2022 and for most of us it means just wanting the new year to be a bit smoother than the previous. This new world of social distancing and masks comes on top a world that was already distancing via technology. I see more young people who’s interactions are on headsets only or choosing to shotgun social media posts versus socializing in person with friends. With only so many hours in the day and days in the week social media has allowed some people to stay in touch that normally would not have that option. Also for the elderly and those lacking mobility it can help make them feel connected to the world. I had a fan club for many years ran by a kind woman “Pepper” in a wheelchair. But she also got out and about as she often appeared at premieres. She became fans of many of the fine actors in our troupe and loved to do interviews and reviews. After a while she was given the VIP treatment at CDI events. To be fair I have to say that she was first the Terence Knox fan club president. I went off topic a tad but I think what I was trying to say was that while technology can make many things easier it can also rob you of some in-person interaction. I’m happy that while we still use technology we also make the time to meet around the table. Many great things have been hatched first as ideas and later as operations around the table. So in the new year don’t let technology steal all your personal interactions. Spend time with and appreciate one another. Even with the amount of face-to-face meetings I have I still miss many people. During the 1st Covid lockdown I got in the habit of picking up the phone everyday and calling someone to catch up. Daily laughter really helped the situation.
2021 set many good things in motion. Seeds were planted and in 2022 we harvest. A lot of casting and development work finally allowed us to film our WW2 home front Christmas drama, SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA in November 2021. It is now in post, our editor just finished marrying the audio and visual together. Model building in Canada is also underway and just as a nice tease here is a text I got from our editor on Friday –
“Been through all the footage now. Really good performances…excited and this weekend we’re going to really get going.” – N. Nose
And we are going – strong. We’ve been rolling still photos out and we’re about to get a Behind the scenes video with Adam Towner. Following that we’ll be cutting our first teaser trailer. We are all very excited about this film and so stay up to date on all the developments.
Just prior to the Algona shoot we finished, premiered and have done a few regional theatrical runs with BEST YEARS GONE. This film was really amazing to watch play in the theaters. So much laughter and you could feel the room when the drama hit. When I was going to do that film and play the Gil role many questioned if you could sell him a protagonist. Like you’ve heard – we are all the protagonist of our own life drama. Even the bad guy or antagonist often looks at themselves as the hero. Either way with the good direction by Shane Hagedorn and the amazing cast, it all works. I’m awaiting the streets days for release from our distributor and want these dates before we do a PR release. But I do have the DVD/streaming poster art to share.
I hope that during this cold months whereas people turn to the storyTV to help pass the time – you will sit a spell and watch a few tribe CDI projects. The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer) have been getting a nice push over the holidays. I did my traditional watch and I really enjoyed it. It is an amazing amount of work in three feature films. The Yuma DESERT stripes. WILD FAITH continues to do very well climbing to almost 5.5 million on Encourage TV and countless millions worldwide.
These numbers are helping our endeavors to launch the TV spin off. WILD FAITH: Hastings will be launching a development FB site for fans to follow the development from an official source. I will say with our new pitch deck things are looking good. I’ve had several good talks with interested parties but it is about creative control. If you want to repeat success you can’t change too much. I will say that fans of the film will be fans of the TV series. The same magic is there. We will know in a few months if that series will go this year or have to be pushed into 2023. If that happens a second feature film will go up in the 2nd half 2022. We plan to shoot a funny, cool “1975 American Graffiti” in the Spring in Michigan. The name of the film is…we have a logo title being worked on so you’ll have to wait. Also we are in active development on the 1st CDI animated feature. This is another extremely exciting project for me and something we’ll talk about more as it comes together.
Goals for 2022 – Stay Healthy. Stay and Promote Happiness. Create meaningful art
This morning started with a wonderful breakfast sandwich thanks to our hens. The hazelnut coffee is still hot and I’m gonna go get a refill. I need to look at fixing a few of the axes. We had a day of wood chopping on a very cold day and we loosened a few axe heads and splintered a hickory handle. So repair and replacements are needed. I’m going to do some screenplay writing while watching the LIONS. It’s their last game of the season and I hope we get a win. I hope everyone has a good week ahead. I’m just trying to leave 2022 closer to the present. It is hard to try and look ahead too far with so many uncertainties looming. But at the same time it’s my job to try and look ahead. I’ve found a good balance of not focusing too much on what I cannot control. Have faith. Having faith in your path can also give you comfort. I feel like I’m doing what I was suppose to do and that is a blessing.
I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee and also working with a Santa gift which happen to be reading glasses with blue-blocker to reduce eye strain. I think my eyes get a little worse on me every few years but these glasses seem to really help. I can’t attest to long-term. Since the Christmas week of activities we’ve gotten a nice white snowstorm. Our New Year’s Eve included an Uber-cozy eve with a sip at Midnight but bed shortly after that. I did not enter 2022 with any hangover or dehydration. I’m not into the dance party thing unless you count my listening/air MC at home to Beastie Boys or Public Enemy. I recently was in Iowa with a circus full of people and so I’ve enjoyed the slower, quieter pace of getting things done. 2021 had myself and CDI being very productive and we’re looking to do more of the same in 2022. I have to note turning on the TV and seeing Darby Hinton in a Christmas Hallmark film something with mistletoe in the title. Back to our updates:)
In retrospect and in no order some of the good, bad and ugly of 2021. The first is the sad loss of many good friends and family during the past year. That is something that I hope we don’t heavily repeat. And 2021 went out with the passing of Betty White at 99. I love all the fan flair especially the one claiming she sacrificed herself taking 2021 with her. She reminds me a bit of Rance Howard (RIP friend/costar) who worked right up until he died. Same with Bill McKinney and many more artists I’m sure. Age will continue to give you a unique perspective through your entire journey. But growing old can be a privilege.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – Filming this safely in 2021 was a major highlight. This highly ambitious home front drama was many years in the making. It is in the wonderfully creative hands of our editor and I’m excited to see the scenes come together. I’ve almost got the business all caught up and we’ll be putting some advance promo together. From there we’ll enter into some additional marketing/product talks with some of our sponsors and those coming on board. In Canada we have model building underway. I’m just so happy that we have all these puzzle pieces and can start to assemble. It is going to be amazing since all the artists gave everything they had. We’ve been releasing stills on our Facebook page so follow along.
BEST YEARS GONE (BYG) – This breath of fresh air which we filmed between the 1st and 2nd Covid lockdown of 2020. Shane Hagedorn and I shared a motto to have fun while filming. Everyone had been kept uncertain and in self-isolation and smiles and laughter were much needed. This film might be just what many people need. The humorous abilities of the CDI Tribe can be seen in several CDI films including strong moments in WILD FAITH and LOST HEART but BYG really takes it to another level. Adapted by yours truly from the book HOPE FROM HEAVEN by Karl Manke. http://www.karlmanke.com if you want to explore his works. I think another collaboration is on the horizon but right now we are discussing which book to bring to the screen. Any favorites? Lastly, I’m hearing that the film has been chosen as a participant in a London-based festival. That PR will be forthcoming once I get more info from our director Mr. Hagedorn.
Speaking of films that sprang from books – BESTSELLER is finally getting a home video release this year. The book written by Christopher Knight is a twisted tale of a tormented literary agent played by Melissa Anschutz. CDI was the producing entity and I’m happy that our existing relationship could give this film the deserved send off. In May the film will be ready for home video audiences and will widen the release in September likely to hit the prime October window for thrillers. This film is beautifully shot and showcases Michigan’s beauty. I’m excited to see new poster art and trailer for the home video release. I would love to turn another Chris Knight story into a film. We shall see…rumor is he also writes under another name also…
BEST YEARS GONE and BESTSELLER are not the only films rolling out in 2022. SMOKE & MIRRORS short just had a final tweak and is being prepped for a few fun festivals. The CDI/Red, White and Blue Project documentary film FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH just finished last week. Directed by Curran Jacobs, edited by Adam Towner, mostly shot by DP Dan Chipman – this feature length doc is being hailed as the best of its kind by wrestling historians. I’m proud to have been involved producing on this wonderful piece of history that was in danger of fading, lost to the past. That will not be the case after this film. Thank you to all the interview participates who made this work so special. We cannot wait to show the world this entertaining and informative film. We are looking at doing another documentary film in 2022 stay tune.
BIGFOOT, UFO’S & JESUS – Our inspirational film has found a great main stream audience under the alternate title by which LOST HEART appears on some platforms. Here is the amazing Josh Perry inviting you to watch. If you did not you should. Click below to watch on FB – I hope my linking here works.
2021 had us filming music videos, releasing into theaters, traveling to Algona, Iowa and more. As noted earlier some friends and family like CDI’s Pappy won’t be traveling with us anymore. They are RIP and not dealing with the waves of life. These deaths, like the childhood neighbor remind us of the precious value of time. Spend time in good company and working towards goals that mean something to you. Life is short so commit to making steps towards whatever your creative endeavor is.
If you want to hear about our new year development we discuss that quite a bit in the previous few blogs. I want to film WILD FAITH: HASTINGS and while this endeavor is mighty we’ve been chopping away at it. Giddy up. A new CDI animated feature, a new dramedy, sequels and more in development as we enter this new year. I need to look over the CDI website and see where that needs to be updated. I want to once over the FB pages and see where I can enhance. End-of-year taxes for the projects is at hand but I have the best team ever for all that. I will spend the month also finishing the script I’m working on now. I’m in talks with a few projects to script write in Feb which is when we’ll also pull the business together on the first spring CDI film. I’m here in the 2022 and ready to march so put down the Christmas cookies and party hats it’s time to get after it.
Outside this morning is a winter wonderland. We had a cold front move through Michigan that first put ice on everything -followed with a heavy dash of snow. Now it looks like a beautiful Norman Rockwell picture outside. This has been perfect weather for all the indoor activities I’ve had to undertake. I’ve always worked to enter the new year more prepared than the previous. Just by the addition of the previous year’s experience I’m better prepared. But I also find Santa Claus most always want me to stay in step with the changes in technology. I’m still a PAPER person. The trees! I LOVE trees and would be fine with paper made from hemp. I hear a leather is being made from cactus. Even with my love of paper I still need to evolve. I just start to get the hang of something and they change it. But it really is quite amazing – we are living closer and closer to a Star Trek world.
I should be doing product reviews-
I was due since last year for a cell phone update and finally I did. My phone went from a model iPhone 7 to 12 PRO and so I had to migrate all my data over. I also had to learn the new this and that – the camera got more complicated but takes great pictures. Also I got two new audio devices. One is a JBL Echo 3 I believe which is a wireless speaker but this one has a microphone and can be used in group conference calls. You can set it in a room and talk from around the room and it sounds great. It also jams out in a most excellent way in between those biz calls, Lastly was pair of Apple ear buds and I pray I don’t lose them. Like sunglasses – if you buy expensive ones even if a fix it plan – you will lose them. But a cheap gas station pair and 30 years they will still be around. So my business tools are being updated and I’m thankful.
Our industry use to shut down for several weeks during the holidays and still does. But with social media mixing with our business does it ever really shut down. During these times are when I enjoy doing my writing. I have writing goals lined up for the year. I’m doing my official page by page this week on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA with our director Anthony Hornus. Our last writer/director collaboration resulted in MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND which is a powerful story. If you have not watched it hop over to Amazon, Tubi or any numerous platforms and take a watch. This next story is just wonderful. I wrote it a handful of years ago about actual events at a WW2 German PW camp in Iowa. Rance Howard was my consultant on matters of the WW2 era and farming doing that time. The scout trip had me speaking with all manner of people in the area who all had stories to tell. We are very close to a full GREEN LIGHT. That means funded and moving forward to those unaware. We are starting to look at locations, casting and more but again that moves to high gear once fully funded. But the timing between getting the script locked and getting green lit should be perfect. I’m very much looking forward to telling this story. I will be getting a traditional WW2 haircut on the run up to filming this one.
The other project playing front and center is the spin off TV series from WILD FAITH. As our audience grows by the millions, we’re looking to do something we have not yet done. We have interest from several sources and its just looking at all the possible combinations and options. I’ll have a few conversations about the TV show later today and into next week. Like above, if you haven’t seen WILD FAITH due yourself and favor and return to a simple time. It is quality watching for the whole family. John Hughes asked to read the script several years ago and left a message that the film has all the charming qualities of the old Disney films and TV. I think he was right on the money and that Wild Faith will turn into a memorable series. And yes that will have ole Ben Lily returning.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH will resume filming this year. That is the doc film we started end of last year. It is about the history of catch-Can wrestling and the passion of a handful of martial artists bringing it back.
SMOKE & MIRRORS will be completed this year. VFX and credits are all that need to be completed. The feature film script is something I’ve been working on. I had a nearly finished script before we did the short. Now I am doing a page 1 rewrite having gotten to know the characters even better. This is a great ‘Steam Punk’ early 1900’s world and the characters are amazing especially those played by David Gries and Melissa Anschutz but no surprise there.
(Finn visualizing – more walks, more treats, more…)
I hope that everyone is ready to visualize their goals and get after them. I’m going to enjoy doing some writing on this beautiful day. I plan to go stoke the wood stove in the office and make a few calls. After I want to sink into some script writing. I hope you all have a safe start to your new year – work hard and be kind to one another.
Good morning my friends. Welcome new readers from Serbia, Israel and coffee cheers to you all. I want to also take this moment to thank all of you Father’s out there. Thanks to all the men who take on father roles and give guidance. I’m so grateful to have my father who was kind, strict, generous and taught us much by his actions. I still am amazed by everything he ‘balanced’ while dealing with marriage at a young age and raising two boys. His dream and his goal was to have a family. My goals have included the building of a film family. I also have been so lucky to have the family life I’ve had. I’ve loved my furry family as much as I would have any human child. I value all life and nurture where I can. I’m also on the cusp of a milestone birthday. This week I’ll add another mark on the number of times I’ve gone around the sun. So I have much to be thankful for. I’ve also watched my brother follow in my dad’s footsteps and become a wonderful dad. So to all of you out there – Happy Father’s Day.
Let me see – we had a producers ‘meeting of the minds’ this past week over our next CDI film BEST YEARS GONE. So much great pre-production has been underway including the announcement of Erika Hoveland who will be playing opposite me in the film. Our tribe of talent gets a little wider with each film. Our restrictions due to the virus are getting slightly better as small productions start to creep out for commercial day shoots and such. Any of these shoots where you see them just ‘going for it’ with no precautions is a good example of again hobby shooting. If you have no accountability to investors, cast/crew safety, state/union/insurance guidelines we are not playing the same game. It’s a lot to balance but we have a great game plan forming up by great people.
Having filmed for so many years where many of our families deal with our strange storytelling habit I have always made a point to try and be wrapped for the year by Thanksgiving. I don’t like to be filming between Thanksgiving and New Year save a few exceptions. That said, we’ve chosen the furthest shoot window possible. So our onset pre-production week will be end of Oct into early November. And the shoot will be 15 days in November wrapping out a handful of days before Thanksgiving. We’ll make the few needed story adjustments and the hope is we will be further down the road from these virus restrictions. We’ll also start some B-roll, beauty and VFX shots in advance. I’m so very excited to get shooting but you want to be smart when you do it.
LOST HEART is being mixed together. The musical score, sound design and dialog. We have started as a group to discuss how we will premiere the movie. We might have an outside big screen premiere much akin to a premiere we did for DEADLY RENOVATIONS in AZ. A band, food and the ability to have people spread out some. Following that a run in theaters and drive in’s would be the ideal situation. This funny and heart warming movie will be just the needed thing for many out there.
MAN’S BEST FRIEND might play a few more festivals this year but the audience keeps building. Thank you to all the fans of the movie who have reached out. I can say the same for WILD FAITH and the development work on the TV series continues. I also had some people reach out to express their joy in finding The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) I think it is helping that people are realizing that there is three films that have interconnecting pieces. I had People ask if CDI will be doing more biblical adventures. I would like to when the timing is right.
I’m excited to announce that a new deal has been made with ITN Distribution to get three of the CDI associated films back out into the marketplace. The previously mentioned Deadly Renovations, Donors and Darkest Night. More as that develops and they have new art and new release destinations.
I’ve been two weeks without my Movie Magic software because of my computer update to Catalina but it has now been fixed. So I can continue my weekly writing and I’m very happy about that. The yard has never looked better and we just added flowers and got more plants for the garden. I seeded a few lawn spots due to tree-cutting and behold it is filling in. Daily entertainment from all the birds and critters which we’ve been feeding has kept smiles upon our faces. I hope you all have a productive week and I look forward to speaking with you all next week. Keep your chin up if you’re facing hardship and just keep moving forward.
Welcome back my friends. I hope each and everyone of you had a good Christmas time with family and friends. I’ve had a wonderful week of just eating, drinking, laughing with our family. We had several celebrations and I’ve had a nice time touching base with people. I’ll be spending time with some family and friends this eve which has me missing a really cool event. On Christmas Eve I received notice that I was selected to be recognized for ‘Producer of the Year‘ for the 2nd Annual SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE Media Mingle. Also ‘MBF: Man’s Best Friend‘ is being recognized for Feature Film of the Year. I’m beyond grateful for the recognition and I wish I could have attended. I did take the time to film two acceptance speeches and sent those over. I wish I could have been there in person but I need more than a week notice especially during this busy holiday season. But I am humbled and ever so appreciative to SOE and Skeeter Murray for this honor. Speaking of MBF…
MBF: Man’s Best Friend will also be playing Bedias, Texas Feb 9 at the Christian Film Festival. A film that plays awesome on the big screen.
One of my 2020 goals is to be a bit more out-going on attending events/film functions. I am going to be in-person Jan 11 at 1:00-3:00 in Grand Rapids at Baker Book House event. I will give address next week but I’ll be reading one of the two stories I have in the book THE HORSE OF MY DREAMS. Come out and buy a book and I’ll sign it. I’ve had others ask and yes, bring any other ‘DJ Perry’ swag DVD, poster and I will be happy to sign that also.
So again I want to thank Skeeter Murray who does a great job highlighting mid-west talent. Congrats to all the recognized artists and I’m truly sorry to miss the ‘media strut‘ – gotta love it! When I saw the awesome awards poster I had to laugh because they chose a pic from our “Wild Bunch” film fest adventure in AZ. Of course I’m the only one on the poster with sunglasses on. It’s my Snoopy “Joe Cool” tribute. (See pic at the TOP)
But seriously, being from the middle of the state I don’t keep up with the social film scenes in Detroit or the Grand Rapids area. This being a Detroit area event means even more to me. We are all Michigan. We’ve pulled a lot of great talent from the Detroit and Grand Rapids areas, so I know the talent here. Happily, I’ve watched the artistic communities grow in Michigan, from the UP of Michigan to the small remote towns around the state, all due to technologic advances. To be given recognition with a Lansing zip code is a great honor. Making it happen in the LA (Lansing Area) was our joke back in the day.
I had an unpopular opinion of the film incentives only from a filmmaker stance. Those giant studio films can drive up rental expectations to the smaller outfits. More Michigan artists opportunities needed to be present vs the import of casts and crews. A film grant fund would be my choice. Qualified companies who have a track record of existing in the state for several years, eliminating the rush of new companies wanting to bite on the fund. Plus make the filmmakers come pitch their projects to a committee vs all this social begging. Help them learn to exist in real business environments vs seeking the short cut or easy path. As we know, those who use short cuts or take the easier path usually rob themselves of their experience education. Don’t shy away from the hard work you will need that grit later in your career. I HAVE SPOKEN. Guess who got Disney Plus for Christmas?
Did anyone watch all 6 of these films this holiday season? I had a steady stream of beautiful fan mail from many of you over the holidays. I had many contact me over the biblical adventure trilogy to thank us and tell how their family really enjoyed the stories. I had Ben Lily fans reach out and number one question was about the TV series. And of course ‘Paul’ from MBF has a growing fan club out there. I enjoyed hearing from so many veterans and their families. The pleasure and honor is all ours.
I had one rather amusing communication that a fan of one of my actor/producers was supporting them. She had watched several of the CDI films and she saw I was also into film. She recommended a few films I should watch made in OUR state. One was WILD FAITH and the other MBF, both feature great actors she said. I decided to have some fun and asked her about her favorite scenes. She replied that she loved all the rich characters in ‘Wild Faith’. In MBF she loved ‘Paul,’ especially the “bar scene” and thought the female prosecuting attorney was a real b@%$!. Yes, Melissa Anschutz, did bring it as the prosecutor.
Overall it was fun to have someone recommend our films and give a few of her favorite scenes. I don’t always get such open and honest feedback. She tickled me when she replied she’ll stop telling her favorite scenes so she did not ruin these two great movies for me:) If I come across that communication again, I will have to let her off the hook. But she did make me smile. So during these winter months, please do take the time to watch our films and share your thoughts with me. I hope we make some of you smile.
Talking about smiling – LOST HEART – We’re closing in on what will likely be our locked picture cut. We had a good meeting over the work flow to post sound just before the holidays hit. It will be really exciting to see music and sound sweetening begin. I’m extremely happy with the progress of this film. The story is dramatic with humor set within being told by a great group of quirky characters.
Onward to 2020!
I talked about development quite a bit last week. Things haven’t changed much on that front. We’re going to have fun evaluating some new projects. My screen writing assignment will continue as I close in on the first 1/3 of the script. So much great work to be done in 2020. I’ve been organizing everything here and prepping for the next wave of stories to be told. This is when you make those goals. Write them down. Look at what you achieved and what fell short. Look again at how you spend your time. Whom you spend your time with. Keep those toxic elements afar. Don’t be distracted by shiny objects. You would be surprised what even one day full of focused work, not scrolling FB, can create. Remember it is the journey not just the destination my friends. Be brave. One foot ahead of the other. As you encounter one another – Be good to one another. I’ll see you all next year!
Well Winter has fell upon Michigan for sure with a good amount of beautiful and chilly snow. If it is going to be cold I really do enjoy snow. It is brighter and I love the look it gives to everything. Yes, it makes the hazelnut coffee taste that much better. Christmas is only a few days off but we’ve been enjoying the season everyday. Where do I even start with all this? STAR WARS (No Spoilers I PROMISE) has been front and center with the media and most folks. I had the pleasure of watching the latest installment yesterday. It was made extra special because I attended a showing with my lady, I put girl elsewhere and some people thought I had a hidden love child. My brother and his wife and my friend of about 40 years whom recently moved back to the area to work at MSU. We saw the original 40 years ago together and to have him there again was very special to me. I enjoyed the film very much. Now as an artist I really try to avoid too much judgement. I’ve been to art museums where a few tin cans and some string displayed about is called art. I saw a waste of space but respect the decision to present it. I know that for me the prequels don’t work but I’ve enjoyed these new films made by fans of the originals like myself. I think that sometimes less is better but again that is just me. I sat and watched the end credit roll and smiled as we’ve been proofing our end credits on WILD FAITH. For all intent and purpose the movie is complete. We’ll be watching the final proof here soon at our post-house. Color correction was the final tweaking being added and that was almost complete. The film actually required very little due to the quality of the photography from Jesse Aragon and our team. We’re doing the final sound/music on our theatrical trailer. We plan to release it between Christmas and New Year. I was sincerely thrilled by the cut. I watch a lot of trailers as they are one of my favorite things to watch. A visual synopsis and a tease. This movie is exciting and I hope that audiences out there will also enjoy the efforts of many wonderful artists. SOON:)
The reports have been coming in on the first two films in our ‘Quest Trilogy’ and it is quite amazing. The few off reviews I’ve seen either stem from someone wanting a Hallmark film vs a Chuck Heston style Christmas drama. CHASING THE STAR is our EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. All three films are purposely done in a STAR WARS style with the camera work and epic music. A few that are unaware that it is a trilogy are surprised by our ending of CHASING THE STAR but if you watched FORTY NIGHTS it makes perfect sense. You don’t need to watch them together but they do all fit. Fans of FORTY NIGHTS who were unaware of the trilogy aspect have been thrilled to find out there is three interconnecting stories. 2018 will be the lighting of the PR campaign on the 3rd installment THE CHRIST SLAYER. I think once the news of the three stories being a trilogy becomes wide-spread – many will re-watch with joy – as they pick out the strands that bind them all together. All in all the trilogy is one of the great accomplishments in my life. I’m very appreciative of all the artists who participated. I will be thankful for them my entire life and I hope some of them do take pride in their involvement. We created something special.
Here is the trailers for all three films again.
I’ve spent a good amount of time organizing and prepping for the year ahead. I’m trying to have a smooth end of year tax season with the films. The business responsibilities behind all these projects. When people invest in your endeavors there are many tasks that go along with that. Filmmaking is fun but there is a lot of biz that goes with the show. That is why when people don’t respect that fact I don’t respect them. For many their work ends when the film is done. For the executives it does not end for many years. So next time you’re on a film as cast or crew give a little consideration to those people who make it possible for you to be there working.
I had a meeting not too long ago where I asked and was informed of the recent work this person had been doing. It almost always comes with a preface that it (the work) was done for a small fee or free because it was for a friend. I’ve found that this is usually said to give some leverage to ask, suggest or hint that they would appreciate more money on one of our next projects. I hear this story year after year from many people. Some of these same people are the first to say something if we overlook something while busy or it did not quite meet their expectations, but have been again paid, paid, paid and paid. But you find out that these people are still waiting on compensation for previous friend films or again worked free as a favor to a friend. Are these people/friends really friends helping to move that person in their career? Maybe. But when they are doing all these low/no paid gigs it puts more pressure on them to push us for more $$. I wonder at what point do I/we earn a bit of give in the name of friendship? Who is helping to pay their bills? Who is concerned with them staying in the game as a working artist? I’m not saying you cannot or should not do favors, I’m just saying that financial hardship from taking too many no pays should not fall upon those who do pay. We pay in tiers equally and not just pay 3-4 people and try to go all volunteer on the rest of the crew with no pay to talent. Our product has a certain quality because we pay for the artists we need. The rates are smaller vs commercial because the crew and cast is MUCH bigger. We’re climbing back to some of the larger budgets we once had but I still occasionally hear the moans. I’m climbing the ladder again responsibly and my advice would be treat those who pay you like gold and do less free projects. My ‘friends’ in the business are those who have compensated me and allowed me to survive and continue to move forward in our difficult business. Just a thought to put out there for 2018. And lastly, this is straight truth advice. NEVER turn down a modest paycheck offer by informing someone you’ll “wait for the larger budgets/rates”… I can say directly that when the bigger budgets are there, those individual(s) who made such a statement will not get that call. Some of those will turn around and again work for no pay again for a friend. In this industry you have to bet on winning horses. Because when those ‘friends’ bottom out and leave the industry – as I’ve seen hundreds do, they will not be concerned with their ‘friends’ – this is truth. Ponder that as you enter 2018. I’m not saying, don’t do favors. I’m just saying ‘friends’ can also be those that allow you to earn and grow in this business.
As for 2018 – we’re getting closer to locking up our business on MBF (Man’s Best Friend) our next CDI film. This week we gathered more paperwork and money and we still have a way to go in the week’s ahead. Additionally we’re developing a couple westerns, a TV series, a new biblical trilogy and a couple animated projects. It will be a good year. This week I’m filming for a non-profit which will be nice. I’m planning to get back on my writing schedule too which has gotten off track.
Okay. I had to take care of a few things. But again another little observation. A few years ago I met the nicest man working on an animated children’s movie of “The Patchwork Girl of Oz” with his modeling based upon the original illustrations from the 1st public domain book. His passion reminded me of everything good about being an artist. It took a few years of watching, giving notes and tweaking. We polished it with the same music and sound design love we give our feature films. The film is now getting ready to start rolling out to Amazon and other platforms. I do a little instagram promotion and of course some aspiring comic illustrator had to throw a stone. I took a glance to see who this all mighty person was to make such throw away declarations on someones hard work. Not a bad illustrator, but I’m sure unaware of the hard journey and the actual illustrations from the 1913 book. Likely a frustrated illustrator unable to get his foothold in another hard industry. I only guess this because successful people don’t usually throw such negative barbs. They appreciate where they are on the journey and that others are working their way. One of his personal descriptions was “All around good guy” – Hmmm…I guess our definitions are different. Also in our circle – if you watch an old black and white film with subpar effects or whatnot respect and recognize that these people were working hard just like we do now with more limited tools but imagination none-the- less. You can apply that to the new Star Wars films. I’ve seen the haters. If it is not your cup of tea don’t drink it and move on. I like TRAILER PARK BOYS Canadian TV series and have for many years. We use to get bootlegged VHS copies recorded from Canadian TV. Now many years later the show has found its way into the US pop culture. But go watch CART BOY or their earliest stuff. High production values? No. But the heart was there and they evolved – some out there would definitely not find this to be their cup of tea. So move on. So many people want to enforce their opinions but when it is tinged with jealously or just spite it’s sad. Many are just frustrated artists. If they happen to find any success the irony is they will just have their work attacked by people who were just like them.
Social media has just made people brash. I try not to comment anything that I would not say directly to that person. And also know when it won’t do any good. I’ve seen features that I did not really enjoy by aspiring filmmakers but I KNOW what it takes to finish a film. The art can improve but if you cannot complete a workflow and the film, you will not evolve. So just consider being a bit more classy and a little less assy. I made that word up. Because you could be the stick today and the pinate tomorrow.
I vent these few things only because I truly want to see 2018 be more positive for people. The rise in mental issues/depression that I see touted in the news doesn’t surprise me as the seas of negativity are everywhere. But you don’t have to swim in it. I can promise you that once I hit publish on this blog and it posts I don’t come back checking it each hour for acceptance or to see who dislikes it. I won’t even have the computer back on until the morning when I start in on my list of business TO DO’s. I don’t notice if I lose followers, friends or care how many shares, likes or whatnot. StarMeters up or down, doesn’t matter. I’ll be spending time with family and friends. Laughing, sharing and living. Don’t let life pass you by as you stress over acceptance. Be you. Be good to others. Create don’t hate. Be happy.
Arctic blasts of cold but warm greetings and meetings with family and friends. I’ve been working hard to try to close 2016 business and be ready to start new 2017 business. More distribution paperwork going out Monday so we can start 2017 with a new marketing roll out. I’ve been also reviewing, interviewing cast and crew for upcoming 2017 projects.
Let’s look at a few of these projects
John the Baptist and Jesus
40 Nights – Our new 2017 deal is about done and Easter 2017 will be the target of the new marketing push for our first film in the trilogy. I was happy to see that it was recently listed in Christian Cinema top 100 along with ASHES OF EDEN. Big things ahead for 40 Nights with a new DVD release. Digital is still being represented by Sony Home Entertainment, so take a watch this holiday season.
Chasing the Star – Excited that we’ve got our first look trailer out. The teaser pics are trickling out. The film should be done 1st quarter of 2017 and we’ll start doing big screen showings. The general release in the USA will be September 2017. More on this distribution will be announced with the new year!
The Christ Slayer – the business behind this third film is underway. We might be close to a big announcement. Casting and Crew talks have been moving forward as is budgeting, locations and other such development work. Personally I’m enjoying getting back into the head space required to play this role again. If you’re an Italian actor, especially on the West Coast – get your reel ready because we want to see it. Also looking for a pair of 18-year-old (can play younger) – girl and boy for supporting roles. We will do some casting announcements in the weeks ahead. This is planning on shooting in March in AZ.
Wild Faith – Our dramatic 1800’s series is in editing with fifty some scenes rough cut together. The report on the Civil War footage was fantastic. I know what we captured and I’m excited to see if all come together.
* The series is looking very promising. I’m working on putting materials together that would allow us to pitch. But in advance of the pitch – the interest is HIGH. It would be fun to produce many shows in our state. It could require three months of shooting over four months to get our season. I did love the work we did on the feature film.
The CDI library is being examined under our new deal to see what existing properties will be brought back out into the marketplace. We’re also exploring a complete website reboot of the CDI company that could handle commerce.
This year saw our venture into soundtracks which again make good Holiday gifts:) See “40 Nights” and “Bestseller” on iTunes and other music outlets.
Soundtrack for “40 Nights”
I am starting to look at what acting endeavors to undertake after shooting “The Christ Slayer” in March. I have a few projects in development script-wise so we’ll just keep moving forward. Stay warm my friends and be safe while running about gift gathering and socializing with friends and family.
Sipping some dark coffee with that hazelnut goodness added as the outside looks like giant snow globe. Yesterday was spent on several shopping trips, a nice meal out and stocking up on food items. Today will be a belated bday gathering for my step bro so at least one trip out. I’m gonna fire up the wood stove at the office and do some organizing. Most of my time lately has been prepping for end-of-the-year and new year business. Let’s look at some updates.
The Quest Trilogy –
One of the teaser posters for CDI’s “40 Nights”
“40 Nights” new deal is complete on our end, signed and awaiting countersigned paperwork. What this will mean is a new push into the market in 2017. A possible return to theaters plus we’ll target a new 2nd quarter Easter 2017 national rollout. A possible festival or two as the film was invited to showcase.
“Chasing the Star” deal is being done as we speak. We’ll be doing premieres including a Yuma, AZ showing when we’re there to film the 3rd movie. A theatrical run plus event showing will follow the premiere(s). The talk is the national release will be in September 2017 on the run up to Christmas 2017.
When “Chasing the Star” is releasing nationally the third film will be finishing post. I think the idea is for 1st of the year 2018 theatrical and event showings on “The Christ Slayer” with a national release targeting either Easter or Christmas 2018.
On “The Christ Slayer” – I’ve been in talks with a handful of directors and I might be close to a decision. Also get those dramatic reels updated especially if you are on the west coast as that is where we will be filming. We announced some of the returning cast and more exciting announcements lie ahead!
This has been an exciting run on this trilogy of films. I hope audiences can enjoy these films for many years to come.
Wild Faith – The feature is in post and will likely be done next Summer (2017) and we’ll plan a fall release. The film is designed to be the pilot feature for a TV series so we’ll see how that plays out. I am doing some prep work on this endeavor which would be quite the undertaking. I’m thinking we might show the 1st teaser trailer on NEW YEARS DAY. This 1800’s tale is going to be powerful and I’m proud to have it counted amongst our product.
I’ve continued to get updates on projects like Sunn Classics “C.U.J.O.” and have a few films I acted in that still have not released “Dead Quiet,” and “Division 19” but that is often the way.
I’m going to cut it here as I have a string of things to get done before the Lions play and we have our family gathering. We might have to hook the dogs up to a sleigh. Have a great day and be safe on those roads.
Happy 2016! It is a new year and once again here we are back to CLAWING OUR WAY TO THE MIDDLE. There are about 4,700 of you that gather to listen to this one artist ramble as I make my way through this world. Many of you found your way to our place via Facebook and Linkedin – but what I LOVE the most is that you all come from 80 countries. USA has the most readers but Australia and Brazil are not far behind. That said, I have not been to either of those countries but I must plan to.
Many of you were very interested in “Ashes of Eden,” “Bestseller,” and “40 Nights” all of which will release in 2016. As will “Donors” and this has to be the year of “Dead Quiet” I’m sure. “The Terrorist” is coming. I would just like to once again say how much I appreciate the interest all of you have taken in what we’re creating. I think “Bestseller” and “40 Nights” showcase two very different sides of my acting. The funny thing is that they might release in the same month. I’ve seen the national artwork for “Bestseller” which is very moody and cool. We’ll be releasing a 1st look at that soon. I’ve gotten a peak at “40 Nights” Walmart exclusive artwork and soon so will all of you.
ASHES OF EDEN
Here is the “Ashes of Eden” artwork to be looking out for. I LOVED playing the role of Donnie in this film. I also enjoyed our use of classic cars. MICHIGAN is well REPRESENTED!
I’m excited to make another film with Shane Hagedorn so I’m sure that will be discussed more in 2016.
We’ve been on a crazy push to finish “40 Nights” because of a major order by a retailer. We’ve had all stations pushing full ahead and we still have a bit to go. I would complain but we’ve got distribution, guarantees and eager retailers so…I’m not complaining – I’m adapting. I know at every level of the game from here up will have some of this pressure. It is the business at work and that is what will allow you to keep creating.
DJ Perry as Jesus in the biblical drama “40 Nights”
While the post pace has been a bit of a frenzy on “40 Nights” I’m proud of our team. I’ve been proud of all my teams. It is a special thing to all share credit on creating a motion picture. You all are bonded by that film forever. And when a film becomes special to an audience they too share in that special thing. I had a Bday party to attend today and it was at Star Wars! Again:) I’m enjoying that special thing I felt in my early childhood. There is now 4 films in MY mythology of Star Wars. Yes. I chose to NOT ACCEPT the other 3 films. That would take a lot more time to explain.
2016 is now here. I’m excited to be finishing up a few projects so I can focus upon the new crop of films. Our second film in our QUEST TRILOGY, entitled “Chasing the Star” (quest of the magi) is moving forward. It’s been slowed by the holidays but we’ll see if we can catch up. It’s a busy time of year for many but these things we’re doing, our on timelines, are set by weather conditions.
I did finish the first draft of our third film in the QUEST TRILOGY …… and we’ll be announcing that title with some teaser art in the weeks ahead. I’m close on the 1st draft of the new KNIGHT CHILLS 2. I’m also wanting to return my focus to a drama MAN’S BEST FRIEND. I do love writing and have a good amount of hazelnut coffee to power on.
Sir Kallio stalks in “Knight Chills”
I had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I kept it chill since fighting a small sinus cold. I used the time to keep communications flowing on finishing “40 Nights” and discussions with our distributor. We also did a 3 way trade on bedroom sets. My brother and wife got a new set so our guest room got a beautiful set that’s been in the family for a long time. Our guest bedroom set went to yet another family member – so it was a touch crazy for a few days. But the guest room has never looked better.
My alumni school
My alumni school Michigan State University who won the BIG TEN in football, played in the playoffs to go for the National title. We took an ass kicking. I’ve thought our QB has been hurt and subpar for weeks. I would have ran with our two back up QB’s that came through in spades when we needed them against Ohio State. But Alabama was at the top of their game and it showed. Congrats! Next year.
Get your goals straight and attack 2016. If you got knocked down in 2015, stand up, brush yourself off, fighting stance!
What a wonderful Holiday season! The end of the year is always a great time to relax, reflect and redefine the plan of action. We worried that we might get stuck with some green Christmas but the day before we had BIG fluffy snow that created a winter wonderland:) Good meals with family and friends catching up with one another and buying gifts that someone else might not get for themselves. Flannel lined-Cargo pants are one of my favorite gifts and if you’ve never worn them – I endorse. Some nice gifts for the new office and two great pair of slippers. The most unexpected gift was from my buddy since 1st grade who gave me a BRUCE LEE “Game of Death” bathrobe.
The season has been filled with quality chats with various film associates. “Donors” trailer released and we’ve hinted at the next collaboration between CDI and P-Productions in Yuma. It is an Elvis theme road trip film. A major casting call for the co-lead is gearing up. If you can go Clark Kent water-treatment salesman to hip swinging Elvis on stage – you might be our lead. Details will be coming shortly into the new year. The deal on “Deadly Renovations” selling into a new territory is done and we will be announcing also in January. Hint: I may have traveled there in my previous travels:)
“Ashes of Eden” is now editing. We also should get our 1st look in the form of a teaser very soon. We are also in development on a slate of new projects to produce with Shane Hagedorn. The association was very successful and let’s discuss a few reasons why.
HUMBLE – I’m humbled everyday by learning something new that I was not aware of. This quality is valuable and sincere and is a good foundation to build upon.
BUDGET MINDED DIRECTOR – You cannot work with a director who just wants what he wants and hell be damned what it does to a budget.
KNOW THE GAME – Biz trumps Show this means the few choices that are made for business success are respected. We don’t make films just for friends or family. We don’t make films for the 1,900 social media friends we may have. Example: “BOOK OF RUTH” DVD exposure views alone are 500,000 range. GHOST TOWN over a million. I respect the social media and use it BUT we make films for the masses beyond Facebook friends anyone might have. We make films for fans in the many foreign territories not for festival awards. We will use good festivals to introduce a film to audiences but our goal is to take them to market. Our teams realize that fully. So business decisions are very important and usually trump.
KNOW YOUR PLACE – Now the reverse of above. IF your idea/suggestion is NOT business related. It is a suggestion that may be different but not really better. Creative choices need to stay in the directors chair as much as possible. A good relationship will allow discussion whereas some input is taken and used. BUT if you start to feel as a producer that you want to make other creative decisions you might be in the wrong chair. Subjective ideas are just that and if mutual respect exists many of a producers ideas may be used. That said, a good producer will let a subjective idea go when it is just that – a different idea.
How can my script get involved with CDI?
The best answer is to bring it with as much money attached. We have many in-house screenwriters and I turn down many everyday. If it is a form letter I delete. A personal email I try to answer them. A script that is funded will be looked at. If the venture is vetted and is worth the collaboration a deal might be made to produce and distribute. Inside money will be spent on in-house productions by tried and true cast and crew. It makes no sense to go outside to unknown variables and factors.
Can CDI Distribute my Films/Project? The best situation is where you bring a funded project to the table BEFORE spending dime one. BEFORE shooting anything. Distribution is a business and there is production and development aspects that play into distribution. Casting and quality level being the top issues. I know of a few friends that didn’t ask me any questions, advice or proposed involvement UNTIL they can’t sell their project. Than I get this dropped in my lap and asked basically “Can you fix this?” NO. So if you have a project funded and you want to work with us – come to us at the start.
How can I act in a CDI project?
I write in this blog in advance of PR releases and such. Also http://www.cdiproductions.com often will put crewing and casting info up. It is no secret that when we cast we use REELS 1st before doing any on-camera reads. We used this on ASHES OF EDEN and we had an amazing cast. So get your materials updated and get your footage.
Crew of CDI Projects
Location often does play into things but also going to battle with tested warriors is always good. If you keep the drama on the screen and do your job to your best effort – you will likely work with us on multiple projects. If you are someone who creates problems just to solve them or feeds on/off drama – not likely a good fit with us. We usually hire on accountability. By this I mean a 1st that hires a 2nd. A key that recommends a best boy – if we hire someone “untested” it has to be off the word of someone who accepts accountability. If you are someone who can’t go drama free for a few short weeks or can’t take the pressured work – another career for you.
Well I hope some of these answers to commonly asked questions helps. 2012 was a great year and 2013 will be even better. I look forward to seeing some of you again, meeting others of you for the first time and making some art for the fans. Even when you get past the middle keep clawing as if.