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

Posts tagged “New Year

Keys to a more successful 2018

A101_C001_03254IWell 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.







Casting Hints & Bringing 2016 Home

40 Nights Location photo

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

40 Nights

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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 7.35.30 AM

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.




Countdown 2016 & 2017 Preview

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 –

A Journey Begins

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.





Welcome 2016 – Let’s Dance

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.



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!

Ashes of Eden - Poster

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.

Jesus in the wilderness

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.

"40 Nights" now in post

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.

Knight Chills

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!





Casting & Commonly Asked Questions on Working With CDI

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.

Happy New Year Ahead! 2013!