The Rock is Heaviest at the Top of the Hill – Keep Pushing
“Making movies requires faith in yourself, your team and something higher”
I’m sipping Michigan Cherry coffee this morning and trying to wrangle cats over here. Anyone who says producing is easy is lying. We might make it look easy at CDI but it isn’t. Well the raising of funds isn’t. We have a good deal of funds committed to our next film endeavor LOST HEART but we have a little to go. It is hard because you cannot just advertise that you are looking for investors in violation of SEC laws which most filmmakers are unaware of. Also getting investors to understand the timelines and how you’re trying to make windows work. In Yuma, AZ it was the desert and the fact that past a certain point it was 100-120 degrees. In Michigan shooting especially up North its dancing around Memorial weekend and the 4th of July weekend. The schedule of stars and key elements required. I am eager for the studio production deal. I have a few that are in talks and that would essentially have us producing with studio money whereas they own the copyright. I’m game for that if it means not having to slog through the funding process every time.
“The payoff for all those painful, stressful times can be immense”
EVERY independent filmmaker knows this issue. 99% of the contact with filmmakers is that have an idea, maybe a script but not the funds. They film on spec, they attend a slew of festivals in hopes of enticing that distribution deal. I use to do all that and it is hard. The festival trail is the Oregon Trail of indie film and the trail is littered with the bones and buried bodies of artists who had big dreams. I’ve made it to the middle of the pack whereas no more festivals required to lure the distribution deals. But the next step is even more exciting and we are getting close. But that said, it is still hard.
“Development can be draining but it is the foundation to every film story told”
I’ve learned to look at a story in a deeper spiritual way – that it will be what it was meant to be. The artists that were meant to be involved will be. If someone steps out of the flow that creates an amazing opportunity for new artists. I’ve been the replacement actor before. I like to keep teams of artists growing and evolving but again it is hard to launch a project. We do it often but every one of them has been a task, painful at times. I have joked on the last few projects at the hardest times, that I should just tend bar at the Moose Lodge down the road. I have some great stories that I could share for years with the patrons playing KENO and sipping suds.
“The beauty of Michigan will be on full display in LOST HEART”
LOST HEART will either shoot in May or July and I will know Tuesday by how the chips fall. The key is once you have enough fuel/funds that you also have enough prep time. We’ve done a lot of ground work but you are limited until you can make hard offers. I will be opening the bank account as now we have all our paperwork around. Our committed funds will start flowing in this week and the ship is getting prepped to travel. BMG will once again be distributing so no shopping of the film required. We have a small handful of roles to finalize but cast and crew will be approached once our film dates are set. I’ve talked to some of you and I look forward to creating with you. The point is lots of work go into the launch so appreciate that next time you are sailing along making a film. OK. I will hold off on retiring to the Moose Lodge to bartend:)
“Wild Faith is worth a trip into town, don’t forget to water your horse”
WILD FAITH – Thank you Grand Rapids and Biloxi, Mississippi for the cinema run. I’m told West VA might be the next place that our western can be seen on myCinema’s roll out. That film will start to appear for pre-order DVD on various sites. Here are just a few
Moving towards Easter we have a few films to talk about but this was a neat discovery. The film I helped produce and costarred in years ago BOOK OF RUTH, Journey of Faith is in one of my favorite midwest chains – Meijer. A good time to pick up a copy for your DJ Perry collection:) I saw it right over on Lake Lansing yesterday when picking up some ink.
“Dan Haggerty and I on Book of Ruth, RIP my ole friend”
BOOK OF RUTH Journey of Faith
Our Easter film THE CHRIST SLAYER is heading to select theaters with myCinema on April 19th. If the big screen is not your thing or getting out and about is hard, you can rent/buy on digital streaming or DVD now on various sites.
It looks like Biloxi, Mississippi will also be playing THE CHRIST SLAYER on the big screen starting April 15th. I’m sure tickets will start selling soon. (See Below)
We hope the film is made available to many more of you. Contact your theater and have them book via MyCinema!
If you are going to Easter treat yourself and your family by watching The Christ Slayer you might as well watch FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR also. Again a great review of THE QUEST TRILOGY which includes all three films.
The Quest Trilogy Review
MBF – dialog clean up is underway with the audio master Tricky T:) I’m really excited about this film because of the topics and messages within. VFX and color correction will be up next for the visual team. Follow us at –
I’m going to close here. it was a great week of business and getting things cleaned up about the yard. I’m ready for the snow to say its final goodbye. Today my college MSU has a big game so I’ll likely be watching that. Good green! Keep chipping away at your goals and dreams. If it was easy everyone would do it. Talk at you next week.
Home is Michigan
Again Michigan is covered in a blanket of white snow. I know that many of you are from various parts of the world. Welcome readers from S. Korea and Burma. How wonderful that all these artistic people have found our little corner of the internet. My hazelnut coffee is going down easy and I’ve got a list of updates on several of the projects. This morning I did take a stroll through the Facebook which has kind of replaced the newspaper sadly. I usually find science articles to read and enjoy certain animal posts that highlight how intelligent and soulful animals truly are. Where to begin?
I commented on a fellow filmmaker’s vent this morning. In short – a disdain for people who have more resources or who falsely claim experience. It’s a problem but one that usually works itself out. We use to lovingly refer to it as The Oregon Trail. For us older people it was a TSR-80 game. But in real history it was a rugged journey that resulted in many dying and being buried along the Oregon Trail. We use that saying to describe the many in our business who perished along the trail.
Many people have long-wondered what the “trick” is at CDI to producing their content. First, there is no trick. It is a logical checklist of work that must be done in a particular order. You can refine that over time but this takes an effort. Good management of people is something that you cannot buy for yourself. There is no piece of equipment you can purchase that will motivate good work flow. Some of the secrets, if you wanna call it that are…
- Hire artists firsts not friends – you can become friends (True definition not Facebook’s) through shared art, dependability, accountability and positive collaboration. But to assign/hire someone unqualified for a crew or cast role out of friendship hurts the collective endeavor and often the friendship. Don’t set people up to fail. Don’t let preventable failure lower the quality of your projects or worse yet – kill it. I think for young filmmakers that is where these 48 hour film challenge things help. With a youthful generation of highly creative, technology-adept youths INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION is a learned skill. It is easy to be disrespectful, behind a computer. But these comments in the real world to a real person, can get you kung fu’d, fired or create a poison in an otherwise productive creative atmosphere.
- Chiefs. I’m talking to company owners. I’m talking to producers, director and keys. You all set the tone for the environment. Define the roles ahead of time. Don’t figure it out as you go. Producers have months or years of development work before any camera roll – use it. Creative MUST respect the Business machine and the business must respect the artistic contributions that will elevate it above being a mere formula genre film. Only strong leadership can walk this balance between the two and enforce this kind of collaboration. NEED vs WANT…KNOW the DIFFERENCE.
- Follow Through – this means the same in micro as in macro – for anyone in the chain of execution. You NEED people with follow through or they’re simply a negative – excuses not withstanding. It does not matter what the creative potential of an individual is if they’re not able to follow through. This should always disqualify/limit a person from leadership. Now you can put creative slackers under a disciplined key so they can be exposed and maybe learn from leadership. Ego will sometimes make them reject the chain of command if they feel they are a superior artist. The best artist in our world has follow through and a “best effort” positive attitude. Again, the best artist is not always JUST the best artist but the best artist with follow through. If a creative caterer made half a crew lunch = fail. Someone at go time had collected only half the props = fail. Wrong instructions as to where to park support vehicles = fail. Hundreds of things a day can cause strife on a film set if your team is not properly prepared. Be prepared.
- Help is not weakness – many people have not learned the many important lessons from managing projects of various sizes and budgets. People need to know when to say NO or to seek out and hire the proper experience. But either greed or fear of loss of power, causes many to sell themselves onto projects that they are truly unqualified for. F- YOU DJ! YOU GOTTA START SOMEWHERE! Okay. Settle down, I hear you:) Now in the beginning, I might have been one of those people. But, I did qualify as a doer of many other things. Some of these things small and some large in other areas of my life. I have always been someone who has a natural drive to GET IT DONE if I’m behind something. Investors saw that eye of the tiger in me. Investor interest seldom comes from a fancy fluff package or a regurgitation of business buzz words – more often that investor see’s or feels something in you that was/is akin to his own inner fire.
OK. I need to save a little wisdom:) But I try to keep a pulse on this Michigan film community. I see positives and negatives. Michigan has always fought the ‘backwoods’ mentality given to us by Hollywood. Funny thing is much of the Hollywood elite is midwestern. But I will say that I see improvements. Tax incentives gone – my opinion – it never should have been about drawing work to Michigan but development of work from within Michigan. But it did help legitimize filmmaking as an acceptable title here in Michigan. Ask old-timers and MI filmmakers from the 80’s and 90’s, about being called a filmmaker. It was like telling your family you want to be an astronaut. It was usually met with a sideways stare and a loss of words.
Now people don’t sideways stare at me they simply want to know when the next film releases. They tell me they have young children interested in filmmaking. It’s great to see the parent support of these young dreamers. I burned out on festivals a decade ago but I respect all the great festivals our state has to showcase, network and nurture our creatives. I watch the yearly migration to the west coast where people learn that the increase in opportunities is usually matched by the increase in applicants. But many have to experience it. I will be out there for a week on some business this month. I’m looking forward to seeing some friends and associates. Oh, and the sun. But after a few I must return home. Home is Michigan.
Shane Hagedorn’s big shoulders to carry his first feature
We master the film off this week and I’ve got some meetings coming up over home video/foreign. The TV series is something that I’ve been aggressively chasing. I think it would be great for Michigan. I know a few other TV series working to get traction. How great would it be to have a string of TV shows happening. We’ve also been hard at work on securing theaters. We’ll be announcing soon as several deals are almost done. I do truly love the genre and I think it would be great to see weekly as a show. Once you watch the movie let me know.
If you cannot wait and need a fix of 1800’s action/drama our Civil War film “Wicked Spring” is getting a re-release 16 years later. 18 years from when cameras first rolled. We shot the pre-war and war stuff in two separate shoots and areas. I’m waiting for the streaming link to go live on amazon. 2/5/18 is supposed to be digital release date. DVD’s on 3/5/18. Here is the new cover that the distributor settled on. It has one of my favorite pics from the shoot and it is of Anthony Hornus, who played the Union commander. Also that’s Michigan’s Brad Egan front and center marching forth.
Look for this cover that has the remastered film. Also the DVD includes a 45 min Making of that is a wonderful look back at producing 18 years ago. Please do take a watch.
Cool look at the TOP Civil War Films
We’ll be posting places you can buy/rent as they go live on
Wicked Spring Facebook
Are you ready for another look at Part 3 of…
THE QUEST TRILOGY
Forty Nights and Chasing the Star are working into more platforms and networks. The push will start for Easter sales. I’m excited that the poster and movie trailer for The Christ Slayer part 3 is almost done. As if the excitement of “Wild Faith” wasn’t enough this first full trailer will allow BMG to start promotions. It is amazing the scope of it all and it brings the greater story of the trilogy together and answers many questions.
SIDE NOTE: Forty Nights is part one and if you don’t know I play Jesus. I’m over due on a few character reels but this one was hard. When you’re in about 70 min of a 88 min film or so and you are looking for 2-3 min sizzle it can prove to be…difficult. My actor/filmmaker buddy Shane Hagedorn knew I’ve been very busy the last few years working on the whole. He surprised me with a character reel of Jesus. I will be sharing that with you all in the coming days. I always ask that one good role just gets me one more. This will come in handy as I’ve got a few things in the works hence the LA trip.
Many have asked me what’s next for me on-screen. As we’re always working on delay – this year you can watch me as mountain man Ben Lily in “Wild Faith” and reprising my role as Jesus in “The Christ Slayer” film. I’ve got some good film role options that I’m not at liberty to discuss. It might be the year that several development collaborations pop. I can say that the main focus for me is MBF. (Man’s Best Friend) We’ve accepted collaboration with a military non-profit http://www.theredwhiteandblueproject.org/ that has done some great things in the past for our soldiers. They want to off-set some of our military cast/crew costs and create an educational aspect. That aside we’re trying to complete financing on this project and we’re getting close. I am excited about this project and I think so will you once you find out more about it. Here is our social media site.
I could go on and one but I have some snow to shovel and I’m prepping to do personal tax prep tomorrow. Coffee cup is low.
Be good to one another!