Hello new readers Uganda, Brazil, Singapore and more – I’ve got my hazelnut coffee beside me. I spent the morning watching/reading some random news. I went to bed as LIVE video of Grand Rapids, MI protest/riots/chaos unfolded. Whatever happened in GR was not on the national radar. Only the big cities are covered but every community has been touched.
My history is that I was brought up upper-middle class by a stay-at-home mother, from kindergarten on and a father who was raised a part-time foster child by a kind family who helped raise him on their family farm. He put himself through college at MSU serving in the National Guard and worked hard to build everything he ever had.
We lived in a great secluded neighborhood nestled in the woods outside of Lansing. Our neighborhood had several various nationalities, religious denominations and such. But I do recall one of the fine African American neighbors going around before moving in and talking with all the neighbors. Even at a young age it seemed unusual but this was the early 70’s. Even interracial relationships were seen as rare back at that time. But our neighborhood picnics were great and we all felt like one community. This was a rare and beautiful thing.
I went to the public schools and my elementary school included all the children from the nearby projects. I got to go to school with children of all races. In 5th grade we also had a big influx of Mong children. I cherish those days and many of those classmates are still friends. We learned to appreciate one another and the differences between us. In the days of the afro a distinct advantage was given when playing eraser tag in class. We often were treated to food and music from different places. I have to point out that teachers have the greatest opportunity to plant these seeds. We had some wonderful teachers who loved everyone equally. They worked to make sure barriers were broken down.
Middle School brought all the kids from various surrounding communities. Many of these pre-existing elementary relationships moved forward with us. Some grew apart but individually we all carried those lessons from elementary school onward. Fights and situations occasionally arose but most were over non-racial issues. Jealously as young hormones develop and the war of words that would go too far. But here new friendships were made some that carry on to this day. Off the top of my head – my friend Dwight, bi-racial who now is into politics. Donny now a police officer that I see occasionally at a mutual favorite Chinese restaurant. Community.
High School – “Should have been a Big Red” again saw an evolution as an even more diverse group was brought together. The biggest fights I ever saw was over someone cheating in TONK, a card game. The fight was not over difference in skin color but over cheating. Jealously fueled a few more scuffles as young hormones led people even deeper into new emotions and feelings. I continued to have friends in many circles from my interest in martial arts, soccer and yes, filmmaking. Friends were gathered by common interests and conversation.
I spent time during several summers in Denmark as part of an All-Star soccer exchange program. Living in the homes and participating in daily activities gave a wider view of the world to everyone involved. I went to LCC the community college while on a waiting list for MSU. My growing interest in film was pulling my attention from certain studies to scripts, storyboards, cast and crew organization. Lastly, I attending and graduated from MSU in a cobbled together degree that was attempting to fill in for a lack of a film program.
I’ve been a camp counselor, soccer coach and player here and overseas and a martial arts instructor. I’ve always looked at the PERSON. We are all gifts that are each wrapped a little different. Isolation and lack of exposure to different groups is what leads to or continues to extend the perceived difference. I can say that having friends of all colors and creeds keeps one from purposely speaking harmful words. And it makes it harder to sit by and listen. I have spoken up in kindness on several occasions to offer a different viewpoint to someone speaking ill.
I’ve found that an entire race often gets blamed for the actions of a few. Our impressions grow from our experience. Good or bad experiences will shape these attitudes one way or another. It is why – me personally, am not a fan of “school of choice” which while you may or may not save your child from some childish harassment you are also taking away the opportunity for that young person to have a science partner or gym class teammate that could instill lifelong perspective moving forward in life. A view that we are all one people. That we are same on the inside with interesting and colorful differences on the outside. Don’t leave a past of segregation only to enter a present day self-segregation. Cross the isle and be surprised at what you can learn and take away. Thank you to the TEACHERS who planted the seeds of harmony.
FILM UPDATES –
I enjoyed a great week of fan mail on our past film projects like THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer), WILD FAITH (Very timely) and MAN’S BEST FRIEND (Thank you). If you want to watch thought provoking and positive stories please do take a watch. If you like what you say leave a few reviews and share with others. That is happening and the fan base to this movies keeps growing.
LOST HEART – This amazing film is in the final stretch of sound design and music. We’ve been putting a fine tooth comb over the credits trying not to make any errors of misspelling or missed credits. I had a good discussion with our distributor over this film. We’re all very excited to share this with everyone late summer/early fall.
LOOKING AHEAD –
BEST YEARS GONE – This week we announced the addition of Victoria Jackson. This will be the second time she has worked with CDI. You can read about it below.
Director Shane Hagedorn and I have been going over the script reworking some dialog to bring the “Racing” elements in the script out stronger. The character I play Gil, had his best days when he was chasing his dream of being a race car driver. This movie will have some great elements of music and such in in. We have a few more actors to announce and next week we’ll be looking at our new proposed shoot dates in August.
- We’ve also been pulling together the business on the 2021 WW2-era film and made a few more great steps this past week. Only a handful of units to move on this project and we’ll have this one ready to go.
- Also some great talks over ‘Hastings‘ the proposed WILD FAITH tv series. I had talks with our distributor over pre-sales and a few possible investors. This series is growing stronger by the week.
- We are still looking at the animation division – evaluating our scripts.
- Merchandise site is going to be going up – we’ve got some great things to offer our fans. I have a meeting over that this coming week.
- Soon I should be announcing the new home for some of the CDI associated projects. We have some agreements to review but things are almost all set up.
I’m sure I’ve missed a few updates but I’ve got some work to get done today so I’m going to end this. I’m not sure what any of you might take away from all this but take the time to get to know one another. Embrace the differences between us. Know that within our hearts and minds we are the same. Excessive force is real as is the danger that those tasked with enforcing laws. The athlete, soldier and law enforcement can all fall victim to adrenal flow. But someones pre-existing perceptions can breed compassion or excessive force. Protest is a great show of unity but rioting can cause those negative seeds to root even deeper.
As an artists I believe in the power of the story to enact change in people’s thought, actions and deeds. I believe we are all wired to love a story and when engaged we can enlighten someone to a different way to think or feel. The confinement due to the virus and the economic damage to so many has only served to fuel this fire. I would support the peaceful approach to protesting but understand the power of feeling in control when the world seems to leave many feeling powerless. The power of the mob ruling the night is addictive but is wasted frustration that could be better channeled. I am not one to judge but I see more positive paths to change.
Be safe and we’ll chat next week.
The chill has settled back into Michigan and this week the harvest moon will symbolize what we already know – winter is coming. It has been a productive week and I’m excited to see how it plays out. We’ve been gathering commits on our new film MBF. We’re hovering around the half way point and we’ll see if we can get the last commits this week. I will have to make a decision on Monday after next to see if we shoot pre-holidays or post-holidays. Now we’ve got lots lining up for the pre-schedule but everything has an order. I heard this week about a project that again was filming with not much of a script or schedule. “Winging in” is not the way we do things at CDI. Projects are hard when you do everything orderly and when they are just improvised – I can’t imagine. Not with anyones investment that is – but people do take that path. So we’ll see if this new project is meant to go in the fall timeframe. I’ve had some great time spent exploring the subject of the wounded warrior. I’m proud of the announcement this week of myself and Bobby Henline in the cast. We’ve got lots of military folks working both sides of the camera and we’ll work hard to tell a powerful story. More casting announcements this week.
The Quest Trilogy Updates
Forty Nights and Chasing the Star are getting some good watches by the audiences out there. I think for a few people the presented ‘world’ of Chasing the Star is a new view. Many want to see the mysterious three men from far away bringing baby Jesus some gifts. Cue the Christmas carols – no. The world of King Herod was brutal and while we don’t go full dark we don’t sugarcoat the world. To understand the possible reality of the world puts a renewed realism to the story. So while some may lament the lack of joyous pageantry others applaud the realistic take. This November and December in Bedias Texas at the Miller theater the first two films will play. One in November and one in December. DVD and streaming are for sale now and please do take a watch. Our goal is to create a trilogy of films that can be enjoyed anytime but especially during the holidays. The third film The Christ Slayer is full steam on a larger list of VFX shots. It will be completed around April 2018 before some theatrical play and home video release. A poster is now in the works.
Forty Nights streaming
Forty Nights DVD
Chasing the Star streaming
Chasing the Star DVD
Wild Faith is now entering the last quarter of music scoring. We have a small list of important VFX plates that still need to be completed but we are close to having a finished feature.
The TV series development is going pretty good but until I can show the pilot feature I don’t think I can bring the deal full circle.
Pending my shooting schedule I’ve been asked to possibly appear at a Comic Con promoting KNIGHT CHILLS which was released this year as a book. When the author told me that I might be surprised by the amount of fans out there I was suspicious. The film was our first attempt at a feature film and while it has its moments we clearly missed the mark in a few places. But like all CDI properties it was made with a lot of TLC. I had a great pod cast brought to my attention. Instead of all the HATE, yes haters existed even back in the early days. My secret was just working harder while others waited. Anyway, with the book readers get a free watch on the original film. I’ve been reading a little bit of the book each night before bed and it’s really good. It is a great Halloween/Christmas (Yule) season film. But we’ve done some development on a sequel script and if this new interest continues it just may happen. Listen to the podcast here.
The book can be found at amazon and will make a great gift to anyone into fantasy, Conan, Lord of the Rings, AD&D and such.
BUY IT HERE
I’m also close to releasing the book WILD MICHIGAN that was written off my original script. The script was re-written for budget and a tailor fit film that became Wild Faith. I think people will enjoy reading the original story as adapted by author Dee Freeman. I plan to launch it in October and we’re getting close.
This week we’re writing some money out to investors and that always makes me feel good. I’ve got films from the library that will be prepped for upcoming release in the new year. My discussions with agents continues since I do have a few scripts I would like to sell off. I also would like to work with an agency for packaging but while this things could make certain things easier I will move forward and just see what develops.
I’m going to go refill the coffee cup. I want to harvest a bit more from the garden before having the mothers over for an early dinner. Grilled venison steaks are what I will be cooking. I also need to light a fire in the office. It was a touch chill when I was there yesterday. So enjoy the rest of your morning. If you get a chance watch a few of the films and if you enjoyed the watch – recommend it to your friends. If you’re into horror films I would recommend maybe The 8th Plague, Darkest Night, GPS the Movie just to name a few.
Be good to one another and have a great week!
Happy Halloween! This day reminds me of early days plodding around in our neighborhood usually in the damp drizzle bravely approaching dimly lit houses. We transformed with our costumes, one that my mom or grandma (If major sewing was required) helped construct. Mom made sure we had our share of classroom Halloween treats and Halloween parties at the house. Later years brought howling at the moon and we were drawn more to the attractive outfits of the ladies versus the haul of candy. Yes. Priorities had shifted. I love Oct. 31st because it’s the portal into those longer, darker, self-introspective days of winter. The harvest has mostly been collected (we still have beets in the ground) and our dwelling and self are both being prepped for the much colder days ahead. Often in my later years the movie sets have taken me away at this time. The beautiful change of season is highly sought after by filmmakers. I’ve been in the Smoky Mountains, India, and various locations on this day This year our timeline is full with multiple screenings and the final month of post-production on our film “40 Nights”. These films we’re doing have distributors and retailers waiting and so this timeline is VERY important. I had a good couple of weeks of the actor-self feeling like a beast in a cage. Add in the time off from soccer (my body thanks me) whereas I’m not getting my weekly BATTLE lust and well…it left me seeking my balance. This day is one of great re-balancing. It prepares one for the months ahead. We have much to do!
One thing we’ve been seriously doing in preparation of our next feature, “Chasing the Star” is seeking the right director. This is an important task just like casting and crewing. Every artist is an important part of the whole. This is also an interesting process because this is #2 of a trilogy. The right person has to align with the script and also be producer friendly. Business does trump in the non-hobby filmmaking world and so you need someone who understands that. In no way does that mean that business is a hindering factor – just is a factor. Often it never even becomes an issue. Just when it does you want a director who is on board PRE-filming. Each director is looked at for their experience and connection to story. Lastly, they must possess qualities that are of a respectful, grateful and appreciative nature. One film can change everyone’s life path.
Many first time filmmakers never make that second one because it is truly a task not for the weak. Those that continue to grow are the ones that learn collaboration and compromise within a business structure. I’m happy to say we’ve found our director on “Chasing the Star” and will be announcing in the days ahead. Congrats! The CDI tribe welcomes you.
“Bestseller” is having a Nov. 1st showing in Owosso, MI and I will be attending. It is at the Wrought Iron Grill and shows at 6:00 pm – I hope to see some of you there!
Our next CDI art mixer at Sanctuary Spirits with Red, White and Blue Project is Nov. 19th in Grand Ledge, MI. The film will be “An Ordinary Killer” filmed entirely in Michigan.
This concludes a great week of meetings that included book and comic book deals, soundtrack/VOD talks, touring discussions and several other interesting developments happening with our CDI library.
I’m waiting on a new “C.U.J.O.” draft along with an action script that the studio wants me to look at. I had a great talk with a producer who is doing westerns and we’re looking at collaborating. Also had a surprise phone call from a NYC area director who is sending me his book/script for a film they are prepping to shoot in 2016. So not sure which and when yet but I will be back in front of the camera at some point here soon. So with that I’m enjoying being home in the fall.
I’m sure I missed a few updates but I’m updated out:)
Be safe on whatever path you’re on tonight.