Practicing Patience and Riding the Waves…
Hazelnut coffee cheers! I’m sipping here after an active morning of getting the dogs around and fed. We’ve had some passing storms that last two days including a tornado up North in Gaylord. The clover seed we put around the yard should take off like crazy this week. I’ve already mowed twice but I see that we are close to another. Trimming, cutting, raking and fence work to shape the yard. The hops are already to the top of the patio. Various shrooms including Dyrad’s Saddle that I let be. On occasion I will try wild eats but the animals enjoy them also. The new chiminea is assembled and this week we got the new garden hose and hanger assembled and put into action. The fountain is set up and working nicely. All these little things help break up my office work which has been quite a bit as of late.
This past week was the dispersement of $ back to the many investors on our films. We are looking to get some of them to join us on this next film endeavor HOT ROD LOVE. We had a great visit with owners of a track that would look just great on camera. It creates a “field of dreams” like destination for racers and spectators. Also had a few great meetings on work flow for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA and we’re staying on course. We’ve got almost all the deliverables in on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and also submitted to the Toronto Film Festival which would be a great premiere showcase for it. We are in hopes of hearing some feedback on a few festivals we entered SMOKE & MIRRORS into so that we could have a premiere visit which fans of the genre. BESTSELLER is prepping for a May 31st release and Amazon will be the main platform although we are waiting to see on Hoopla, Kanopy, Vudu, InDEmand and more. Come Sept 1st the Subscription video on demand and Ad based video on demand will kick in. BEST YEARS GONE will be coming July 5th and we’ll announce more of those platforms as we get closer.
On HOT ROD LOVE we are having things pull together a tad slower in this economy but we steadily getting there. My goal was to film two movies this year but with all the delays the obstructions, I’ll be happy to settle for one. We’ll likely roll cameras 6-8 weeks after full funding is committed. The Facebook site is a good way to stay connected and we’re also posting some great pics from the time period. We’re all excited about creating the 1970’s and several of us are already putting things in place. I’ve been forced to take my own advice and have patience. Things are unfolding and as they do we’ll keep rolling with that momentum.
ACTING– I’ve been growing the beard and hair out in anticipation of our 70’s film. Better to have something to work with in shaping the character look versus not enough. I don’t like to do fake hair and beards but will color when called for. I’ve had a film cameo presented that I’m considering and I’ll discuss this week. A close friend is associated with the film and asked me to look at it. I had another producer reach out asking if I would look at something in June so I told them to email it on over. I have to make sure the the cameo look jives with what I’m doing in the 70’s film. I can’t go way off course for a one day cameo but it might work out just fine. The other project I don’t have any details yet.
WRITING – This week I’ve had a lot of great progress on the new book I’ve been hired to turn into a screenplay/movie. I’ve been playing with several working titles that are perhaps more catchy for a film but have not landed on that one title. But I’m over a third of the way through the first draft and I’m loving the flow. I truly do love writing and creating these words full of interesting characters.
I was also approached by another author with a book, also interested in a screenplay/film, if I like the story. I said it might be a bit before I can circle around to it but I am appreciative that people are seeking me out. I always use to keep the writing in the background to my acting but I like the attention it has been getting. I look forward to doing some writing for others and letting them produce it from the page. There is a certain flattery to that process also. I will get back to some of my other passive writing endeavors soon.
WRAP UP AND WEEK AHEAD–
This week will be more promotional pushing on BESTSELLER. We might reach out and have a few reviewers in the horror/thriller genre take a look. Some graphic postcards promoting the release will be sure to follow. I’m looking to bring some cool PR/BTS materials on the VFX and model work being done on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. The pick up footage has just arrived and tightening continues on the edit.
We are working closer towards a Knight Chills, video game teaser. I hope to hear some word on the converting of Knight Chills to HD. We had some discussions on the sequel which we are letting slowly develop. This HD release will be the start of the new franchise push to market.
NOTE: This week my goal is also to keep the windmill set up in chicken-land. Our ‘girls’ have been giving us 4 eggs a day and fresh eggs are awesome. Our clover we planted should come on strong this week. Clover is a good food for the chickens and wildlife but also because of the root system might stand up better to the dog traffic. Always something.
As our reps return from France I hope they had a productive and pleasing trip. It is always fun to hear of new audiences for the films. We again won our soccer match last week and we’ll see if we can repeat on Thursday. I had to use glue and the vice to repair a blown out cleat. Breaking in new shoes can be a bitch so I don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. So now I’m a cobbler, no, I don’t make pies…shoes.
I go to a lot of flea markets and estate sales seeking fun props and wardrobe. You can also find lots of useful items that you use around the house for pennies on the dollar. I went to a great outdoorsmen sale ran by the ladies who sold me the furs for WILD FAITH. They were sewn into Hester Thickett’s coat and a piece or two might have ended up on Ben Lily. But I have people like this on call to assist with props when needed. I’m into primitive archery and so was this individual and I left with four bows. Two recurves, one a Fred Bear, and two flat bows. Add a hand forged knife, viking bookends and a few dinkies and I helped support another small business.
The new bows will be fun to shoot. I enjoy archery and find it very ‘zen’ but gun ranges don’t do the same for me. Nothing against those who do find the range relaxing but archery to me is more like fishing, chill. I enjoy stalking tree stumps as much as anything else. I almost played Robin Hood in a film fighting Vampires, true story. Robin Hood. Santa Claus. I have a few classic roles I would still like to play in my life time. On that note, I’m off to refill the coffee cup. Have a great week and be good to one another!
Patience, Persistence and Good Planning – Secrets to Success
A nice sip of hazelnut coffee starts my morning. We had a time change so I’m adjusting to that. Also I was so inspired to start spring clean up of the yard but woke to more snow. I hear this last blast might be the final winter roar. I want to thank all the artists from around the world for stopping through to join us here. I want to wish my good ‘buddy’ (his name in the film Man’s Best Friend) Austin Two Feathers on his birthday. This past week was draining on my batteries. I know two of our producers recently got a nice break from the harsh winter and it helps. I’ve always got multiple things to do and most recently it was getting end of year taxes done on the films. But development, pre-production and post production work is happening all the time. I’m looking forward to a couple big meetings ahead as we prepare for BEST YEARS GONE, FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, SMOKE & MIRRORS, BESTSELLER and SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA to release this year. Also prep is being done on a few of CDI’s library titles to get new releases out in the market. For some it will be the first major streaming release. Titles in discussion are KNIGHT CHILLS, FIGURE IN THE FOREST, AN ORDINARY KILLER and GHOST TOWN.
We’ve also been doing some additional marketing on our films currently in the marketplace to keep their audience growing. Some great clips of scenes from your favorite CDI films will trickle out onto social media. We hope to encourage first time audiences to watch the stories. THE QUEST TRILOGY (Part 1: Forty Nights, Part 2: Chasing the Star, Part 3: The Christ Slayer) is a great watch for the Easter season. I try to watch them once a year during the Easter season but they are a good inspirational watch at any time of the year.
I’m also excited to say that our good friend Greg Mason who has been in CDI endeavors since movie one is coming home after several weeks in the hospital fighting for his life from Covid. I’m glad he made it through as he has many more films to participate in. I feel for all those struggling with their own hardships. First it was Covid and now War in Ukraine and the resulting inflation is creating a negative static in the background of life. When you are in your home safe you feel for those forced from their homes with what they can carry. Other life updates include continuing to working on getting Luna, our new doggie daughter, feeling part of the family with our fur boy Finn. Also I had my first indoor soccer match to prepare for Spring outdoor soccer. My body felt good but I can use some improvement in my running. I’ve enjoyed training over the winter to keep the body tuned up. I’m happy to be blessed with reasonable good health but it is something you want to keep at.
I’m excited to share the music video we did for the rock band DEEPFALL once the final edit is released. Music. I’ve been playing the guitar quite a bit as of late and getting to play with a few friends. It’s great if you’re feeling “out of tune,” -play a bit and watch how it changes your energy. I said previously that I’ve had few breaks from all the responsibilities I carry. Music, fire, family and friends are my small release. I will keep working hard to maintain my balance daily because only from that place am I able to help others.
HOT ROD LOVE – this next CDI project in development is moving forward both on the business and creative front. We have some great talent lining up to play roles in this film. Parts of development are maybe considered more fun but everything needs to progress forward together. The film taking place in 1975 is really bringing a lot to the table by way of fashion, music and more. We’ve been having weekly development meetings and talking with possible backers and sponsors. Patience, persistence and good planning are required.
WRAP UP: I almost lost most of my blog here trying to add a title. I sometimes think a vlog or video blog would be easier but doing these weekly recaps helps me to reframe everything that needs to be done in the coming week. Also you should always keep working on things that are not your strength. I was talking last week to Curran Jacobs, a world champion wrestler and MMA fighter who coaches also. It is about getting your students to leave their ego at the door. You want to feel free to work on your weak techniques to better them. It is not about just using your best technique to prove to your classmates/teammates how badass you are. Work on your weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to fail in practice. This can also translate to – don’t be afraid to speak up in brainstorm sessions for fear of sounding dumb. If there is an issue it will be discussed and learning takes place. But sometimes you have that gem of an idea so don’t keep it to yourself. I hear warmth is ahead and I’m ready. Be good to one another and keep chipping away at your dreams and goals.
Until next week, coffee cheers!
Stoke the Inner Fire, the Art of Patience, the Circle of Producers
Coffee Cheers. I’m sipping a steaming cup of coffee and sitting here pondering the business from the past week. I’m a person who attacks things in private. You don’t or won’t find my nose stuck in a video game for hours. A five minute time out to play ROBOTRON or JOUST is an occasional occurrence. I fight everyday to gather the funds for new endeavors and to keep the business of all the other films moving forward. I’m feeling good about everything and had a few things happen this week that could be good lessons for whomever reads this.
First – CDI is not a company that pays just a few and seeks out free help in places that require highly skilled individuals. We hire as wide as we can afford which has been limited in the past few years. Increase in days expands costs across the board. We do things that others do not like lodging. Commuting when reasonable is okay but long trips on each side of a shoot day can burn someone out quick. Actors in the day before helps them to settle and focus before entering the ‘world’ we’ve created to film in. These are all costs. Over the years I’ve learned to simplify my life so that I could focus on the stories. Our money negotiated to the max with the help of many who love stories, including our sponsors, makes this possible.
Along these lines, we only can hire so many people. The producing staff often works much harder for less when and if hours are broken down. Often the effort is not worth it if the accumulation of shells and beads is the only measuring stick one has. Producers sport a point of two from the back end which is like a lottery ticket bought just in case the universe wants to reach out. It also is a badge of honor that they were part of a the “officers” who made the film happen. At CDI even an “associate producer” title is honored. Other outfits may throw around titles but at CDI is means something. For us at CDI is means representing the company. Attitude. Motivated. Experienced. As one who has coached here in the USA and overseas and as a martial arts sensei and still always a student – when someone is deemed ready they are approached. Filmmaking with tribeCDI is just that- a team, a community and a group of film warriors ready to problem solve daily to win the pieces of the puzzle.
My budgets restrict how many artists I can develop with a paycheck. Even the ones who would PA (Production assistant) free the costs are still additional with each person. We like to try and really feed people. I recall one set in Nashville in the 90’s that had a few loaves of white bread, a pack of lunch meat, mayo, mustard, ketchup and a stack of paper plates. This was for a large cast and crew. I ate it without any issues but I could see what certain actions did for a project. That one 15 min producer call that gets a sponsored meal from some great establishment is so worth it. My mind often is filled with ways to give our cast and crew a better experience. In return I just ask for their very best at their task on either side of the camera. The cast and crew can see the care and work we’ve put into our productions. Bottom line is we do care.
So in summary -I never once could demand to be on a team. I had to show my skills, develop my mind to the game and make them want me to start by my performance. In martial arts I focused on my skills and tried to effectively communicate to students below me. In time you become so valuable that they want you representing their tradition or organization. I see many lack the patience for many things of worth. It is a hard skill and one that I deal with still daily. Don’t let past failings or short-comings hold you back. That is your earned experience. Don’t be looking ahead too soon in hopes of being seen as more important. Be in the present. Be excited to learn the new lessons. Get to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. 2020 was a year to test that discipline and practice what I preach. Be present. Be patient. Become the best version of you.
Another example that provides me with a nice lesson to share is – When life gets you frustrated with all the external issues turn within. If I’m out-of-tune inside, everything I try to do fumbles. I don’t see the pokey dog bone which I kick. I can’t get a software to work right (I can’t get me to work right)…you all know what I mean. Meditation. Prayer. A nature walk. Thirty minutes on a heavy bag. Tai Chi – tend your inner fire. I DON’T HAVE TIME, some will scream. But you must or time will be wasted. Like in healing there is treating the symptoms and treating the source. Focus on that inner-fire and watch how everything starts to turn around. BALANCE is achieved and by stoking the fire of the internal the external starts to change. I’ve used all this solo time to really increase that fire stoking. Take 15 or 30 minutes to change your frequency and watch what happens.
BEST YEARS GONE – The second pass now with director Shane Hagedorn‘s refining is underway. A few notes we’re passed from the circle of co-producers to our director. I’m more inclined that maybe the first look should have came after the second pass where the director is now engaged. A rough cut is built from director notes and editor’s eye. Now a large % of my notes would be stuff that our director will address. After the director and editor do their cut I will give it another look. I look for mistakes but recognize subjective versus a mistake. I have to have confidence in my directors. Their own subjective choices play strongest – the too many cooks in the kitchen issue can exist. I’ve seen it happen but if I respect the boundaries, it sets a standard. Sometimes the closer the role is the farther I might want to be from nuisance choices in editing. That is why you take the time to match the right script to the right director. The writer and the director work through the story fully. Do not underestimate the pairing of the right story and the right director. It is a skill unto itself.
As the edit moves along we’ve made progress on upcoming merchandise and the Battle of the Bands! Exciting stuff. More stills are being batched to release. Our own Dan Chipman is working a BTS so our cast and crew can remember the crazy year of 2020. Our fellow producer and AD Nate Robertson also has a special video being worked on. We’ll be having a story/interview coming out on all that very soon. This movie is heartfelt and extremely funny. In my talks this week with our distributor I was told how much they all enjoy the humorous offsets CDI scripts have gotten known for. Meaning serious topics are discussed and when it gets a little uncomfortable it gives us humor. They used the end of the Wild Faith trailer with Ben Lily and Hester hoping they don’t need God’s help today. I was happy to report that BEST YEARS GONE will have humorous moments. Yeah. maybe a couple;)
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND I’m told has a new marketing campaign they are discussing. They want to get this film more into the mainstream. They feel it’s a great film that has a lot of play in it. The release was going to include theatrical and fest events but the Covid mucked that up a tad. But the film is being well received and has been seen by maybe a million of so people. It will find a much larger audience it just needs a bit more time.
THE QUEST TRILOGY is being treated as a series as it readies its run at Pureflix. I’m so proud of these films and I think general audiences will enjoy them. It’s a distilled down parable trying to remove all the white-noise and paint something where the dots are actually connected. Whatever your walk of life take a watch and I think you will find them vastly different from anything else you’ve watched/heard on this subject.
LOST HEART – If you want to read more on the actors from Lost Heart, see some BTS and read a few PR links please visit the new pages on http://www.cdiproductions.com – thank you David Gries. And if you still haven’t seen this film do yourself a favor. Have a laugh. Have a cry. It is truly a ray of light. Light? Strange lights in the sky? Watch the film and it will all make sense.
In wrapping this up – my week was spent doing end-of-he-year tax stuff for CDI and the films. Thank you to Dean Teaster, Melissa Anschutz, John Mashni and all the good folks at Davison & Associates. We also are working development hard. We only have a few final funding pieces to arrange on the WW2 film before full green light. We also have had more great talks on the Wild Faith spin off HASTINGS. Again it is not IF it is WHEN. We’ve been doing casting for our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA German’s and our young lead. Are you 8-12 who plays young shoot me a reel it will get looked at. Speak fluent German? Send me a reel. We’ve been having internal casting talks and we’ll be announcing as soon as we move into pre-production. I’m also looking at portfolios for paint on glass or digital matte artists. Fun, fun stuff! Beautiful falling snow. Time for some more coffee. Have a great week.
Be good to one another!
10 UPDATES/LESSONS OF THE WEEK
I’m waiting for the coffee to finish as I start typing. I have a full day today and so I wanted to get a jump on it. As usual I want to welcome all our international readers from Poland, Argentina and more. Part of the balance of an artist is to navigate all the elements life presents. Since returning from filming ‘The Christ Slayer’ I’ve been working on getting the entire operation in order. That part as I’ve stated before is not the most fun part. While others seek their next role on camera I’m recording, tracking and remitting on other films. This week was important because as “Forty Nights” is fully entering the flow and thank you too all those of you who have watched the film. It is a business and that work must be done. Also ‘Chasing the Star’ will soon be heading into the national/international market so getting this “business flow” set up is the smart thing. Being that I’ve not yet had a sip of coffee my thoughts are still a little scattered so maybe we’ll have a shotgun news day with no exact order. I call this 10 UPDATES/LESSONS OF THE WEEK.
- “Forty Nights” had 4 nominations at the #ICFF and WON ‘Most Inspirational Movie’ and we’ve got an internal process of PR. I did notice that the film experienced a lil’ hate with the nomination nods and more when it won. I know this comes from the frustration of actors/filmmakers/screenwriters who despise seeing other projects move while their passion sits stagnant. (Coffee is ready – time out) (OK – game on) A few facts are that some of our projects have failed to launch. I’ve discovered that we often get stuck in a rut of trying to push something that is not ready. If you get better at reading momentum that helps your endeavors. Some people want to push with everything and not back down but if it is not meant to be, it will not come to pass. Patience is a bitch.
- I had a meeting this week where it was pointed out that many in the local community don’t love the isolation attitude of our company. The truth is that I work hard on TO DO’s everyday. I turn it off everyday with things to do tomorrow. I could spend time at various industry mixers but it comes at the expense of something I need to do. I could spend $100 on food and drinks to discuss other people’s endeavors but it comes at the expense of writing 10 pages of script or not reviewing that international sales agreement. It was easier when I was a nomadic film warrior in my 20’s but I have domestic activities that I enjoy – yard work/tinkering is one of them. So it is not that I don’t care what others are doing industry-wise (I’m actually quite informed) but I just love what we’re doing more and know fully the hard work required to move those pieces ahead on the board. Talk to anyone who has participated in one of our endeavors and the response is usually very different versus the person who has not yet done business with us. Again I say, DON’T HATE, CREATE. That should go on tee-shirts.
- Again Cannes Film Festival is underway and I’ve done that Hollywood scene and it is a fun world to visit. But it will devour your time and financial resources and again you can visit trendy places with your resources or you can create art and content. Many of those parties cost thousands of dollars to attend. I also said that I will consider attending only accompanying a piece of art we’ve created. Maybe one day. I have no problem with those who love to attend those events – I’m just working steadily towards goals.
- Dennis Therrian our main composer, sound designer and post supervisor is prepping ‘Chasing the Star’ for delivery to our distributor for the national launch in September. He’s also just finishing sound design on “Wild faith” and will soon start the music. He recently was nominated for ‘Best Music Score’ at #ICFF with “Forty Nights” which also was mentioned as winning ‘Most Inspirational’ so if like several of us out there you like to write/work to music scores this is a great one to buy and listen to. – BUY HERE https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/40-nights-soundtrack/id1114858978 More of the scores are going to be releasing to sound track including “Chasing the Star” another beautiful collection of music.
- I touched on patience and reading momentum. I am subject to these laws myself. Some great production developments are moving a touch slow due to factors outside myself. They are great opportunities it just requires me to be accepting and have patience. A great opportunity for a TV series behind “Wild Faith” exists and development has begun. I would have LOVED to roll cameras in 2018 but the main national roll out for the feature will be in 2018 and so the series production will likely fall to 2019. Not what I had first wanted but that is the business of it all.
- A new biblical trilogy to follow THE QUEST TRILOGY is being developed and one of the scripts is done. The other two are in development. Right now the name of the trilogy is THE CONQUEST TRILOGY. Old Testament, No Jesus, No Angels/Fallen Angels and they do not tie into the first trilogy. That group of films is complete. The last film in THE QUEST TRILOGY entitled ‘The Christ Slayer’ is almost done with the first edit. So I’m not sure if the 1st film in this new trilogy will film in 2018 or not. I have a few other business pieces to put in place.
- Since I’ve accepted the flow of development for not what I want but what is – I’m finishing a script this month that just might go into production this fall in Michigan. It is a story that I’ve had my heart into for a year or two but just needed to finish the story. A first draft will be done at month’s end. #MBF
- The Michigan theatrical run is complete on “Chasing the Star” and this week we’ll be discussing new destinations for this film to play. This week our time on this project got devoured by delivery work. The final film will be sent off for final DVD mastering. We had a few bumps in flow because we changed a few things in the process on this film. Lesson – If it isn’t broken don’t fix it:) All is good just a small amount of additional time spent which could have been avoided with a bit stronger management. (I’m speaking to myself:)
- Some exciting things happening with the CDI website (www.cdiproductions.com) which has been in discussions for several years. The entire CDI library is digitized so that was a key element to what we’re doing. The site will be getting a major upgrade that will include the ability for people to purchase and stream past CDI films. Will we stop at CDI films? We will see – one step at a time. I also have had interest in doing some major merchandising so that is something we will explore.
- Speaking of spin off’s – BOOKS. E-Books to be more exact whereas several our films/scripts have been written into books. Those are about to come to market. That deal is underway and like everything else takes time to put the pieces together.
So in conclusion, every week is a busy week. I am open to discussion on new business but with how crazy everything is I’m not likely to get to another town to pub it and talk shop. If you truly think we have some good business reach out. We’ve done many associated films. I can promise that you will get truth from my perspective. I will not BS you and while I don’t always tell people what they want to hear I will tell it to you straight. I do consider acting in outside projects but all I ask is that its at the true pre-production stage and not dreamer stage. I had a phone meeting Friday whereas a NYC production had reached out wanting me to act. Sent me the script, the book it was based on etc…I read two chapters and knew in my gut that the film was nowhere close to shooting. That was two years ago. I’m glad those hours of reading were spent elsewhere. I’ve also participated and was paid (thank you) on a couple of projects that have never finished. Years have clicked by and still no finished film. The artist in me is what hurts on those projects. I was paid for my time, my art but we do it to share. If it was just about shells and beads ($$$) there is easier ways to make it. I’m going to go fill the coffee cup and get on with a few morning activities. I have a soccer match to play today if we don’t get cancelled because of storms. Some relax time with friends and family and tomorrow we go after the TO DO list again. I hope you all have a great day and a productive week.
Be good to one another.