Good morning my friends. Coffee cheers. I want to welcome all our new readers from Brazil, Norway, Sweden, Russia, China and more. I love that this is a place where artists of the world can come together. I hope my words can inspire, inform and/or assist each of you on your own journey. It was a productive week with my mind grinding a bit on several things. Last weekend brought the news of several people who’s travels here have ceased. The week brought more news of pets, parents and friends who passed. That is the other side of social media and up to the moment news. It use to be a random encounter with an old friend or associate would reveal news from the past few years or months. But now we deal with news daily that can remind us that our time alive and living is finite. Our minds are trying to learn to compensate for this daily bombardment of unsavory news. I feel bad for people who cannot moderate that and self feed themselves more sadness than they can healthily handle.
I have pondered activists of various causes and I think that is a hard road. There is little rest – their minds fixated on the cause without rest. Politics, racial injustice, domestic violence, animal cruelty and poaching…the list could go on and on. If you try to take a rest -others could accuse them of slipping, losing focus leading to overall judgement. Good intentions can quickly turn to near madness. That person(s) can quickly become part of the problem contributing their own hate. This is like a passive mob mentality that while not as intense can be a slow peer pressure burn. “I don’t see you upset, do you still care?” – I’ve dealt with that years ago in some of the film business. My composure was taken for lack of caring and that was not true. I just know when emotions take over (Oh look how passionate someone is) that they don’t always make the best (efficient) choices. I often agree with causes but not the process of pushing an agenda. I’ve recently talked about how I like to speak with my art. I feel I can reach more people with the medium of film and don’t have to live in a manic state. Tell a story with a lesson and drop the mic and go boating or grill out with family and friends. Just because you don’t live in some unbalanced state of mind doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means you have learned to work smarter versus harder. Smarter for the health of the self and smarter for the cause you are trying to enlighten people to. So self evaluate and see if you are working in a way that is best for you and ultimately for your cause. Life is a marathon and so don’t burn yourself out. I’m also going to note my parents both had a birthday one day apart. I’m just blessed to still have them both here on this journey. My furry boy Luke who passed a few years back would have had a bday and several people had some nice things to say. Appreciate each day and try to lay your head on the pillow each night having done good deeds and a sleepless night will be rare. Except where dogs and fireworks exist a few less restful nights might follow.
Let’s stay with MANS BEST FRIEND, which after the wins at the Crown Awards seems to have brought even more viewers. I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to watch the film and either send me your beautiful comments and/or posted reviews on IMDB, Amazon or whatever streaming platform. My cousins in Detroit finally got around to a watch on the film and sent me these pictures. I love them because it shows that our audience is not just you humans.
Thank you. If you want to watch yourself – please do.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS has some exciting developments underway. In the sake of not getting ahead of myself I’ll leave this project for now. But this film which has endeared so many to the Murphy family just might launch in 2022.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA
While ‘Wild Faith’ is storytelling in the 1870’s our upcoming WW2 drama will take us to the 1940’s. Our producers scout trip is booked and our team will go in August to lock in the infrastructure of our next film. Our casting and crewing is about 85% in place with a few departments ands castings still to be set and announced. Our German actors are going to start being announced soon. Here was last weeks cast announcement.
We also hope to start announcing some of the sponsors very soon. I’m just loving this entire era but the hardships endured are pretty amazing. I’m excited that one of my past co-stars will be joining us. Another opportunity to “Watch and learn!” – some of you know exactly who this amazing actor is. You can see all the cast and crew here and follow along as more are announced.
BEST YEARS GONE released the first trailer and the reaction has been great. You can see it here:
We have two September premieres coming together. Sept 11 will be the race and outside premiere event and we’ll also be announcing an Owosso, MI premiere soon at the NCG. Plans for the music video shoot with Vertical Bridge are underway. The film has had the first pass on sound design and the music is almost there. I will be going in at the end of the month to add voice over. I’m excited for audiences to see this film and I think many will enjoy it. I’ve had several say it had a FARGO vibe to it. I’ll take that as a compliment.
LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS – This film continues to march forward gathering audiences who love this story. It matters not if you watch the family/faith or general market release – just watch it. I love that both the A and B story are getting their own pushes in marketing.
Same film that has all this within it. It was smart for the distributor to go at both these angles of marketing. Which marketing do you like better?
Speaking on trailers – how many of you saw the July 4th release of the trailer for our documentary ‘For the Love of Catch’ ? If you missed it here it is along with the PR. 20k+ views is just a few days tells us the audience is there.
The steampunk, turn-of-the-century tale SMOKE & MIRRORS is also closing in on being complete. I’ve also been reworking the feature script for future production. BESTSELLER should be looking at a new fall release with BMG Global. We’re looking at several films to re-release with a new campaign. Which films would you like to see? FIGURE IN THE FOREST? KNIGHT CHILLS? AN ORDINARY KILLER? ASHES OF EDEN? With BMG opening a general market division it opens up possibilities for more films to release.
OK. I’m going to wrap this up. We’re going to go visit one of the Sunday flea markets where I love to seek out curiosities and WW2 props. I’ve got a busy week ahead of meetings and such so I’m going to relax and get ready to attack the week. I’ve been having fun slowly rehearsing and building more character for the WW2 film. I’m currently reading a book written by the actual PW camp commander that my character is loosely based upon. I seem to be past my slight knee injury from soccer after a fun game Thursday. It feels good to be able to walk stairs without issue. That means might kicking drills on the new outside heavy bag can start in full. I’ve enjoyed doing my heavy bag punching outdoors. The mosquitos are making my punches even faster. I should be trying to catch them with chopsticks. I hope you all have a safe weekend and a productive week ahead.
Good morning. Coffee cheers. Well, today would have been one of the first holiday family get-togethers but alas we are not due to the lock down in Michigan. I have a good amount on my mind this week plus several good film updates on several of the projects.
I’m beyond happy that the stories we tell are being seen by millions and I’m receiving such uplifting fan mail that tells me what we do has a positive purpose. What WE do. That is an important word WE. We’ll address that more soon. The new CDI release is LOST HEART which is truly a ray of light filled with laughter and tenderness gifted to whomever takes a watch. I believe that the lessons inside our stories can be taken to heart for ALL people. From the negativity I’ve seen fly, EVERYONE can use a little story to remind us of the goodness in us all.
Lost Heart has 3 leads in it. Melissa Anschutz, to know her is to respect her dedication and love to the character’s she becomes. This film is a crown gem in her growing list of roles and stories. It is also deeply personal because of losing her husband to cancer and her own personal struggle with the disease, all while putting this movie together. Victoria Jackson who is a true comedic genius and is a tad outspoken in her political lean has drawn some praise and fire. Now add Don Most, who recently was heavily criticized by some and applauded by others for attending a ‘Happy Days‘ fundraiser for Biden. FOX took a PR piece on Lost Heart and really played the political slant almost like a TMZ piece. While it has added thousands of views it has angered some and so the days after the FOX story posted anger responses erupted from a few and the VOTE score on the film 1-10 dropped from mid 8’s to 3-4 over politics.
Political or not, it happens to all the children (movies) and while I wanted this child to be safe from bullies/trolls – people will vent their frustrations before taking accountability or accepting differences. Conservative MAGA or Cancel Culture Liberals – EVERYONE can use a good story with lessons about being good to one another and the value of kindness. I’ve been around long enough to know the drill. Friends, family, peers drive the score UP and the haters arrive and it goes down and fans start to bring the score back up and it will settle into a final score in a few years. Older audiences, myself included are not as savvy with computer reviewing so that is often not reflected. CDI works with respectful artists period from across the spectrum. I personally don’t ride the rollercoaster of hi’s and low’s. I try to live each film as a “drop the mic” moment and enjoy each day.
BEST YEARS GONE – The edit is coming along great with over 40 scenes cut. We’ll have a first edit in a couple weeks and the goal is to lock picture end of Jan. 2021. Let’s talk about that film in light of what we just discussed above.
Our motion picture has been adapted from a self-published book entitle “Hope from Heaven” by author and small-town barber Karl Manke, who by challenging state law during the Covid lock down earned himself the moniker of ‘America’s Barber’ whatever good or bad that name might bring. One man’s personal actions put him in line with the theme or agenda of others and against state law, an outlaw or patriot was born unto the media depending on the opinion piece. But I can say that Karl did not ask for the media circus and was not trying to be a flag bearer for anyone.
(One of several projects I was honored to work on with Dan Haggerty)
Enter our CDI (www.cdiproductions.com) a Michigan-based motion picture company since 1996 that has produced various films over the years and has found a niche of positive, well-told stories that often include a few life lessons woven within. CEO DJ Perry, often the screenwriter these days, gives credit to the early TV shows like The Waltons, The Life & Times of Grizzly Adams and Little House on the Prairie. These were shows strong in character development and story. Often with a treasure of a lesson buried at the heart of the story for the audience to dig up, leaving them with something to ponder beyond the screen.
“We believe that our stories speak to the entire spectrum of audiences – it doesn’t matter where you stand politically, our stories are for everyone.” – DJ Perry
The story seems simple enough, a young woman raising twin teen daughters as a single parent falls in love with a less than perfect man and conflict ensues. Also said, less than perfect man is an ex-race car driver who had a team and a dream with his cousin. This relationship ends due to the poor decisions whereas the thin threads of family are broken. These characters while extreme, are still relatable to most either in shared qualities or as the worst versions of ourselves in some alternate universe.
This political year combined with the Covid situation made filming plans even worse. CDI had originally planned to begin filming in April 2020 on ‘Best Years Gone’ the adapted film name. The well-written book was full of colorful characters and a nice blend of realism and mystery. The book and script both speak to imperfect relationships and the importance of forgiveness to the self. In the public arguments the means by which many communicate shows no desire to really be heard, understood or to find common ground. Most remarks are inflammatory and meant to injure the other party by slandering things they hold dear and sometimes sacred. This story had greater messages that can be applied to anyone.
CDI has a strong reputation for staying on schedule, on budget and creating exceptional quality stories within business guidelines. This quality is by gathering talented artists and uniting them behind a story. UNIFIED BY A STORY! So is the way of the TRIBECDI. What is the tribe you say? The creation of a sacred artist space whereas the art of storytelling can be told unhindered by differences and distractions. A philosophy that demands respect towards one another as artists and only asks for your best efforts to be put forth without any added drama.
CDI has diverse, artistic individuals from all over the spectrum of beliefs and affiliations. In some those beliefs can be polar opposite and in other examples just differing priorities on taxation, spending or any of the various topics debated around dinner tables. The issue is that in a growing culture that becomes more inclined to try and gather to only like-minded groups finding that singular group at the larger level of inclusion is near impossible – you WILL end up working with diverse people and that is a good thing. At CDI we don’t endorse or support any one life path save the path of telling a good story. I think that many could learn from the environment we work to nurture and grow. We continue to refine and grow ourselves and the key is to keep the story in sight. While others flounder due to poor communication we are still able to speak to the audience as a whole. We create great little stories with powerful topics- often softened slightly by humor. The story a gentle reminder not to take life too serious as we only go around once and life is too short a ride to do it mad or with a chip on your shoulder.
Okay now my Top UPDATES
- According to our distributor Wild Faith is still growing an audience with the film ranking in BMG’s Top 5 on most platforms. We had HASTINGS talks and progress is being made.
- I’ve started doing the writer/director polishing passes on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We are close to a full green light. We just have a few units to still assign in the project. Once we do expect some big PR announcements.
- I’ve been doing some writing on the new updated draft of the SMOKE & MIRRORS featured script. CODE NAME: ASH – I’ve had a wonderful time researching and writing and the short film will be done and released in 2021.
- The Quest Trilogy is being licensed for the season and I’ll notify as I find network and such featuring it. If any of you see it playing let me know.
- MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – If you enjoyed this film the dog who played Brown Boy is named Big Papa and he needs surgery. It is the same kind that a few of our own furry family had to have. If you enjoyed the film and want to help out a great guy Robert Ash, is needing help with the costs so if able think of donating at the link provided. https://www.gofundme.com/f/big-papas-surgery?fbclid=IwAR1g6JR1Kz8lDcM7laYtwgXU_Oz5N4EAAyhDlJQtJxGlhuMnQQWIXFrc7VA
- The doc “For the Love of Catch” will start rolling cameras again start of the new year!
- NEW merchandise is coming so that is quite exciting to me.
SPOILERS SO IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FINAL ‘THE MANDALORIAN” SEASON 2 FINALE STOP READING
(My bro and I are intergalactic bounty hunters in our spare time)
The POWER of storytelling. I’ve been a lifelong Star Wars fan and give much credit to A NEW HOPE for me wanting to be an actor/storyteller. I was and still am a big Han Solo fan. Luke was always somewhat secondary for me. But in this time of hardship, stress and frustration for many Luke Skywalker is just what the world needed. The odds look to be just too much. The battle appears to be a losing one when “one X wing” how is that going to…wait a minute. Was that R2D2? Is that? Glove? Green lightsaber! I like millions had imagined scenes like what we saw unfold in our childhood imaginations. I loved seeing the JOY that overcame so many watching this unfold. I cried and I’m not even sure why. The need to through back to another time. To truly escape back to a Far, Far Away Galaxy. To have Luke Skywalker come and save the day – to save 2020. It again showed me the power that can come from storytelling. Now to bring it all full circle the haters will come for this show also. Maybe Mark Hamill will say something that offends someone or just going against the grain is what some need to do to get noticed. But for me it was collective joy. Seek a Collective Joy in 2021 and by our individual actions lets make 2021 the year we all want. Appreciate people as you get to spend time in 2021 even if they have different priorities versus yourself. Communicate respectfully and as if that person were in the room with you. If you want a better 2021 you need to do your part – actions. We will circle back and talk next Sunday for the last time before 2021. Be good to one another and have a Merry Christmas!
Last Note: These films are made with collective love by diverse artists who share the sincere hope each of our stories will bring you some amount of joy. A person drowning in negative filters will not ever see joy in anything and will actually want to destroy the experience of joy others may experience. But those icy haters should know we don’t EVER give up on you. We create and await that one day that our one story made you crack a smile, laugh aloud or shed a tear. We immerse ourselves in a made-up world and tell a story. All while giving up precious time with families and friends. As artists, we’re called to reach out with a story and try to melt the icy negativity that stretches across the hearts and minds of so many. To give them a chance to find some joy. To feel a story of Collective Joy. Here’s wishing JOY to you.
Good morning everyone! It has been a very interesting week. I will start by saying I am at least in part a person who enjoys ‘alone’ time. I always say the brainstorms and excitement comes in those meetings with friends and peers. But what really matters is when we are alone what happens. I’m like a multi-tasking little bee moving from one task to the next. Some people shut down once they have nobody there but I ramp up. In my solo days when struggling more in the industry I was a workaholic. I had family and friends worried and plenty of doubters and haters from the masses. I’m a fully committed artist and feel ‘best’ is subjective so I always strive for truth and unique. Those are things I can control. There is a secret there. Don’t be driven crazy fixated on what you cannot control. Work with what you can control. I’ve been behind on my emails and business since we shot LOST HEART. I’m using this time to really organize everything. This goes for the office also. I’ve got sheets of new ideas to implement in the coming years. So how you spend or waste your time is under your control. As it gets warmer the yard zen will be in full effect. PS: Welcome new readers from Japan, Bulgaria and Australia – cheers. So my point is you can spend vast amounts of time plugged into the 24/7 update machine or put some music on and get stuff done. If you spend this time organizing, planning and prepping when the fog lifts some will be relieved and some will be ready. I promise you I will be ready. I urge all of you to do the same. You can check in morning, noon and night if need be but don’t live the agenda of fear and pause. Let this situation make you afraid not to live.
This self imposed isolation marks an interesting place for an observer like myself. This marks a time when the value of life is being placed above the economics. Economics aren’t removed because the crippling financial effects would have happened slowly out of control. By halting certain businesses the action is controlled and damage can be mitigated but not removed.
This points out an interesting point – people in authority are expected to bring about certain changes but they are expected to do so flawless – impossible. Every transition will and does have casualties. How do you fix a situation? It’s a classic Star Trek moment – the engine room is on fire and going to destroy the ship. Spock contains and changes but at a great personal loss. Many world problems don’t have clean solutions and that creates ongoing suffering. I often refer to HUMANITY NET – what we all require regardless of anything else about us. Clean water, food and air – healthcare? These world issues are giving us as humanity a test run. World cooperation is underway, not without flaws but what is? Expectations? I remember feeling bad after 9-11 as reporters hammered the FBI, asking if they dropping the ball. Like watching the end zone pass dropped and keep asking if they dropped the catch. You know they did. Why keep asking silly questions? So as many deal with this for the first time – it isn’t flawless but people are trying and working very hard. We can come out of this better as humanity. I see glimpses just behind the tee-pee hoarders greed and the “must add politics” to everything. We will see.
- First here is a bunch of teaser trailers and behind the scenes videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtJJRsD49k5DsNq11BD_40g
- Tomorrow I’m doing an interview with Isaac Hernadez about CDI and our scripts/films.
- I heard word that the India thriller “Karma: Crime, Passion and Reincarnation” is coming to USA streaming. Stars Carl Weyant from “The Christ Slayer” and maybe that DJ Perry guy:)
- I’m trying to arrange a few watch parties of CDI films that will have a Q&A session after. We will see as I must talk with our computer folk.
- I’ve got two different people talking about hiring some script work we’ll see – either way writing is happening.
- Good meetings last week on ‘Best Years Gone’ and we’ll be announcing our Director of Photography this week. Looking forward to working with this person again!
- Thank you to all for the fan mail on The Quest Trilogy, MBF, Wild Faith it truly makes my day. You all make my day and it keeps me moving forward.
- We are working on some new exciting releases and merchandise for 2020.
It is still chilly here in Michigan but I will be getting stuff done on this fine day. If you know some people sitting at home who might want to join our weekly time together – http://www.djperryblog.com
My closing statement is this – as much as I appreciate my solo time and get lots accomplished in those moments- I’m missing my family, friends and associates and I look forward to meeting with all of you soon. Use this “social fast” time to organize yourself.
It is a chilly and wet morning here in Lansing, Michigan. It’s been a crazy balance of film and life as we move out of summer. I’ve had a string of fix-it projects with our roof, car brakes, wisdom teeth removal and my computer. Note: I did none of those things directly. The computer hard drive failed and had to be replaced. I was starting to reload files from external drives when luckily the company was able to retrieve the old data. I do have to reload my script writing software which was due for an upgrade. Add on the fact that we’re re-doing a bathroom and that adds up to a good deal of domestic work. We also added a pair of oak book shelves last week that up-ended everything in the house for two days but now looks wonderful.
We’re working on a small narrative book video next week and that will be fun. We stepped out this week and supported Shane Hagedorn in another acting role in the Detroit area. It’s nice to see filmmakers developing and growing in their art. We met some nice people and had an enjoyable time.
Speaking of premiere showings we have one coming on the 14th of Sept in Owosso, MI for MAN’S BEST FRIEND. Tickets go up for sale the 4th or 5th on the NCG Owosso website. Keep up with the MBF facebook page as we’ll be updating there. It is open to the public and we’ll be having my co-stars Don Most, Garry Nation, Tim Abell and David Reardon in attendance. So if you want to see a powerful film about our wounded vets and adoption dogs – come join us.
WILD FAITH is finding an audience out there. This past week I had several people come up and tell me how much they enjoyed Wild Faith with a few having watched the movie multiple times. Next up a group of us will be traveling to AZ to attend the Wild Bunch film festival. Once we are booked we are going to invite our Yuma, AZ family and see if any want to come visit.
My dentist this past week was all smiles after he and his daughter enjoyed watching part 3 of The Quest Trilogy – The Christ Slayer. He shared some of the insights she took from the film. She GOT IT! Because she watched all three films. The movies can be watched as a stand alone but they are meant to be watched all together. So one of our goals this holiday season will be to let people know that the films are all part of a trilogy. I’ve also decided that I will be writing another biblical era film. I have one on deck now but the cost has put it a step beyond my means. But that could change as we expand our circles.
We don’t USE people – We DEVELOP people. I go into every media relationship wanting the same long time relationship I share with several of our #TRIBECDI – Composer and sound designer Dennis Therrian is a good example, he and I go back to about 1997. In media now I hear about how ‘fluid’ people are and hardly keep a job beyond three years. Many are people who cannot deal with any conflict and need to be right all the time. Add to this that our industry is naturally fluid – in it’s flow…(Planning) few folks – (Shooting) army – (Post Work) few folks.
A freelancer has to make more good choices vs bad choices in a year or they will fail. This industry is based 100% on referrals if you’re amongst the wise. We as Indies have a small margin of error due to budget constraints. If you as cast or crew are doing what you love and YOU see the effort by production to give cast and crew a good ride while working to make a quality story. You should be supportive and loyal to the nth degree because it’s rare. For you under 25 folks you will realize. Many of you from your ‘Office Space’ cubical. Yeah… Don’t let your ego sink you. Before I sling arrows let me admit my biggest WEAKNESS. It has always been that I care about people. I truly do. I recognize that dreamer fire burning in some people. And I’ve seen people who’s willpower cannot match their dreams – let me translate LAZY.
I can see people’s success and fail potential. I see those battles of willpower when the dream becomes hard. Almost impossible until – it happens. I’ve bet on people that they could escape their self sabotage and live their better self. I’ve won more than I’ve lost but I’ve surely lost. The TRIBE works in a very tribal way thanks likely to my CDI partner Jeff Kennedy’s anthropology courses. If you aren’t pulling your weight your peers know. They see the lack of focus. They see the attitude and that person will find themselves pushed to the outer rim. I also will state that CDI is a tribe of artists that live on the alpha end of the spectrum. They are savage in their hunger for success as an artist.
I can tell you as an older lion that surviving in this industry long term is a badge to itself. That said, I love to develop appreciate, hungry and extremely talented artists. When you take away the environment for drama and BS, which is a trap for all groups of humans gathering, these artists potential shines even more. Making great art inside a shit-storm is a hard go. You have to control your artistic studio, workshop, world, set. Do this and watch your project get even stronger. The energy when a crew believes…when they see the world, is amazing.
I offered a script to one of our crew guys on ‘Lost Heart’…NOTE: I like my crew to know the story they are creating. Cast or crew I just would have to know what I’m selling hours of my life to. Okay…but he said he was enjoying piecing it together each day. This ‘interest’ in the art from the crew is what helps to elevates the final story.
If you prove yourself to be untrustworthy, undependable, unfocused, unprepared – you get my point. The crew will often work around you rather than with you. If your drama overly seeps into the set, they might ignore but they remember. See again as a martial artists, I see the hot set as a dojo. I mentally bow when I enter and I bow to my fellow cast and crew. We all stop our own time from ACTION to CUT and live those moments together that is the STORY. That is some intimate shit. And some artsy sounding shit at that. But it’s true.
Back to the topic, I’ve been doing this walk a good long time. I want this to keep creating and so I’m not looking for friends or social peeps, BFF’s or any of that. I’m looking for select artists whereas the Tribe see’s them as a good asset. I can say that of the cards that people have brought to the CDI table over the years to play, the best card was always loyalty. You work to create an inspiring place for artists to develop projects void of time-wasting, energy-stealing drama. That is the goal. How successful were we? We’ll let the projects tell that story as I believe the end product has a lot to do with that production energy. It absorbs into the story just like seasons when you shoot. An October movie always has a strong haunting and introspective vibe. Again that saying, Making great art within a shit-storm is a hard go.
I’ve been working hard to develop people because I think I knew where we were heading. I see the on-going slate of films peppered with a few TV series. That takes talent, dedication and organization. Again, praise to all the good stuff happening in our state. Back in the day there was Lynn Drzick (West Side) and Mike Kallio (East Side) and a shot gun smattering of filmmakers in Michigan. Working to TV stations at nights trying to complete films shot on FILM. Okay. I see movies on Vikings, Detroit Hustle, Firefighters, Sex Trafficking, Body Swappers…all in our state of Michigan. Very cool!
I’m going to slide out of here and get with my day. Be good to one another. Thank you for letting me ramble over coffee. I hope to see some of you Sept 14th in Owosso, MI at the MAN’S BEST FRIEND premiere showings. I’ve heard good things about the theater tests but I’m waiting to be surprised myself. Coffee cheers!
Have a great Labor Day weekend.
Good morning from HOME! Yes. I’m sipping some coffee after a few puppy cuddles and now I’ll be sharing with all of you some updates and insights. First I want to talk about LOST HEART. What a ride we had. First it was just amazing to go from just a blueprint with the script to capturing magic. This script has been hailed as one of my best pieces of writing. I know that writing is much like a film in that it’s subjective. But the story did a great job of painting interesting characters in unique places and situations. It was my first script with Melissa Anschutz in the lead and she performed beyond all my expectations. Much like Shane Hagedorn in Wild Faith, it was great that my scripts could be used as starring vehicles for my friends/peers.
While we were filming LOST HEART, WILD FAITH was rolling out across the nation. Wal-Mart’s and other retailers around the country starting carrying the film DVD and the fans responded. I had so many people approach me the last few weeks who had watched several of the CDI films. One day in prep – Shane Hagedorn (Emmett) got stopped by a maintenance guy who had seen Wild Faith. Already thrilled to met Emmett, he was further thrilled to be led into a room where Melissa Anschutz and I worked accounting. His eyes got big and his smile wide as he got to meet Ben Lily and Hester Thickett. This meeting of fans played out several times during our multi week stay. All around town – handshakes and kind words. I’m so proud of both Shane and Melissa – they are true leading talent. Everyone sits around and wishes for a starring role but only a select can really ‘lead’ a film. It’s not easy physically, mentally and keeping that arc requires constant adjustments. These two along with my ole workhorse buddy Anthony (Tony) Hornus made up my senior producing team. We have a great associate producer team that helps us do what needs to be done.
Jesse Low made his third film with CDI (Forty Nights & Wild Faith) and now Lost Heart. Nate “The General” Robertson led a great production campaign. One of his very best to date. We had Nancy Oeswein and Witney Wagner working with CDI for the first time in our office. I think it was a great collaboration and while they had to jump into a very existing system they adjusted and brought some new ideas to the table. I look forward to another future collaboration. Now it cannot be all rainbows so what were some of the issues. Now before addressing that I will again say that prep is so important because it allows a production to aim all its efforts at the immediate problem solving. I see too many businesses run in reactive mode putting a bandaid on something but that in turn causes three issues. Put in the hard work in advance – it pays off. We did this and it was apparent on set and in the final footage.
- Communication – making better communication is always the goal. While we are VERY good we always strive for better. Most small issues arrive from assuming and not knowing. We are all guilty of that at times and work hard to correct that.
- Focus – when we are at work people need to set aside their personal relationships aside and focus on the goals of the day. From Call to wrap a film crew works to get its puzzle pieces (Footage). Time is the essence each day and focusing on task will result in earlier days, less mistakes/damages and make a better final product.
- Representation – When you work for a company you not only represent the film company but the craft as a whole. One of our major locations had someone call and warn them before shooting about “filmmakers” because of a bad experience they had. When asked if it was our company they replied NO. CDI was defended by the owners by telling them their experience had been 100% positive. It is why I am so protective and communicate with locations that all companies are NOT equal. I’m not even comparing subjective final films but how we conduct ourselves while working. I’ve had people try to “drop” my name or our company to gain access to a place. Location owners all know to call us first if approached because if your operation is ‘slash and burn’ meaning getting footage by whatever means possible, that is conveyed. Or at the least letting them know we are not connected. Our team was raking up mulch at one location after the shoot. Pride in how your company/work is looked upon as a fine quality.
- Positive Attitude – This is something especial required of KEYS. You set the department tone. For example at CDI vulgar or aggressive outbursts are not tolerated without being addresses. Those examples again show poor communication and tells others that you’re not in control of your department. We always have a few that rise to the new challenge and fly while a few perhaps need more time under an experienced key. Skillset is only part of the equation – being able to motivate, inspire and lead a team with positive enthusiasm is the sign of a great leader. CDI is about developing leaders.
Once things are running smooth I get to sit back and watch everything. I get to ninja about and observe. I see who treats their gear proper. You should always treat gear as if you own it. Watch someone who does own the gear care for their gear. This is much like the care given to our locations. I can see when outside personal issues intrude upon someone’s focus. I see when personal interactions interfere with work flow and cause distractions. I see when people rush versus moving quickly with care. I see when people are not fully conditioned for feature length shoots either due to lack of rest, poor nutrition and/or lack of prep. I’m proud to say our production only had a few occasions where these things happened. But it is easy to spot on a film set that runs smooth. It is the job of management (producers) to sit back after and evaluate performance. This leads to rehiring or perhaps realizing someone needs more development. Sometimes it was a person was used in the wrong place and would be better suited elsewhere. But applying the 4 principals listed above will improve any production.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – This film is about to heat up! A premiere in the director’s home town is being explored first. The film will be releasing into select theaters and home video in the next few months. We got to do a small private screening in pre-production and…(SMILE) – I cannot wait for people to see the film. It showcases beautiful performances by wonderful actors. The hardworking crew made this story flow and it shows. So get ready for this story that showcases the plight of military vets and adoption dogs to come to the big and small screen.
The Quest Trilogy – The films are continuing to produce even in the non-holiday season. These are adventure films set in biblical times and so they can be enjoyed at anytime. So as we prepare to market for the holiday season ahead – enjoy now. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER.
I’m going to do final wrap up this week on LOST HEART. We’ll meet next week over post process again and to evaluate the shoot. I have a few acting reels to update – one with Ben Lily (Wild Faith) and one for Jesus (The Christ Slayer). I additionally need to work the final paperwork on the new agent collaboration for my screenwriting/producing. Lastly, I have a week-long vacation in the U.P. coming up. But right now it is about unpacking and also getting the yard/house caught up from week’s away. I hope you all enjoy your weekend and the week ahead.
Be good to one another. Doh! The coffee cup is empty.
Good morning and Happy Memorial weekend from Michigan, USA. I want to wish everyone and memorable weekend with family and friends. I’ve been doing yard work that past week between all my film duties. In honor of the day let’s start our discussions with our film that has wounded military vets and adoption dogs at the heart of our story.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend
The film is now having music composed. I will be going in this week to do some Voice Over/Narration work. MyCinema has accepted MBF into their booking selection. That is followed by our home video roll-out by BMG. Here are a few of the upcoming release dates. Subject to change by the distributors but likely solid.
We will deliver the final film to our distributor on June 30th.
Public theatrical/TV cable release will be 8/1/19
Digital purchase 9/2/19
Digital Rental 10/28/19
It was enjoyable to watch the work-in-progress with sound design and dialog balanced. It really is a cool film and I promise will have people talking. I’m excited about the audiences who will get to see this film on the big and small screen. There are some amazing performance but some talented artists that I get to call friends and peers.
Official BTS of Man’s Best Friend here plus follow us on Facebook
Do your research. We get many communications on our films from fans and artists wishing to bridge with CDI. If you are really interested in a film or company, research it. We get questions submitted that put people in a bad light. If we just posted a promotional trailer with release dates and we get asked, “When does this film?” “Are you cast up?” – Umm…
Fans get more of an excuse but a simple google by even the most challenged computer users will often yield an immediate answer. Artists seeking work need to be even sharper in your communications because this IS often your first impression. “Do you make features?” “I don’t have a reel but can read something?” Yes. We make features. No reel equals limited experience. Get your game footage. Be prepared. Research. http://www.cdiproductions.com
Part of this might include watching product by the company just as a company will watch your game footage. BOOKED IT!!!!! Have you watched the previous work by this or that company? You might have beat out other talent but failed to vet out the company. Maybe you won the role because others vetted the project and…a polite pass. I know many of these postings are just to help the wounded artist’s ego that gets slammed by rejection on a regular basis. But I would rather have a good table read to scratch a creative itch versus performing in a poor production. Where you put your TIME will determine if you do this as a HOBBY or PROFESSION. You can work on your CRAFT with either path but they are very different. Explore this in your own thoughts. IF you want to work with CDI explore our recent releases – ASHES OF EDEN, BESTSELLER, FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER, WILD FAITH…trust me I do it when looking at working with someone. It saves time, energy and keeps your momentum forward.
WILD FAITH will be coming out for digital rental in June. I think the day after my bday, so on the 24th. DVD pre-sales are popping up like dandelions with the date being July 2nd I’m seeing the most. ADDITIONAL NOTE: These are being released through corporate distribution channels. I do not control every detail of this process. If a release date at a store changes by a week, I cannot do anything.
THE QUEST TRILOGY mentioned above – can all be found on Amazon. I’m curious to read some reviews from people who have seen all three films. I think now people are realizing – it is a TRILOGY. The films can be watched individually but together a better understanding will be granted. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER – watch them together. I do want to host in our town a theatrical one day trilogy watch. Maybe for Christmas this year. I’m going to try and find out what foreign territories are getting our films. All of you on here represent over 80 countries. I would love for you to all enjoy our art.
LOST HEART – It looked for a while like director Jesse Low was going to get bucked from directing by life but alas he has climbed back in the saddle. Our director of photography is going to be Jesse Aragon who shot The Quest Trilogy and Wild Faith. We love to call him ‘Smooth’ for his camerawork. It will be nice to welcome him back into the state.
We had our 1st pre-production meeting since officially going into pre-pro mode. Cast and Crew spots are being discussed by departments. I have to say, I’m really proud of the developing artists (crew-wise) in the area. That is not to say, actor/artist wise but “back in the day” we always had more actors vs film crews. I think some of those traveling off will find that the equation of more opportunities in ratio to more people wanting that opportunity, makes things about even. So you might as well make a stand in the greatest state in the Union:) Where the mosquito is the state bird. The weather is…random.
The return of ‘Smooth’
Here is some real – many in this new day and age will seek the shortcut, the better market, the easier path. When Michigan was timber rich there was no easy path. Pioneers made their own path. R.E. Olds pioneer. Barry Gordy, pioneer. (The Last Dragon, Sho-Nuff) Two Men & A Truck and countless business empires built here. The MICHIGAN spirit is the spirit of a pioneering people. Build it here. Now some will say that certain people moved away with their success. NOTE THIS! Next time our state looks at injecting the film scene with policy look within first. Reward a company for years of business and keeping it at home. In-State film grants over incentives to outside projects or at least balance it. I saw great crew members driving vans and incredible actors being extras and drinking the juice. Possibility to learn and get a check – for sure. But the ceiling was your zip code. Ten groups given 500k each could do much for our community. Should outrages success find me – look for something like this to happen. It might not be via the State of Michigan but Collective Development Inc. is a Michigan company and wants to see development in Michigan.
OK. Back to LOST HEART:)
Rumors of Don Most joining “Lost Heart” – Inquiring Minds Want To Know!
Lodging an army is a task. Add a limited budget and summer availability and you have a challenge. We are luckily in a place where our locations are not confining so we’ll plant our lodging flag first and move out from around that.
We plan to start making official offers to our talent once the new schedule is set with our actor days. Some crew talks are underway and we’ll be working towards locking that up in the next couple weeks. We’ll work to conclude our final investors and sponsors that are supporting this film endeavor. Even a few good product placement talks whereas a brand will get millions of eyes upon it. If you have a service or good you are pushing and wish to purchase some marketing lets communicate.
I’m about to go prep for a day of grilling and chilling. Burgers and brats was the request for today. Also going to sip some PP&J beer from Elk Brewery in Grand Rapids, MI. They just might end up being a sponsor:) If you have not tried it, do. Kufner. I’m coming after you and your water brand:) Have a wonderful day and remember those that served.