France, Ireland, India and more- coffee cheers. I will note as much as I LOVE my hazelnut coffee I so enjoyed my daily pot of South Indian Coffee in Otty, India. Also, I thought I had some basic tea skills but in India they take that task very serious. I recall on the set of KARMA, they had a TEA DEPARTMENT. Best coffee and tea service on a film set – hands down.
Speaking of places that still live very rural in places, last night during high winds we lost power. All around our state they had trouble but in Lansing, Michigan- it was in pockets. We could see lights on in other places but our street was dark. Worse was that it was not a total lack of power just a trickle that can cause issue when the power surges back. So all things that use consistent power like the fridge and freezer were pulled. Thankfully, we did not lose any of the frozen food. I might be a bit more motivated to look at generators. In winter you can move food in coolers outside to chill. Heat can be replaced with fire. Last night we had almost every candle in the house lit and it was still light a horror film. We even played the game ‘scrabble’ by candlelight which was a first. It really makes you think how good we have it. I’ve been writing a true event story SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE, from the 1850’s and it gave me even more insight. Insight to the hardships that came with keeping light and heat in the house. I’m 2/3 through the first draft and I will finish the first draft this month. It has been a powerful experience researching and writing into these story. Did I say, I love scriptwriting. This story will be very powerful.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, has a target date of Nov 14th to start pulling all the elements of the film together. We’re still working the German subtitles, music and final VFX. It will be exciting to see them all come together. The new trailer released and folks are really enjoying the peek. NOTE: The IMDB page is not fully complete. I do the data entry along with my hundreds of other tasks. But you can see many of the great artists behind this project and the two trailer previews.
It is beyond hard work to pull all this together. We’re not perfect, we’re still looking for a few items misplaced post shoot, including a uniform dropped off at Wild Haven and a camp banner. If anyone reading this from our team knows anything please do let me know. Otherwise, we’ll have to spend some time searching about once we arrive for the premiere. Our director/producers team will be represented along with a few of the cast and crew making the journey in December. Many from Michigan will wait until we do a premiere here after Algona.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Welcome to the holidays! We just announced last week how WILD FAITH, surpassed six million views on our distributors ENCOURAGE TV. We’re proud to say the first film in the trilogy just passed 2 million views on ENCOURAGE TV, so we thank you. We hope that you take the time to continue a growing tradition and watch or rewatch the trilogy with your family.
With Veterans Day approaching, we’re putting some promotion together. Several #TribeCDI films have our fine military at the heart of the story.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, MANS BEST FRIEND, WILD FAITH as well as WICKED SPRING, recently released on HD streaming at Encourage TV. AN ORDINARY KILLER, like Wicked Spring needs to be re-conformed and also put to HD for a 2023 release. This process is much needed to allow films to stay out there in the marketplace. Take a watch on these films when time allows. Technology moves on-
This process on prepping for re-release is time consuming and difficult when you have some many present properties to deal with. But you just keep chipping away and get the work done. I’ve been chipping away, getting GHOST TOWN, ready for a new release.
We’re also trying to organize all the past masters. Again technology moves on and you can easily fall behind. This new gathering of easy access masters will allow new trailers and promos to be cut. I’ll be prepping for an end of year dispersement on films and getting ready for end-of-year taxes. We have some new promo for CDI also underway. We’ll also be updating the CDI website http://www.cdiproductions.com
I’m looking forward to doing a script meeting this week to comb through and make some final corrections and adjustments. Once this is complete, we will more into more active casting. We will also start sitting down with proposed keys in the first of the new year. I’m excited to start more pre-production work in the coming year. We’ll have a new PR release coming soon on this project.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH brand might have a new documentary coming together for 2023. We’ve also got several spin off ideas beyond the new documentary. I hope to have a sit down this week over some of that. DVD’s are now available and so coaches get your copy. The response to the doc was awesome but not unexpected. It was missing – history, the ties that bind. And it was presented in a very moving and entertaining way. I had several people tell me that teared up and/or cries while watching. Why? Watch and you will see. Passion. Everyone speaking on the doc offers passion and knowledge. This rises above the differences and relishes in the uniting love of Catch or history, as it is. I’m proud of it. Proud of our small team. Proud of the sponsors who stepped up and made it happen.
WRAP UP – I did bottle up the Frankenberry R and Frankenberry B for raspberry or blueberry wine, used in the final conditioning in the bottles. The harvest has been good to many this year and our chickens are keeping pace with eggs even with diminished daylight. I’m going to go gather up a few branches, right the windmill which blew over, and clean up the yard. I’m looking forward to seeing some family and friends later. I’ll get the wood stove roaring. I might chop some more wood. Everything, even writing here with you, helps me to summarize and visualize what I have to do this forthcoming week. I’ll be curious to see how AFM treated a few of our properties. We will have more massive strides in our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, post work. Developmental script work! It is a time of celebration and hard work. This week illustrated that when busy and challenged, the present is the best focus of your energy. Past and Future have their time in reflection but can slow down ‘in the moment’ reaction time. Often resulting in a missed opportunity.
My last note- this is from DJ the actor. He has been at rest while DJ the businessman, producer and writer, drive the ship. I, like many of my ‘acting inflicted’ friends have that call to- ‘become’ and embody a character, weaving a lesson and story from the performance. I do miss this on camera sharing, but I can say that the energy continues to manifest, filmed or not. I’ve been back and forth over a proposed talk show, BY THE FIRE. IF, and that is a big IF because I like to keep my private aspects and not have them add nor take away from characters. But, I was inspired by podcasts? like Mike Tyson Hotboxing. Between Two Ferns, is pretty damn funny too. But good conversations. At the fort, many great talks happen, but that is sacred space, freedom, creative ideas. I would never put that under a microscope. Technology can be friend or foe. It is while they have artists retreats because people get away from nature. Connecting. I’ve helped many break an addiction of sorts with technology. You do not obey the phone the phone obeys you. It is a tool. Gather what you need to do and do it in a condensed time. After that put it down. Disconnect. It is powerful and freeing and it has helped many to be more productive and interactive people. That effects all your relationships business and personal. We will see, said the wise man. I’m going to check out of this technology. Refill the hazelnut coffee and go outside. Have a great day and week ahead.
Hazelnut cheers! A beautiful snowy morning here in Michigan. I want to welcome all the new readers from Germany, Sweden, Germany and China. I appreciate you stopping by to take a read and apply what you can – where you can in your own personal journey. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the unity topic we’ve had for a few weeks. My fireside meditations led me to the analogy of a spending train. We’ve got so much developing here at CDI we’re thundering down the track. The occasional hater throwing rocks out of boredom or a need for attention. If a few people threw rocks at a speeding train what would happen? They would bounce off the steel hull and be gone down the tracks. The train had places to go, people to see and things to do. They would never stop the train to debate or waste time – they would stoke the fire and full speed ahead.
In this time of Covid it’s a great time to stoke the fires of passion within. Build up your reserves of energy and get yourself in your best shape. Do all those things that often get neglected because you have others things to do. How many hours saved by not spending two hours in a car commuting back and forth to work places. More time to read. More time to update. More time to plan. From March 2020 I have been putting this into practice. While I could list so many things missed in 2020 I could also make a list of the things I got done using the extra time. Again as I write on such topics of motivation and such I say again that I am not better than anyone. You have the ability to make changes in your situation and it starts with a thought. Thought powered by the imagination, focused by the will, held strong by faith in yourself and your life purpose.
This week was very productive against a backdrop of ice and snow. Let’s see if we can do a TOP 10 updates from the week. Refill your coffee and let’s take a look.
Additional “end of year” tax materials supplied for the fun part of filmmaking. We’re streamlining this process all the time to try and better the overall process.
Our WW2 Christmas drama Silent Night In Algona is now formed as a corporation. We’ll open the account soon and start bringing on the funds. We still have a few units to assign but within 60 days of entering into pre-production. Casting has been full speed ahead with a national casting for our young lead. We’ve also been doing a lot of casting within the tribe of talent we’ve used before. The audition reads have been great to see the words ALIVE! I’m excited that we’ve almost got our lead family cast. We’ll announce that in a few weeks likely dripping them out or in pairs. This project will be a great story of love and unity set in small-town USA in 1944.
I had a wonderful call from Darby Hinton, an actor best known for playing the young lead on the Daniel Boone TV show but has reoccurred or guest starred on many of the great shows of Hollywood. He was our ‘Gerald’ the shopkeep in WILD FAITH. He was one of the folks I offered a read on season 1 of ‘Hastings‘ the Wild Faith TV series. He called to tell me he wasn’t blowing smoke – he has read and been part of shows with great writing and THIS (tv series) is great writing. He said he reads at night (like myself) and to his wife’s regret he had to keep reading. He asked if I had writers meetings, other writers…to which my response was just me and the voices in my head:) I would ponder and spill notes out onto paper. From those legal pad notes I just dive in and start writing. I’m going to get the 8 shows edited up and ready for outside presentation. If you haven’t seen the pilot feature do yourself a favor. A fun film with a powerful message.
Best Years Gone – So this week we prepped the new audio studio and I’m beyond thrilled that it is amongst the pines and forested fields that we’ll breath the audio and music into these stories. We will be rolling some new still photos out this week. I just might have a Valentine’s Day gift for our cast, crew and fans and I think we’ll give it to you on Sat. the 13th on the BYG Facebook page. Are you already part of that? If not come on over. We have some exciting things still in store including merchandise that is coming and the BOTB. (Battle of the Bands) I’m working to get that launched. We are also soon to have the next draft of the film edit now that Shane (our director) has given his new round of notes and adjustments. This film is heartfelt and will be funny for sure.
The CDI website http://www.cdiproductions.comis undergoing updates. First you can now subscribe to the tribe which will become a center of updates. I even thought of my blog existing as a weekly send out. But the film pages are updated. Streaming is now connected to our distributor’s ENCOURAGE TV. Merchandise is slowly coming together with a few new items. This will explode by year’s end. We will also be doing artist spot lights and have some of their work on consignment. If you have any ideas feel free to drop a comment. From those subscribed we might start looking at pre-orders and that could allow some larger piece orders. Lunch box? Bobble heads? Posters?
LOST HEART & MBF are the most recent releases. Both are growing their audience nicely and I so appreciate all the fan mail from folks. We’re not big festival folk at CDI but like to select a few. In my experience and opinion the festivals best serve if someone from your team can attend. But with everything going virtual you are essentially paying to have them do a free streaming of your work. But new circles of exposure and if people are truly impressed you can have lifelong fans. I’m a person who in the last handful of years I’ve not attended industry mixers and such. But with the absence of even my few – I’m looking forward to talking film and the arts not by phone or zoom. Again get up to speed with the CDI stories with a watch on these two films. Do you have a favorite CDI film? Comment and let me know.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – The CDI Tribe earned their desert stripes with this trilogy of biblical adventure stories. I’m excited that PUREFLIX (Sony) is going to do a big push as a series to their viewers. Now with ad based Video on demand everyone can take a watch and experience the CDI films. These films have the trademark style and quality that you’ve come to expect from our storytellers at CDI. The bible is full of stories many untouched because of the R or X rated material suggested within. We haven’t tackle those stories but did find “unexplored territory” to address with our speculative storytelling. I think this is more interesting versus retelling the same handful of stories. I do have my next trilogy of stories to tell back in the sands but that is a way down the path.
This year we will have SMOKE & MIRRORS finishing. This has no deadline so it got moved down the release line. But this decision allowed us to make some more aggressive choices on VFX work. I LOVE this short and I’m excited to see it develop into a full feature. I am retooling the feature based on the short film. Knowing locations really helps in planning the story. David Gries and Melissa Anschutz are MUST SEE in this film. But those that know their work will not be surprised in the least.
‘FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH‘ – the CDI associated with Red, White & Blue Project doc will start shooting again this month. I think we’ll have some sort of promo video for this documentary in the coming weeks.
We also have something special coming from one of our crew/associate producer Nate Robertson. Nate was our foreman on the last film that set sail through the storm of Covid. Nate took a job that already had pressure and had it magnified by Covid procedural pressures. As a show of how our system at CDI is strengthening. The producers create a bubble of harmony for the set to exist within. Inside the set, the flow is controlled by the AD. The flow was there, time was managed and Nate was able to express some of his artistic self via a BTS video of sorts. I know we’re excited to see it. I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg.
If I forgot anything it will have to wait until next chat. I’m going to make some good food and watch the football contest and the commercial creativity. I have a few emails/calls I might make to get a jump on my week. That is another good secret – work with people you truly enjoy. I never roll my eyes or stress over phone calls. They are always good touching of bases between fellow adventurers in life. We discuss our separate ventures, our shared ventures, and those yet to be made. I don’t have a close relationship with everyone as time won’t permit. But those who do know me truly, I think would speak well of my intent. My intent is to see dreamers win. I want you to break poor patterns and do better by yourself. If the artistic path is a true calling that calling grants faith in yourself and a purpose. The latter is priceless and exactly what is missing from many people. People who check many ‘success boxes’ yet still are unhappy. To me it’s like the moment when Obi-Wan puts the helmet on Luke to further test him against the remote droid. Reach out. In those moments of sensory deprivation if the calling is heard – have faith. If you don’t know ‘Star Wars’ you are now assuming I have had a stroke.
If storytelling is a great road winding up a mountain – many people are at various places some higher and some lower. What I’ve always prided myself on is being in good company at wherever place I’m at on the road. Climbing higher only changes the view but it’s still about the laughter and fellowship that accompanies the climb. And when my time comes to leave this world where I’m at is where I’m at. Always a work in progress. So the secret is enjoying the early struggles of beginning filmmakers or the challenges of the mid-road struggles – have friends on the journey of storytelling. Have friends outside the journey of storytelling. Have these things and your journey while unsure at times will not eat at you with stress. Living by ‘Best Efforts’ will allow one to laugh off the failures (with friend), toast the wisdom learned (with friends) and forever be the better person. Getting along with a little help from my friends.
Welcome new readers from France, China and South India – welcome to our circle of artists. I’ve got my hazelnut coffee here beside me and I’m ready to discuss some activities from the week. For starts I’ve been exploring an upgrade to my account so that I can have some control over the ads. If they are going to be here they might as well be things that pertain to what we all do. I’m also looking at reviewing a few items here and there and such. But let’s look at some of the highlights of the week.
NATURE – This is something that most artists already know but a healthy connect to nature is a secret. The property is a natural garden of sorts. We are prepping to start the garden up with strawberries and rhubarb already showing. Apple blossoms and mulberry buds starting. I planted a hill of beans and some onions. I see the first of the ink tip mushrooms but no morels as of yet. Last night I did my first cooking of dandelions. If you read up they are all edible and full of nutrition. I cold washed and in a pan cooked them down in red cooking wine and garlic. I stirred in a few almond slices also and…bitter. I ate a few good bites and you could get use to it and I think longer cooking could reduce bitterness. Also different spices may help.
I harvested the roots that I like for tea but I will need to work on my cooking of the greens. I’m reading on the wine process. I’ve drank dandelion wine but never made it. I might try dandelion, rhubarb and black raspberry wine. Add a little home grown hops which is already going gangbusters. The last wine the GRAPE APE was well received so I’m planning the next wine. Same with beer as I’ve got a new Irish Porter I think to try and make. The beer always goes fast (vikings:) but the wine does also pending the company. So my days find balance with some yard work. Try it and you will find that your days will be much more balanced.
NEW ADDITION TO THE OFFICE – WHO IS HE?
OFFICE ZEN – I’ve been using this time to deep clean and organize the office fort. It’s been great fun to walk down the lane remembering all the trials and tribulations of the artistic journey. I’ve noted that our endeavors have paid out millions to artists on both sides of the camera and the support industries. I’ve found great pictures and promotion from films past.
I think in light of everything in the world virus-like – I will be adding an outdoor pergola and seating/meeting area to the office. I’ve been looking for a while. A few more tree trims and maybe an improved property fence. For my fellow producers I will likely be installing a boost, extender…to enhance office internet. I like it low tech as that is where minds meet before going off into our tech-ridden world. I’ve been having lots of phone meetings and much has been getting done. We have some exciting projects in development and others about to be completed. Let’s talk movies.
The fan mail keeps coming and the films continue to sell deeper and deeper into the world market. Mexico, Brazil and much of Latin America has gone on a ‘quest’ watching THE QUEST TRILOGY.
Audiences young and old are traveling to 1870’s Michigan with Emmett, Haddie, Grace, Henry and Uncle McKinney in WILD FAITH.
Viewers have cried and cheered with Paul Landings in MAN’S BEST FRIEND. And the cautionary tale of ASHES OF EDEN pushes out an important message.
During these times our artists are proud to give you inspiration, hope, distraction and direction. Thank you so very much!
LOST HEART – VFX, Color Correction, Credits and sound design are underway. The music is nearly done and marketing with the distributor is being conducted. Long time collaborator Dennis Therrian is again composing a wonderful soundtrack. We might have a few guests joining the band Roanoke. DVD artwork is almost complete and we’re all very excited to share this story with you.
I will discuss one thing I’ve seen a ‘trend’ with and that is minimizing front credits. I’ve had multiple directors push to get to the story unhindered by credits. I don’t agree. While directors have gotten more powerful in Hollywood and can push for such things we play in the indie world where I stand by the fact that I’ve never paid an artist what they are truly worth. I can’t because some of them, most of them are beyond a price tag. What we can do is honor some of the main artists contributing and complete that journey with end credits. I don’t like on TV when they speed those end credits up but networks are dealing with time slots only. I see the opening of the film as a slow slip into our created world. The kudos of credits that slide across the screen give added appreciation. So my taste in music, my style of dress and my general interests may never be ‘trending’ or trendy but I am okay with that. I’m a touch old school and I admit it. I love the slower pacing of classic films. I enjoy black and white classic Hollywood films that played at my grandma’s pretty much 24/7 save when Law and Order was on:) Maybe one day those like me holding onto a non-trendy, through-back storytelling will be GONE WITH THE WIND (My other grandma’s favorite) but until that point – stay classy.
BEST YEARS GONE – I’ve had some interesting talks with our next project. This week we chatted with actress Cindy Williams who did a small bit for LOST HEART. We were looking to bring her in a bit more to the CDI family and will if scheduling permits. Once the storm lifts and productions can move ahead it might be like the wagons in the gold rush. Or some endeavors may have suffered from the economic hardships. Luckily, our ship sits in the harbor stocked up and ready to sail. STORM: 45 is what we’ve been calling this operation. Someone suggested it was a good name for a WW2 film. Simply it means that 45 days from the storm of regulation passing we’ll move forward with a safe game plan. Like many we’ve already been focusing on all this as well as doing prep work. Scheduling, shot lists and soon zoom actor reads will be enacted.
NEW CAST ANNOUNCEMENT
This week we’ll be announcing a few more of our actors. We’ve got a pair of twins co-starring in the story. For those roles we’ve looked at reads from across the country. I’m happy to say that we found our twins and they are going to be wonderful collaborators in our film. You can see them up above. To find out who they are join our BEST YEARS GONE Facebook page tomorrow.
It is funny that someone mentioned WW2 film in reference to STORM 45. The big 2021 film is going to be a WW2 film directed by Anthony Hornus. It will be his follow up to MAN’S BEST FRIEND. We’re about to launch a national casting for the young lead in the film. We’ve been putting the business together behind the project and it looks like the first half of the financing is about to fall into place. I’m looking forward to storytelling in this time period. Maybe our secret code word will be Storm 45. Ok. That’s already taken so for now ‘Untitled Anthony Hornus WW2 film‘ will just have to work. We are also looking for German actors and actors capable of speaking German. Be honest with those resumes and special skills;)
This TV series is gaining momentum. We had talks with our distributor and a few 3rd parties either about finance or licensing. Every month our fans of the Murphy family and the zany characters of ‘Hastings’ grows. Some of the larger licensors of WILD FAITH will be approached on pre-licensing commits but I think it will only be a matter of time. In a perfect world this would land after BEST YEARS GONE and before the WW2 film. This is not a perfect world but we have a lot of creative folks and will adapt as needed. The first season will be 8 shows. I think audiences will really love to learn more about these deeply evolving characters in a changing world.
We have development on animated features, documentary films and several features in development. I personally am also excited that I’ve gotten to do some writing on my SciFi script. We’ve got a few great ‘space/technology’ consultants and some concept art is being working upon. Merchandise of various sorts and expanding services will be developing as more artist join the CDI Tribe. I’ve been using this time to plan the next 10 years for CDI. We have a clear path and I’m excited to see what is produced under the flag. I’m going to wrap this up and get to some outdoor tasks.
Good morning! I’ve got my hazelnut coffee here beside me as I sit down to update everyone on our artistic endeavors and to chat about the state of things. Every day I’ve been spending the time organizing and catching up on personal and business calls. Many of the personal calls also reflect upcoming business. I’ve been using every one of these days to get organized. I had totes full of old paperwork some were 20 year old receipts that had faded into unreadable. Some were projects that had died or scripts that were submitted for acting roles and never launched. Either way I’ve kept the office wood stove burning. I’ve also found little bits of CDI history. A forgotten set picture or a lost story treatment – gems. What I did notice is that in the early days the efforts were more spread out and now they are more focused. Also so much paper – which I still remain a fan of in some ways. That said, every cash move was reported on Cash Distribution Forms sent to the office to be recorded to our software. That aspect has gone digital as many things have. I had 6 boxes of 35mm film for one of the movies and so I’ve been rearranging.
Out in Sept 2020 – more contributed writing
Also I’ve been just enjoying all the great music I’m exploring and re-exploring. I watch news 2 maybe 3 times a day. Morning, maybe lunch and dinner and every night I end with a book. I’m always reading about a dozen titles at once but get that phone away and out of your hands. The phone is YOUR tool. It works for YOU. You do not work for IT. Work with it on YOUR time. I’ve helped a few people break this mindset and I think they are living healthier.
This time in our history has the obvious viral and economical set backs but I’ve seen many positive results also. I’ve seen fathers take time to dance with their daughters. I’ve seen family take time to craft up birthday signs for a drive way wishing. I’ve seen people revalue, reprioritize, reexamine their wants, needs, time management, appreciate relationships or lack of, their beliefs, their habits, their forgotten goals and dreams. Many are taking a deep breath and feeling thankful if they can still pull in unhindered air. They are looking behind them and seeing where they’ve been and what they’ve been through. What were the rewards? What were the sacrifice? Wisdom is in the pondering of the past reflection and applying that to decisions and direction moving forward.
Honestly I’ve never been so proud to be a storyteller. In the best of times our stories are just one of many distractions. Occasionally seen and embraced and acknowledged for the experience given. I always have said that if we make a bad scenes or have a moment of disconnect nobody dies on a table. But the power of a story is mighty. Whoever wrote the pen is mightier then the sword was right. Storytelling at its best offers you a near religious experience. People were losing their ability to listen. To really listen to a story – not mental armchair how you could one up some filmmaker. I had a major breakthrough in my thinking a while ago. I always felt this and acted on this but I really understood it once I spoke it.
Should I be more advanced in a medium like motion picture – it doesn’t make me anymore an artist than anyone else. We could love a medium we are not particularly skilled at. By experience that skill can and will improve. But I never see anything less than an artist. We both will have mediums we currently excel at and other mediums we’re passionately working hard to hone. I will judge, as we all do by display of character, actions especially when done quietly and… can’t give all my secrets:)
I look forward to meeting and working with more artists. In the past I’ve observed a lot of ‘flim flam’ artists building paper walls of ego, craving attention more than art. The same ego that drives many to lose their financial integrity versus perceiving the investment to be seen as a war chest used to get this story to the world. I know many projects started and never finished. Sad. But true.
But like the emerging butterfly you can come out of artistic hibernation as a more organized, more self aware, goal defined you. No email boxes should be littered with junk. Folders on the computer. Streamline. Many fail because they truly are not ready when opportunity presents itself. Some love to work tirelessly, looking for that opportunity but once they actually find it they are afraid. We all get scared inside with new situations and I always go back to John Wayne, Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. Something like that, but I think it’s accurate.
This is a time where life has slowed and children are at home. We’ve been excited because many family, friends and fans of past work have been meaning to watch this or that CDI film. The great part is that people have been taking the time. Hundreds of thousands of new viewers and growing on ad sites like TUBI and PLUTO TV that pay us via advertisers so that you may watch for free. Other like Amazon Prime are showing the films. So if you are at home take the time to watch the collection. The Quest Trilogy might be getting some Easter promo with a new trailer and some cool promo gifs. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER – I’ve had some great fan mail from these films. Thank you. It’s a fresh not overly sanitized look at these little known biblical moments and told in a cinematic heroic style epic involving angels and mankind. We’re talking about setting WATCH PARTIES and having our actors and crew do Q&A after. We’re looking into that and we hope to announce a few sessions.
Here is one of the CDI collaborations with Thunder Toad Animation. If you love the OZ stories this is for you. Beloved characters animated from original sketches and voiced by some talented actor folks including yours truly as…can you listen and guess? From children to grandmothers who doesn’t love OZ. This is the first animated venture by CDI but I will state here now that CDI is exploring the animated division now. THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ also has an incredible music score. One of my favorites – please take a watch and enjoy…
LOST HEART – So everyone is working in their solitary and communications continue. I had talks with our distributor and so we’ll be announcing new updates as we get closer. We deliver the film in June so music, sound, VFX and color correction is all underway. Tally HO!
BEST YEARS GONE – I’m excited to announce that our WASTELAND DP Travis Hayward will be serving as director of photography. Travis has worked several times inside the CDI Tribe and has been developing his reputation for capturing amazing images worldwide. This is an exciting thing for me as an actor having enjoyed my previous working experience with him. He has a good feel for kinetic action and that will play nicely into this story. The ship is continuing to pull everything together. I cannot say when we will sail but we plan to be one of the first sailing once the storm has passed.
I have to say that with all the downtime at home for people I’ve been having productive and enjoyable conversations on all kinds of business. Become the change my friends.
I’m sitting back in my chair sipping a touch of coffee on a Monday morning. I first want to thank all our military vets for their service. It was a busy past week and this weekend was made even busier with travel. We went down south to visit a few elderly family members. They are down south in really nice assisted living homes. We got to visit, have an early Christmas for one who is doing really quite well even though they are in hospice. The other we celebrated an early birthday and what we made was some really happy memories. We stayed at the house of family in a basement full of beautiful antiques. The owner is a woodworker and so I got to see many great pieces including model cars and tractors all made of wood. We took our only dog Daphne with us on her final solo trip. She is not always the best car rider but had lots of fun once we were there. She is now sound asleep with her Lulu (our cat) who obviously missed her fierce. At the week’s end we’ll be bringing our new pack member home. We want to get a new puppy up to speed before I have to go off and film in the spring. The holidays allow us time to really bond and train a new puppy so this Friday a new little boy will be running about. He has had a few play dates to make sure the chemistry was good between the animals. While the cat Lulu might be a but stand-off at first, she was really into him.
“Hello, let me speak to Steven Spielberg, yes, I’ll hold”
This week we’re aggressively back into post and moving deals along. We did have a bit of a logjam threaten our work flow. It’s important to prioritize work flow properly. With Easter just around the corner we’re working full steam ahead to finish THE CHRIST SLAYER film. The color correction is underway. End credit works will continue. Sound design and music is being built each day. I plan to go out there for a few days to assist and give feedback. I hope to have theatrical roll out info this week to join the streaming, broadcast and DVD release. We’ll be doing a big PR release once I can confirm everything. The DVD artwork that the distributor is doing is just beautiful. I think I might be able to release a sneak peek here next week before revealing it in the PR release.
WILD FAITH – I’m waiting on some returned paperwork so I cannot announce our celebrity narrator but we recorded it last week. We’ll be announcing all the updates on this film in a PR release. Friday it went into evaluation with our theatrical partners to look at number of screens and regions. Our domestic deal is in the works and it’s really quite exciting. We’ll be delivering the film in Nov/Dec to BMG who will be distributing the film worldwide.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend has editing work being done on both the first trailer and the feature. It is looking great. I cannot wait for everyone to see the first look at our story of injured Marine Paul Landings.
(Above – DJ Perry as Paul Landings)
THE QUEST TRILOGY – We spoke early in this post about our third film THE CHRIST SLAYER that will be coming to audiences during the first of the year on the run up to Easter 2019. I do invite all of you to explore part 1 FORTY NIGHTS and part 2 CHASING THE STAR. Enjoy these two films with your family.
Our Spring film LOST HEART is being looked over by select talent. As any writer/producer a few of the roles were written with a talent in mind. So far the response has been strong. More on this as we travel down the development road towards production. I’m going to unpack from our trip and get after some of this work. I’ll leave you with a picture of our forthcoming new member of the pack.
This Sunday has been a change for me. Balance is such a key to happiness and we all seem to strive for that balance daily. In filmmaking – my main artistic medium, it’s about giving your all to a story and after recharging. There is more time spent in development, pre-production and post-production after filming. How you spend that time can do much to influence your productivity. My family, friends and my furry pack have always helped give me peace and recharge
We proudly had the ‘Brady Bunch’ pack consisting of three cats and three dogs. Almost two years ago we lost our elder dog Joplin. She lived a long 15.5 years, longevity for a Rottweiler. Two months ago, we lost Jameson, our eldest cat who grew from a shy, scared cat to a chill-relaxed adventurer. He passed after a long life and was joined by his brother Dmitri, whom I affectionately call the gray rat. Last Monday what we thought was a tooth infection turned out to be much worse. So Monday at the day’s end, he was laid to rest next to his brother.
My life was/is changing. Some who know me well, know that our silly, funny, happy boy Luke (Our youngest dog) has fought various life threatening illnesses for the last three years. We gladly sacrificed many social outings and gatherings so we could tend to and enjoy our borrowed time with our buddy. Monday night Luke’s journey started to get harder with the onset of some more serious neurological issues from his tumor on his head. As we treated him over the last 5 months his quality of life was very good. His attitude was always happy and adventuresome. He loved his walks in the woods and his couch cuddles. He never feared the hospital and remarkably brought joy to everyone there.
He was strong, brave and loyal, and I took lessons from him everyday. He had beat the odds so many times and after the second illness I prayed that his body would know health again, and for a while he did. But when in pre-production on MBF: Man’s Best Friend we discovered he had a cancerous tumor in his sinus. Here I was producing a story inspired by my ‘Mr. Brown,’ that showed the positive effects dogs can have on all of us, especially our wounded service men and my boy has what? I did love watching the incredible cast and crew work hard to capture our story, but my heart was breaking. It worked for my role of Paul, but with so much work to launch a film, it was an ironic shame that I could not fully enjoy it.
Soccer season this year also brought my 1st ever bone injury to my right wrist. That slowed my roll with typing and all activities requiring my right hand. So at the homestead we’ve got the one-arm gimp and tumor-head, taking care of each other and getting by. The new script LOST HEART was going slow, but I worked it with my buddy beside me. I often read aloud to him and while his feedback was limited, it always helped me. I know that a Fall shoot means a last paycheck for all our cast and crew before the holidays. But while Luke’s decline in health was slowed by treatment, I could see the direction of it. We knew the battle was for time, not a total win. There was no way I could leave my loyal buddy to go off and film. I know it was selfish when I looked at the whole but it’s what I had to do. I hope others will understand. If you don’t understand, I feel bad for you, because you’re missing something.
Luke had a wonderful past couple weeks that included walks at his favorite nature park, which was a Sat. morning ritual. A Sunday cookout with his grandma’s, which he loved so much. Last Monday is when we lost our Dmitri, and that is also when Luke had his emerging issues intensify. The location of the tumor and the meds used to help were also likely hindering him. Vision and coordination loss started to develop, with episodes lasting longer, more often. By Weds, the fight was real. So many times he had bounced back. His body was still so strong, so maybe – HOPE. His will was there to fight a bit longer but it was not meant to be. A great dinner of venison and rice followed by an unexpected walk to the park. (His idea) He had not wanted to go to the park, or perhaps could not, for weeks, but that night he did. He wanted to lay out in the warm breeze, listening and smelling the birds, squirrels, the wind in the pines, the softball game cheers and kids laughing. It was really nice.
What followed was a rough night and thankfully the next morning was the most beautiful Fall day. He was done fighting and was resting peacefully. We had a doctor come to the house and with cool breeze blowing in the windows, wrapped in his favorite blanket, head on his most beloved stuffed animal, he opened his good eye looking at his momma holding his head, daddy holding his paw – he put his head back down with full love and trust and left his broken body behind. He also left a huge hole in our hearts and daily life. Everyday was a smile, a tail wag and something silly that always reminded you not to take your setbacks to serious. He was an inspiration on how to live each day.
I’m happy that his frustration over a body that no longer wanted to respond was very brief. At the end he had peace with his two remaining sisters and his momma and daddy with him. I will miss all of our furry pack that we’ve lost but Luke taught me so many lessons that I will hold onto. My final polish on the ‘LOST HEART’ script as I read him each line, was almost done. I had stopped to devote my full time and attention to him. I slept with him on the floor for the last few nights because his vanishing sight made our brave boy nervous. I’m sad but filled with new motivation moving ahead. We never took any of his good days for granted. I will carry that into my future day-to-day where I do cherish each interaction, be it business, friendship or both.
I KNOW how bad many of you WANT it. What is IT to you? Expression of your art, words, craft? Fame, money and appreciation? I’m here to tell you, don’t sacrifice everything. I recall being tethered to a pager back in the day. It always came first. I see that behavior in the upstarts of today with cell phones. It’s like a self-imposed tether – like what people wore after legal trouble. It’s like people have forgotten that the phone is a tool that works for you, not the other way around. Gather a ‘TO DO’ list and do all your phone and/or computer work all at one time. Aspiring actors/filmmakers can get requests from all time zones often bringing the Hollywood pressure of dangling opportunities. Whereas someone “needs something like yesterday” only to have something sit on a desk for weeks. What was sacrificed to get that summary to that desk to sit for weeks? A sports game of a sibling or child? Storytelling around a kitchen table with family? Hanging with lifelong friends?
Since I was a young boy I loved telling stories. Upon discovering that a lucky few could actually create make-believe as a job, cemented by direction, gave me my dream. But I could never sacrifice everything else for that dream. I did not move to Hollywood, NYC or any of the other places that people always said I had to go to in order to MAKE IT. Why? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what I do as an artist but I did not love it more than the people in my life. So, a battle to compromise and do both was and IS a battle worth fighting for. I want to create memorable stories and characters in timeless movies but I don’t need to climb onto any A lists to feel accomplished. Many climb very high only to find themselves alone. Think on all this.
We’re adjusting to life whereas our past stories, memories and lessons are what we have left of Luke. Next week LOST HEART will get the final polish. The wrist is almost healed and getting stronger. I look back and feel like I did right by my buddy as he would have for us. I feel full of grace, compassion and appreciate for life and those we share it with. It’s again why you should examine your circle and remove negative, toxic elements and be the change you want to see. Lot of drama in life amplified by social media and 24/7 ‘Breaking News’ environment. Unplug. Listen. Communicate. Laugh. Be loyal like a DOG to those around you. Trust, is a learned behavior and if you’re a tribal leader of artists – take this role serious. Don’t let the lure of shortcuts hurt or kill what could be lifelong friendships. Ask anyone who has joined a team of CDI artists in telling a story and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Beyond making our days, I want to make lifelong memories for cast and crew. Laughter and Love.
Next week I will have more updates on the films. THE CHRIST SLAYER, WILD FAITH, MBF all have amazing things happening. We’re focused on finishing these stories and bringing them to audiences. We’ll be moving into official development on ‘LOST HEART’ for Spring 2019 this month. I want to continue to try and move people’s human-emotional compass in a positive direction. I’ll be making some great announcements moving forward but today I want to just sit on these words. I’m sorry if you’re here more for the film updates versus listening to my ramblings. Those updates will return next week. Thank you everyone for joining me here to share a coffee and listening.
Another beautiful fall day awaits us all here in the Michigan. If you are not treated to the harvest of plants, the change of leaves and the tastes of cider – you are missing something. I’ve spent a good part of the week taking meetings while burning brush/leaves and getting things prepared for the coming winter. I’ve had a lot of time to think upon many things happening in my career, in our state and in the overall career field. I often bite my tongue on many subjects and it is one of the reasons I don’t attend too many film functions. Here are a few of my thoughts that I’ve had over the week.
Much of my retrospective thoughts are because this Friday in Kalamazoo, MI they are having a big screen showing of IN THE WOODS, the 1st feature I starred in. 15 years ago this year it was released in the US/Canada, Germany, France and the UK. At that time in MI only a few people were making movies. There were no “film schools” here. U of M and MSU had some screenwriting classes. There was the occasional audio/video class around but what you had was very passionate artists who wanted to tell story. The editing was expensive and hard and not to mention analog so you could lose quality with every generation dupe you had to do. Cameras were expensive and film was expensive to process. How many of you have worked in FILM? 8mm, 16mm, super16, 35mm, super 35? Not many of you youngin’s. Everyone did not own an HD camera & edit software on their phone. Now I went to college and graduated from MSU and cobbled together a degree that I thought could assist my efforts. The real learning was the daily grind to make progress in a field that wasn’t everywhere. Here is what I often see in Michigan – and if you fall in this description maybe it will make you rethink something.
Academic arrogance exists in higher learning. I had a wonderful business program for colleges that I worked to set up at MSU but by the time in filtered to the professors it all fell apart. There is much honor in teaching and passing info to the next generation but it is not the same as being on the front lines. It could have been a collaboration but egos don’t always work that way. I may attempt to set that up at some college as it is one of the best programs I’ve seen or heard of. I just haven’t been motivated after having it fail at my own university. President – on board. Provost – on board. Professors -bicker. NEXT.
So students are graduating and expect that they are entitled to just GET A JOB. I read where in NYC interns didn’t want to work free to learn any craft/profession. The cool part now days is you don’t have to guess what is on people’s mind because they whine and broadcast it on their social billboards. WHINE – No work. WHINE – at work. WHINE – back to no work. I’ve worked with self-taught and film school grads and while both bring pros and cons the attitude (one of THE most important traits) of the self-taught is usually more appreciative. Film students who got to sign out cameras, sign out lights, sign out edit time…tuition pays – they get out in the world and find out it is a new world. You are no longer playing with monopoly money. I see social clicks that are just an extension of the high school drama. I see popularity contests over trying to get exposure for 15 minutes of fame. I see lazy people who would rather be given fish than taught to fish. (Social funding) The danger lies in lack of any accountability. You give a guy with a food sign on an expressway exit $5 and you have no guaranty that he won’t go to the liquor store and buy booze. How are you going to fulfill the perks of some of these “awards” for giving a donation? No movie = no signed DVD. No VIP seat at premiere. It is protected fraud because it is a donation. The media in our state supports that also. I see 4-5 page spreads in media and people who donate time to kick off parties trying to raise $ for a film. Recently I saw a boatload of hype eating up my news space over a Grand Rapids Christmas movie that after a quick scan you knew (if you have film biz background) that film was never going to launch. Not the way they had it set up and not the money they were trying to raise. So instead of giving a completed film in the area the attention of a media spread they wasted space and people’s time (both reading and working events) instead. Now I’m 100% certain these folks all had the best intentions. I’m just saying as someone who has worked with film crews in many others states and countries that many here in Michigan need to readjust their thinking. I’ve produced several films here in Michigan and I will surely do more but I’ve seen many film communities with equal skill sets and much better ATTITUDES. There is that word again. Positive attitudes translates into good story telling. So this means that producers need to try to be organized and give the best “ride” on a film set as possible. Now it is making a movie – meaning I’ve been on Willie Nelson’s tour bus and while it is nice it is still a bus. It isn’t his ranch house but for on the road – it is nice. I’m saying while a film set will often lack comforts of home we try to make it easier. AND people will still complain. Those people need to get out and go work 9-5 at a tv station or post-house where they can keep their own routine. Money says they still bitch about something almost daily because it is about ATTITUDE. That is the #1 thing I look for in cast/crew/friend and associates. I pay for problem solvers not people who bitch and can point out the obvious. So adjust your attitudes, learn to communicate effectively and be that problem solver. That was my reflection for the week on our state. Now they do have degrees of this elsewhere but I guess I speak up because I do care. I think it is so very cool to see young people have opportunities here. I want you to succeed. Many are afraid to speak the truth because they are afraid their phone will stop ringing. I don’t wait for phones to ring and often I make them ring – offering this or that. So even if a handful of you read this and it changes your ATTITUDE slightly for the better – kudos.
Now the PR hit this week on the next CDI Associated project – WASTELAND. A distant toxic desert world will be our setting and I’m extremely excited. I’ve been a Sci-Fi fan since Star Wars in 1977 and I’m ready to do this. Contracts signed, flights and hotels booked and prop construction is underway in Florida. We will be shooting in Nevada at the Valley of Fire State Park. It was a great thing for Michigan when a 2nd lead was cast from our very own state. Yes. When I see strong acting reels from talent I trust to be professional (yes producers talk) and have that right ATTITUDE (there is that word again) – I can put people right under the directors nose. I did that with David Gries without him ever even knowing it. If you haven’t had someone call you out of the blue because they respect your art – it is a great feeling. No cattle calls. No casting agent favorites. No wasting your time driving all over. More or less it is “You’ve done great work and we want you to once again do that.” So if you ever desire to work on a CDI associated project get your reels together. I use them as #1 because I want to see GAME FOOTAGE at GO time. I don’t want to waste your time because I respect your time. It is easy for someone to say come on in because it doesn’t hamper them. You are a number at a certain time slot. Not with us – you are an artists. Let’s see what makes you unique. I guess I follow that TREAT OTHERS HOW YOU WOULD WANT TO BE TREATED. So congrats to fellow statesman David Gries. I’ll be seeing you in the desert and you better come packing:)
BESTSELLER – Music work underway
ASHES OF EDEN – Coming back to Lansing after being invited to East Lansing Film Festival
THE TERRORIST – Final sound work/color correction in NYC
This Friday as noted earlier Kalamazoo is having a big screen showing of IN THE WOODS the creature feature, at the Alamo Draft House. I think we are doing a TV show Friday morning. Several of the cast will be there for this reunion of sorts and we might have some fun news about where this film can be seen following the screening at the Q&A.
Lastly, I want to again thank my manager for her work as of late. You’ve got me in front of some A projects and I’m proud of how you present me as the unique artist. It only took me 15 years to find that right representation. I appreciate you.
I’m off to enjoy the day and I hope you all do as well.