“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ― Sun Tzu

Posts tagged “props

A very good morning to all of you – hazelnut cheers to our new readers from Australia, Philippines, Ireland and more. I’m sitting and feeling – relief, joy, accomplishment…I’m still trying to capture that feeling. Last night was pretty crazy cool. Weds we went to the NCG and set levels for the film and the pre-showing videos which comprised of “For the Love of Catch” movie trailer and the music video for ‘Off to the Races’ featuring Vertical Bridge. In the past I’ve had some events that I primed up well for- one example that jumps into my mind is David Borowicz and I in Burbank, CA before WILD FAITH played the theater. He said let’s stop here and have ONE beer. It was the home of the 1 yard beers so that really started things off relaxed. I went into the premiere stone sober and first the first trailer started playing without the visual. They restarted it and it played great. The music video started way loud and then they turned it too low and finally brought volume back up. The aspect ratio on the feature was off slightly so bottom credits were being cut off. But they quickly readjusted. Visual, audio, aspect ratio- they had moved us to a larger theaters and the adjustments from Weds were not applied. My limited-tech self was wishing I had that yard sized beer in advance. The audience didn’t notice but we did and the second 8:15 show got the much better adjusted showing and this week the showings should be much more dialed in. But the interest and numbers for the showing resulted in us getting our run extended for the week! The kick off gremlins tried to mess with the showing but instead ended up having an amber ale with us after and they liked the film:)

I also enjoyed talking with Karl Manke the book author. The book is called HOPE FROM HEAVEN. It is an interesting feeling when you write a script and it is turned into a film passing by the director and the actors. It has to be another experience to have your book turned to a screenplay turned into a movie. Either way I think he enjoyed the experience but as a writer I know sometimes in your imagination you have it painted differently. But for me it is always a pleasure seeing the words brought to life. We will know this week if NCG is bringing it to other cities in Michigan. We have a few other chains we are in talks with and our goal is to get it to you. It is planned for roughly a Feb 2022 DVD/streaming release with our distributor. We are going out on the distributors general market main stream label. The film checks many of the boxes for a good inspirational story but the hardcore faith buyers seemingly don’t always like to see too ‘real’ of situations. The ‘Brady Bunch’ level crisis is usually what they like to focus on but that is slowly changing. Audiences loved the characters, the humor, the music (Dennis Therrian) and the edit (Nathaniel Nose) – I am going to sneak into a day show this week. Likely 2:45 show and home by dinner:)

This week we’ll be looking to see what could be done with SMOKE & MIRRORS the short we did off a commercial shoot for an audio software company Izotope. It is a precursor to a feature film we want to film from one of my scripts of the same name. We might do a steampunk happy hour fund raiser for the historic house or something online. We will have a few creative pow wows over this but however you see it will be entertaining.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is moving hard. The crew started getting agreements although our prep dates might fall back by a day. The office and AD staff are working on the set schedule which includes what we call a day-of-days that tells us actor start dates, work dates and final date so we can properly book flights and hotels. Transportation in will be a bit harder as all the close airports are small and limited flights. We are driving in with the prep team so we can bring more gear and such with us. The chill in the air this morning whispered “Wait until November.” – DOH! So this week we’re are back at it and with a more singular focus now that several projects have been concluded.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is a feature length documentary produced by CDI in association with the Red, White and Blue Project Inc. a military focused non-profit. We’ll be locking up picture soon and sweetening the sound before we premiere this fine piece of work.

DEVELOPMENT

I’m not going to go on much about development this week but we are always in the state of development. Several possible projects are building and growing closer to a production green light. More doors are opening weekly that we are evaluating and looking to see if they make sense and match with our schedule. So please do make the time to go see BEST YEARTS GONE on the big screen and take a friend or two. If you have seen it take a moment to share your thoughts with a review on IMDB.com

We are going to go hit the flea market down the road and look for a few WW2 era props for the November shoot. We might have to get a few pumpkins and maybe even apple cider. I finished the hop harvest and we’ve still been waiting on some of the veggies late maturing like eggplant and Brussel sprouts. Wood cutting with Viking Thursdays might start soon. The days are still getting warm but morning and nights are getting chilly. Good sleeping weather when the window is open.

I also will tell you that some great merchandise made its first appearance at the premiere and will be for sale soon online. Best Years Gone official handkerchief that people really loved featuring a few of the favorite tag-lines from the film. Also Gil Gilles approved lighters, papers, grinders and beverage cozies one with a built in opener. Fun stuff and the start of many as we start to develop the CDI merchandise line. Some ‘For the Love of Catch’ merchandise might also be on deck. Wicked Spring lunch box? maybe:) We also want to start featuring artists and carry their artwork on consignment. I LOVE seeing other artists succeed through hard work. Many expect things to just happen. I am part of a few social media filmmaker groups and I see so many unrealistic expectations. Also folks who wrote something and just think it will get funded if they just post a few messages. I called. Set meetings. Cold pitches in studio boardrooms. Many meetings where many turned up zero but eventually the right fit. But it never dropped in my lap. Do opportunities drop in my lap now? Yes. But that is after many years of struggle. So I just feel like I’m reaping the rewards of seeds planted long ago. So I’m saying even in this digital age you might have to get off your computer/phone, out of your comfort zone and go after it with a well thought out written out plan of attack. Or you can go back to social media funding where 95% of those endeavors fail to fund and if you want larger budgets that takes trust. So go build that trust and make your dreams happen. It also allows you to be pro-active versus passive which is where many like to dwell. But passive usually doesn’t prosper like pro-active.

Off to refill the coffee cup! Great job MSU! Have a great week and thank you to the full house who attended the premiere kick off last night. It was really nice to meet some of you and we’re all glad as the artists that we could give you an enjoyable night. The sign for me was that my face hurt from smiling and laughing and so I’m gonna take that as a good thing.

DJ


UPDATES from Algona, Premiere Tickets and More…

Good morning from Algona, Iowa! I’m sitting looking over a small private lake with an abundance of wildlife. This state on the other side of the big lake is not so different from Michigan save being more flatland and corn. Our director and main producer team from our upcoming SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA film has been here on a scout. Our trip in was hampered by delays and a few mishaps that are almost worthy of a comedy film. But once we arrived our stay has been incredible with so much support from the community. Tonight we are having a special BBQ by an award winning chef with the mayor and area dignitaries. We have been also getting incredible support from the area businesses all excited to have us here. Smithfield Foods is one of our international sponsors and our host on this trip. I’ve learned a few new pork grilling techniques that I’m excited to try when I get back home.

We were curious as to the availability of props in the area and we were happily surprised that almost all the props required- right down to WW2 wheelchairs and more will be available to us.

Even the period vehicles are all falling into place. I’m going to keep this short as we are about to go scout more locations today.

BEST YEARS GONE is racing around the track and heading for the checkered flag and finish line. Here is your advanced notice that if you go to NCG Owosso website and your buy a ticket for one of the two shows. Tickets are just standard pricing. The afterglow party will be free for every ticket holder. We’ll be doing PR on all this when we return this coming week but I wanted to give you all the first announcement. We’ll be doing a producer watch soon and after will be the final mix.

As noted we’ve been all over this area of Iowa and meeting so many people that either have seen our films or after meeting us are excited to watch our films.

WICKED SPRING – the HD campaign is about to roll out. I saw an early draft of the thumbnail poster art and had some comments on it including incorrect rifles and clothes that appeared a touch modern. Some alternations were made but they rolled with the wrong rifles and such and I told them the re-enactor/living historian crowd would hammer that poster and they are. To the casual Civil War enthusiasts it might fly but to my friends that live and breath the era – not. So my apologies for the inaccurate guns but that distributor marketing is not all under my control. But I do hope that you watch and enjoy the HD enhanced film. It is still a favorite of mine to this day.

Next week I should also be seeing a first cut of our documentary ‘FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH‘ and our short concept film ‘SMOKE & MIRRORS‘ and I’m excited to see these both drive towards a finished film.

I might be missing a few updates but I’m going to wrap it up. I need to eat something quickly before hitting the road. But this is an exciting time and we’re very happy with the progress we’ve made every day preparing to give our artists the support needed to tell this amazing WW2 story.

Have a great week and we’ll chat next week.

DJ


‘Best Years Gone’ Premiere Info, ‘Silent Night in Algona’ Updates and more…

Good morning and welcome to all our past readers and new readers from Italy, China, France and more. I’ve not gotten into the coffee just yet but might have to take a pause to do that. It has been a whirlwind of activity as we work to finish a few projects and start a few new ones. I have had much to ponder the last week some positive and some negative (for others). Much of it stems from communication and professionalism and timeliness. If you get an email as part of a work flow process you should confirm that the communication was received. If you receive an offer and you are busy you should touch back and let the sending party know that you are busy but can address their communication shortly or at a certain date. If anyone is offering you work even if it (schedule or rate) doesn’t meet your current expectations, politely pass. Adding attitude or commentary that is negative is also foolish as a person could ruin any future opportunities and in several circles. It’s again why we at CDI are all about development of good attitude people. Feature film isn’t for everyone and some work better in short format. Anyway we are almost all crewed up. The cast is also getting down to our last few actors. We’ve started rolling out announcements on the German actors and we’re about to go scout in Algona with our main producer team and director. Let’s do a TOP TEN updates this week.

  1. As noted cast and crew on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is close to being a full boat. Also scout trip ahead next week and it will be exciting to start locking some of this in.
  2. We had a first day of filming on the ‘Off to the Races’ music video for VERTICAL BRIDGE getting racetrack and B roll of the smoking fast cars at the track but still need to shoot the performance of the band. That is set up for later this month.
  3. The premiere for BEST YEARS GONE is set for Sept 18th at the NCG with two shows 6pm and 8:15pm with an after party at ROMAS patio right after the first show and past the second. It will be a fun night and we’re excited to show the film that is getting closer every day to being done. We have a FB event page to keep people updated and tickets will go on sale in about a week I’m told. A premiere poster is also being worked on so that will be forthcoming for the theater.
  4. SMOKE & MIRRORS should be complete. I’m reaching out to get an update as the final VFX was being added. Our director recently became a daddy again so their household is adjusting.
  5. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH documentary should have a 1st edit next week and I’m excited to see it. I’ve been in a few discussions over this amazing piece and it will find a great home. Anyone will interest in grappling will enjoy this history lesson right from the mouth’s of some of the greatest in the art.
  6. WICKED SPRING which was a film we shot back in 2000 is getting a new campaign release now that the distributor has converted it to HD for streaming. It is all done by cloning pixels, pretty amazing. But this film is over two decades old and still finding audiences. I will let everyone know where the HD film is streaming once I’m informed.
  7. I had another great meeting over the WILD FAITH TV spin off HASTINGS and our next steps is to have a 3rd party discussion with the studio. The plan is 2022 filming so we will see!
  8. MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This past week or so I’ve had no less than a dozen people in conversation tell me how much they enjoyed MBF. It is a touching and emotional film and I’ve also been surprised that many of the comments are from burly, tough guys. Dogs are a man’s best friend. Girls can keep their diamonds. I jest as several of the people saying how much they loved the film were also women.
  9. These week we spent some time working to get BESTSELLER materials to the distributor with author Christoper Knight. I’m excited to see this film move out into the market – beware it is a bit scary.
  10. LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFO’S and JESUS and our biblical trilogy THE QUEST TRILOGY keep gaining new audiences. If you’ve seen any of the films and enjoyed the story consider leaving us your thoughts at the film’s IMDB and Amazon pages.

This week also included a great soccer match, some yard zen, hops are almost ready to harvest. The garden has been putting forth veggies and the egg laying ladies are keeping at it. We had a Perry reunion this weekend and it’s nice to touch base with folks and we had some great food. This cooler weather is so much nicer than the humid heat. I know what lies around the corner. Today we’re going to the flea market and see if I can take a few items off the ‘Algona’ prop list.

This week will be a short pack for the ‘Algona’ scout trip and also resume talks with sponsors, vendors and final castings. End of the month I want to see paperwork start to go under cast and crew. We are almost ready to begin doing that. Once we get back on the 23rd from scouting we’ll start that process in earnest. I’m going to tag this up and upload it – I hope:)

Until next week when I update you all from Algona, Iowa – be safe and work hard.

DJ


NEW Trailers, Castings and More…

I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee while waiting for it to dry out a tad so we can go hit the flea market down the road. I love looking for props and character pieces. It has been warming here in the Michigan and I think we are finally past the morning frost. The newly planted blueberry bushes had to be protected but the apple trees seem to have done just fine. Our ‘Chicken Land’ has been producing a steady 4 eggs a day resulting in some wonderful breakfast sandwiches. I need to get stuff around for the second mow of the season.

The Covid lockdown did not control my mind. I did not fret, complain and concern myself to a point mental hinderance. I acknowledged and redirected to what I could control. Attacking things I had not had time to deal with. This last week we’ve had some good social interactions reminding us of what we’ve missed. I had a good visit with Pa Perry, several in-person meetings and even a social gathering. I do hope the mask mandate for our soccer league disappears. As I work to get the legs back in game shape the wearing of the mask has been cumbersome. This week I was less sore than week one and I hope next week will leave me better yet. Soccer is a game of stamina and endurance and the whole body moves in all different directions. But it feels good to be waging war again on the field.

So many updates so maybe we should get into them:) Several of our team will be present in FL this coming week to attend the ICFF which is a family/faith festival that recognizes artists. It is like the ‘Inspirational Oscars’ I’m told but its all subjective. But LOST HEART is up for several nominations from Best Film, Best Screenplay (I know that guy), Best Director, Best Supporting Actor/Actress and both Actor and Actress of the Year. But walking the red carpet will be several of our artists including Melissa Anschutz, Don Most, Sherryl Despres-maybe Victoria Jackson.

Also this wonderful film will be getting its general market release very soon. The film has two interwoven stories and the A story is LOST HEART and leads out front. The B story runs in the back ground and is greatly entertaining. Much of it follows the antics of Chip (Josh “Ponceman” Perry) and his hunt of the legendary Bigfoot. In addition to Dennis Therrian’s incredible score the general release is also highlighting the musical talents of The Cash Collective and Roanoke. Either way the same great film that everyone can enjoy. As a HUGE fan I feel this film is the most Spielberg of the CDI films. I could be delusional about that but it feels that way to me.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has been making great strides. Some of the updates were presented by our director in this newspaper release in Iowa. Read here-

https://www.algona.com/news/silent-night-algona-film-production

Our casting of the Germans is about complete. We’ve been slowly working crewing with many adventurers yet to recruit. Tomorrow we’ll be announcing two more actors. One is yours truly and I’ll be playing the PW camp Commander. It is a really nice fit at this point in my career. Had I been charged with running a PW camp during WW2 I think my approach would have been the same as the character. More of the character study is truly getting into the mind set of that era. What did they read daily in the newspaper? What was spoken about at the coffee shop? What fears did people have? Radio shows. Music. I am enjoying the re-educating myself on my grandfather’s era. I do wish Rance Howard was alive to be in the cast. He was really excited to be in this story. We’ll do him proud as well. The other talent is an amazingly unique actor named Michael Wayne Walton. He was in CDI’s first feature which was ________? 🙂 (Trivia) …and he also appeared in a few other CDI films (Can you name them?) He has been making his unique path in this hard industry and I’m extremely grateful to have Michael coming on board to play a great MP guard who creates ‘bridges’ with the German men he is assigned to detain.

The PR release will go out tomorrow but you got the early scoop here. More casting and crewing and now with the more relaxed Covid rules we can get back to our weekly in-person meetings.

BEST YEARS GONE is in full out post-production push with July/Aug being our finish date. We made good steps on setting up our premiere. We will likely have a meeting this week to look at dates and make sure the location works. I have it on good source that the 1st official trailer is not far away. At the same time – color, music and sound design are all underway.

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – The feature keeps growing its fan base with 4.5 mil at Encourage TV alone. I reached out on a few new fronts working to build our licensing so we can shoot the 8 show TV series next year.

CDI Associated film BESTSELLER has been signed to BMG’s new General Market label. They will build a wonderful campaign for that film and my guess would be a fall pre-Halloween release. WICKED SPRING is the test run in our up-rezing of older SD films to HD. As of Friday it sounds like they might have been successful. I will know this week for sure. If all is good FIGURE IN THE FOREST might be up next. I also got to see the first edit of FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and boy is it good. So proud of our little team. We’ll final mix for delivery with Dennis Therrian but we have a few months of post I’m guessing.

Funny how the fan mail from MAN’S BEST FRIEND have been asking recently about me participating in other action roles. I think I made note of “sure if the right story came along” and…I did have a script submitted to me. It’s written by a screenwriter who has lots of film and TV series credits of note. The director is also got a wonderful resume of TV and film work. Well, I read the script and gave my interest in a couple of characters. From there it seems we might have landed on one. The film is more action orientated with mafia/western vibe. It would have me playing a pretty kick ass role. Not sure on dates. It will be fine unless it steps on the upcoming WW2 film but I will cross that bridge when and if I need to. I gave my interest and I want to thank them for offering me to come on board. It is good to see so many projects start to move.

I’m going to cut it short here and take a nice walk around the flea market. I hope you all have a great week in your own personal endeavors. Until next week.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ


New Nominations, Post-Updates and Prepping for a WW2 Story

Hazelnut coffee cheers! I see new readers/followers from Jamaica, Ireland and Ecuador, welcome. It is a beautiful day that started with having my niece and nephew over to visit ‘chicken land’ before we all went down to the local flea market. I did not find any treasures but that is how is goes, sometimes yes, sometimes no. But this weekend has been mainly yard work clean up. The lawn garden bags are by the curb for pick up and I also shored up the raspberries. The rhubarb is growing strong and the apple blossoms are full which might mean hard cider this fall. I’ve shared the brown ale with the few meetings we’ve had. To me it taste like NEWCASTLE. Just amazing what fruit, veggies and/or grains can become with a little fermentation magic.

This week went by quite fast with the main tasks being making moves on BEST YEARS GONE post work. SMOKE & MIRRORS post work is also finishing up. (Almost complete) And we’re entering post with the documentary ‘For the Love of Catch‘ which is exciting. Additionally, we’ve been busy with the pre-production tasks associated with our WW2 drama SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We’ll keep announcing new cast and crew over the next several weeks. Everyone is excited about storytelling in this time period. many of us have been immersing ourselves it the 1944 culture. I’ve enjoyed digging more into my grandfather’s WW2 service.

This week we’ll have talks with our art department over the script. They will break down props and we’ll address more major challenges. Period films are a great endeavor that requires artists to be at their best and research is a key. I’m going to do a new photoshoot soon showcasing the new look I’m moving towards. I have a great WW2 coat that was a find last year. Preparing for a role can be a bit like preparing for Halloween at least by way of look. More on this fine film as it develops.

Proud to announce that two of our films both qualified as one of the five finalist in the prestigious ICVM awards given on June 23rd (My bday) in Texas. MBF got much of its theatrical and festival run squashed by the Covid outbreak but it has been gathering momentum. The two films are both very different in tone but I feel like we won just by having two of the five films. Congrats to all the CDI artists involved and thank you to the audiences accepting these stories. We are all very appreciative and thank you to ICVM.

Final 5 Random Updates

  1. BEST YEARS GONE – battle of the Bands still ongoing on our FB page. We added the bio for Celebrity Judge Joe Pullin and we might have more to announce. We are loving all the submissions – thank you!
  2. BEST YEARS GONE auto stickers are available and soon we will have more. I think shirts and hats are next up!
  3. BEST YEARS GONE trailer is being worked on by Nathaniel Nose. We should have something in a few short weeks.
  4. https://www.tudosobreseufilme.com.br/2021/04/melissa-anschutz-7.html?m=1 a great interview with Melissa Anschutz on her career and ‘Lost Heart’ (You can look it up in English)
  5. FORTY NIGHTS which plays with CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER on Encourage TV is also creeping towards its first million views. If you did not watch these three films, which should be watched in order, enjoy.

A great pic of Erika Hoveland and I filming on BEST YEARS GONE. Seen here in Dane Deford’s boat. As the cold gives way to warmth and Michigan is defrosting, I’m looking forward to gathering again. I’m happy to say I’ve had both doses of my super serum and feeling just dandy. I look forward to some cookouts and such in the near future. Enjoy the rest of your day and the week ahead. Every day has been full of emails, calls and meetings but all worth it as the projects keep moving down the line. We have some very exciting things developing at CDI and I know that steady ahead can get you there.

Keep channeling your energy into steady ahead and soon you’ll find things happening.

Be good to one another. Coffee Cheers!

DJ


‘Best Years Gone’ Moves Into Music & Sound – CDI Updates and Sunday Rocking Chair Ponderings

Good morning partners. Hazelnut coffee cheers! We had a good rain last night and everything is becoming lush and green. Later today will be our first flea market visit to see if I can find any treasures. I love to look for personal props for certain characters. I was looking pretty close to ole Ben Lily as we moved forward developing the WILD FAITH Tv series spin off. I have a string of biz calls to do about the 8 show spin off. With our WW2 film a full go we’ve decided that the series HASTINGS will go up after SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. So I’ve had a full shave and a hair cut as I prepare for the next role. We announced two more actors last week with Dean Teaster and Samual Peterson joining the cast.

This week we’ll announce more cast and crew as we move through pre-production. We’ve almost cast our Germans which is so exciting. Just incredible talent and I’m again happy to say that about all our castings. So many exciting announcements that will be forthcoming.

Our holiday window of Thanksgiving to Easter is now complete. It will be fun to see how THE QUEST TRILOGY did with audiences this year. We keep growing our audiences each year and I truly do love getting all the fan mail. CDI will eventually do another trilogy of biblical films. One of the scripts is being studied for future execution and we hope to return to the desert in the near future.

MANS BEST FRIEND is starting its general market roll out. I have to say I loved the previous poster art but this poster captures ‘Paul’ in the eyes. And what a noble pic of Paul’s MBF. I think this film that got caught up in the Covid breakout deserves that renewed push. For a beat everyone was holding on licensing as the whole world adjusted. I’m so happy that it is getting its second wind. I was already getting LOTS of fan mail (NOTE: My silly spell check tried to turn ‘mail’ into ‘tail’ and that reads totally different. I’m happy to say this coming June at NRB the 5 best finalist films under 250k will compete for gold, silver and bronze. Both MBF and LOST HEART are finalists. So having 2 of the 5 nominated films feels good. It makes me proud of our artists and I do take pride in having written those scripts.

‘WRITING’ is a love that I hid for a long time only because I wanted to be seen as an actor first. The actor ME became frustrated at the lack of deep, powerful films. I’m comfortable now being considered a screenwriter along with an actor and ultimately producer. I’ve enjoyed writing short stories as part of my book contributions to this wonderful book series by Callie Smith Grant. (Revell/Baker) Each book focuses on animal relationships and sometimes centers around a holiday. Cats and Christmas is up next and so I’ll polish up my story and see if it makes the grade. The fun fact here is I was approached after WILD FAITH was seen in the theaters. From there I’ve contributed to three books now. The one coming out later this year (09/21) is on dogs. I like dogs:)

This morning as the rain storm passed, our team on the documentary ‘For the Love of Catch‘ hit the road. This is for the last filming segment of the doc. We’re set up to start editing and dialog clean up immediately after. They have been getting some great interviews from the world of grappling to discuss what they love about it. We’ll be doing a PR release and talking more about this in the coming weeks. It is being directed by our own Catch-Can World Champion Curran Jacobs. Big congrats to Dan Chipman and his mobile production home for capturing some amazing interviews. Adam Towner has been signed on to edit and work post. Stay tuned!

LOST HEART has been just playing so well to the family/faith audiences but as pointed out by fans, the film is so much more. Hence the upcoming general market release, but we’ll wait until I have more to report. But let’s address that term? market? We are all storytellers.

At CDI we don’t make “faith” films – but create stories with strong character development. In ANY story character development is king. And knowing the ‘faith’ of the character is the seed. Some seek faith, lack faith or try to hold onto faith. Maybe they lost all faith in mankind, themselves or their path to God. All these characters come from a different place. Those carrying status in religion might struggle with their faith while the downtrodden might live in appreciative faith. I have many ask about religion which has helped to build great civilizations but unfortunately usually is tied to conflict and war. I also think that someone’s seeking to understand divinity is a personal and private relationship, unique to each person. In my opinion it also doesn’t require any fancy study, conversion, certification, validation etc…to me DIVINE is a constant like gravity. Only mankind’s understanding changes but anyone actively seeking DIVINE is getting closer and closer to THEIR truth of understanding the constant. Many of my deep pondering are reflected in ‘The Quest Trilogy,’ historical fiction examining overlooked events or perspectives to try and gain a new insight.

A nice example in Forty Nights is the showing ‘Jesus’ working to put the words of the heart on the tongue. Some watchers following along with their scripture wait to jump on the words and claim their superiority in finding supposed flaws. The purpose was to show human flaw in Jesus. That mighty things like LOVE are hard to put into the perfect words. The purpose was to show the journey to those final words. It still makes me chuckle when I see people upset about John and Jesus seemingly not knowing each other….the post baptism conversation and later flashbacks between John and Jesus obviously showing a pre-existing relationship. The baptism was a ritual passing of the torch but their casual talk away from the masses was meant to show they knew one another well.

Later in the desert, we see Jesus struggling to find the perfect way to teach what he knows. Some of the greatest minds in certain fields cannot teach what they know. Being a teacher is not easy because you have to paint a picture to enlightenment for another persons imagination and intelligence to grasp onto. Those three films are full of contemplative gems and many have discovered some personal truth by watching them. For some they just miss the point – I like the Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon I think) scene whereas Bruce tells a student not to just focus on the pointing finger alone or you’ll miss all that heavenly glory. I think the old saying of ‘the Devils in the details’ is another funny way to say this. Some people are so worried at hoping to increase their “religious” status by winning some ‘Bible Jeopardy’ that they miss the lesson of the parable all together.

And so scholars continue to debate and the facts alter and change as new “experts” appear. Science and Religion have more in common then they think and to me it’s fascinating that they don’t always co-exist well. Anyway, I think that the trilogy was my “Noah. I want you to build an ark.” moment. You want to know my feelings – watch the films. I tried to connect the dots in a way that made sense to people who cannot truthfully function on blind faith alone. You will find a deep sincere reverence that permeates all three stories. The trilogy conjures all the right emotions and feelings because in the medium of film it’s show me versus tell me where you can. It’s when the story rises beyond just show and tell to actually allow one to FEEL the story. It’s an art. I’ve gone on a while here. I could and have filled books with my thoughts on these matters. But your relationship with divine or choice to not interact or accept is deeply personal. I like to speak with the stories to those still seeking their personal truth and maybe help clarify aspects of things for those who feel to have found divinity yet still seek to fully understand it. I have a suspicion that only on our final walk will we fully understand.

Okay let’s shift gears!

BEST YEARS GONE – based upon the wonderful and quirky writing of Karl Manke in his book ” Hope from Heaven” (You can buy it:) comes the story of unconditional love, dreams gone awry and generational communication issues. We now have the film after a wonderful edit by Nathaniel Nose (Dir./Editor The Christ Slayer) and has now landed at Dennis Therrian’s studio. We’ve had two post sessions so far and what a lift to the spirits. While this film will have all the trademark emotional beats it truly marks what I feel to be a big step comedically. It is for me for certain. Now growing up I thought I was going to be a stand up comedian with strong observational humor like George Carlin. In my personal life I would say I have a healthy sense of humor maybe too much. (I have been known to pull a prank or two) I have to say I had such a wonderful time filming this. It was the adventure that unfolded in the Covid storm and we were appreciative to have all our precautions rewarded with a safe journey. Now we’re into talking music and the dialog is also popping better than ever due to innovative software, gear and the growing experience of our sound team. The deal with BMG is signed. Next week we’ll start feeding them marketing deliverables. Poster art will be underway as we deliver choice screen captures. Additionally the first official trailer is being cut and so maybe end of May we can rock that out.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS!!!! It is still underway and we are getting some KICK ASS music submissions. Keep them coming and you just might end up in this film. We’ve really enjoyed listening to all the great original music. Kudos to all of you. Keep on rocking!

I want to get back on path with my writing. I want to finish my new SMOKE & MIRRORS feature script. You’ll get to enjoy the short film likely this fall. I saw some of the VFX work and I’m smiling. My SciFi script is another goal to at least get my first draft. The 1st season of HASTINGS is being edited for missed commas and such. I think we had a nice chat and I gave you all a good update on the films. In short – it has been busy. But I’ve also been getting some great moments observing the new hens in our “chicken land” enclosure. Some major wood chopping against a few mighty logs that I swear were made of iron. I will soon bottle up some of the berry wine that has been aging. We recently toasted off Best Years Gone will some lilac wine aged several years. It was enjoyed by all. Amazing what the natural world has to offer. Until we speak next week. Be good to one another.

DJ


Books, Premieres, Post-Production, Future Plans – CDI’s TOP 10 Updates!

Coffee cheers to our new readers/followers from Taiwan, Romania, Kenya and more. I love that we are a world group of artists – a collective of sorts:) If you are not subscribed to the tribe please do add yourself to our Collective Development Inc. http://www.cdiproductions.com

It has been a great week and by great I mean productive. On a personal productive the chickens are doing great with their new home. The new fence is solid and doing its job. I’ve started to cut up wood for the winter wood stove in the office. And we had our first wood stove fire at our end-of -the-week CDI meeting.

I’m going to rack the wine, harvest the hops and slowly start getting things around for winter. I’ve been organizing the office and I’ve enjoyed all the treasures I’ve discovered.

BIZ TOP TEN UPDATES

  1. I’ve got the book Second-Chance Cats that I was a contributing writer for releasing Sept 15th at various stores and online across the country such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Baker Book House, Books-a-Million – and more!
  2. We announced our VIRTUAL PREMIERE INFO for Lost Heart on Nov 7th – https://www.prlog.org/12837497-encourage-tv-offers-the-world-tickets-to-the-red-carpet-premiere-of-lost-heart-nov-7th.html
  3. We are moving on BEST YEARS GONE with a new updated schedule almost approved. It will film closer to mid-Michigan around the Jackson area and be broken up into a few smaller shooting blocks so we can adjust and pivot as needed. Location scouting has been going great and I advise anyone interested (cast and crew especially) to join our BEST YEARS GONE Facebook page.
  4. WILD FAITH has been doing great in the marketplace with just our distributors AVOD site racking up views approaching 3 million! All this is great news for our ‘HASTINGS‘ (Wild Faith TV series). We had some wonderful talks on this new project and we just might have this up and going by Spring 2021. If you have not seen this film please do:)
  5. The poster art for SMOKE & MIRRORS is almost complete. Also the music and sound design is underway and should be finished soon.
  6. For the Love of Catch‘ documentary film has started rolling cameras and we’ll be getting ready to film phase 2 of interviews. IF you have an interest in getting involved with this project please reach out to me.
  7. I’m looking at doing some additional VO (Voice Over) work on musician/author Ronnie Lee’s audio book ‘For Generations to Come‘ and will provide a link when available. The paper and digital book(s) will be available soon.
  8. We just about have our documents together on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA the WW2 drama to be directed by Anthony Hornus that we’ll shoot in fall 2021. We have a few investment units left on this project that we’ll offer to our previous backers. We only have a few left to offer after the participation from a Foundation.
  9. We’re planning our LOST HEART CAST & CREW SCREENING which will be filmed and be part of the virtual online premiere. We have some great national PR underway and I think this will be a fun and unique event for an undeniably unique year. If you are a PR source and want to be invited to the media part of the event, again reach out.
  10. CDI as a company is about to embark on a new journey and I feel absolutely wonderful about our new direction. At CDI we always work hard to give the cast and crew the best possible experience and that is going to get even better. We often have to overcome obstacles that should be assistance. We’re forced to deal with jumping through hoops that don’t actually help the project nor the artist. We’re taking control back and looking forward to the next decade of storytelling. COFFEE CHEERS!








I’m going to wrap things up here. We’re going to a flea market see if I can find a few more cool props. We’ll do a few things around the homestead and tonight I get to visit with some family and friends. I hope each and everyone of you are finding success as you navigate the day to day. Until next week – be good to one another.

DJ


The Weekly Round Up – Who is Ready to See ‘Lost Heart’ ?????

thumbnail-3

Flea Market Finds!!!

I’m fresh back from one of the local flea markets. I love to find past treasures that often end up as props either for a film set or a character. Not just for me but for others also. I’ve been just on cloud nine with the soon-to-release LOST HEART. I was really happy with the writing blend and even more on how Jesse Low and the cast and crew all performed and captured the story. I was heavily influenced by Spielberg when I was growing up. I think LOST HEART has a good mixture of humor and adventure and leaves you with a ‘feel good’ vibe. A film like MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND could not do that and keep the message strong. WILD FAITH had that uplifting ending as did FORTY NIGHTS and even THE CHRIST SLAYER. But CHASING THE STAR was written as the ‘Empire Strikes Back‘ of the biblical adventure trilogy. I’m excited that for this holiday window (Thanksgiving to Easter) they will be pushing the trilogy as a whole. They are best when seen all together. A new TRILOGY trailer will be edited by our distributor.

MediaScreenshot

Back to LOST HEART you say! As I told our team – the film is done. The film is delivered to the distributor. It will be seen by millions around the world. So good job to our team. But we are now fighting for the icing on the cake. The theatrical events and premiere be in drive-in, theatrical or yes, even online. We are exploring a one night online premiere that would allow EVERYONE to participate in the event. The idea we have is a good one and would be DIFFERENT, but could be powerful. Its would include filming the pre and post party and broadcasting that with the premiere showing. The film will also be going to various networks to evaluate for ‘exclusive release’ or a period of time where the film can only be seen at this channel for a month or two. I would enjoy seeing it play on TV a while before the whole home-video release. We will see as talks continue this week. I don’t care how you all see the film we’re just looking forward to it being seen.

82561280_3298086986884837_8843547428666736640_n

This month will be some investor dispersement as several of the films are earning steadily along. There is a fair amount of bookkeeping work that happens so that end-of-the year accounting goes smoothly. Watching the films and leaving reviews is a couple ways you can help small business. Many of you have been supporting us as shown by the numbers and the fan mail and we cannot thank you enough. You are why we tell these stories and we will continue to entertain you for many years to come.

Master copy

SUBSCRIBE TO THE TRIBE at http://www.cdiproductions.com 

OTHER TIDBITS

  • More talks on the WILD FAITH TV series ‘Hastings’ including with possible partners in a western studio. I’m excited to see the on-going adventures.
  • Putting presentation materials together on the new WW2 film slated for 2021.
  • NEW poster art and setting up first interviews with our Catch-Can documentary.
  • NEW poster art underway and audio evaluation with SMOKE & MIRRORS dir and post-audio.
  • Announced make-up department for upcoming BEST YEARS GONE the ladies from Gals and Ghouls.
  • Soon to announce some of the first sponsors working with us on the BEST YEARS GONE movie.
  • Worked final edits on my new book contribution with editor on ‘Second-Chance Cats’ book and signing deal on the next book contribution which is a book featuring dogs. My story is about my Luke Brown who was my inspiration in the MBF film.
  • This and a few other opportunities has me thinking about literary representation again.
  • LOST HEART BTS is forthcoming – just wrapping up some paperwork.

IMG_2325

Is it MSU football time yet?

I’m going to sign off and do a few things around the homestead and the office. This past week I got to peel off a day and go to a couple of lakes with family. I’ve been getting things around for the beer and wine making and I’m going to get one or both of those going. We have new fall crop in the garden and we’ve started taking tomatoes. We had a few days that reminded us of fall coming. I know that wood stove and chill will soon be in the air. I hope everyone keeps the course and try to have patience with one another. Coffee toast – we’ll talk again next week.

DJ

 

 


NEW CDI Updates, Necroland and more…

image2-1.png

GOOD MORNING

So this morning started with the news of an elder family member passing at the ripe age of 89. I had the pleasure of meeting him a dozen years ago and connected with him over several games of horseshoes. Yesterday marked the 3 years passing of our furry daughter Joplin who was with us for 15.5 years. Finn our new boy just celebrated his first year with our family. The wheel keeps turning. I’ve said before one of my daily goals is to just laugh. I focus and work extra hard on certain days so I can do in-person meetings vs just a string of calls. I push a business call or two and call to touch base and reconnect with old friends and associates. Actor/artist Terry Jernigan and I recently touched base after too much time. I have a list of people who I need to catch up with. This is all in-between planned calls with associates in other countries and time zones. I don’t love phones but until those Star Trek transporters are ready for commercial use, phone works. I asked Santa this year for one of those old school hold phones that plugs into your iPhone. I’ve been pretty good so maybe Santa will look after me.

IMG_8037

A REVIEW

Speaking of iPhones – I met this past week with filmmaker Nathan Quinn. We were celebrating his finishing of his first 90 min feature installment of NECROLAND. With the amply amount of extras, effects, props and such the film has succeeded strongly in one place, it surely paints a chaotic world. The film unfolds in broad strokes that tries to reveal a world-wide crisis somewhere between magic and science. Think steampunk without the turn of the century feel. The show does have interesting characters but the film plays like more of a tv pilot. I say that because several groups of characters are introduced but few are fully developed.  It reminded me a bit of the old GI-JOE tv show. This guy has a cool hat and a whip. This lady has some sort of cyber implants. But we don’t know too much of anyones backstory. I could occasionally see where improv performances struggled but I also felt a few real moments. I also have known Mr. Quinn for many years and he’s not a compromising type. NECROLAND has moments of feeling child friendly but the profanity and gun massacres with head shots, will hinder that. I’m speaking of distribution because I love Danny McBride, George Carlin, Redd Fox type humor. I’m fine with violence when it isn’t just going for shock value. But I understand there’s an audience out there for everything. But those that love the violence and the R-Rated aspects will want more of it and less “Goonies gone wrong” I think. I was also impressed with some of the editing work during the montage sequences. It was trippy and dare I say enjoyable, which begs Nathan who has a background in music – to maybe add a rocking soundtrack. If you played something like Black Sabbath’s “The Mob Rules” during some of those Necrit attacks! NOTE: I was quiet during lots of the production because I just wanted to see the story. A HUGE amount of man hours in that film not forgetting the stuff that pre-dated it and did not make the cut. I know he’s doing some polishing (I suggested color correction) for the DVD. I think a group of friends gathered together on a Saturday night could really enjoy this film. I think this film marks an important place in the Ironcore development. I’m more excited to see where it all goes from here. In a feature film direction – I would say a more targeted audience, fewer characters allowing more character development. But in a series format like LOST and countless others you can have 20+ main characters. I think Ironcore is going to start direct sales with the DVD so take a look when it becomes available.   Congrats to my friend for leading a team of artists in using your imaginations and creating some cool art. Countless artists have been given a chance to participate in their own love of storytelling and being in front of the camera thanks to Ironcore.

DEVELOPMENT

It all starts with a script. I’m just about done with my read on the book I’m turning into a screenplay. I loved the character development and the gist of the story. I’m also honored the author wanted me to present the story in script. This film has the intent to distribute behind it and we’ll be shooting this later next year.

thumbnail-2

I had good meetings over our projects in development with our distributor. We discussed what has been moving strong at the markets. I’m enjoying this growing relationship as we keep telling our stories and they push them out into the world markets. One of the main topics and updates was on LOST HEART. Next week they will start concept artwork for the DVD cover. Our team has been getting elements over to the distributor. We will also be doing a watch on the rough cut before director Jesse Low fine tunes it.

34481819_2058849274388409_2256370234413809664_n

MBF: Man’s Best Friend – the response is strong and growing. After the non-profit premiere success we’re pivoting a bit on the event theatrical. The film will play next month in Kentucky for the Equus Art & Film Festival. We have non-profit showings being set up for the first of the year in Lansing, MI and Naples, FL. But in the meantime keep passing the word and over the holidays make sure your family watches this powerful story.

cdi_fbholidaycoverpic_820x312

WILD FAITH/THE QUEST TRILOGY – All the CDI films are enjoying time with families around the world. We just got some breakdowns of all the countries and platforms that are playing our films. Just like this blog it is a great international family of those who enjoy listening and telling stories.

I’m excited that the holidays are here. I have a dinner with old friends on Monday and Thanksgiving on Thursday. I hope you all enjoy some time with your family and friends.

Have a great week!

DJ


Discussions on Compensation and Advanced Release Dates

Good morning and welcome including our new readers from Bahrain. It is a peaceful morning with hazelnut coffee and a sleeping puppy. Michigan is foggy but without snow currently. I’ve been balancing all my post work, development work and family activities. First I will comment on a request for insight on a work question in-state (Michigan) in regards to compensation.

KNIGHT CHILLS

The symbol of the KNIGHT CHILLS franchise.

The first film CDI did KNIGHT CHILLS was unpaid cast and crew with us spending money on gear, food, props, FX (we crashed and blew up a car). Everyone was in the same boat. We were not even sure if we could shoot a feature film but intended to give our best effort. In the beginning a group of people with little or no resume experience may group together to take that first step.

On our second film we started paying cast and crew. Not extras and not PA’s but everyone else was paid what the budget could support. I will tell you that paying artists cast and crew is one of my favorite things to do. I remember an actor crying in a van when I handed out the first week paychecks. For this person and many it was the first paycheck these people had every received for their art. The act of paying was more important than the numbers scribbled on it. It was giving artists hope, pride and dignity after countless rejections in our business. In 1999 the film scene (Ha!) was much different. The opportunities many have now just did not exist. The only benefit I saw from the tax incentives was the acceptance of the “Film Business” in Michigan as a legit careeer path.

IMG952984

To this day we pay all our cast and crew but not PA’s and Extras. We feed and take great care with the extras and that’s where we meet many future cast mates. We create tiers for keys and department crew. We also have a two tier pay for union and non-union talent. Our feature rates are lower versus commercial rates. As I noted last week I believe one is an investment and one is a service. We’ve had a few outspoken crew people spoiled on a few good commercial payouts complain about rates. To these people – just pass. Don’t torpedo your ship because you can’t make a rate work for you. These people might have debt, high cost of living (beyond your means) or any other reason why they need to say no. But that’s not everyone. Also the positions on feature film sets are earned early on and crews often grow with the company. Those people who say “I’ll catch up later when you have larger budgets” often won’t. Because loyalty does mean something. If you’ve been the Director of Photography when they had nothing they will likely want to keep that DP as they move into larger budgets. Often if a crew gets out of line there are hundreds that would jump at the opportunity. But you have to be a company that finishes and releases films. People grow tired of putting blood, sweat and tears into a project that never finishes. I’ve got a couple of films I’ve been paid for but they never finished. A waste.

images-1

I like to say we will be defined by what we say NO to. I say NO a lot but politely as some people are just not where I would like them to be creatively. I know other companies and producers who do things very differently. Attacking them isn’t going to help and until you’ve raised funds and been responsible for millions of dollars – your opinion is pretty weak. That said, if you want to make your projects better, paying experience up front will keep you from paying for mistakes. Experienced actor means more options in editing versus that’s our one good take. Out of focus camera. Things left on set because art department last looks didn’t see something. Lack of hair or clothes continuity – all lack of experience.

My goals aside from making our days and getting our puzzle pieces (scenes) – I want every artists to 1) Have a lifetime experience that they will fondly recall like going to Summer Camp. 2) Become more effective in their craft and/or communication 3) Have pride in the final art

IMG_1732

I’m not following anyone else’s business model but what we’ve developed over two decades seems to work well. I do think that audition notices should discuss compensation up front. Artists should not waste valuable time reading scripts, memorizing lines and putting down reads for something they will not participate in because of no pay. I will not work for free. I have a few times in the beginning because I wanted to get the experience and I wasn’t bringing the experience. But now I bring experience and distribution opportunities for any film I’m in. Like many of us I have life bills so I no longer work without compensation. I also like when a project is compensating everyone because the quality is almost always higher. I don’t really want to act with someone’s Uncle Phil that they threw in because he had the day off.

Like many in today’s society it’s easier to cast stones. I often see condescending messages back and forth that really is just strutting for an audience. If you don’t like the way things are done be the change. Raise the funds and do it right. Lead by example not by running your social media mouth. Bad producers will quickly get a bad reputation and when nobody wants to work with them, they disappear. I know many in this state that if they disappeared from the scene things might be better. Some bad eggs have already left the state because they burnt all their bridges and need new grounds to BS. If your experience is beyond a production not paying, just give a PASS. This allows a new talent/crew an opportunity to step up and learn. But people do pay dues. No certificate from a film school or program is going to automatically get you in a key position. Doing a great job will certificate or not. Now they have many great programs so the students come out with experience. But they too might have to work free or discounted to get the experience needed to move forward. OK. Enough on that subject.

horns

BULLET POINT UPDATES AT COLLECTIVE DEVELOPMENT INC.

  • Visit us at http://www.cdiproductions.com
  • MBF: Man’s Best Friend is closing in on a 1st rough cut of the film. The first trailer was well received and the distributor is already talking theatrical.
  • We are planning to release a BTS for MBF on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day as a thank you to our cast and crew.
  • WILD FAITH will have a PR announcement later this week. We will be announcing a new wider theatrical release – they’ve been working on creating the short marketing trailers. The film will release into theater’s starting March 1st I’m told. More info here soon.
  • WILD FAITH poster art is being worked on by the distributor. TV/Broadcast release will start 4/1/19
  • WILD FAITH digital purchase 5/6/19 on Amazon and other platforms
  • WILD FAITH DVD sales will be 5/27/19
  • WILD FAITH digital rental with be 6/24/19 * day after my bday:)
  • Streaming Networks SVOD (Netflix) and AVOD (Hulu) in early 2020

Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy – THE CHRIST SLAYER was announced with release dates. Here is the PR release from this past week. Read about it here.

https://www.prlog.org/12744411-the-christ-slayer-poster-and-release-dates-announced.html

Our distributor also released the poster art.

thumbnail.jpeg

The film is looking and sounding amazing. It is one of the largest production value films we’ve tackled. The music honestly is some of the very best I’ve heard in our projects. But Dennis Therrian our long time composer is growing like all of us at CDI. We’ve just about got all the dialog and sound design completed. Here is me in the studio fixing a few lines.

48405389_10156556351235306_5958233779838386176_n

This past week has also been development. We’ve got a few 2019 projects coming together. LOST HEART is being prepped for a Spring shoot. Talks on finally shooting KNIGHT CHILLS 2 have advanced. Also a few other exciting scripts that are being polished to possibly be put in the production line. Some exciting news about all this in the new year.

I’m going to go make some breakfast and go explore a bit with the new furry son Finn. Luke would have been very proud of this little gremlin:)

Have a great Sunday and a productive week ahead.

DJ

 

 


Home is Michigan

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 12.40.51 PM

Again Michigan is covered in a blanket of white snow. I know that many of you are from various parts of the world. Welcome readers from S. Korea and Burma. How wonderful that all these artistic people have found our little corner of the internet. My hazelnut coffee is going down easy and I’ve got a list of updates on several of the projects. This morning I did take a stroll through the Facebook which has kind of replaced the newspaper sadly. I usually find science articles to read and enjoy certain animal posts that highlight how intelligent and soulful animals truly are. Where to begin?

I commented on a fellow filmmaker’s vent this morning. In short – a disdain for people who have more resources or who falsely claim experience. It’s a problem but one that usually works itself out. We use to lovingly refer to it as The Oregon Trail. For us older people it was a TSR-80 game. But in real history it was a rugged journey that resulted in many dying and being buried along the Oregon Trail. We use that saying to describe the many in our business who perished along the trail.

Many people have long-wondered what the “trick” is at CDI to producing their content. First, there is no trick. It is a logical checklist of work that must be done in a particular order. You can refine that over time but this takes an effort. Good management of people is something that you cannot buy for yourself. There is no piece of equipment you can purchase that will motivate good work flow. Some of the secrets, if you wanna call it that  are…

  1. Hire artists firsts not friends – you can become friends (True definition not Facebook’s) through shared art, dependability, accountability and positive collaboration. But to assign/hire someone unqualified for a crew or cast role out of friendship hurts the collective endeavor and often the friendship. Don’t set people up to fail. Don’t let preventable failure lower the quality of your projects or worse yet – kill it. I think for young filmmakers that is where these 48 hour film challenge things help. With a youthful generation of highly creative, technology-adept youths INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION is a learned skill. It is easy to be disrespectful, behind a computer. But these comments in the real world to a real person, can get you kung fu’d, fired or create a poison in an otherwise productive creative atmosphere.
  2. Chiefs. I’m talking to company owners. I’m talking to producers, director and keys. You all set the tone for the environment. Define the roles ahead of time. Don’t figure it out as you go. Producers have months or years of development work before any camera roll – use it. Creative MUST respect the Business machine and the business must respect the artistic contributions that will elevate it above being a mere formula genre film. Only strong leadership can walk this balance between the two and enforce this kind of collaboration. NEED vs WANT…KNOW the DIFFERENCE.
  3. Follow Through – this means the same in micro as in macro – for anyone in the chain of execution. You NEED people with follow through or they’re simply a negative – excuses not withstanding. It does not matter what the creative potential of an individual is if they’re not able to follow through.  This should always disqualify/limit a person from leadership. Now you can put creative slackers under a disciplined key so they can be exposed and maybe learn from leadership. Ego will sometimes make them reject the chain of command if they feel they are a superior artist. The best artist in our world has follow through and a “best effort” positive attitude.  Again, the best artist is not always JUST the best artist but the best artist with follow through. If a creative caterer made half a crew lunch = fail. Someone at go time had collected only half the props = fail. Wrong instructions as to where to park support vehicles = fail. Hundreds of things a day can cause strife on a film set if your team is not properly prepared. Be prepared.
  4. Help is not weakness – many people have not learned the many important lessons from managing projects of various sizes and budgets. People need to know when to say NO or to seek out and hire the proper experience. But either greed or fear of loss of power, causes many to sell themselves onto projects that they are truly unqualified for. F- YOU DJ! YOU GOTTA START SOMEWHERE! Okay. Settle down, I hear you:) Now in the beginning, I might have been one of those people. But, I did qualify as a doer of many other things.  Some of these things small and some large in other areas of my life. I have always been someone who has a natural drive to GET IT DONE if I’m behind something. Investors saw that eye of the tiger in me. Investor interest seldom comes from a fancy fluff package or a regurgitation of business buzz words – more often that investor see’s or feels something in you that was/is akin to his own inner fire.

OK. I need to save a little wisdom:) But I try to keep a pulse on this Michigan film community.  I see positives and negatives. Michigan has always fought the ‘backwoods’ mentality given to us by Hollywood. Funny thing is much of the Hollywood elite is midwestern. But I will say that I see improvements. Tax incentives gone – my opinion – it never should have been about drawing work to Michigan but development of work from within Michigan. But it did help legitimize filmmaking as an acceptable title here in Michigan. Ask old-timers and MI filmmakers from the 80’s and 90’s, about being called a filmmaker. It was like telling your family you want to be an astronaut. It was usually met with a sideways stare and a loss of words.

Now people don’t sideways stare at me they simply want to know when the next film releases. They tell me they have young children interested in filmmaking. It’s great to see the parent support of these young dreamers. I burned out on festivals a decade ago but I respect all the great festivals our state has to showcase, network and nurture our creatives. I watch the yearly migration to the west coast where people learn that the increase in opportunities is usually matched by the increase in applicants. But many have to experience it. I will be out there for a week on some business this month. I’m looking forward to seeing some friends and associates. Oh, and the sun. But after a few I must return home.  Home is Michigan.

Emmett in woods

Shane Hagedorn’s big shoulders to carry his first feature

WILD FAITH

We master the film off this week and I’ve got some meetings coming up over home video/foreign. The TV series is something that I’ve been aggressively chasing. I think it would be great for Michigan. I know a few other TV series working to get traction. How great would it be to have a string of TV shows happening. We’ve also been hard at work on securing theaters. We’ll be announcing soon as several deals are almost done. I do truly love the genre and I think it would be great to see weekly as a show. Once you watch the movie let me know.

WICKED SPRING

If you cannot wait and need a fix of 1800’s action/drama our Civil War film “Wicked Spring” is getting a re-release 16 years later. 18 years from when cameras first rolled. We shot the pre-war and war stuff in two separate shoots and areas. I’m waiting for the streaming link to go live on amazon. 2/5/18 is supposed to be digital release date. DVD’s on 3/5/18. Here is the new cover that the distributor settled on. It has one of my favorite pics from the shoot and it is of Anthony Hornus, who played the Union commander. Also that’s Michigan’s Brad Egan front and center marching forth.

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 9.47.10 AM

Look for this cover that has the remastered film. Also the DVD includes a 45 min Making of that is a wonderful look back at producing 18 years ago. Please do take a watch.

Cool look at the TOP Civil War Films

https://www.ranker.com/…/all-civil-w…/all-genre-movies-lists

We’ll be posting places you can buy/rent as they go live on

Wicked Spring Facebook 

https://www.facebook.com/CivilWarMovies/

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 9.03.55 AM

Are you ready for another look at Part 3 of…

THE QUEST TRILOGY 

Forty Nights and Chasing the Star are working into more platforms and networks. The push will start for Easter sales. I’m excited that the poster and movie trailer for The Christ Slayer part 3 is almost done. As if the excitement of “Wild Faith” wasn’t enough this first full trailer will allow BMG to start promotions. It is amazing the scope of it all and it brings the greater story of the trilogy together and answers many questions.

SIDE NOTE: Forty Nights is part one and if you don’t know I play Jesus. I’m over due on a few character reels but this one was hard. When you’re in about 70 min of a 88 min film or so and you are looking for 2-3 min sizzle it can prove to be…difficult. My actor/filmmaker buddy Shane Hagedorn knew I’ve been very busy the last few years working on the whole. He surprised me with a character reel of Jesus. I will be sharing that with you all in the coming days. I always ask that one good role just gets me one more. This will come in handy as I’ve got a few things in the works hence the LA trip.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 12.41.49 PM

ACTING

Many have asked me what’s next for me on-screen. As we’re always working on delay – this year you can watch me as mountain man Ben Lily in “Wild Faith” and reprising my role as Jesus in “The Christ Slayer” film. I’ve got some good film role options that I’m not at liberty to discuss. It might be the year that several development collaborations pop. I can say that the main focus for me is MBF. (Man’s Best Friend) We’ve accepted  collaboration with a military non-profit http://www.theredwhiteandblueproject.org/ that has done some great things in the past for our soldiers. They want to off-set some of our military cast/crew costs and create an educational aspect. That aside we’re trying to complete financing on this project and we’re getting close. I am excited about this project and I think so will you once you find out more about it. Here is our social media site.

MBF: facebook 

https://www.facebook.com/MBFthemovie/

I could go on and one but I have some snow to shovel and I’m prepping to do personal tax prep tomorrow.  Coffee cup is low.

Be good to one another!

DJ

 

 

 


Wrapping the Circus

Today’s time has been filled looking for the return truck to carry gear that came from LA. Several departments have been securing props and wardrobe for transport. Key Set PA is looking everywhere for walkie’s that did not get returned during the excitement of wrap. These are all elements to breaking down the circus. By circus, I mean -film circus. We’ve just completed another amazing task of telling a feature-length biblical-era movie told largely in the wild deserts of Yuma, AZ. I’ve been living out of a motel for weeks, working hard with a very talented group of artists. After reviewing footage, I can say that once again we captured some movie magic. It’s all about a group of artists who care about the product. It’s not just a job, it’s a calling. Or maybe a disease:)

IMG952984

We pick ambitious goals and we strive hard to try and achieve them. That’s the great pride I get from visitors to set who talk about our professionalism. The distributors who know we work hard to bring art with the solid business. Our last director here on “The Christ Slayer,” Nathaniel Nose suggested the slogan “The CDI difference” – which is actually quite catchy:) Hey, we don’t always do everything right here but we’ll get caught trying to do it right every time. Best Effort’s is our motto and when challenged we sometimes discover where our best effort stride actually IS. These films keep getting stronger because the people involved are giving their best efforts. Yes, they tire and slow like us all, but they take pride in their work.  They put the gloves and boots back on and attack each new day. It’s a huge collective effort and it always reminds me of the truth that lies at the heart of our company name – Collective Development Inc.

I will say a few words about the role of Jesus. He’s my 1st character I’ve played in a film twice. What an interesting and complex role to become twice. I’ve had several fine moments of pondering WWJD in different moments. I guess that’s what led to these stories in part. Well, Jesus has left the building and ascended to higher grounds. It’s mighty refreshing to let some of that heaviness go and to knock down some of that giant Jesus beard.

IMG953026

I’m going to return home this week and need to go finish breaking down the circus. But ahead of us lies music and sound design for “Wild Faith” – a new domestic release for “Forty Nights” on 4/4/17, a Michigan premiere and theatrical release of “Chasing the Star” and “The Christ Slayer” is officially in editing.

I’m looking forward to seeing family (Happy Bday baby) and friends, soccer games and working in the garden and yard. Almost time to turn that soil and fire up the grill. I will say that I feel accomplished now having finished The Quest Trilogy.

Keep following- much more more to come. “Forty Nights” releases April 4th!

CORRECT COVER


Tomorrow Another Adventure Begins – CTS

ThreeMagiToday we are doing final prep on “Chasing the Star” the second film in our QUEST TRILOGY. I’m happy to announce that these three gentlemen are the actors we landed on after looking at reads from around the United States. These three are representing the Texas, South Carolina and NYC (By way of Michigan) markets. If you work hard you can make it happen from anywhere. It’s been fun to see all the artist come together – every day new props, new wardrobe tests, new gear arriving and new family. Yes. The film family is a unique experience and as a producer I’ve always strived to create an experience that people will remember. I think we’ve been doing that at Collective Development Inc. for some time. Even those early films like “From Venus” and “Heaven’s Neighbors” were filmed with great care creating lasting memories for all.

While this new film is launching we’ve been heavily promoting and pushing our other films to market. We’ll be doing our Yuma, AZ “thank you” premiere of “40 Nights” on March 13th, hosted by Champion Church. They helped us with everything from background talent to use of locations. The Lansing/Grand Rapids theatrical run of “40 Nights” has just expired. We’ve been approached by many interested people who wanted to see the film on the big screen, so, we may move the film to the Sun Theater in Grand Ledge or other such venue to keep that momentum. Many are asking us to bring it into Detroit via one of the chains there. We will try. Here in AZ we’re looking at a meeting with Harkins Theaters to do a run, so we’ll see if that comes together. April 5th is the “40 Nights” DVD release at most major retailers. The streaming release looks like it will happen in June – more on that soon! You can pre-order the film DVD at several retailers but here is just one.

PRE-ORDER

https://www.fishflix.com/christian-movies-40-nights-dvd.html?gclid=CjwKEAiAx–2BRDO6q2T84_a52YSJABWAbfrRKoSkPY19dk37NIxbMBe9TeAotIFxPBRAWU3hBbXDhoCRdfw_wcB

BestSeller copy

We also just released distributor poster art for “BESTSELLER,” which releases in May. This film is a great curl up and watch thriller. Be afraid!  “Ashes of Eden” is another film of ours that releases on April 5th – great story, music and performances.

PRE-BUY “Ashes of Eden” here

https://www.fishflix.com/christian-movies-ashes-of-eden-dvd.html

Ashes of Eden - Poster

I will write more later but right now our team is doing a dozen different things to final prep for tomorrow. Because tomorrow we start “Chasing the Star” …

Keep clawing your way towards your dreams!

DJ


Closing the Year Strong & The Year Ahead

AOE:ELFF2Good morning to all – likely afternoon when I post this. Yesterday was just a perfect Halloween day. I had lunch with my father and we had the mothers over for a Mexican theme Feast of the Dead. The rain/snow cold kept most of the trick or treater’s away. We ended the night watching a Halloween themed film and it really was perfect. I didn’t partake in all the craziness of years past and I was just fine with that. I had things I needed to get done today and business to attend to. As the midnight hour came I ended it all by finishing Christopher Knight’s book “Season of the Witch” – perfect. I see many stories within that would also translate nicely to the screen. If you don’t know the author immediately he is also known as Johnathan Rand, author of the popular children series American Chiller. He is also the author and client we have been working on with the thriller “Bestseller” (also a book). RE: Bestseller – We had some tech meetings on Friday and this week we have a great creative meeting coming up. This film will be done early 2015 and already has some distribution interest.

Speaking on distribution, we will be making an announcement on “Ashes of Eden” this weekend at the East Lansing Film Festival. It’s great that our inspirational crime drama is back playing for a home town audience. We may have a few more theatrical runs before the wider release but I do have TV and foreign talks underway. Not just with these two fine films (Ashes of Eden & Bestseller) but the entire CDI library. I have some important talks with some large territories. Many of our films have released to multiple foreign territories but that release is going to get wider and wider. Stay tuned as our films could be reaching billions. Yes. I said billions. Movies are loved all over the world and we want to introduce ours. Numerous deals are underway and I’m excited about the possibility of new 2015 releases.

We are gearing up to shoot “Wasteland” in December and the props under construction are really looking good. It also looks like a few of our films may be moving forward into production in early 2015. I don’t want to jinx anything so I’ll limit what I say here.  Additionally, a pair of follow-up pictures behind “Book of Ruth” look to be coming together also. I’m excited about a pet project of mine that looks like it’s moving forward to shoot this Spring. It actually could turn into a slate of films. The business paperwork on some of these will be coming together in the weeks ahead.  I’ve had numerous development meetings over the last few months with a few filmmakers that I see have the right combination of artistic talent and willingness to work within a business model. So we may be bringing a few filmmakers into the fold of the CDI tribe to develop them into feature film directors with international distribution set ups.

As a front-of-the-camera talent, I’ve had a few projects that were in holding patterns approach me this week with positive updates. My management contacted me with developments on my possible involvement in a few large scope projects. If scheduling is the issue I have to deal with in 2015 –  I can work that out. You always want projects to go nose to tail so you can do them all. But as typical in life, things often overlap or all try to happen all at once. I don’t stress. I go back to the ole “cross that bridge when you get to it” mentality. Things do have a way of working themselves out and I sincerely believe that I end up doing the projects I was meant to do.

This next coming Sat I will be attending the showing of STANDING POST, directed by my friend/associate Anthony Hornus. It features the acting work on Steven Sutherland (Ashes of Eden), Mary Jo Cuppone (Figure in the Forest) and Dean Teaster (Ghost Town) and so I’m greatly looking forward to it. Please do come out and support the Red, White and Blue non-profit and their work with our US Military. It should be a great night and lots of fun.

I’ve also been getting some writing in and that feels good. I’m still a touch behind on my reading (Sorry) you all know who you are:) I’ve been trying to get these “Wasteland” scenes in the old memory banks. Financed projects with offers have to be read first and I’m sure is understood by all. I’ll wrap this up – guacamole might be calling me. I still have a few domestic things to do getting ready for winter here. I might try to pop into the East Lansing Film Festival tonight (maybe) but I do plan on being there tomorrow for the 4:30 showing. I think they might also have ‘Ashes of Eden” merchandise on hand. I’ve been wearing my ASHES OF EDEN sweatshirt due to how COLD it’s been in Michigan.

Enjoy the rest of your day. Be good to one another.

DJ