Good morning my friends. I’m sitting by our new electric fireplace near my chair. Our old one died during the holidays so a new one has replaced it. I’ve got my steaming cup of hazelnut coffee with me as I ponder the past week. I want to thank all the new readers from around the world for stopping by to take a read. I hope there is a few nuggets of wisdom you can pull upon. I had so many good calls this week and 2023 business is underway. I have new goals and already I’m knocking some of them down. I’m sure this year will come with wins and losses as that is the way of life. I’ve reminded a few people, to stop. Turn around. Look at how far you’ve come. Be happy with what you have done, not just fixate on what you have not done.
This week I’ll be gathering up end of year tax stuff to generate any 1099’s for the films. We also do K1’s for all the investors. I was able to get all the check dispersement written and sent out. I only had to resend two as addresses had changed. I’ll also get things around for our company and myself. These are the needed but unsexy parts of the film business. It is so much more than playing with the camera. There is a massive amount of work that goes into each and every film. This is the biz side of show biz.
I’ve been told recently, and not the first time – that I work people hard. I ask artists to dig deep and to put their very best forward. I’ve dedicated my entire life to telling stories, and while we have much fun, we also work very hard. But when the artists finally see the final product, 9 of 10 times, that creative endeavor is one of the best, if not the best, endeavor that artist was involved with that year. They take family and friends to watch the stories and they’re proud to have been part of the stories telling. I’ve got family who have not yet seen our recent film. Our holidays were disrupted by a loss in the family. In my hometown they played the film for several weeks but I still did not get out to see it. But many did! We’re working to set up a special SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, screening in Owosso, MI with NCG. For our Detroit area friends, we’re working to set up screenings there also. Our new theatrical division at CDI Distribution has been launched!
Let’s looks at some of the updates from last week-
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– We had several new theaters open. We had a projection bump at a new theatre screening in Iowa, after they moved the film from the test theatre. Much like home systems, many theatrical houses have different set ups, some older and some newer. They rarely update everything at once likely due to cost. But, I know at the one location it was worked out and the film is playing. People are requesting to managers who contact bookers-who contact us. The film is in 20 theaters and we have another 13 going up. And many more still approaching us from different states. Keep it up, you people are making the film travel. I expect the film to travel theatrically into March or April. We are also exploring a few select film festivals and we want to screen in Germany. Many good plans in action. We are working on a few special marketing deals while moving towards the home video window.
- MERCHANDISE– We’ve done some test marketing of some merchandise but we’re starting to really look at a stronger launch of this division at CDI. I can also say that a MUSIC DIVISION, is developing. That will allow audiences access to the amazing soundtrack scores created by Dennis Therrian. These two areas are on CDI’s 2023 developmental goal list. Do you all have a favorite music score? I would love to actually do some runs of LP records. Any participating record pressing companies? Please reach out. RECORD LABEL? Not there yet:)
- MOVING FORWARD- Harsens Island Revenge – This film exits development and will enter pre-production next month. What does that mean- that means that the film foundation (legal paperwork) will all be executed and the project funded. At that time we’ll be announcing our director and some of the attached cast. The script having undergone several sessions of writer/director polishing, it’s ready to be broken down. I love this stage because you go over every line of action, description, dialog and discuss. In this case I got to perform several scenes with our director, to get the flow ands feel. Most of the tweaks were minor but took strong scenes and made them even more powerful. It is a very cool story and what a time period to play in. Primary casting and crewing discussions will start in the coming weeks. Our producers already did a location scout trip and another one will be planned. We just created 1944 and now we’ll enter the 1920’s, artists are you ready? Next week, we’ll look to set hard shoot dates after Labor Day 2023. Get ready for some new teaser art as well!
- Pen has not yet found ink, but I’m deep into talks on a CDI associated film to be shot late 2023 and early 2024. To recap what a CDI associated film is- it’s a film whereas someone else is bringing the capital $ to the table but want the experience of CDI behind it. As a producer, I remove the ‘supervising’ role and become more or less, a consultant. CDI will bring other assets to help but the main responsibility is on other shoulders. I’ve been asked to co-star in the supernatural action-thriller, and I’m feeling it. I hope to be able to call the film by name and run some PR about the new arrangement, in the near future. It is always best to work out all these details in advance so there is no issues later. This is a KEY to success. Have the hard conversations now and get everything in writing some it’s there. I still have 4-5 films out there in the film post abyss, they might finish one day. I sincerely hope they do. NUGGET: If possible, you actors, pick production teams with a track record of finishing.
- SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – This week the script will go out to some historians and some friends in the Native American community. I think, I have written a powerful and balanced script, with lessons about loss, revenge, understanding, love and unity. It is not sugarcoated in any way and contains a few scenes that left me shaken after writing them. I had to go immerse myself in some nature and beauty, away from the truth of our shared history. I will be putting the script forth after this round of notes, and we’ll be putting together the Phase 2 plan. Phase 2 will be the development work in Iowa to prep for a 2024 shoot. I’ll also be having some teaser art put together. This will be a great return to the 1800’s storytelling for CDI.
- I want to thank and encourage all of you to keep exploring and watching the CDI library. I’ve had fans reach out and thank us for The Quest Trilogy, MBF, Best Years Gone, Lost Heart, Wild Faith – you can even watch many free on TUBI or Encourage TV. I actually enjoyed The Quest Trilogy, playing while I was doing work. Again, even when not watching I love the music. But the amazing scenery (Yuma, AZ) and the story often gets me distracted for a few moments. More so, when I see friends on screen who are no longer with us. TRIVIA: Who was the voice of ‘God’ in FORTY NIGHTS? You can leave your answer in the comments.
- Speaking of the CDI library, we will be looking to set up several of the old films, in HD at BMG. I had to look up dates for GHOST TOWN, which will be one of the new set up preps. Also AN ORDINARY KILLER, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and KNIGHT CHILLS are all being worked on.
- Animated Division of CDI is in the works. CDI did an “in association” feature THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ, which is being re-rendered and conformed for a release through BMG. But, we’ve got a few shorts and features in development. I’ve always loved cartoons and such, so getting involved in that direction feels natural.
- We’ve got some good interest in creating video games off some of our films. You might know KNIGHT CHILLS, Dice Don’t Lie, video game has been in development. Once the final render is done of Sir Kallio, we might start some 3D printing.
- This week I also plan to meet over the next FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, doc. I’ve already started to talk with a few folks and if all goes well the team will shoot it this Spring/Summer. I think we’ve got a great overall summary of the history in the first film but now we can go into segments and define parts of it even further. Wrestling, grappling fan or not, this film will entertain you and educate you in the rich history.
The holidays were unconventional with the death in the family but the spirit of the season kept on. Aside from the loss, the beautiful snowstorm and the slowing of our day to day for a few days of family and reflection, really helped to recharge my batteries. The finishing of projects and the beginning of new. Again the seasons of our lives as creative artists. And while, sometimes the stories pull me away from my comforts for a time, the stories we tell are timeless.
It is also a time where we artists re-unite. CDI has been a home for some and a stepping stone for others. I like to think we instilled some good qualities into the folks who’ve moved away and into their own respective fields, sometimes in the arts and sometimes not. I tell people, CDI is like any other endeavor, you will get out of it what you put into it. For many, it means being a part of something great that nobody can take away from you. To do that takes hard work. Very hard work. And I only like to work with people who care about what they put their name on. Craftsmanship. Whiskey. Cars. Films. Life is too short to not care about what you work on. The Quakers (Look them up) made amazing furniture and wood crafts because they believe they’re honoring God by their own hands with their craft. I think that is a good mind set and the results are something infused with- love.
FIRE– I’m going to get after a few things today including getting some firewood around for the office stove. I do want to try some lump coal like my buddy uses in his stove. Longer burning and more heat. I’m also on a mission to organize even better this year. I will be putting everything to digital for back ups. I keep being asked about a podcast ‘Around the Fire’ at the fort. I am thinking about it. But I like the fort being a place of low tech and around personal synergy. Knights of the Round Table. Vikings in the Lodge. Monks in the temple. Development at CDI is not just projects, it is people. But people have to want positive change. Self defeating, self associated talk will draw all the negative to you and lower your own personal power. Birds of a feather, flock together. Misery enjoys company. Also believe to achieve. Positive perspective. Creative visualization. The mind is a powerful thing that can assist or hinder. That is why the KNOW THYSELF, rings so powerful. In the new year if you are struggling, fight to take control of the self. Start with your words. What are they? Sounds. Vowels. Symbols. But powerfully attached to our innermost self. MUSIC is a wonderful tool that can lead the mind in the places you want to go. I said, GO – not where you are. If depressed, there are many songs that will not help. But, certain songs help lead our mind. To use a modern term, learn your own triggers and trigger yourself in a positive direction. And DON’T trigger yourself by playing music or putting yourself in a situation, you know, you won’t react well too. Depressed. Don’t play depressing music. Steel drums and island music often puts a big ole smile on my face. Just something that I like to use as a tool. Music puts the mind in a different state and allows you to tune oneself. I use guitar playing the same way. If I’m feeling ‘out of tune’ a few strums can put me not just back in tune but vibrant. I’ve had many great business calls right on the heels of a guitar/energy tune up. FIRE. KNOW THYSELF. MUSIC. Three very primitive and useful tools one can use. I’m not sure if any of this will help anyone, but if it helps one person.
Until next week, coffee cheers!
Sipping the hazelnut coffee on this fine October morning. We have had a last spurt of warm and midweek it is suppose to go chilly again. Yesterday, I got my final mow on the yard. We harvested the last of the plants including a few more decorative gourds. I’ve been cutting and splitting wood for the winter ahead. Yesterday afternoon we got to have a nice outside fall gathering with my brother and his family. Pumpkin carving, apple crisp, cider and soccer plus add in a bit of leaf fun. I love this season!
Our development of the film projects continues on. Let’s look at a few of the updates from last week.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is a wonderful feature length doc that fills in the missing history of this grappling art. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. It was presented by the leading authorities in such an entertaining way. The DVD is open to pre-order now for a Nov 1st release and/or you can rent/buy it now. https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/amzn1.dv.gti.3bc38d35-d79e-49e9-82a6-e87ff63b4040?autoplay=0&ref_=atv_cf_strg_wb
- BEST YEARS GONE is another release from this year. An award winning dramedy that will make you laugh, cry and ponder. You can buy/rent from here – https://www.amazon.com/Best-Years-Gone-Lana-Wood/dp/B09R4KDXGJ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2JUJIK4KVPU9K&keywords=best+years+gone&qid=1666530725&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIxLjIzIiwicXNhIjoiMC45OSIsInFzcCI6IjEuMjUifQ%3D%3D&s=instant-video&sprefix=best+years+gone%2Cinstant-video%2C118&sr=1-1 – And…if you want to read an in-depth review, you can do so here – https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fronnielee.rocks%2Fbest-years-gone-movie-review-by-ronnie-lee%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR1AL4lf8DCIxzPwRgU-0p4je7kNIFHj1KfKNw0avyDR25NjxRbbRkvawvM&h=AT0-ucPZlOsNalVICvt7_1cyBe5Gh38thIaNrYSscZu5PfJ70KPxjGT2vokU2piIUPgdERcaa3G2t1PFyH1CpyLmJpbn6c-l00Dv0qMxMNVs3vxrnDIUbiH4CmtNVUP-wVieTKcYrnFuQcaf1SQufAg&tn=H-R&c=AT3LjCNz1EGR425orlMSHaN9h6RT070C39M9yk8LNKiwmb8xkHJ-aw1wuBh55Vu6UebSWPuIOzGWKGvAs1kKXmjL3gsizF9MOoNfAChhLVI9r8o5LkYvVlMzXhTf-aEQ_wsBEqsiKqbs1ySEMZXHpocAEHuNgyPWmrpbF0Xlme0Q-rNUmz6gfir3gikxLQqgJW3Llr1VjV90qkC9YRZs6moJ – We look forward to your reviews too!
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – This is the last project for us to finish and release this year. We’ve sent an email to our cast and crew asking any of the team planning to attend the Dec 9th Fridley Theatre premiere in Algona, Iowa to RSVP by Nov 1st. We’ve got a list going and every ticket will be gone. Once we get RSVP’s on cast and crew we will start looking at extras. For those not part of the Iowa premiere – it will play to the public that night and for two plus weeks pending demand. We will also be setting up a Michigan premiere in the hometown of our director Anthony Hornus. This will be at the NCG theatre in Owosso. We might play the week after the Iowa or jump to after Christmas if we get too close. I know Celebration Cinema will be bringing it to Lansing and Grand Rapids. We will be looking to play the Detroit area and would love to have a Hollywood run. The film is looking and sounding amazing thanks to the hard work of Dennis Therrian. The VFX and color grading is getting close to done. Mid November we’ll be pulling all the elements together into a final film. Some exciting news, I saw the rough cut of the new trailer on Friday. I am so proud of all are artists and cannot wait for people to see.
- HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE – I’m so very excited that the #TribeCDI will be moving from one epic period piece to another. We have been preparing documents to assist in bringing onboard our product partners and sponsors. Our scouting trip was very successful last week. While a few days may be shot on the actual island we need interiors and such that we can control. We also need to not be dependent on a ferry or the few stores on a small island. So movie magic will be happening but it will all be shot in Michigan. We had some great meetings this last week and we’ll be making some exciting announcements soon. One of those exciting announcements just might be our director. I will be starting the writer/director script polish this week. Once I sign off it is up to the director and talent. We will be shooting in October of 2023! We are already hard at work.
- SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE is in script development. I am happy to say that I’m about 1/3 of the way through the first draft. There is a lot of research with this project and that is something I’ve immensely enjoyed. It has been an intense journey and the drama of it all is brutal and enlightening. I’ve had several times that after writing for a few hours I had to go work my hands in the dirt for a while. I will have my first draft by Jan 1st and from there we will start to look at production development.
- WILD FAITH just passed the 6 million mark on Encourage TV. This will can be found on countless platforms to enjoy. We have many fall themed films from SMOKE & MIRRORS, BESTSELLER, LOST HEART, BEST YEARS GONE and MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND. Enjoy them all with your family! Thank you for all the fan mail about these titles! Amazon Prime has most all of them.
- I had a great call out of the blue about another film project. This call took me back almost to the very beginning. A project that was in development many moons ago has interest and a proposed budget. This film is in the horror-genre with a large dose of mystery/investigation at the heart. Discussions were on how things have changed in the 25-30 years production-wise. I gave my interest in moving these talks forward. It takes time to develop things so the earlier you can start the better. More on this project if it becomes active. By active, I mean funded:)
- That is not the only project that was discussed in development this week. Following the release of FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, our team is discussing both another doc feature and a feature film. In the wake of projects I always get a rush of pitches on scripts and projects. I tell my tribal folks to be ready for this rush. It can be a time killer 95% of the time. People are wanting badly in this industry and it can be truly maddening. Every outsider is a variable that can rock the boat. It is why we are so careful with how we build our projects and with whom. Life is too short to be wasting time. If you have a funded project we might look at it but we are at no lack of stories, scripts or endeavors. I can say with confidence that we’ll be doing more docs in the FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH series. Thank you to everyone who has supported the first one. It is really powerful and informative and I’m proud of it. Take a watch!
- This week I’m going to be sending KNIGHT CHILLS materials off to the Blu-Ray folks and check on the up-rez and progress on the new Ghost Town trailer. Both should be available next year as HD and streaming. After those get underway we will be working on FIGURE IN THE FOREST and AN ORDINARY KILLER. Classics:)
- PONDERING/TIPS/OPINION – This week was interesting due to various conversations. As we start the process of looking towards future projects, sometimes as far ahead as two or three projects, we examine ENERGY. Positive energy manifests in how people are in their day-to-day. There are people who are just always a joy to be around. They make a journey enjoyable. They are CAN DO people not CANNOT do people. They look at the glass half FULL versus half EMPTY. They work hard and EARN the opportunities, by giving their BEST EFFORT. I laugh to myself when I hear some people think they’ve paid enough dues and they are deserving of….it would be like a martial artist telling the sensei when they feel ready to test for a belt. These positive people don’t seek short cuts or to get ahead by stepping on others. That is a VERY common thing is the outside world for sure. While common there, it doesn’t thrive here at CDI. Some people are just not cut out for long form media like movies. They do better with smaller, simple short format endeavors. Or they cannot positively interact with people for that many weeks. I heard someone else make a statement that they will deal with whatever for the sake of using some artists, even if they are negative and a pain. They can have them! I will take a positive, good person with talent and develop that versus drag some negative person along. It is about the journey and not just the art. Ideally you want both but the journey will be long remembered. So work with good people you like. Develop the people who respect and have gratitude for the opportunity. We have big things ahead and so we want to develop our team even stronger. Lots of things happening behind the scenes. Just be that person that producers want to have on board.
I want thank everyone again for stopping by. Subscribe here and perhaps our website http://www.cdiproductions.com and our CDI Youtube channel. I love that you all come from various places around the globe. I’m going to finish up here and do a few more things around the yard and get ready for a busy week ahead. I hope you take all these updates as an inspiration of what a group of artists can achieve when they work together in a positive manner. Have a great week and be good to one another!
Good afternoon! I’m sitting here about to watch our Lions play football while filling all of you fine people in on the new develops. Last night we watched my alumni school Michigan State University fall short against Washington. Man, they had a hot quarterback who had his career best game. I hope todays outcome with the Lions is better.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is having its premiere at the NCG Theaters in Owosso, MI on October 1st at 6pm ands 8:15pm with an afterglow that will likely be at Romas next door. This awesome project started with discussions around the table about the fighting arts and our director Curran Jacobs competitive runs both in MMA and twice capturing Catch-Can World Championships. What is Catch Can you say? That is why you need to watch and find out the common ancestry of many of the arts. You’ll learn about legends by legends of the grappling arts themselves. I’ll be attending with several of the CDI tribe to support the launch. If you want top see this on the big screen and meet the filmmakers, please do join us. Tickets will go on sale soon at the NCG Owosso. If you are unable to attend, the film will stream on Amazon Prime and likely Google Play, iTunes and more. CHECK IT OUT! Let us know your thoughts on our http://www.imdb.com page – See you there.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – Following the 4th release this year (For the Love of Catch) our WW2 Christmas film will premiere. The film is coming along great. We watched the second half of the film with the cleaned up dialog and the start of sound design. Music is going to start this week and that is one of my favorite parts of the process. The new theatrical trailer will start this week also. The premiere set up in Algona is coming together. They are limited in the area for places to show several hundred people at once. The one place that does seat a sizable number is lacking the right projection and audio equipment. The theatrical run will happen very soon after the Iowa premiere. We’ll be having a Michigan premiere also – we’ll focus on that once we get the Algona one finalized. It is all very exciting!
TOP TEN UPDATES
- A PR release will be going out about the slate of historic films CDI is involved with. Silent Night in Algona isn’t our first period film by any means but it will start a string of productions taking place at different times in our history. HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE is up next for CDI in 2023 taking audiences to the roaring 20’s smack dab in the middle of the prohibition. We’ve already started breaking in down and we’re starting select talks in advance of meeting with our keys. We’ll be posting casting notices later this year. It is a very cool time period to bring to the screen. I enjoyed adapting this script from the book of the same name.
- I’ve started writing on SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE, which tells of the true events surrounding on-going conflict between the Iowa pioneers and the local Native Americans. I love writing in the 1800’s and I’m approaching this project with great reverence like all my stories. Between now and Christmas I’ll be writing this powerful drama. I LOVE this time period and couldn’t think of a better fall/winter project.
- SMOKE & MIRRORS, is our short concept film derived from the feature script. I think our plan is to put this up on CDI’s Youtube site for free as a thank you to all our fans. We’re looking at the autumn equinox Sept 22nd as a possible release date. It is so much fun and it shows how fun the feature can/will be. SPOOKY FUN
- BESTSELLER and BEST YEARS GONE going to Roku and Tubi has already increased the fan response. DOUBLE FEATURE! Enjoy! And thank you for all the great comments.
- I did a great interview with Bay Ragni last week talking all the films – please do take a watch/listen – https://youtu.be/GS7kg9Nf6fo
- The season of THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer) lie just ahead. We’re soon to be celebrating one of the platforms Encourage TV racking up 2 million views.
- We are starting to put things in order for a special release of Ghost Town next year with Desktop Entertainment. The film is being digitally enhanced and we’ve got some fun things planned for the new release. Filmed at the world famous Ghost Town in the Sky.
- I need to circle back and see how progress is coming on the digital enhancement of KNIGHT CHILLS which will have a special Blu Ray and first streaming release in 2023. The video game is moving slowly but it’s moving. With all the 3D printers I need to see if I can do a 3D print of Sir Kallio from the video game.
- I’m happy to report that on the home front I was able to harvest all the hops. We also just brought in all the squash although a few got taken by the squirrels. I trimmed up the apple trees and have started in on the mulberry trees. I also got after some logs with the axe and my hammer/blade set up. What’s that, you say? It’s a large iron ring that surrounds a wide blade. You but a log down inside the ring on the blade and hammer it down like THOR! Let’s just say, I got one hell of a workout. My hammer and axe skills are better because of it.
- Last week we had a pair of birthdays we celebrated, Dennis Therrian and Melissa Anschutz who share a birthday. Fun note: Shane Hagedorn and Anthony Hornus share a birthday also. I had a few close childhood friends (Q, Big J) get a bit older. We are busy and that’s how we persist to push forward but we do take the time to enjoy the journey. Laughter is healing and health is wealth!
I’m going to work in the yard some more once the Lions finish their game, which so far they’re ahead 15-0. Go LIONS! I’m going to re-organize, re-charge and re-focus so we can have another great week ahead. We have some great meetings this week and I’m looking forward to a few scouting trips. I also know a few folks out there going through some hard times. We all take turns dealing with the hardships of life. So try to have more patience in dealing with people in your day to day. If you’re not dealing with anything heavy at this time be grateful. Pay attention to driving NOT your phone. I’ve seen way too many people way distracted. It totaled a neighbors vehicle but luckily did not badly injure or kill him. Leave earlier or arrive late but no need to push it. It can have bad repercussions. Okay. Enough warnings and sounding old- get off my lawn! Talk with you all next week.