The hazelnut coffee, is tasting great on this snowy Sunday. I see where many folks elsewhere got 5+ feet of snow! Parts of Michigan, saw a large snowfall and even here in Lansing (Center of the State) we got a good amount. It is pretty to watch fall and it makes everything bright, which has been nice. But, it has been bitter cold for sure. The several days of arctic freeze gave me the time I needed to start catching up on all my biz paperwork.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – We have been working on getting the end credits around and from the list we’ll be double checking against our Algona, premiere list. This week, we’ll get a chance to review the film, with most all the elements inserted. The film will release first in Algona, Iowa on Dec 9th and the Fridley Theaters. Our hope is that they will open the film in all the cities they’re in. We are looking to see when the show times will go live, so folks can start getting public tickets. The trailer will soon be playing in front of other films. We plan to show the film into 1st quarter of 2023 in the theatre chains. We hope to have it expend across Iowa, and the midwest. An LA/Hollywood and German showing via theaters or festival is also being planned.
We also have some exciting things coming together for the 2023 home video release. I really do think that this film could create a “Field of Dreams” effect – whereas once a year the film returns to Algona, theaters and people travel to the town of Algona, to see the museums. We will also be working on the Michigan premiere, that might happen first of the year, due to all the crazy Christmas hustle and bustle. Many will have to have patience, if you miss the select theatrical showings. But come, the run up to Christmas 2023, the film will be getting a major push. Between the theatrical and the home video, we hope to show it in Germany/Austria. Thank you to everyone for your support.
We’re also going to be working with our sponsors and product partners, moving forward. Note, the period wraps on the Spam, Hershey’s bars and more. We are honored to have such wonderful partners in storytelling. We have had many great companies join us over the years. I look forward to many more, as we move ahead in our storytelling adventures.
Silent Night in Algona, will be the 5th release this year. Who has seen all five films? Who can name all five films? OK. It’s early and the coffee is still kicking in for folks. 1) BESTSELLER 2) BEST YEARS GONE 3) SMOKE & MIRRORS 4) FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 5) SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – if you end up watching all 5, you are truly a CDI fan. I’ve had someone talking to me about a CDI fan club. You can SUBSCRIBE TO THE TRIBE at http://www.cdiproductions.com and we’ll be doing some updates there soon. I use to have a wonderful fan club ran by a fine lady named, Pepper. I think she is still with us, loving her dogs and spreading joy. She and several friends, use to travel to different CDI premieres. She did interviews and highlighted co-stars and leading ladies. She reviewed films and really did many great and wonderful things. Her health, hasn’t allowed her to keep up with the webpage and it went down several years ago. I will check in on Pepper, over the holidays. I hope she has been doing well.
Once SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, is finished, we will be all caught up on production. We have been slowly prepping 4 films in the CDI library, for re-release with BMG. In 2023, we hope to bring KNIGHT CHILLS, FIGURE IN THE FOREST, AN ORDINARY KILLER and GHOST TOWN to the marketplace. Two are in the wrong aspect ratio and were shot in standard def so they’re all being digitally enhanced to HD. I will readdress all this once I get this current film locked.
But, I will say- I’ve seen the first draft of the new uprezed trailer for Ghost Town, and it looks beautiful. I need to watch and provide some notes. We are also working to get distributor back ups of all the films. KNIGHT CHILLS, we are trying to get the best source version. But this will get done. We are also working on a few cool extras, maybe even an interview from our director Katie Hicks. I might do a sit down, with Jeff Kennedy, to talk about those days. The sequel and video game became even more exciting, when I got to check out some of the new software and LED walls. Not only, will CDI keep working to enhance of VFX sequences in our films, we will be doing some films that are completely animated films. I have a few people in Michigan, I’ve been watching, about some possible collaborations. Ideas-forming.
Harsens Island Revenge – Get those acting reels together. Yes. CDI is an acting troupe of actor/producers, but we have several friends of the tribe, that we often collaborate with. Like, many projects, we have many more friends of the tribe, vs roles open in a film. But, we have some time, so we’re going to really use the time to cast, and look at talent for future endeavors. I use to travel to more film gatherings, events, networking. Oh, I feel a ramble coming on…
The truth is, with how busy my film work is, my daily hours are pretty full. I unwind, mediate, visualize, the week ahead. Refuel, relax and get good rest (Three R’s) to attack it all again the next day. Staying out late partying, isn’t really on my planner. Now, let me say for the record, I’ve certainly been there, done that and got that tee-shirt, but I’m at a different place on the path. I have a domestic life, that brings me peace and balance. It allows me to better focus my energies, achieving dreams. But, just like at one time, I knew every bar in my town, now, I do not. I was a work-a-holic, binge drinker, in my youth. The binge drinking (Viking drinking) was taught to me, from those glorious nights out, after games in Hornbaek, Denmark, playing soccer as a teen. What a great time that was for three summers. I love those good folks to this day.
Okay, back at it. So, I had unrealistic dreams (Acting) but, once I set my sights, there was no plan B. I worked, and lived in studios, we made our hours, working for days on end. Sometimes forced to using TV stations in the middle of the night to finish films. Often jumping on a jet planes, with my amigos, to go pitch ideas and finished films, around Hollywood for a couple weeks. Days full of 405 driving to meetings, parties in the hills. Hard partying, after, hard work, to try and turn our obsession off. But, the tequila would often just spur even more exciting dreams and ideas. I LOVE those days. The CDI crew was like pirates, we rolled hard, building. But, the journey will burn some out. I’ve seen so very many break, and fall. If I could have made myself fall into regular steady employment, I would have long ago. But, my simple mantra of putting everything into the film I’m working on, so it results in one more opportunity to tell a story, remains. So far, that has worked. I think because, there are so many stories, in every town, in danger of fading away, gone. But, a group of artists like CDI, can bring a story to life, for generations. That is what we do. That is what we are doing.
And back to development- this week saw a few really great steps. The script for Harsens Island Revenge (HIR) is going through that writer/director phase. Each character, action and line, discussed. I can say, every scene improved through long conversations. Motivations. Moments. I love this process with directors. All directors who have directed a script I wrote, have been through this process. It is fun, playful and enjoyable. We got through another 25 pages in a session and have likely 1-2 more sessions to get all the way through. Once the script is locked, the writer part of me steps back. All work from there will be between actors and director. But once you leave the director at the end of the process, they should have a deep understanding. It is an exploring, something even more important with period pieces.
HIR, will start looking at cast and crew, with our director, over the winter. We have a good idea of the look, tone, work flow and our scout trip has us all very excited. So, wrap up your year by getting your highlight reels together. CDI is mostly all actors, so pick and lead with your strongest material. If something is subpar consider leaving it off. Less can be more. At the same time, if someone is interested, they will watch a lot of your work. Especially if they are thinking of working with you.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – After nearly two full days of polishing, I ended my week, with my first draft of the new Spirit Lake Massacre. I’m very proud of the final piece. I’m going to do even more research to add a sprinkling more of the historical gems, to this already powerful piece. In December, I’ll be able to have some more discussions on the locations for this 2024 project. Next year, might consist of some construction, and some prep work.
CDI HOLIDAY WATCHING – With snow and cold, forcing many inside- it’s a good time to watch some of the CDI classics with your family and loved ones. WILD FAITH, MANS BEST FRIEND, LOST HEART, THE QUEST TRILOGY! Encourage TV, Tubi, Amazon Prime, Google Play– check your platforms. I’m going to go do some holiday shopping both online and at the store. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving week. I’m always happy when I get to see family and friends. We are all thankful at CDI, to all of you fans.
Good morning my friends from around the world, coffee cheers. I want to welcome our new readers and followers. This blog started as a way for me to discuss film updates so that at family and friend get-togethers, I didn’t have to sit around and re-tell stories. People could read something and ask questions if they really wanted to know something. I do feel extremely blessed to be able to do what I love, which is writing, producing and performing in motion picture. I also use this blog to help other artists remain inspired and to give insights into my journey, that you can apply to your own journey.
This past week has been extremely busy. Let’s look at a few of the exciting things from the week. OR, let’s start with the not so exciting:) BIZ tax season – I’ve worked hard this past week to get expense reports and such around on the films for our accountants. The 1099’s are being generated and K1’s will be put together for investors. I want to thank a “Unicorn” for all the help in pulling this together. I have a few more things to submit this week but a big chunk was accomplished.
BEST YEARS GONE, is the current name of the new CDI film. This past week I finished the first draft and now I’m on my deep polish. Again, I always stress this and so I will yet again. SCRIPT is the blue print for all the artists to work off of. As artists we can all easily go off on our own tangents. A script/blue print keeps everyone in step – art teams, locations, camera set ups, lighting schemes, just everything.
I cringe at the stories of no script on a project. I’ve had a few outside CDI projects/directors try to sell me on the fact we don’t need one. It was a polite pass from me. I believe in improve and being open to inspired added dialog but you need a story line to touch back to. I’m beyond excited by this next script which will be the #1 film up for CDI, likely shooting in May. We will be having meetings on this in the coming weeks. Location scouting and some prep work will begin in the coming weeks also. We’ll start to put all the paperwork together and get things moving in February towards production. Now, I want to draw attention to the DEVELOPMENT time that is spent by the producer team before we hit on-set pre-production. If people wonder how our CDI projects achieve these bumps in production value and process it is by the hard work of the producers. We have an incredible team that grows as we take in new apprentices that share the same mind set of art within business.
About the story – it’s a drama, off-beat love story that is more relatable than the RomComs. This is the blue-collar, everyman’s story, and much like other CDI films it has some great messages woven into the fabric of the story. Our CDI stories are general market stories for everyone. Now you can still tell a clean story that children may enjoy, within the show we can see consequences and actions in motion. This in turn teaches by illustration of actions and outcome. I try to write realistic scenero with people from all walks of life. I’m happy that the “faith-film” market has accepted us into their audience but our films play great to everyone. Maybe a majority of the faith-films are cautionary tales or reinforcement of some aspect of belief. On a whole, early faith films were not good quality and were likely merely a fun medium to explore with your youth group. I agree with this and better yet, an audience united in a positive belief system rallied to support these endeavors.
Now, I have heard the knocks against taking an award at a faith film but let me present something I’ve observed. Many young artists fought hard often, not always against restrictive parents who maybe did not get their love of these outside films that illustrated action, sex and violence. Yes. That sounds like the Bible too. But they left their small towns for mighty cities of high art. To do their film but it’s not that easy. Any aspiring filmmaker will tell you funds is the key. Now the faith-film market started a small boom like the 80’s horror market. All these filmmakers struggling in the pits of the mainstream started looking to re-tool old scripts or create new ones. So the production circles of these faith-films have seen a surge of the prodigal sons and daughters returning to their organized church beginnings. I’m not judging anything that pointing out that the faith market is growing stronger as many “come home” to tell a story.
My writing always had that old 70’s/80’s style of writing. Things like “The Waltons” influenced my writing. JAWS. THE APPLE DUMPLING GANG. E.T. and in the 90’s my writing was liked but called too old fashion. Now I’ve continued to evolve as a writer, I believe I’ve taken on a COEN BROTHERS humor vibe adding that to the other nostalgic influences. Either way, I feel blessed to be using my gifts. When I first saw cut one of LOST HEART, it left me teary-eyed hearing lines I’ve written performed so powerful. And set in a world that our artists worked many hours to create. It was beautiful.
LOST HEART – Let’s talk about this film since I already started. I watched the proposed lock cut yesterday. I saw 2-3 places to just check an edit but it was so good. I dislike when people over-hype stuff. Don’t call something fire when maybe it’s just coals or smoke. Hey, it’s a game of getting eyes but you want the eyes you do get to feel satisfied. We all know that feeling after watching a good movie. Now I will say that there exists people that can’t turn off their critical IQ brain and enjoy a story. They have limited imaginations because they don’t work that “muscle” yet they crave it. We all do, hence why we have an audience. We supply imaginative get-away for others doing other jobs. But after that rant, the film is really strong and if it gets the right eyes, it could be the break through film for many to that next level.
INSERT: I see many people think that one film is going to put them over and in a few cases it has. But to think of that as the plan is not wise, in my opinion. You don’t know which one will be your defining one. Now ask an actor defined by a role, one role. Maybe not what you want. It’s why Jeff Daniels has had conflict over DUMB & DUMBER. But I will say, with that movie, he accomplished with Jim, what every comedic actor wants. Home run and after home run – so many funny scenes that made people laugh and feel good. I get it. There are PROS and CONS to both. I don’t think I’ve ever had that one film that everyone knows but several pockets of people worldwide know me for this project or that project. One of my goals in the next ten years is to unify my fanbase. Not sure how that is done exactly save maybe getting one big hit. But I’m sincerely happy to stay the course. I think I’m creating some of the best work of my career. I know with writing I surely am. As an actor, I’m pretty fearless. As a producer I seek to be fair, keep people safe and make something we will all be proud of. I also always want someone to leave a CDI set a better person than when they arrived. I’ve only failed there on a few occasions. I believe in the no bad student, bad teachers. Some of these crew people learned how to set up this or that but need teachers in process, protocol and respect. I value those leaders greatly and so should you.
So LOST HEART will be traveling to the sound studio this week. Music and sound design will start in full. We also have some recording going on in Nashville for the film. I’m excited to have audiences enjoy this film at the end of the year. We deliver in June to our distributor and the film should roll out soon after. Follow us on Facebook or http://www.cdiproductions.com COMING SOON – Poster art and we’ll start working on the trailer.
WILD FAITH has been growing an audience especially since it started playing free for those with Amazon Prime. Also, we’ve had a good quarter with DVD sales, thank you Walmart. I hope we continue to expand into more retailers and platforms and to our foreign friends.
The most exciting news is that we are making a real go at launching ‘Hastings’ the “Wild Faith” TV series. We’re exploring a few possibly interested funding prospects. That would put an 1800’s TV series right here in Michigan. Tribe CDI could welcome weekly “guest stars” and I would look forward to working with more of our Michigan talent. What do I always say, GET THOSE REELS READY.
I’ve been doing that myself. My MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND reel is together and I hope it inspires more people to find and watch the feature film. Thank you to all those that have reached out. I will consider more action roles, nothing like starting that at almost 50:) Funny I feel like I’m maybe 25 and my maturity might run lower at times due to my Peter Pan syndrome:) 2020 will have more showings and events starting with one in Feb. in Bedias, Texas. Seek out the MBF facebook site and follow along. If you have not watched this movie, take a chance.
THE QUEST TRILOGY
EASTER will be upon us in no time so maybe you can do me a favor and take a watch on the three biblical adventures. Bible not your thing? Cool. Just watch it has a fantasy tale. The beauty is that everyone can and will get something different from the films. It is like what you bring in is what you get out. There is a lot of depth and a true attempt to entertain the possibility of divine ‘probe’ self-weakened and sent to experience the human condition of weakness. By LOGIC, can all-powerful be all knowing? Like a great riddle, what is the one thing that could elude all powerful? Weakness. This trilogy looks at small moments overlooked in the greater story. But I also think the three films capture the spirit of truth. I claim to be an expect of nothing. I don’t harshly judge any save those who judge others. Exploring the great mysteries of the universe is a wonderful thing. It should bring daily joy in the exploration. People organize together out of fear and this is true with religion also. The truth is that you can share your stories and beliefs with others but your relationship is always one on one, intimate, no intermediate organizations required. That said, fellowship and community can be good for some but isn’t best for all. Follow your heart. Be still and listen.
And enjoy a thoughtful watch of our trilogy. A FB page exists for THE QUEST TRILOGY and each of the films. FORTY NIGHTS. CHASING THE STAR. THE CHRIST SLAYER. I’m just happy that Tribe CDI is part of the rich tradition of holiday films. I love that we’ve done these Chuck Heston inspired films vs Hallmark status quo. I talked to Chuck Heston, years ago (Thank you Myke Michaels) and I had always wanted to work with him. He unfortunately, had a hip replaced and moved more into voice over work in his later years. I hope he is smiling looking down upon our CDI work. Also Rance Howard, friend, mentor, co-star who passed before seeing the final part 3 of THE Christ Slayer. He loved the boat scene in TCS with the Devil and Jesus, sitting and talking. This has happened after he has returned and he has the Ferrari mentality. Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, if you drive a BMW it’s a good car not a great car, so you go around racing everyone to prove how fast you are. Once you drive a Ferrari, you don’t race anymore. You know you’re a great car and you have nothing to prove. It is just one of those special scenes that will stay with me forever. Take a watch and tell me/us what you think. You can comment on here and I will give the approve:)
I’m sure I might have missed a few things but I have to get cleaned up. I am playing one of my favorite roles today. UNCLE:) We’re having a family get-together to eat and catch up. Enjoy the journey by working hard when required and making the time to relax and talk- face to face. We have several informal meetings that are different from pre-prod meetings. Ideas and thoughts are proposed and formed when we’re together, but the real work is when we’re apart. In your alone time, you must learn to be motivated. Do this and great things will happen. Do not, and frustration and everything that comes with that will follow. This last process can be applied in any endeavor. Your own business.
Have a productive week.