I’m up early and drinking the hazelnut flavored coffee. What a busy but exciting week. My birthday celebrations have been dragged out due to various schedule issues but they will conclude on Sunday at my father’s with a cook out. A few new items for the office, new soccer gear and many well wishes and wonderful food. I do feel sincerely blessed by all the great people I have it my orbit. I thought orbit would go with my trip around the sun analogy. Let me see what events from last week might allow some of you to gleam a bit of wisdom? Ah yes.
I had a couple of offers that the business of it just didn’t quite add up. When this happens you still want to give total professionalism and grace when you bow out. I also started at square one and I never forget that. My 1st starring role in “In the Woods” was no pay up front. I slept on the directors couch and it was a great first dive into the world of filmmaking. That said, my aged bones enjoy a bed and a quiet place to work lines. And I also need to only consider paid work as my bills don’t take deferred pay or revenue from producer net points:) I know that some of these filmmakers will do their film, grow and move to bigger projects. I encourage them and let them know I look forward to meeting up with them further down the path. It is a small world this business of ours and you should always been polite and professional.
This week we put “Ashes of Eden” in motion on sound, music and color correction. “Supermodel Showdown” is moving along nicely. CDI Distribution that handles CDI and CDI associated properties closed 3 licensing deals on films for release in Germany, Austria, Switzerland. Congrats to “Locked in a Room,” “Darkest Night,” and “Wicked Spring”. We also now have release dates for Parables TV in July for “Figure in the Forest” and “Wicked Spring” so look up the schedule on http://parables.tv/ . This July is also the US/Canada DVD/VOD/TV/Internet release of “Darkest Night”. I’m very proud of all the Philippine artists that will have their talents exposed to US, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and soon many more territories. I’m also proud of our Civil War drama “Wicked Spring” that is finding yet a second life during the 150th anniversary of this horrible war. It truly has moved into the realm of “classic” within the genre. I hope that “Figure in the Forest” will also move to that status in the years to come. I think that is the best compliment any piece of art can get. Reports of spiking sales on “Book of Ruth” are abound and we’re working hard to do more films of this nature.
As the 4th of July weekend comes upon us be sure to use caution. I use to be a fireworks fiend but these days not so much. I made it through my crazy teens and 20’s with all my fingers intact and both eyes so I will call it good. It was brought to my attention that sparklers burn so hot they can melt gold. Who and when did this become the ideal things to give young children. I never liked them because they sparked and burnt your arms. I just find it funny that parents give children these. They do create that cool outline in the air so I will give them that. OK. Well that is all I have for today. It has been a crazy week and I may have some forthcoming news on upcoming projects but nothing ready to share yet.
Have a great weekend!
SNOW is a large force of nature in many folks day. In Michigan the Great Lakes gave us some protection and so we have a beautiful blanket but a reasonable amount. I’m sipping the hot coffee and giving all of you a little update before I put in two days of work on the new office. We are going to finish up the electric on it and this past week was organizing my desk and added another bookshelf. Last week was a cautionary tale told as a tribute to an old friend. This week is vastly different. At Collective Development Inc. http://www.cdiproductions.com we have engaged in working with other promising filmmakers. We go into association and use our experience to help others emulate the success we’ve had while trying to help them avoid our past errors. This usually works only as well as someone listens. I will say that some of the associations become the foundation of long-term maybe lifetime collaborations while others are the first and last. I’m very focused upon this task of storytelling. I will ultimately only work with the same. I will first talk about one of these collaborations. ‘Locked in a Room” directed by Larry Simmons. By his admission the film was going to be an exercise and he expected it to be a few rungs higher than a student film. When we first talked I told him I don’t play. If we did this we did it right. The proper marketing and PR, high prod value, distribution friendly cast and worldwide distribution. We had professional differences of opinions on occasion but all done with respect. He discovered how much more BIZ work was involved with SHOW+BIZ. He knew a lot from the music world BUT film is audio, music, fx, color correct, quality control – so many more layers than just audio and LONGER! Ten 2 min songs is 20 minutes and we are dealing with just under 2 hours of product. Many people can manage a short be it narrative or commercial but a feature is another beast. I think Larry learned so many lessons that he will carry over to our next projects. That said, I was so proud of Larry. We finished the film, shopped the film and now Echo Bridge Entertainment has released it. They have a studio level distribution set up to handle Lionsgate and Miramax material. They released us a touch earlier than our March 7th release and boy did it come out with a bang. Google Play is becoming one of the new powerhouse venues pushing instant downloads. We came out debut at #20 and it has moved to #12. This painful piece of art so many hours to create is now in the mix with major Hollywood releases and standing its ground and climbing. It is scary as I saw people in the theaters hiding and yelling at the screen:) More than just the exposure and profit that can follow Larry is a role model. Not just to his kids as a man following his dream but to many aspiring filmmakers. This nice write-up is in celebration of black cinema and those that create it. Even more Larry can stand as an inspiration to other filmmakers in Detroit, MI be they black, white, asian, hispanic, middle eastern – doesn’t matter. STORYTELLERS are one TRIBE! The haters will come out as they are as sure as the Northern star. My script is better. Why can’t I find backers. Those who feel left from the limelight. Smile and keep moving I say. I like the old saying that if someone comes with their cup already full I cannot help you. Many are not open to listening. Listening is not weakness it is wisdom. A common question I get is from people who want to work with me/CDI. Be a good listener. Be a doer. Don’t come with your cup full to the brim – I will have nothing to offer. I don’t like to spill.
GREAT LINK TO THE STORY ON LOCKED IN A ROOM SUCCESS STORY
Other updates –
“DONORS” http://www.donorsthemovie.com is looking to lock up picture and have it over to us for music score in two weeks.
Development talks/meetings going strong. New scripts are being reviewed. Some budgeting underway. “Race to Judgement,” “Soul Eater,” and many others.
Some exciting news coming on CDI TV. The new Parables TV Network deal for “Figure in the Forest” and “Wicked Spring” are on the forefront of the TV movie dealings.
“7 Stones” is rolling out to the 1st distribution folks.
A pair of biblical features following the success of “Book of Ruth” is close to pre-production.
Westerns are certainly on the development slate. After “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” released to #1 western rental for 7 weeks, top 10 for 17 weeks. This film has grossed well over a million dollars with Lionsgate and we are looking to recreate this success. Soon it will be time to strap on the gun rigs again!
“Ashes of Eden” editing is going great. I can only say that this film has dynamite dramatics. Check out the trailer teaser if you want a look. A lot more on this film as we get a little further down the line.
Well, I think it is time for a coffee refill and to get ready to work on the office.
Stay warm. Stay safe. And have a wonderful weekend.
SNOW, beautiful white snow now covers the ground. Our 4H hams are defrosting for Christmas dinner and old friends are now in town. I’ve about put the business aside so I can fully focus on the holidays. My shopping is about done and I’m looking forward to just relaxing into the holidays. There are many things winding down for the end of the year and several new things ready to go in the new year.
A nice recap and some 2013 teases
– “Book of Ruth” is the 1st of a series of biblical films. We have two more films that have committed finance and we plan to shoot them in the 1st half of 2013. If you haven’t seen this film it makes a good family watch.
– “Deadly Renovations” has its 1st foreign distributor and we will be doing a PR release about whom and some new promotional art. The talks of sequel have once again been thrown about.
– “Donors” will be releasing a first teaser trailer around the 1st of the year on the http://www.donorsthemovie.com website.
– “7 Stones” had a good Michigan TV showing. They want to submit it for a Michigan Emmy. Anyhow you cut it it was a great experience and is a story full of drama.
– “Locked in a Room” is signed, delivered and I hear the artwork for DVD release is really cool. Better yet the film is really cool. I enjoyed watching the theatrical showings with people clutching each other and yelling at the big screen.
– “Outside the Wire” is suppose to be launching its full site and DVD sales the 1st of the year. This CDI associated project makes me very proud and a big congrats to Tony Hornus and Dennis Therrian putting in the long hours.
– “Benjamin” had several NYC theatrical showings and just played in Cairo, Egypt. I got emails from new fans there in Egypt and that was heartwarming to me. It is due for a few more festivals including Michigan. After that limited theatrical and mainline domestic distribution.
– “Darkest Night” the dark Christmas tale will release in the USA on March 22nd. A few theatrical showings may go on 1st and I know some foreign distribution is underway.
– April will bring the release of “Realizism” which I fully enjoyed shooting. My character Manny was fun to play in a Robin Hood kind of way:) It will have a local theatrical run followed by DVD sales.
“Ashes of Eden” that powerful drama we shot at years end here will release a first look in Jan. 2013 so audiences can get a peek. We have had some serious distribution interest and it will be looking at the best deal for the film.
“Figure in the Forest” and “Heaven’s Neighbors” are suppose to enjoy a national DVD release finally:) It has been a long journey. “Heaven’s Neighbors” is a very good theme film in light of all the mental ill talk going on now in our nation.
Many projects look like they will birth in 2013. I will proudly try to entertain you working with the bevy of talented artists I’m so blessed to work with. Venison steaks for a few of the amigos as I’m making room for the new processed deer.
Again I sit in my cozy chair sipping the hazelnut coffee and pondering the past and future. I’m happy to say we brought “Ashes of Eden” in on schedule and within budget. I had barely wrapped when the holiday was upon us. I’ve been fighting to get my sleep patterns straight after a month of “battle”. I’m very happy with what I saw and I will go to battle with some of them again I’m sure. Next stop is post and distribution. There has been a lot of praise and such tossed about from the shoot but what I saw was film professionals acting like film professionals. It all starts with management and trickles down to keys and all the way to PA’s. (Product assistants) It was one of the smoothest film sets yet and that is dealing with cold and such. I wanted to really showcase Michigan on both sides of the camera. But that proof was also up to the artists to provide. I’ve worked with some amazing people in this industry and taking pride in the work is the key. As I get older I just have zero tolerance for dramatic conflict causing B.S.. I think the key is to isolate and not feed into it. It is also something you cut away on future endeavors. I tell people I’ve made friends in the industry but it stems from respect and hard work. This is not a popularity contest nor strut walk of artists. It is about the individual who can blend their art seamlessly with others. Conforming to a single directorial vision all within the confined parameters of budget. Overall I think we had a great group of artists – I look forward to working with many of them again.
In other film news…
– “Benjamin” had a great showing last Sat. at the Big Apple Festival in NYC to a sold out show.
– Also Eventity Entertainment will release “Deadly Renovations” into Scandinavia on VOD this 2013.
– I’m signing up TV deals on “Wicked Spring” and “Figure in the Forest” to release on Parables Network.
– “Darkest Night” will have a domestic release trailer in advance of its March 22nd release date for US/Canada.
– “Donors” is doing final pick ups before it comes over to MI for musical score.
– “Book of Ruth: Journey of Faith” can be watched on Netflix and is also now at Meijer’s 1500 stores. I’m also hearing Wal-Mart.
– “7 Stones” is to have a Michigan TV premiere in December. More info soon.
Now while we set up “ASHES” post I will start looking at what I’m going to do in 2013 as an actor, producer and with Collective Development Inc. www.cdiproductions.com Our website will need an end of the year update soon. Enjoy family and friends and set your goals for the year ahead! If you enjoy this blog feel free to share it with the artists in your circle.
Today will be the last day of our ASHES OF EDEN journey. It has been an incredible journey filled with one powerful performance after another. It has also been captured by a very talented crew. I’ve had my patience tried once or twice over minor issues but all those things fade. What we will be left with is a story that is a testimony to what we cast & crew did this last quarter of 2012. I was surrounded by some of my old warriors and new ones. We attacked each day riding on the enthusiasm from the day before. What is great is that now the holidays are upon us and we can all rest knowing a job well done. The post process will begin with editing and move into music and sound with my supervisor Dennis Therrian. This will be a great experience putting this story together.
The VOD (Video on Demand) sites for “Deadly Renovations” are starting to pop up. “Book of Ruth” in Meijer stores now and I think Wal-Mart also. Tonight is a big showing of “Benjamin” in NYC at the Big Apple Film Festival. I thought it was last week but that is because I was in some odd time warp and got my days mixed up. I’m excited for that whole team of artists that busted in the record NYC heat to capture that film. I wish I could be there with all of you but I know it will be well received.
The old FORT/office is sold. The new FORT office is built and most of the furnishings are there now just packed up. This week it will be about organizing everything. We are still doing the walls in a few places so that limits what can be placed but by 2013 it will be a fully functional Deathstar:)
I’m off to go prep the final payroll today and off to set to hand them out. After that I’m back to Ionia for the night to help breakdown and oversee the production breakdown. The ship will be in the port and it will be time to secure it and unload our precious cargo.
Have a great weekend!
A beautiful Saturday for drinking coffee, eating some peanut butter toast and organizing my communications from the previous week. It was a week of many happenings – first it started with me finding out about the loss of one of my close friends and business mentors. It continued with some great meetings over “Ashes of Eden” which officially announced this week as well. It is a CDI associated film teaming with New House Entertainment and Ahptic Productions. We’ve been in the scheduling, key casting and crewing stage as well as locking locations. We’ve had some resume’s and reels coming forth and will be announcing some of the first attached cast very soon. I will be playing a supporting character named “Donnie” in the film and that led to a newer shorter haircut as I find the character within.
I see that the French film “Man in Wood” made an IMDB appearance and I hope to have some more details on that film in the weeks to come. On the acting subject – I had an actor who has been touching base over the last year or so contact me upon reading about our next film. I asked for a reel of his dramatic work and he responded by saying it was in the works. I looked back and saw that a previous message had that same reel “in the works” from December 11th, 2011. Anyone who knows me or reads my blogs understands that REELS are the way we like to work. Show me your “game footage”!! – As talent myself, I hate “reads” and seldom do them. Sometimes a producer wants to see if you can play some nuance of a character that isn’t displayed in your reel. But if you’re out there saying “Why can’t I get any work” – yet your materials are lacking… SIMPLE – If you don’t have a reel you go to the back of the line. IF we watch EVERY reel link submitted for a character and cannot find the right actor we may go to cold reads. So I cite that as an example to help you all out there. Also a past associate messaged me with interest in a department – I said send over a resume. It has been 3-4 days and nothing yet. We are likely hiring that key position next week – so again not being ready will likely get you bumped. So if your career is lagging look first to your materials. Check your coverletters, resume, reels, websites…control what you can control.
This week also saw the national release of “Deadly Renovations” and I’m proud of the team. I had to give a notice to some of them stepping up on the stage with their art for the first time. See I’ve found that you NEVER will make everyone happy. Don’t try. Have a glass of red wine, fire up a steak and toast the success of job well done. There will always be a slew of unhappy actors not hired (check those materials:) ready to throw their frustrated opinions. Also aspiring directors, producers and writers who so far cannot get their projects produced, script sold or what not. They often see someone else doing what they want and they see green and red. Jealousy and Frustration- a misplaced anger that can lead to troll activity. I say, ignore their frustration and count them amongst your fans. What is Lex Luthor without Superman? I’m just saying, don’t waste your time in a back and forth, defending your art. While someone is trying to rip down your deeds you are developing new projects. You’ll end up getting yet another leg up and those same folks unfortunately get even more jealous and frustrated. Vicious circle of negativity those people live within. I just wanted to awaken some of the team to the rocks that will get thrown along with the roses. That is how some get attention by going against the grain. “AVENGERS” – Hulk smashes Loki – “it was okay – I didn’t really dig how…” WRONG! Scene kicked ass:) Move on. So I thank all of you that have sent roses and to the rock throwers – I sincerely hope to one day create something that you really like. If you find yourself spewing a pattern of hate, hate, hate…maybe it is your filter/eye and not so much the project. Just a thought…:)
We should have film festival dates soon for “Darkest Night” making its first non-distributor festival appearance in the USA. “Benjamin” looks to wow audiences in NYC again after its first festival showing. Distribution talks worldwide continue on these two projects and so they will find their way to audiences in the near future. “Donors” and “7 Stones” still in post-production and “Locked in a Room” is polishing up for distribution. There will be an official announcement on this in the coming weeks from At Risk Ent. CEO Larry Simmons.
I’m looking forward to making a few exciting announcements on a few biblical era films looking to follow-up on our very successful “Book of Ruth” film. Also looking for some good news on “Long Road Home” so stay tuned for that as well.
OK. I’m going to get back to my Saturday. I hope you all have a wonderful day.
WOW! Friday came this week and I was ready for a little mind rest. The week has been jammed full with following up on paperwork to make sure it is straight on a couple of projects heading into distribution. Also reviewing projects heading out to distributors soon. Several distributors have come forward to look at our slate of films coming down the pipeline. A couple of development projects are getting some legs under them with distributor support. I’ve had a small flood of possible acting roles which I’m looking at to see what FEELS right. I will ramble off a few updates in no particular order and I’m sure I will forget a few.
– “Dean Teaster’s Long Road Home” has some distribution paperwork forming up underneath it.
– Some additional biblical era films in the vein of “Book of Ruth” are getting close to greenlight.
– My long-standing efforts to put “Wild Michigan” back on the tracks continues. Three different paths being worked on this project and one of them should go eventually.
– Several films have open foreign rights and those are being shopped and interest is forming up nicely.
– “Darkest Night” has pushed the dist. screening in L.A. to late June to avoid a couple big festivals and also business in the Philippines is required as we prep for our next associated venture entitled “The Beast”. Several new promotional trailers have been released on this film.
– “Donors” the follow-up to “Deadly Renovations” (Aug 2012 domestic release) is moving along nicely.
-“Locked in a Room” is prepping for the May 3rd Michigan screening. I’ve watched director Larry Simmons work and refine the film and I think audiences will really dig it. Some good stuff looks to be hitting the editing room floor but that is sometimes needed to move the story.
– “7 Stones” released a new poster and the last pick up opening was shot last night and so just a little bit more tweaking and it will be complete. Festival play is next for that powerful film.
– New location photos for “Secondary Heroes” just arrived and so we will be reviewing those this week.
I will spend some of the weekend reviewing a few distribution deal offers and researching companies who have come forth wanting to talk business. I’m waiting on a few other large deals to close and I’ve been nicely informed as they move forward. In my normal everyday life I had a few fans of the work pop up and be surprised that I’m chilling in the Michigan. When not working out-of-town that is how I roll:) So many things in process and I hope to give more exciting news in the weeks to come. Otherwise I think we might finally bottle a batch of wine and pick lilac flowers to make another batch of that. Yard work and maybe till the garden may lie ahead today. I’ll relax and try to get some stuff done because next week is going to be a busy one again.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Your friend in art,
It was a long week so I retired early and woke early. I have the coffee flowing and I am happy to send out some updates to the subscribers out there. I’ve been streamlining some CDI company biz in anticipation for some upcoming work. It is funny how the path opens up new adventures simply by walking it.
I got word that “Book of Ruth” will be going to Wal-Mart and other retailers that have yet to carry the title. The film has really done well and in the wake of that we’ve got several other biblical films going up. Three are with Reel Frog and two moving right along are in the CDI stable. It is a growing marketing for us and nothing wrong with entertaining and adding a good message. Watch IMDB and here for some updates very soon.
In the past I’ve been a paid speaker – most recently at Michigan State University as a Key Note Speaker for a creative arts forum. I don’t normally do these events usually because of the plan time and also to schedule around films. Enough people have asked so I have agreed to let MP Talent in Grand Rapids book me into these speaking events. (TO BOOK: firstname.lastname@example.org) It is a take off on this CLAWING MY WAY TO THE MIDDLE program of mine. It really focuses on bringing a business mentality in with the art. In our industry it is the SHOW+BUSINESS. The focus is NOT – how to act or how to do this or that although those answers can be provided. It is really about getting the straight forward no B.S. advice based on actual trial and error. I attended a film fest mixer in town on Thursday and I really enjoyed seeing some of the younger artists pushing their dreams forward. There are many pitfalls in this business and in life. I know some of this info will greatly help individuals as it already has. So I will be looking forward to sharing.
I think one of the weeks most exciting developments was that I gave interest in playing the legendary cowboy Morgan Earp in a western this fall called “Storm God Rides”. I’m excited that we will likely be filming back on the western set in Mescal Old Tuscan outside Tombstone, AZ. Some of my fellow western actor amigos have also put their materials forward and been cast. I know that my friend and associate Dean Teaster is playing my oldest brother Virgil Earp, so that will be fun. More as this develops but I’ve had fun with the camera tests and I’m ready to ride.
I’m still looking at projects for May and I’ve had a few good projects cross the desk but nothing locked yet. In the meantime I’ve been getting myself ready for soccer, winemaking and getting the garden prepped. It is beautiful here in Michigan and I think it is going to be a great year.
I hope you all have a relaxing weekend.