A hazelnut coffee toast to you all on this chilly Michigan morning. As a MSU alumni, I’ve had a lot of thoughts with the shooter that was on the campus. Once the alert went out I switched to the scanner and I was impressed at how the chaos organized quickly with law enforcement. Base camp at the presidents house- where my memories are chatting up former movie studio president Bill Mechanic and screenwriter Jim Cash. The Union, was a haunt of mine that once had a bowling alley in the basement and it still might be there. Berkley Hall lectures, learning with my fellow students while trying to plan for an eve of fun activities. I hated parking at MSU, but otherwise, I truly did enjoy my time there. Back in the day, they did not have a film program so I cobbled together an interdisciplinary humanities degree, that touched on what I thought I might need in the future.
The shooter, was approached just down the road from our house. He only lived a street away, but ended his own life down the road when confronted by police. Sad on all fronts. Three dead and five injured and many students infected with fear. Plus a troubled young man who pulled the trigger. I still don’t have any answers because it isn’t any one issue but many, that likely led to this horrible situation. So I’m starting my blog with just a little acknowledgement of the pain this community suffered but especially our MSU family.
IN OTHER NEWS-
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– We have theatrical bookings continuing up to March so far. Last week, I had more meetings over the home video and foreign licensing. The box office numbers have been good and there is consideration by the distributor to expand the film with a 3rd party into hundreds more theaters in several states. This is where all those reviews on http://www.imdb.com has helped (So please vote & review if you haven’t) but the attendance at the theaters has been the main push. This week will tell more as we finalize the home video battle plans. The distributor is excited about the project as a whole which they feel will have wide appeal. We’ll deliver the final film on May 1st – with our current plan to see it on DVD/streaming in November. More as we move forward. We will be examining a few select festivals to showcase the film at. We’re in discussions for possible UK and German screenings. Again, our heartfelt thanks to all that have supported this beautiful story.
HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE– The next CDI film is now in active pre-production, which means this film is happening. The account is open and we’ve got the goods to make it happen. We’ve had several production meetings and now can talk with cast and crew in confidence. This is the first in a new slate of CDI films coming down the development line. We’ll be shooting in Sept and into Oct. this year after Labor Day in Michigan. We’ve been reaching out gathering targeted reads by proposed cast. I’m really excited by the powerful cast we’re already assembling and we’ve got much more to come. We’re also slowly starting to put departments in play. Some are already working on breakdowns and prepping for the filming ahead. We were treated to a great read by Don Most (Best known from ‘Happy Days’) for a powerfully dramatic role in the film. He loved the script! That’s been the response from the talent we’ve approached. I hope to start rolling out some of the cast to IMDB soon. We also have a FB page for the film just starting to post updates. Yesterday, I had a good talk with Robert Bradley, our armorer and works transportation department. There are some friends I really only get to spend quality time with when filming. We will have another incredible shoot. This week we’ll be meeting to try and get Camera and G&E departments all set. Travis Hayward (Best Years Gone) is our director of photography for this exciting new story. A new teaser poster is in the works to rally around.
SHJ PROJECT – The in-association supernatural thriller is getting closer to being solid enough for an announcement. The exciting part of this deal coming together is that it could be multiple films. But like I always say, put your everything into one film and it should bring you the next one. This might get split into an EXT and INT blocks of shooting. More discussions on locations and scheduling once the foundation stones (Funding) is in place. But this will likely shoot EXT at the end of the year and the INT first of the new year (Jan/Feb 2024) – There are so many other exciting talks that go with all this but again, let’s get more solid before I spend time discussing.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – The first production draft is complete and has been submitted for approval to move to the next phase of development. I’m getting that approval so the next layers of development work can get underway. This story is pulled from real history which can be more powerful than fiction alone. We blend everything into historic fiction because writers, historians and more are forced to fictionally connect the dots. I’ve been getting some good initial feedback from the story from members of the Native American community. It’s being called an even balanced look at the history of this event. Once moving forward, we’ll do a PR announcement. This year will be some builds and casting for this forthcoming movie. Much like SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA and the German actors, we’ll likely start with the Native American casting, first. I have a few in mind already and several have the script to review. This film will shoot in Iowa! We have so many friends there and it will be nice to return and tell another story.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH II: Battlefields – The first documentary film is out in the marketplace to watch (TUBI if you wanna watch free with ads) and the groundwork is being put in place for part 2. The Red, White and Blue Project and CDI, are once again putting this all together with Curran Jacobs hosting and again directing. Adam Towner will be editing and providing some of the camera work. If you want to explore a write off for your self or business, please reach out. I will be circling around to our previous donors and giving them first chance to get involved. This will be a series of films exploring in-depth, the many topics we touched upon in the first film. This next one explores more of the military history behind Catch Can.
We have many projects and associated endeavors in development, but at this point we don’t need to go in-depth on any of them. We are working a few of the films from the CDI library, bringing their materials up to date for future re-release. We have all the films newly backed up and will be putting in play yet another back up storage device. I’m excited with each new week. I love connecting with many of our artists and getting to know new artists, and examining how they might thrive in the CDI tribe. I’m looking at keys that can travel for multiple pictures ideally. By 2025, I think CDI will be overseeing multiple projects, whereas we can keep most of our folks working pretty consistently. That is a goal.
I know the tribal chiefs at CDI, are almost all actor/producers and would love to have more comedy sprinkled in with the dramas. HOT ROD LOVE was on that comedic track (pun intended) but it had a few temp set backs. You can go back and read on that in my earlier blogs- but we have a great comedic script that will one day – race into production.
I’m going to finish this coffee and work on some writing for a book. I’ve been asked now for several years to contribute stories to several books on animals. I’ve written true stories on cats, dogs, horses and now birds. Yes. I have a few good stories to share that have birds at the center of them. So, I’m going to rough out a few of those stories.
NOTE FOR ACTORS: If you’re an actor and a fan of the CDI films wondering how you can be seen- Go ahead and paste your actor reel link to https://www.facebook.com/cdiproductions/ and I will promise that each and everyone will be watched. I do try and keep up with emerging talent but time wise it can be difficult.
I will end with this thought- while we discuss plans and dreams becoming reality- tragically for some, their journey here has ended. If you are reading this, your journey continues. Appreciate the struggles we all face. Appreciate the people in your circles. Appreciate still being able to dream and move towards a goal. Just appreciate.
I’m sipping coffee from one of my artists amigos Jason Varhaus – cheers! This has been just a wonderful week of getting things done personally and with business. Where to start? First as always thank you to all of you from around the world who tune in weekly. If you know someone else who could benefit from following this blog do give them an invite.
LOST HEART is our next CDI film. The film has a national campaign underway with our distributor BMG. The film is going to have a unique virtual premiere on Nov 7th and they’ve added Nov 21st as an encore. This is perfect as on the 7th of November many of our crew and cast will be shooting our next film BEST YEARS GONE. The national PR has been lining up including the one of the top TV personalities Mike Huckabee will have Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson on his show. It will air Nov 14th and 15th. I know Victoria Jackson has been doing the Eric Metaxes show promoting the film and the list keeps growing. I did an interview this week with Isaac Hernadez for his show and will share that once it airs.
This past week we’ve had several meetings over our upcoming shoot for BEST YEARS GONE. One of the cool highlights was taking a walk out into the woods where an overgrown 1970’s racetrack still stood. We walked the entire track and imagined what it was like back in the day. Location scouting has been full ahead to help get our shooting schedule in place. I’ve been rehearsing and putting wardrobe together. Originally we were gonna shoot in April vs Nov so my wardrobe has to change slightly. This is exciting to be on the run up to filming.
THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) – the season is upon us as I was contacted by a German company wanting to license for Polish TV. This year our goal is to help people/companies realize that it is a TRILOGY of films. You can watch individually but there is a greater story at hand when you watch them all together. BMG is suppose to be cutting a new trilogy trailer so I will be excited to see that!
WILD FAITH – The movie keeps climbing with audiences and if everything goes right we should be filming the 8 show season one early next year. Audiences love the characters and the depth of the stories told so I think we can bring something really special. It was also shoot in Michigan and I can’t recall too many TV series filmed in our great state.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – This fine story wins the most fan mail this week. I think MBF is a great word of mouth story. As people watch and enjoy it – it is recommended. Our theatrical and PR on this film was hampered by the shut down this year but audiences are still finding it. If you like the CDI storytelling this is one not to miss.
SMOKE & MIRRORS
This really cool poster was created by David Gries who also stars in the upcoming CDI short. It was created as a commercial product my taking a portion of my feature script and making a short. It is a great time period and is full of spooky and fun. It is in final post and we look forward to letting folks see it. It is also part of our package to get this movie launched as a feature with Nathaniel Nose (The Christ Slayer) directing.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – Cameras have started rolling on this non-profit documentary film on the art of grappling. We’re in the planning stages for the next phase of shooting. If you want to give to a non-profit this year and be part of something great please do reach out. We have some great people and sponsors getting involved.
Of course we have more development going on but I think we’ve covered enough. Today we are putting ‘brick paint’ down on the porch. We have more garden veggies to harvest. I still need to rack the wine to my secondary. The chickens are getting bigger and loving their new home. I need to get to some wood cutting in this week which is always fun. I hope you all have a productive and fun-filled week. Until we meet again next week be good to one another.
Arctic blasts of cold but warm greetings and meetings with family and friends. I’ve been working hard to try to close 2016 business and be ready to start new 2017 business. More distribution paperwork going out Monday so we can start 2017 with a new marketing roll out. I’ve been also reviewing, interviewing cast and crew for upcoming 2017 projects.
Let’s look at a few of these projects
John the Baptist and Jesus
40 Nights – Our new 2017 deal is about done and Easter 2017 will be the target of the new marketing push for our first film in the trilogy. I was happy to see that it was recently listed in Christian Cinema top 100 along with ASHES OF EDEN. Big things ahead for 40 Nights with a new DVD release. Digital is still being represented by Sony Home Entertainment, so take a watch this holiday season.
Chasing the Star – Excited that we’ve got our first look trailer out. The teaser pics are trickling out. The film should be done 1st quarter of 2017 and we’ll start doing big screen showings. The general release in the USA will be September 2017. More on this distribution will be announced with the new year!
The Christ Slayer – the business behind this third film is underway. We might be close to a big announcement. Casting and Crew talks have been moving forward as is budgeting, locations and other such development work. Personally I’m enjoying getting back into the head space required to play this role again. If you’re an Italian actor, especially on the West Coast – get your reel ready because we want to see it. Also looking for a pair of 18-year-old (can play younger) – girl and boy for supporting roles. We will do some casting announcements in the weeks ahead. This is planning on shooting in March in AZ.
Wild Faith – Our dramatic 1800’s series is in editing with fifty some scenes rough cut together. The report on the Civil War footage was fantastic. I know what we captured and I’m excited to see if all come together.
* The series is looking very promising. I’m working on putting materials together that would allow us to pitch. But in advance of the pitch – the interest is HIGH. It would be fun to produce many shows in our state. It could require three months of shooting over four months to get our season. I did love the work we did on the feature film.
The CDI library is being examined under our new deal to see what existing properties will be brought back out into the marketplace. We’re also exploring a complete website reboot of the CDI company that could handle commerce.
This year saw our venture into soundtracks which again make good Holiday gifts:) See “40 Nights” and “Bestseller” on iTunes and other music outlets.
Soundtrack for “40 Nights”
I am starting to look at what acting endeavors to undertake after shooting “The Christ Slayer” in March. I have a few projects in development script-wise so we’ll just keep moving forward. Stay warm my friends and be safe while running about gift gathering and socializing with friends and family.