A light snow falling on this Sunday, making the hazelnut coffee taste oh, so good. So we shared a wonderful morning last week and the day was nice with us hunkering down and riding out the snowstorm. Little did I know that later that eve, maybe 10:30 pm , our oldest fur daughter Daphne had a spell of weakness while going potty outside. I had to carry her into the house and she sat for an hour on her daddies lap. She wasn’t in pain just weak and we all gathered and spent time with her on the couch. She later got a touch hot from all the cuddles and blankets and wanted to lay on the floor. She stayed at our feet and rested. We decided to all sleep down with her and before drifting off to sleep I watched her sit up and walk into her create, spinning into her favorite position. We gazed at one another – those old eyes that held the puppy playfulness even at dinner just hours earlier. She was relaxed and peaceful and I drifted off to sleep watching her drift off. She passed in the wee hours maybe around 4:30 am or in her sleep. She has been one of the joys living in the background of my life for the last 14+ years and her loss was deeply felt. But she had gone on her terms as she always has, surrounded by her pack and without any suffering. She is now home, her little wood box joins her brother and sister who had passed before her. Our Finn is doing well to adjusting and we’ve made a point of keeping it upbeat and happy after our day of remembrance and grieving. It is now truly the age of Finn and we plan to give him many loving adventures. That will likely include a new brother or sister to romp and play with. Daphne was 11 when we brought Finn into our home and so he never got that dynamic. Luckily Finn’s neighborhood friends have been here to play and race, giving him some of his normal joys. Anyway, RIP to our baby girl she brought so much joy to us over the years. Things can change just like that so be grateful and never take time with friends and family for granted.
Read about our new film and the announcement of the director and director of photography.
This is HOT off the first wins for BEST YEARS GONE at the Maverick Film Awards.
We are going to start circulating our business proposal on our next CDI film looking to shoot in June with a May prep. We are returning to our home turf of Michigan and the time period will be 1975. That means some far out wardrobe and groovy music. I’m beyond excited to return to a much more simple time and tell this story. If you have a business that might want to align for brand with ‘HOT ROD LOVE,’ feel free to reach out.
I also had some great development talks this week over WILD FAITH: Hastings and more. We are on the cusp of some great business that will have the tribe hard at work for a few years. The amazing feature which serves as a pilot WILD FAITH, is going to get featured for Black History Month and is a great watch. It isn’t heavy handed with agenda just a good story that has natural lessons woven throughout much like LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRARIE.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is pushing ahead strong with editing and FX work. I’m looking to see if our Behind the Scenes video is getting close. I wanted to have a sweetheart treat for everyone but if it doesn’t release tomorrow I’m guessing this week. We’ve been releasing more photos and I should have another batch from DP Daniel Chipman showing even more of the characters. I will be following up on that this week too. I know that director Anthony Hornus (Tony) has been outlining ideas for the first official teaser. That will start once the BTS releases.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – The first draft of paperwork is being put together for a worldwide release with Deskpop Entertainment. We will also be doing a pow wow and coming up with a plan for the theatrical premiere release. Maybe even something with MSU, we will see.
Speaking of Deskpop Entertainment, I’m excited to see the artwork for the thriller BESTSELLER. This film is one of the most intense performances I’ve given. I have a couple of mega-intense films I’ve done, DEADLY RENOVATIONS and THE 8th PLAGUE come to mind. But looking at intensity and production value, I think BESTSELLER is right near the top. We captured Michigan in the fall at the perfect time showcasing the “Tunnel of Trees” and more. Plus it has a great leading lady in it that I’ve seen somewhere before:)
This week will be shifting gears in development. We’ll be talking some advance casting and crewing talks but until the business is locked we cannot make offers. But something tells me we will be revving up engines in a few short months. I’m looking forward to also ‘developing’ the homestead this spring. We have some nice yard improvements being made and I look forward to some outdoor meetings over darts and corn hole.
Even in the time of writing this I saw that a director friend of mine lost their lovely dog this morning. So the torch of tragedy or sadness is something we all hold at one time or another so give graces to those around you. You don’t always know what people are dealing with and we all are dealing with things as that is life. Okay enough typing but I do LOVE catching up with you all. I going to go get on with life and enjoy it. Maybe starting with another hazelnut coffee.
Take care and be good to one another.
Happy Sunday! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and happy that we did not get hit by that huge east coast storm. It went under us meaning we got the cold and a few snow flakes but not 20+ inches of snow. This past week flew by with me attacking the gathering of info for our accounting firm. This coming week the 1099’s will go out and I’ve been prepping things for end of year taxes also. We had one day this week we chose as “Viking Thursday” to cut firewood. We actually damaged the axes breaking one handle and losing the head on another. That means I’m in Axe fix mode this week but we got the job done using sledge hammers, wedges and a splitting ring. A splitting ring is a device that you place the log inside resting on a blade and hammer it down to split it. That day we worked was bitter but we got enough split for the next week or two.
The next CDI feature film is looking to be HOT ROD LOVE. The script is getting some amazing feedback and this week I’ll be breaking down more of the business aspects. We are looking at trying to hit an April/May shoot in Michigan. We’ll be announcing more on this property as we go. Now wait, didn’t CDI just do a race theme film? Yes. But that was circle track racing and this is drag racing. The CDI Race Trilogy? Haha, not really, maybe. The film is a comedy with some nice life lessons attached but it could be our biggest comedy to date.
BREAKING NEWS! So BEST YEARS GONE is prepping for its home video premiere run in June-Sept and in the meantime we’ll keep playing some theaters and also a few select film events. I will say that I’m not a fan of virtual events but with all these festivals going remote one thing stands out to me. Often the filmmakers that show up at the event and smoke have a better chance of winning because the fest gets a good acceptance speech (sometimes). So to me the one positive is that the films are really being evaluated on the content vs the political ‘schmooze’ factor. Our director Shane Hagedorn submitted us to a few select festivals. We announced that we had our first official acceptance into –
We found our yesterday that we were nominated for the following categories and actually won a few award. I’m so proud of this film and the cast and crew involved. First the SCREENPLAY was Nominated as one of the best. I appreciate this nomination greatly as I love writing and believe it is the foundation of every great film. Without a good battle plan you don’t have a real chance. I also think that having such strong source material from Karl Manke (book Hope From Heaven) also helped.
I feel our entire cast could have been nominated for the rich roles they brought to the story but this organization nominated three actors for awards. Melissa Anschutz and Randy Spence for BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS and ACTOR. It is only due to all these supporting performances especially by my costar Erika Hoveland that allowed me to be nominated and actually win BEST ACTOR for my work as ‘Gil Gilles’. But that’s not all-
As we all know the technical people behind the scenes help create and capture the world/story. I again believe that many of the crew were nomination worthy but Mr. Travis Hayward was nominated and WON for BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY. And finally, my favorite nomination and WIN…
This award represents the TRIBE! We all made this picture what it is and again I’m just so proud of our cast and crew and excited for the world audience to see this film. Here is a great statement from our director Shane Hagedorn. But first a quote from a legend.
What we do come up with has no special right to call itself better. It’s just different. No, if there’s any excuse for us at all, it’s that we’re simply following the old American tradition of the maverick”.
And from our director-
“I am thrilled for our cast and crew on these major wins and nominations from Maverick Movie Awards. Although we filmed through the height of the pandemic of 2020, our tribe of artists and crafts folk banded together to create something unique and special–all the while overcoming many obstacles while doing so. Thanks to the team at Maverick for recognizing our art and best efforts”.
Our release dates can be found on our IMDB.com page and updates are flowing out to our FB page also. I also want to take a moment to give congrats to my fellow local filmmaker/actor Michael McCallum, who was also nominated in the shorts division for ‘Best Actor’ and I believe had a few other nominations between two (?) shorts they had represented. I’m not 100% sure on all the nominations but I wanted to tip my hat. Two filmmaker groups from Lansing, Michigan getting noticed in London, England, nice.
Let me see if I can do a bullet point of some of the weeks activities-
- More “Silent Night in Algona” stills are being released on FB and soon (Feb) we’ll release a BTS video. Editing is underway with a first cut expected by mid-March.
- “SMOKE & MIRRORS” the short proof of concept short cut from the feature script is uploaded to film freeway and a few choice festivals will be chosen for this steampunk, spooky short starring David Gries and Melissa Anschutz.
- We are moving closer to a deal on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, our doc on the history of grappling/wrestling directed by our own Curran Jacobs.
- A verbal agreement has been made on moving forward with an app video game based on CDI’s first feature film from the 90’s KNIGHT CHILLS. The film is a cautionary tale about bullying woven into the awesome realm of role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. Paperwork will follow this week.
- Look on Facebook ENCOURAGE TV for my buddy Josh “Ponceman” Perry promoting BIGFOOT, UFO’S & JESUS. If you haven’t seen the film you should. It is a fun romp and ‘Chip’ Josh Perry is a show stealer. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=4724060584352381&id=124174114296086&ref=sharing&_rdr
- In the wake of THE QUEST TRILOGY push that will continue through Easter has brought up discussions on a couple other possible films set in the time of sand and sandals. These films come from a unique perspective different from most biblical adventures. So even if organized religion is not your thing, you might enjoy these three films which purposely shoot in a ‘Star Wars‘ original trilogy style.
- WILD FAITH and the developing WILD FAITH: Hastings TV series are growing stronger. As millions view the feature each year, enjoy the storytelling, the eight show series is getting closer. Now as people are getting back to work I hope to move some major pieces on the chessboard with this TV series.
- BESTSELLER is finally getting the home video release it deserves. I cannot wait to see the new artwork and such. It goes to digital rental I believe same day as BEST YEARS GONE (Sept 1st, 2022) This script is adapted from the book of the same name written by Michigan’s own Christopher Wright.
- I hope to do a follow up meeting soon to see what the evaluation of some of the old CDI library films yields at BMG. Some would need to be uprezed and conformed but that would be cool to see! Are you hoping for any one film in particular to come to the market in HD?
- WICKED SPRING is being introduced to new audiences and old audiences are getting to stream the film in HD. I want to try and do some collectors merchandise on this film in 2022. I’m thinking about a collectors poster. If you enjoy merchandise we have several items up from various films at the http://www.cdiproductions.com site.
I’m going to wrap this up and get on some bacon and eggs. Our chickens are doing well even with the frigid cold they are still kicking out eggs. I might look into my axe situation. This week ahead will be productive. I’m doing some more writing and have two other potential script writing projects. I do enjoy that writing time especially when it is freezing outdoors. If I missed anything – forgive me. This week I wish you all well and remember to have patience and be good to one another.
Well, well, well – we are an official wrap on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee trying to chase away the cobwebs. It has been several weeks of less than perfect sleep. During production you always have so much on your mind. Always trying to look ahead and anticipate issues and needs. Lines. As an actor you are always keeping those in your head until they become living moments on film. I’m happy to say that Col Lodell is wrapped. The high and tight haircut and sharp uniform can now be relaxed and retired. Last night we finished filming in the woods around WILD HAVEN. It was a great joy to have everyone together and to bring the ship in. Now we’re going to prep the camp to break in the morning. It will take a few weeks to get all the business finished. The puzzle will begin to be rough assembled. The footage will be prepped for the edit. What an adventure. One for the books to be sure.
I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. I’ll have to start to prep for winter and get some of the yard stuff stowed in advance of that snowy white stuff. We are having a little Thanksgiving at our house and I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m thankful that we all safely made it through our shoot. I’m thankful for the great group of artists we worked with on both sides of the camera. I’m thankful that we could capture this story so that it will not disappear, lost in time.
I’m not 100% sure what is next but we have many irons in the fire. I’m looking forward to doing some more writing in the coming weeks. Just me, my coffee and my imagination. I would love to talk more in depth but right now I need to let it all seep in and marinate. I will be back to writing on Sundays again starting next week. I’m sure I will have a lot more to reflect upon at that time. Right now I need to go fill the coffee cup and start to pack up my stuff.
BEST YEARS GONE will be playing on Lansing, MI at the Celebration Cinemas the week around Thanksgiving. If you haven’y yet watched the film and live in the area, please do.
Until we speak again next week – be safe.
Hazelnut coffee cheers! I want to welcome all our new readers from South Africa, Saudi Arabia and more. I’m surprised every week by the new countries joining us. In Michigan we had a big rain and all the ice and snow left us. A few more days and the mud dried as the ground unfroze and now Spring is upon us. Matter of fact in our state we just jumped ahead an hour. We’ve been cleaning up the yard from falling sticks. I’m prepping some logs to be split into firewood soon. The garden is going to be turned into ‘chicken land’ and we’ll move gardening to raised beds and pots. Blueberries will be added to the berry selection this year but like the rhubarb it will take a season or two for the fruit to come.
So tomorrow I will be getting the first of two vaccine applications. My parents and many of my loved ones have already been vaccinated and now they’re getting to my age group. Also tomorrow will be some banking as we prepare more film disbursements and I plan to open the new film account for our new WW2 drama. Our PR announcement below:
We are getting some amazing actor reads and we’ll be announcing more of the talent joining us. Location scouting will be next along with crew conversations. We did get an affirmative from Jesse Aragon, a great camera artist who brought the great images in The Quest Trilogy, Wild Faith and Lost Heart. We welcome him aboard the next journey. Dennis Therrian will be composing and doing our sound design on this powerful story but first he has BEST YEARS GONE.
BEST YEARS GONE has a new cut that is close to a lock. Our director and editor are working the final nuances. I think we’ll have a producing showing at some point here. From there it is onto music and sound design at the new studio. For those that don’t know our composer lost his house and studio in a fire. The house and studio have been rebuilt and we are about to take the studio on its maiden voyage. Also a trailer will be coming soon!
Additionally we’ve had some great artists submitting songs to the FB page for BEST YEARS GONE in our Battle of the Bands. Please do keep submitting your songs and stop by and take a listen to the ones that have landed.
This week we’ll be announcing another of our celebrity judges. Again the plan is to have the winning band actually perform at the premiere or the music video that will be created for our winner.
LOST HEART and MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND ate both getting a new campaign. Lost Heart is a cool and complex film whereas I had many fans reach out and say that they really enjoyed the film. They had no idea that UFO’s, BigFoot and the Devil’s Crossroads and humor play into the story. We felt that we had to pick a direction with the first campaign and so the drama, music and atonement were our pushed themes. The film is doing great and climbing charts at Tubi and other major outlets but we’re not getting male audiences unless by accident or association. (Watching with a wife or girlfriend) BUT when the men have watched it they have really enjoyed it. So a second campaign will be going after that male demographic that loves mysteries of the unexplained. So that will be an exciting campaign to get the audience that wasn’t going to bite. In the meantime we await to see if the International Christian Film Festival has any nominations for LOST HEART. So many deserving performances and the music…but we will see.
THE QUEST TRILOGY is getting to the end of its holiday run with Easter right around the corner. I truly do love this trilogy as it puts the stories in an easy to follow manner. It also approaches the events from a unique perspective. One such thing is in Forty Nights we examine Jesus when he “vision quests” into the desert where he is working on putting the words of the heart on the tongue. It shows him working some of it out yet people watching cry out, “that is not what he said.” EXACTLY he is shown developing his teaching. CHASING THE STAR some have said, “But the magi aren’t Christian.” BINGO as that did not develop for decades later and people should learn the history of the order of the magi. This films are not regurgitated same old, same old but sheds some light upon these events that connects the dots for many people. Everyone’s experience is different and so watch the three films and let me know your thoughts.
BESTSELLER could be getting a new major release which is an exciting proposal. KNIGHT CHILLS might be getting a special Blu Ray release. Also fans of WICKED SPRING, a new letterbox/HD version is in the works with BMG. We also have some new items making their way to our new merchandise section on the http://www.cdiproductions.com site. You can also watch most of the films w/ ads from Encourage TV also assessable from the CDI site.
Other development is underway including HASTINGS the Wild Faith TV spin off. We might have a few other scripts in development and that will assure the next few years are quite full. I’m going to get on with my day and I’m looking forward to our warmer days including the start soccer season. Last year’s season was cancelled but I hope everything rolls out just fine in 2021. I’m ready to get back out there! Until we chat again next week, be productive and be good to one another.
Hazelnut cheers! A beautiful snowy morning here in Michigan. I want to welcome all the new readers from Germany, Sweden, Germany and China. I appreciate you stopping by to take a read and apply what you can – where you can in your own personal journey. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the unity topic we’ve had for a few weeks. My fireside meditations led me to the analogy of a spending train. We’ve got so much developing here at CDI we’re thundering down the track. The occasional hater throwing rocks out of boredom or a need for attention. If a few people threw rocks at a speeding train what would happen? They would bounce off the steel hull and be gone down the tracks. The train had places to go, people to see and things to do. They would never stop the train to debate or waste time – they would stoke the fire and full speed ahead.
In this time of Covid it’s a great time to stoke the fires of passion within. Build up your reserves of energy and get yourself in your best shape. Do all those things that often get neglected because you have others things to do. How many hours saved by not spending two hours in a car commuting back and forth to work places. More time to read. More time to update. More time to plan. From March 2020 I have been putting this into practice. While I could list so many things missed in 2020 I could also make a list of the things I got done using the extra time. Again as I write on such topics of motivation and such I say again that I am not better than anyone. You have the ability to make changes in your situation and it starts with a thought. Thought powered by the imagination, focused by the will, held strong by faith in yourself and your life purpose.
This week was very productive against a backdrop of ice and snow. Let’s see if we can do a TOP 10 updates from the week. Refill your coffee and let’s take a look.
- Additional “end of year” tax materials supplied for the fun part of filmmaking. We’re streamlining this process all the time to try and better the overall process.
- Our WW2 Christmas drama Silent Night In Algona is now formed as a corporation. We’ll open the account soon and start bringing on the funds. We still have a few units to assign but within 60 days of entering into pre-production. Casting has been full speed ahead with a national casting for our young lead. We’ve also been doing a lot of casting within the tribe of talent we’ve used before. The audition reads have been great to see the words ALIVE! I’m excited that we’ve almost got our lead family cast. We’ll announce that in a few weeks likely dripping them out or in pairs. This project will be a great story of love and unity set in small-town USA in 1944.
- I had a wonderful call from Darby Hinton, an actor best known for playing the young lead on the Daniel Boone TV show but has reoccurred or guest starred on many of the great shows of Hollywood. He was our ‘Gerald’ the shopkeep in WILD FAITH. He was one of the folks I offered a read on season 1 of ‘Hastings‘ the Wild Faith TV series. He called to tell me he wasn’t blowing smoke – he has read and been part of shows with great writing and THIS (tv series) is great writing. He said he reads at night (like myself) and to his wife’s regret he had to keep reading. He asked if I had writers meetings, other writers…to which my response was just me and the voices in my head:) I would ponder and spill notes out onto paper. From those legal pad notes I just dive in and start writing. I’m going to get the 8 shows edited up and ready for outside presentation. If you haven’t seen the pilot feature do yourself a favor. A fun film with a powerful message.
- Best Years Gone – So this week we prepped the new audio studio and I’m beyond thrilled that it is amongst the pines and forested fields that we’ll breath the audio and music into these stories. We will be rolling some new still photos out this week. I just might have a Valentine’s Day gift for our cast, crew and fans and I think we’ll give it to you on Sat. the 13th on the BYG Facebook page. Are you already part of that? If not come on over. We have some exciting things still in store including merchandise that is coming and the BOTB. (Battle of the Bands) I’m working to get that launched. We are also soon to have the next draft of the film edit now that Shane (our director) has given his new round of notes and adjustments. This film is heartfelt and will be funny for sure.
- The CDI website http://www.cdiproductions.com is undergoing updates. First you can now subscribe to the tribe which will become a center of updates. I even thought of my blog existing as a weekly send out. But the film pages are updated. Streaming is now connected to our distributor’s ENCOURAGE TV. Merchandise is slowly coming together with a few new items. This will explode by year’s end. We will also be doing artist spot lights and have some of their work on consignment. If you have any ideas feel free to drop a comment. From those subscribed we might start looking at pre-orders and that could allow some larger piece orders. Lunch box? Bobble heads? Posters?
- LOST HEART & MBF are the most recent releases. Both are growing their audience nicely and I so appreciate all the fan mail from folks. We’re not big festival folk at CDI but like to select a few. In my experience and opinion the festivals best serve if someone from your team can attend. But with everything going virtual you are essentially paying to have them do a free streaming of your work. But new circles of exposure and if people are truly impressed you can have lifelong fans. I’m a person who in the last handful of years I’ve not attended industry mixers and such. But with the absence of even my few – I’m looking forward to talking film and the arts not by phone or zoom. Again get up to speed with the CDI stories with a watch on these two films. Do you have a favorite CDI film? Comment and let me know.
- THE QUEST TRILOGY – The CDI Tribe earned their desert stripes with this trilogy of biblical adventure stories. I’m excited that PUREFLIX (Sony) is going to do a big push as a series to their viewers. Now with ad based Video on demand everyone can take a watch and experience the CDI films. These films have the trademark style and quality that you’ve come to expect from our storytellers at CDI. The bible is full of stories many untouched because of the R or X rated material suggested within. We haven’t tackle those stories but did find “unexplored territory” to address with our speculative storytelling. I think this is more interesting versus retelling the same handful of stories. I do have my next trilogy of stories to tell back in the sands but that is a way down the path.
- This year we will have SMOKE & MIRRORS finishing. This has no deadline so it got moved down the release line. But this decision allowed us to make some more aggressive choices on VFX work. I LOVE this short and I’m excited to see it develop into a full feature. I am retooling the feature based on the short film. Knowing locations really helps in planning the story. David Gries and Melissa Anschutz are MUST SEE in this film. But those that know their work will not be surprised in the least.
- ‘FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH‘ – the CDI associated with Red, White & Blue Project doc will start shooting again this month. I think we’ll have some sort of promo video for this documentary in the coming weeks.
- We also have something special coming from one of our crew/associate producer Nate Robertson. Nate was our foreman on the last film that set sail through the storm of Covid. Nate took a job that already had pressure and had it magnified by Covid procedural pressures. As a show of how our system at CDI is strengthening. The producers create a bubble of harmony for the set to exist within. Inside the set, the flow is controlled by the AD. The flow was there, time was managed and Nate was able to express some of his artistic self via a BTS video of sorts. I know we’re excited to see it. I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg.
If I forgot anything it will have to wait until next chat. I’m going to make some good food and watch the football contest and the commercial creativity. I have a few emails/calls I might make to get a jump on my week. That is another good secret – work with people you truly enjoy. I never roll my eyes or stress over phone calls. They are always good touching of bases between fellow adventurers in life. We discuss our separate ventures, our shared ventures, and those yet to be made. I don’t have a close relationship with everyone as time won’t permit. But those who do know me truly, I think would speak well of my intent. My intent is to see dreamers win. I want you to break poor patterns and do better by yourself. If the artistic path is a true calling that calling grants faith in yourself and a purpose. The latter is priceless and exactly what is missing from many people. People who check many ‘success boxes’ yet still are unhappy. To me it’s like the moment when Obi-Wan puts the helmet on Luke to further test him against the remote droid. Reach out. In those moments of sensory deprivation if the calling is heard – have faith. If you don’t know ‘Star Wars’ you are now assuming I have had a stroke.
If storytelling is a great road winding up a mountain – many people are at various places some higher and some lower. What I’ve always prided myself on is being in good company at wherever place I’m at on the road. Climbing higher only changes the view but it’s still about the laughter and fellowship that accompanies the climb. And when my time comes to leave this world where I’m at is where I’m at. Always a work in progress. So the secret is enjoying the early struggles of beginning filmmakers or the challenges of the mid-road struggles – have friends on the journey of storytelling. Have friends outside the journey of storytelling. Have these things and your journey while unsure at times will not eat at you with stress. Living by ‘Best Efforts’ will allow one to laugh off the failures (with friend), toast the wisdom learned (with friends) and forever be the better person. Getting along with a little help from my friends.
Be good to one another.
Coffee Cheers. I’m sipping a steaming cup of coffee and sitting here pondering the business from the past week. I’m a person who attacks things in private. You don’t or won’t find my nose stuck in a video game for hours. A five minute time out to play ROBOTRON or JOUST is an occasional occurrence. I fight everyday to gather the funds for new endeavors and to keep the business of all the other films moving forward. I’m feeling good about everything and had a few things happen this week that could be good lessons for whomever reads this.
First – CDI is not a company that pays just a few and seeks out free help in places that require highly skilled individuals. We hire as wide as we can afford which has been limited in the past few years. Increase in days expands costs across the board. We do things that others do not like lodging. Commuting when reasonable is okay but long trips on each side of a shoot day can burn someone out quick. Actors in the day before helps them to settle and focus before entering the ‘world’ we’ve created to film in. These are all costs. Over the years I’ve learned to simplify my life so that I could focus on the stories. Our money negotiated to the max with the help of many who love stories, including our sponsors, makes this possible.
Along these lines, we only can hire so many people. The producing staff often works much harder for less when and if hours are broken down. Often the effort is not worth it if the accumulation of shells and beads is the only measuring stick one has. Producers sport a point of two from the back end which is like a lottery ticket bought just in case the universe wants to reach out. It also is a badge of honor that they were part of a the “officers” who made the film happen. At CDI even an “associate producer” title is honored. Other outfits may throw around titles but at CDI is means something. For us at CDI is means representing the company. Attitude. Motivated. Experienced. As one who has coached here in the USA and overseas and as a martial arts sensei and still always a student – when someone is deemed ready they are approached. Filmmaking with tribeCDI is just that- a team, a community and a group of film warriors ready to problem solve daily to win the pieces of the puzzle.
My budgets restrict how many artists I can develop with a paycheck. Even the ones who would PA (Production assistant) free the costs are still additional with each person. We like to try and really feed people. I recall one set in Nashville in the 90’s that had a few loaves of white bread, a pack of lunch meat, mayo, mustard, ketchup and a stack of paper plates. This was for a large cast and crew. I ate it without any issues but I could see what certain actions did for a project. That one 15 min producer call that gets a sponsored meal from some great establishment is so worth it. My mind often is filled with ways to give our cast and crew a better experience. In return I just ask for their very best at their task on either side of the camera. The cast and crew can see the care and work we’ve put into our productions. Bottom line is we do care.
So in summary -I never once could demand to be on a team. I had to show my skills, develop my mind to the game and make them want me to start by my performance. In martial arts I focused on my skills and tried to effectively communicate to students below me. In time you become so valuable that they want you representing their tradition or organization. I see many lack the patience for many things of worth. It is a hard skill and one that I deal with still daily. Don’t let past failings or short-comings hold you back. That is your earned experience. Don’t be looking ahead too soon in hopes of being seen as more important. Be in the present. Be excited to learn the new lessons. Get to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. 2020 was a year to test that discipline and practice what I preach. Be present. Be patient. Become the best version of you.
Another example that provides me with a nice lesson to share is – When life gets you frustrated with all the external issues turn within. If I’m out-of-tune inside, everything I try to do fumbles. I don’t see the pokey dog bone which I kick. I can’t get a software to work right (I can’t get me to work right)…you all know what I mean. Meditation. Prayer. A nature walk. Thirty minutes on a heavy bag. Tai Chi – tend your inner fire. I DON’T HAVE TIME, some will scream. But you must or time will be wasted. Like in healing there is treating the symptoms and treating the source. Focus on that inner-fire and watch how everything starts to turn around. BALANCE is achieved and by stoking the fire of the internal the external starts to change. I’ve used all this solo time to really increase that fire stoking. Take 15 or 30 minutes to change your frequency and watch what happens.
BEST YEARS GONE – The second pass now with director Shane Hagedorn‘s refining is underway. A few notes we’re passed from the circle of co-producers to our director. I’m more inclined that maybe the first look should have came after the second pass where the director is now engaged. A rough cut is built from director notes and editor’s eye. Now a large % of my notes would be stuff that our director will address. After the director and editor do their cut I will give it another look. I look for mistakes but recognize subjective versus a mistake. I have to have confidence in my directors. Their own subjective choices play strongest – the too many cooks in the kitchen issue can exist. I’ve seen it happen but if I respect the boundaries, it sets a standard. Sometimes the closer the role is the farther I might want to be from nuisance choices in editing. That is why you take the time to match the right script to the right director. The writer and the director work through the story fully. Do not underestimate the pairing of the right story and the right director. It is a skill unto itself.
As the edit moves along we’ve made progress on upcoming merchandise and the Battle of the Bands! Exciting stuff. More stills are being batched to release. Our own Dan Chipman is working a BTS so our cast and crew can remember the crazy year of 2020. Our fellow producer and AD Nate Robertson also has a special video being worked on. We’ll be having a story/interview coming out on all that very soon. This movie is heartfelt and extremely funny. In my talks this week with our distributor I was told how much they all enjoy the humorous offsets CDI scripts have gotten known for. Meaning serious topics are discussed and when it gets a little uncomfortable it gives us humor. They used the end of the Wild Faith trailer with Ben Lily and Hester hoping they don’t need God’s help today. I was happy to report that BEST YEARS GONE will have humorous moments. Yeah. maybe a couple;)
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND I’m told has a new marketing campaign they are discussing. They want to get this film more into the mainstream. They feel it’s a great film that has a lot of play in it. The release was going to include theatrical and fest events but the Covid mucked that up a tad. But the film is being well received and has been seen by maybe a million of so people. It will find a much larger audience it just needs a bit more time.
THE QUEST TRILOGY is being treated as a series as it readies its run at Pureflix. I’m so proud of these films and I think general audiences will enjoy them. It’s a distilled down parable trying to remove all the white-noise and paint something where the dots are actually connected. Whatever your walk of life take a watch and I think you will find them vastly different from anything else you’ve watched/heard on this subject.
LOST HEART – If you want to read more on the actors from Lost Heart, see some BTS and read a few PR links please visit the new pages on http://www.cdiproductions.com – thank you David Gries. And if you still haven’t seen this film do yourself a favor. Have a laugh. Have a cry. It is truly a ray of light. Light? Strange lights in the sky? Watch the film and it will all make sense.
In wrapping this up – my week was spent doing end-of-he-year tax stuff for CDI and the films. Thank you to Dean Teaster, Melissa Anschutz, John Mashni and all the good folks at Davison & Associates. We also are working development hard. We only have a few final funding pieces to arrange on the WW2 film before full green light. We also have had more great talks on the Wild Faith spin off HASTINGS. Again it is not IF it is WHEN. We’ve been doing casting for our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA German’s and our young lead. Are you 8-12 who plays young shoot me a reel it will get looked at. Speak fluent German? Send me a reel. We’ve been having internal casting talks and we’ll be announcing as soon as we move into pre-production. I’m also looking at portfolios for paint on glass or digital matte artists. Fun, fun stuff! Beautiful falling snow. Time for some more coffee. Have a great week.
Be good to one another!
The snow is falling in the Michigan and it’s beautiful to watch. I’ve got the coffee going and my little side-kick Finn is sleeping beside me. It has been an exciting first month of 2020 thus far. I’ve been doing writing on what will most likely be the next CDI (www.cdiproductions.com) film. The title I’m working with is ‘BEST YEARS GONE‘ and I think represents a universal fear/worry that many have that their best years are gone. I just enjoy my personal journey as it unfolds. Maybe your best years are your ‘now’ years. The NOW years has you navigating with the most experienced YOU making the calls. The script is close to having a first draft and we’ll be moving forward once we have our ‘blueprint’ ready.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND it is playing on Amazon Prime and several new DVD outlets keep emerging. Here is a “Character Reel” of me playing Paul, my wounded Marine. It has mild spoilers but I’m putting these together for my actors trek in 2020. Take a watch here –
With my new management ahead I’ve been trying to update materials but honestly it is hard. EVERYONE has a different favorite scene. Too funny. Too serious. So I will keep working on those materials. I still need a character reel for ole Jesus in THE CHRIST SLAYER and Ben Lily in WILD FAITH. Here is my cut of the current 2020 sizzle reel. Let me know your thoughts.
Several of my non CDI acting will be targeted at guest starring on network TV and co-starring in some foreign films. I’m open to any work but I usually have a few things I look for in a production and maybe it will help you.
- SCRIPT is KING – you need a great story to start with. I almost always ask to sign a NDA (Non disclosure agreement) so I can read the script.
- CHARACTER – you want a role that speaks to you
- COMPENSATION – This is not a hobby it is a career
- CAST – who else is cast? Paying me but not others can be a bad sign because you want quality across the board.
- CREW – DIRECTOR/DP/Prod Designer – The creative team is so important to the final product
- COMPANY – Do they finish? Do they get product to market? Organized?
Now if you’re just starting out you might choose to participate in something missing these points because you have no other choice. The experience of being on set – good, bad or ugly might be enough. My thoughts are on all the striving, thriving filmmakers out there because I hope to possibly participate one day but be smart and save yourself.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – I want to have a trailer cut together that presents the three movies FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER together as one.
WILD FAITH – Fans keep growing and we’re working to bring audiences back into the world of late 1800’s in Michigan. We have some exciting opportunities developing.
LOST HEART – We’re about to lock up the picture and start sound design and music. This film has elements of WALK THE LINE and also lighter more comedic moments. We deliver the film in June to BMG and it will roll out to audiences soon after. Poster/DVD art will be coming and as soon as we lock the film a trailer is up next.
Okay my friends. I’m ready to also do some additional screenwriting this morning so I’m going to bring this to a close. For those under the snow storm effect I hope you stay warm. I got motivated and cut up a bunch of wood for the office stove so I’ll have to stoke that up in a few hours.
Have a great Sunday!
Good morning. The hazelnut coffee is flowing and needed this am. I awoke to my furry Daphne daughter throwing up my Minnetonka Moccasin slipper she put a chew on when I left her watching WHEEL OF FORTUNE vs her Cartoons. From there the morning has slowly unfolded as I worked to shake off the Michigan morning chills. WINTER IS COMING.
Now with winter many people moan and groan but I have always loved snow. If it is going to be cold we might as well have the pretty aspect too. Now the other thing I love about winter is the limiting of my yard work so I can focus on my desk work. This season is special because it marks the start of another phase of CDI development.
First, the ink is dry on a deal for me to adapt a book manuscript to a screenplay and for CDI to produce it. Even the title has been left open on the book to see what ‘title’ arises. The reading of the book which is the 11th book for this author I believe. His name? Wait for the press release:) I might have a title by that time. But the characters are very well developed and I can already see the scenes forming in my head. This project will be late Summer/Early Fall shoot in Michigan. I look forward to a week of reading and after that my writing will begin. I’ve been taking lots of notes while moving through the reading.
Additionally we have things firming up on the 2021 WW2 project. It was shelved several years ago but recently that script kept coming to mind. So I followed my instincts and it seems like many variables including financing are firming up. This would shoot 2021 in the fall out of the state of Michigan. We will be doing some exciting announcements with this project maybe around Christmas:)
We’re exploring a collaboration in AZ with a filmmaker friend and we’ll see. It is a western genre script. Speaking of the genre – I had a fan reach out this week on GHOST TOWN. He watched that film after seeing our WILD FAITH movie. He was asking for more CDI westerns so between us seeking finance and distribution partners on the Wild Faith TV series and these possible collaborations, CDI western fans might get your fill.
Holiday blessings manifested last week as the films saw flow from our distributor. We’ll be doing an end of the year dispersement where it applies. AFM (American Film Market) is underway and the films are being represented and sold. I have a sit down in two weeks to discuss what new platforms, territories and networks are playing the films. The business part of it all is the grit and grind that it takes to be professional. Like the accountants and legal that keep things inside the lines. I had a wonderful gift this past week from one of these individuals/companies that help allow us to do what we do. I will not bog this down with details but I really appreciate all the support staff and producers who help keep all the ships sailing. Filmmaking is a team effort and our collective artists are all appreciated.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – The positive response via email to this film has been wonderful. We have some of our team that will be attending the Equus Film Festival. We will await to see if any nominations fall upon us before we doing any PR. This is a great Kentucky based festival that will happen this December.
Now our film is DOG themed but they have a section that is ‘Going to the Dogs’ but also due to today being the official release of THE HORSE OF MY DREAMS in Jackson, Michigan. Here is our editor/author talking about the release – https://jtv.tv/book-event-for-horse-lovers-sunday/
LOST HEART – I had meetings with our post supervisor Dennis Therrian over the transfer of locked picture which is targeted for Jan. 1st. Our first rough cut should be done by Thanksgiving so we are getting close. Audiences will enjoy this film. This week we will start moving element art over to the distributor so they can start conceptual cover art.
With the mass of social media making things very confusing – we’ve had many people see one or two of the films and insist they must see the others. We’re going to be inviting the masses to join us this holiday season.
So enjoy with your own family or GIVE the gift of a good story to someone else. I’m going to leave this here so I can finish up and get back to my reading. I hope you each have a wonderful day and a great week ahead. My thoughts also go out to friend/co-star Austin Two Feathers who recently lost his beloved. The entire CDI Tribe has you in their thoughts.
So we had unusually odd weather reports whereas they were calling for 4-5 inches of snow. Come on now Michigan, it’s almost May. Snow? Inches? This morning I heard our multitude of birds singing this morning outside and upon peeking – no SNOW! Yesterday I did a good amount of prep work outside in the yard prepping for the snow. The property which has had some changes including the addition of a storage shed, is looking right fine. I removed a small pond and moved an outside fire sitting area to make room for our Finn the runner. Also a new dart board is hanging and the first games took place last week.
I want to thank all of you again who follow along each week. I see a few artists from different countries stopped by for a read this week.
In all we have artists from over 80 countries stop by to get inspired. There are 195 countries currently in the world so we have some room to grow still. This past week consisted of various tasks both with family and with the film endeavors. We took another step towards moving into full green light on our new CDI film entitled LOST HEART. Four more of the investor units to move and we’re making a film. We had some great meetings last week so I hope that we can wrap it up this coming week. The sooner that we do this the more preparation time we will have. Lodging, casting, crewing, vendors and flights all need to happen once the ship is fully loaded (Fully financed) and is ready to sail. We are very close:)
Last week I hinted at one of the well known actresses that was reading LOST HEART for one of the lead roles. After speaking with her Friday, I got to hear how she absolutely loved the script. I was told her representation is often quite ‘stoic’ when it comes to projects but that they genuinely enjoyed the script. So I will get an agent intro this week and when we can make a firm offer they are ready. The July 15-31st timeframe is what we are aiming at to shoot at. Don Most who was one of the co-stars in MBF: Man’s Best Friend will be joining us again on this story in a much larger role playing opposite Melissa Anschutz. It is all coming together, I’m just anxious to get scouting, hiring and prepping! I’ve been having fun with a little character creation myself. I will be bringing Niles Cats to the small town of Lost Heart.
WILD FAITH – I have seen the proof DVD (See wrap above) and it looks and sounds great. They are in the warehouses and will start rolling out to retailers May 6th. This is followed by digital purchase and rent in June and Wal-Mart DVD release in July. Thank you to all the support of this film. I know many people want to see the film and those who have already watched it on the big screen want to own it. It’s a good one for the collection. I think audiences will really enjoy it.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – THE CHRIST SLAYER
From one bearded mountain man Ben Lily in Wild Faith to another bearded gent with playing Jesus in The Christ Slayer. I’ve heard from a good many people who enhanced their Easter by seeing this film in the theaters and/or streaming and DVD. I still might have some local event to showcase this film. It was suggested that maybe all three play together so in the coming weeks we’ll explore a few options.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend is close to being done with the first pass at dialog and sound design. We’ll likely be sitting down the 1st week in May to give notes and do a final pass. Meanwhile VFX, color correction are being completed and we’ll be working on a final trailer. I’m very excited about this project and I think audiences will really be taken in by this story.
I’ve got follow-up meetings this week on literary representation that could include acting representation targeting the foreign market. The agency has been reviewing my materials and the response so far has been very enthusiastic. They handle/represent some very talented folks and I would be honored to try this pathway with them.
CDI is also moving towards a few production collaborations that might include a slate of new biblical adventures and more. We have action, sword & sorcery and a few other great genres developing. I need to circle back and finish my SciFi script I have been working on when time permits. But all in good time. ALL these film endeavors are hard to pull together. Experience makes them easier but they are still always hard. We use to have to shop, shop, shop and shop our final films. We use to hit multiple festivals to try and lure a distributor to the table. Now we have theatrical and international distribution partners from the get-go and it can still be a climb. But if you are sincere you have to keep climbing. There is risk and sacrifice at every level. Also where you put your energy becomes more and more important the older you get. PICK YOUR COLLABORATIONS CAREFULLY.
I still see some filmmakers occupying the space where student and upcoming filmmakers exist to learn and grow. I think some stay in this safer space because the big game is much harder. MUCH harder. I’ve been asked why we don’t enter some of the regional film challenges or award events. Simply because that space exists for developing filmmakers to get a few marketing hooks to assist in reaching for that next level. We do attend a few select events if it matches the film property. So if you’ve done well in these events for a while, perhaps it is time to step up. If things start to feel safe that can mean stagnant as well. Just a few words to ponder on.
I’m going to refill the coffee cup. We have a family get together today to cover a handful of bdays that we’ve recently had. Thursday (my new day) is my first soccer game of the season. The change in day is nice because it will give more flexibility to my Sundays that often includes family events. I wish everyone well on their artistic endeavors this week. Keep chasing your dreams. Until next week my friends!
Doing some spring clean up with my buddy Finn
Good morning from Michigan, USA! While this past week has been a good introduction into spring with lots of yard clean up and arrangement, today we have icy rain and snow. It will disappear fast but I’m just getting use to the coffee and phone calls on the patio deck listening to the birds and watching the squirrels retrieve their winter stash of acorns. I’ve been doing a lot of wood cutting and it looks like the office wood stove will get a work out today. I was going to attend a first flea market of the season but with the snow I might have to pass. I’m sip my Michigan Cherry coffee and type with all of you.
My brother had a birthday and we got to spend time with family yesterday and a few days before that my niece’s birthday. My nephew Wes has the same bday month as myself. He is the 21st and I’m the 23rd so we’ll have that ahead. Aside from the family gatherings and the homestead clean up I’ve had lots of entertainment business abound. Let’s discuss a few.
I made my yearly visit down to the opening of the Capital City Film Festival happening now in Lansing, MI. In my early years I spent a good amount of time and energy working with the East Lansing Film Festival centering on the Michigan’s Own portion of the festival. It awarded films with awards and cash prizes. It took hours of watching films, meeting with judges and other planning so I know what goes into it. These days my schedule allows me to buy a ticket to spend a few hours supporting upcoming filmmakers in our area. The opening night was at Impression 5 museum which has been a favorite since I was knee-high to a grasshopper:) I had a lilac drink that intrigued me because we made lilac wine once. It was great but very labor intensive. I also enjoyed a local hard cider. I got to see a few friends I only see yearly at this event. I attended with fellow filmmaker Shane Hagedorn and had a good time. We did at least one red carpet photo but I did not see it so once of us broke the camera with our mug. He we are with a young actor/filmmaker who just happens to be the son of Mr. Craig Jones whom I’ve known since high school. How cool that they get to do film work as father and son.
Throwing some support at the Capital City Film Festival
Aside from supporting the local fest we’ve been very hard at work here at Collective Development and on a personal level. I started looking at literary representation mid last year talking with various agents and management companies. You want to get the right relationship as they will be dealing with people who value your art. I’ve had an agent at one of the largest agencies in Hollywood and it wasn’t a great experience. A few big deals were lost and while the agency inclusion did help with a few doors, the cons started to outweigh the pros. I’ve been riding with legal at my side making my own deals. Legal is good at dotting I’s and crossing T’s but they are not seeking new opportunities. But I finally had a conversation with an international agent that I find promising. They discovered my work via another studio executive and reached out. They are doing some additional reviewing of my work but I think I’ll be having a go at working with a new literary and talent agent. I’ll be putting a large focus on foreign projects as well as domestic USA films. Many of you know I’ve done films in other countries and that is always a great experience.
I’m excited to see what films we do over the next 10 years
I’m also in development talks on several projects with a few new collaborators. We have some great projects developing both in the family/faith market and outside that target market. It is an exciting time but don’t get me wrong, it is still HARD WORK. When people occasionally look at what we’ve accomplished or are accomplishing it occasionally sets off feelings of envy. You/they might be a better artist even though that is subjective but overall I just outwork people. Part of that is learning where not to waste your energy. Look for red flags and know when to say NO THANK YOU. Many do not realize that and spends lots of energy where their only reward is frustration.
Beautiful Northern Michigan
LOST HEART – This is what is front and center in development and fighting to move into pre-production. We have enough to make the journey but we are fighting to be able to add a few days of shooting ultimately creating a better product. We only have a few more pieces of this investment puzzle to remedy and move forward. A lot of development work is getting done now and so I believe strongly we will be rolling cameras in July!
Hester and Ben in ‘Wild Faith’
WILD FAITH – We just finished runs in Grand Rapids, MI and Biloxi, Mississippi and I’m trying to confirm West Virginia and other venues. The DVD will be rolling out next month and so all of you wanting to see this fine adventure tale will soon be able to. I will be checking on Amazon pre-booking which should start soon.
I will note that the TV series is one of the things being discussed in some of my development talks. I would love to play Ben Lily again and bring a series of stories to all of you.
Just in time for Easter
THE CHRIST SLAYER
The Christ Slayer just announced its first theatrical dates in Amarillo, Texas. We hope that myCinema will continue to book to the big screen. Those who want to watch in the privacy of their own home can watch it streaming or on DVD on Amazon Prime or other fine platforms. Thank you for all the fine fan(e)mail I’ve gotten. It warms my heart to see so many enjoying our stories. I know myCinema is working hard to get it in AZ but is having issue at Harkins because of Studio Commitments but call the theater and let them know. Yuma, AZ deserves to see it on the big screen.
The film really goes perfect with the Easter season but perhaps you might enjoy watching the entire trilogy of Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer. The ending of part 2 makes more sense if you know about part 3. I think that is going to be a PR release on the lead up to Easter. Also I might discuss more about the trilogy as a whole.
CDI OG Mister Dean Teaster
MBF: Man’s Best Friend
In my post meeting last week it was noted that sound quality was really good and the dialog clean up was not as extensive as in the past. To be fair the locations were much more controlled versus being out in the desert like with our trilogy. Sound Design is happening at the same time and so once we get all this laid in MUSIC TIME. I will also be touching base with the visual team about VFX, Color Correction and a new trailer. Exciting times.
The Week Ahead…
This next week will be working towards disbursement of funds back at investors. Seeking a few new partners so we can move into official pre-production on LOST HEART. We are close and we could do the film with what we have now but I want to have the extra breathing room. It is easier on the cast and crew and ultimately might yield a better final product. Businesses wanting to talk sponsorship or product placement please do reach out.
Treat yourself to the book and movie
I’m going to go refill the coffee cup and organize for my forthcoming week. I have a friend coming in from Texas for a few days on family business so it will be nice to catch up with him. He was involved with the original KNIGHT CHILLS, CDI’s 1st feature film. KNIGHT CHILLS 2? You never know:)
Have a great Sunday and week ahead!
Sunday morning with the family, sipping coffee and reflecting back on a busy but productive work week. We’ve had some pretty snow as of late and not quite the arctic chill. Don’t get me wrong thin blood residents of warm places – Michigan has been cold. It has just been warmer but I hear a few more storms coming through. In Michigan the Great Lakes give some protection and many storms pass beneath us. Before the film updates let’s talk about another passion – soccer. Futbol to my non-USA friends, speaking of that, it was so great to see so many of you joining us.
I play in a Men’s League as many of you know. I’ve played in the 30+ league for many years since I was 29 likely. I LOVE the battle. I play to win but if I’m not badly injured and I get a good work out, it’s a win in my book. Us older warriors know just like in battles of old. You don’t need to be better every moment of every day of the week, just those moments. I have to be better for two hours, an often I am. I had my first sideline injury second half of last year with a wrist crack. Heavy tackle with another determined badass that sent the ball rocketing into my wrist. Just a freak mishap. Two season back I had my first nagging knee issue but that got better. Martial arts and soccer have put my body through the paces. I’m hardened by it for sure but I’m just being more conservative. My little bro has played with us since he aged in at 29 and that has been an ongoing joy. He has dealt with his own few injuries but he has also been playing both 30+ and 40+ league. He started thinking of downshifting as 2X week = 2X the joint wear and tear and 2X the chance of serious injury. Now the 40+ team started with a good buddy of mine and I from Sexton days and playing over in Denmark. We created a team whereas our old teammates could battle with us again. Now many of those people have retired their cleats. I’ve decided to join my brother in the 40+ league only. I exercise every day but you have to vary the routine. You don’t do arms day, arms day, arms day…okay maybe some do. It was hard because I love the team we formed and played with for so many years. It also felt like a demotion or admitting of our age. But again, if I can play hard and get the work out, uninjured and spend time with my brother, good deal. So a new chapter. That said I will likely miss games in May with film work. Let’s talk film shall we.
It has been a time of harvest even as we begin to prep the planting of new seeds.
THE CHRIST SLAYER – The 3rd film in The Quest Trilogy. It has been released on digital and I’ve had just some beautiful ‘fan-mail’ sent to me expressing their appreciation and love of the story. This includes someone who had pirated the film in India. This had happened on another film ‘Darkest Night’ which brought out fans who had not paid to watch. Now, I’ve seen some of the living conditions elsewhere whereas an entire extended (way extended) family live in a one room dwelling. Entertainment is often storytelling (beautiful), music or the family gathered around the one TV and DVD player. If the film stolen or not is playing and bringing some joy via our story, let good karma be our payment. But, if you can afford. Please do rent or buy it. It hurts the little guy filmmakers and makes it harder to make films. It is hard enough already. Go back to my first blog entries and start reading. It was a good conversation and now he just may promote our cause.
Also last week I said that all these films have seen a point whereas they were attacked. Many people are mad at actions and words uttered or done by people claiming to be faith authorities. The films are for entertainment and to provoke thought. I claim to be an expert of zero. I have no time to argue any points as I’m working on the next story. But I’ve seen at least one guy vocally slam the film without watching because I’m white. Whatever that means in our generation of DNA. Test yourself and hate will diminish as many find out we are all brothers and sisters. But is Brad Pitt Greek? The Rock? We were not making any statement on race, watch WILD FAITH for that:) It is a story of LOVE, microcosmos and macrocosmos. If the guy watched it and hated it, likely he would because people get out what they bring in. At least he was speaking about something he saw. Just like people can BUY bundles of IMDB star meter hits, amazon ratings, etc…always a bunch of 1’s and 2’s appear overnight from unknown sources. I think again because Jesus is a figure in the story. A version of him is on the cover. So people wronged by an organized religion or so-called expert in faith they carry a deep hate. That usually comes out on the mysterious J-Man. I’ve been right on par with people disgusted by what I’ve seen. The Jim Baker 80’s was…well you know. I just like the idea of looking at 3 times – BIRTH, BEFORE any of the organized stories. (See Chasing the Star) – BEFORE any ministry. (See Forty Nights) and – AFTER any ministry – death to rebirth to…watch The Christ Slayer. These stories dance around the dirt that has soiled the image of any organized ministry for many people. For people within organized bodies who want to exalt themselves and proclaim faith expertness, have at it. But I value every persons ability to evaluate. So even if you see Christianity as legit as the Jedi Academy in Star Wars, take a watch. The core tenets, the seeds, are interesting. And yes, all three films were produced to present the stories in a very Star Wars-like way. I think the translation is actually quite cool. We kept the same amazing DP, Mr. Jesse Aragon. The most awesome music composer I know, Dennis Therrian. And the best keys and directors we could convince to go on a journey. Those that possess desert stripes know. Our cast and crew got one for each film. I will remember those films and the making of them forever.
Tomorrow is DVD March 4th and April 19th is the event theatrical showings for Easter. My ‘faith film’ watching consisted of Chuck Heston biblical epics at Christmas and Easter. That is my influence so even if you have never stepped a foot in church please take a watch. If you kneel on a rug facing East to pray – please take a watch. No-Jesus Jewish, take a watch. Atheists take a watch. Just watch a cool trilogy unfold that is not just about mankind but the angels – fallen and not. I will continue to occasionally enjoy your comments but don’t hate to just hate. At least watch it. Oh, and pay for it:) Stealing is stealing, rhyming and stealing’ …
SIDE NOTE: I’ve been reading the Beastie Boys Book, a bio on the bank. It is very cool to read their journey. They have had the up’s and down’s of all artists.
WILD FAITH – This machine is about to kick off with the March 23rd national theater release. This came about because of the limited run we do last year. The film looks and sounds even better and we’ve added something special. Also we’ll be releasing the new poster work. I will leave you with this DOVE review and it just may contain a few surprises teases.
DOVE FAMILY FILM review of WILD FAITH
We’ve been dealing with final paperwork, approved releases/photos and such. I’m really excited to go back into the theater and see this film. You will also be able to pre-order the DVD later this month.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend
I got to spend the week watching and re-watching scenes and taking notes. The film this week is being prepped to travel to Dennis Therrian. Dialog clean up will be first and sound design and music will follow. The film is really powerful and I’m so happy for everyone involved. For me filming was heavy, representing the actual wounded. I also was told by furry best friend had cancer and it was a battle for time. It was a shoot that was hard to squeeze ‘fun’ from. But I think it worked for the film and it will be a good tribute. Once the picture moved to post audio we’ll color correct and cut a new trailer from the final cut of the film. Good stuff ahead.
Last week we released a casting call for an 8-12 year old-young actress. We’ve been getting some great looks at performance. On the ‘Lost Heart’ Facebook site people have been dropping their dramatic reels. Thank you. We’ll keep reviewing. We have a least one role that is a younger version of a casted role still coming. So we’re waiting to cast the larger older role before casting the younger version. This week director Jesse Low and I spend two days and many hours reviewing the script. We’re getting close to a locked production script. We’ve also been scouting Northern Michigan locations and starting talks with lodging options. We’re still presenting to investors but we’ve had progress there. It is always a timing issue but things are coming together.
My advance casting announcement is for Mr. Austin Two-feathers and Greg Mason, both have participated in a handful of CDI pictures. Unique talent is always what we’re looking for and these two gents have just that. So you heard it here first:)
IN OTHER NEWS
I have two commercial VO’s that have been pushed a week. You never know who those voices on those commercials belong too:) I enjoyed a fun meet-N-greet with a filmmaker from the Detroit area who has been making moves. I’ve seen them come and I’ve seen them go. Some move away but many more fade away. I think this individual has his heart in the right place and his previous accomplishments had prepared him to lead. You need good leaders to make a market work. I stated and I’ll state again, this is where I plant my flag. I’m a Michigander 4 LIFE. I travel but this is home and I will keep this as a base for making film. People chase all over seeking that short cut but many come to realize “it’s not the location but the motivation” – Trademark DJ Perry:) This meeting was a chance to swap war stories and get to know one another. Every collaboration I’ve ever had usually started with a few drinks and talking about dreams. We’ll see where it all goes but I see a second meeting in the near future.
Alright my friend. I’m on the last cup of coffee and today we’re taking our baby boy Finn to a puppy play. He just hit 45 lbs at six months and still looks like he has a lot of growth still in him. He has truly been a joy. Have a great week. Add a DVD (The Christ Slayer) to your collection.
Buy the DVD here:
I hope you all have a great week.
The great melt is underway here in Michigan. After record setting cold we are now getting an influx of warm air and the white world is giving way to browns and greens. The squirrels are out and about and I’m looking to see if one of the injured in the neighborhood survived the arctic blast. Something had attached it and it was visible injured but he was getting by. He was in a nearby tree as the worst of the snow blast hit us. We even but a box out with cloth and some food but he seems to have made it back to his hidden hole. I’m cheering for him to survive. I want to thank our new readers from Ireland. Let’s take a sip of coffee and see what happened this past week.
THE CHRIST SLAYER – we’ve entered into the season of The Christ Slayer and I could not be happier. We had a delay by a day with our digital purchase site on Amazon. The upload failed during the storms but is now up minus the artwork.
Amazon rent/buy digital:
For those who love to collect like myself – the DVD pre-order link:
On Christian Cinema:
One of my favorite reviewers is Matt Page out of the UK
BIBLE BLOG REVIEW
If you want the film to play theatrically in your area please contact
Stay tune for more info as this movie keeps rolling out.
We’ll be moving into more promotion on this wonderful film starting with the movie going back into theaters. Shane Hagedorn just did a great podcast that we’ll be sharing along with new reviews.
The theatrical set up is underway and soon I hope to have what cities it will play in soon. Same thing on The Christ Slayer for the Easter event screenings.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – It sounds as if we are about done with a first cut. They are adding some transitional drone shots and tweaking it. I hope to see the cut by the 15th of Feb so we can lock up the picture and move into music and sound design.
We’ve had several talks/meetings with possible directors on our next film LOST HEART. We’ve also been casting for several months and we’ll start to announce some of those talents. We’re targeting to shoot in April in Northern Michigan. It all depends on how fast the business can all be pulled together. That said, the LOI to distribute is in place and we already have some financial commits.
It is serious work to try and match the right project up with the right director. It is also a creative marriage between individuals for several years. So it is not something we take lightly. And sometimes we discover people that might not direct our next film but could be in line for something else in the future.
In a meeting Saturday if was said that the Michigan film community is small and everyone knows one another. I disagreed as when I first started the film community in Michigan was SMALL, SMALL, SMALL and you did know almost everyone. The Michigan community now is actually MUCH larger and I can say that I don’t know that many people in our community. I know some but not all and I don’t have time to meet everyone. I’m friends with film makers worldwide and I guess I know who I know. I don’t have the time to knock around the state at every mixer or function. I have an endless TO DO list but I guess being busy is a good thing. But I believe we meet the people we are meant to meet. I’ve noted before I’m open to select collaboration and work on projects as talent if the project is solid and has funding.
Aside from all this I have been doing the business taxes for the end of the year. What fun all that is:) It is part of the whole so I’ve been smiling and making my way through it. It keeps making the ship more organized and we’ll take that forward into the future.
Have a wonderful day and keep working hard to achieve your goals and dreams.
Good morning everyone. Coffee skol!
With business, it’s been a crazy week but also exciting at the same time. Personally it was a mixed week with a memorial yesterday for my aunt. It was great to see all my cousins and uncle but the bubbly laughter of my aunt was missed. We are hosting a second puppy playdate today to see how our remaining dog Daphne interacts. We’re looking to bring another member into our little pack this month. The holidays are hectic but our personal schedules slow which allows for some bonding and training time.
The snow will soon come to lower Michigan and I’ve been working in the yard to try to winterize. Our Viking Thursdays have been cutting some wood for the fort/office wood stove. We had some good visits around burning logs this past week. Let’s discuss some of the battles from the past week.
I like to stay ahead – prep for upcoming things. Our distributor had a good response to MBF at mipcom and wanted a teaser first look at footage for AFM. I don’t like rush jobs but in two days the team pulled together a trailer for AFM. We need to sit back and fine comb the footage. A tailored music score needs to be added along with a re-recorded Voice Over. We are looking to have that done but at the same time we’re trying not to disrupt the work flow on – THE CHRIST SLAYER.
I’ve seen the rough DVD poster art that BMG is using at AFM. I like it. It’s a slightly different style from the first two and features some of the characters from the film. I know that is pretty common and some like that and others do not. Either way it’s very polished. I like our teaser poster and I look forward to sharing the DVD art soon. I have not seen the entire wrap. I hope to have theatrical info on the film so we can PR the entire release schedule.
WILD FAITH is also part of those theatrical talks. We’re also working the home video deal. That includes the celebrity narrator we’re adding to the film. We almost had that recorded in LA last week. We had a studio on stand by and I was coordinating between agent and our director. Shooting on a project running over nixed that session and now we’re looking at Nashville next Tuesday. I’m in hopes we can close that down soon. Another great 2019 release!
LOST HEART development is ongoing. What I like about this film is a zany group of characters whose antics and actions offset the heavier aspects of the script. It has several solid messages woven into the fabric of the script. It is more grounded versus some of the other more high concept stories.
I’m also enjoying my writing on the Sci-Fi project that I recently spoke to a distribution company about. The literary agent review will continue into 2019. The stories I wrote for the book collection of horse stories is prepping for release. I’ve got to return some paperwork on payment this Monday. I’m looking forward to more book contributions in 2019 also.
Our other holiday films FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR are starting their holiday season. DOVE streaming, UpLift Network and more are featuring some of the stories. I’ve stated before in was a dream to have the trilogy play together every holiday season. Last year the first two films were playing often in rotation and I’m exciting to be adding the third THE CHRIST SLAYER. From Nov 1 – Easter is going to be a fun ride.
Fun also not just because of the business but because of friends and family. I’m going to end this so I can get cleaned up. We have the puppy play date followed by a family bday get together. We’re also putting away the ghosts and goblins and the Thanksgiving stuff is coming out. The squirrels are loving the remains of Halloween. Those pumpkins will not go to waste. Have a great week everyone.
The chilly fall has settled into Michigan making sipping coffee or hot cider even more enjoyable. Now is when I have to start thinking of the winter ahead. The stuff that will have to be put away and stored. The firewood for the coming snow. Even the change of clothes to heavier layers, is a normal process in Michigan. I think last week we discussed something which was the delay in shooting our next feature by a quarter. The funds are there and so many would want to rush to production, the fun part. But, we’re putting the icing on the cake for a wonderful distribution deal on WILD FAITH. It has been a touch slower since I’ve had the joy of working with the Hollywood agent system. But, in the end it will be worth it and will directly have an effect on the TV series. Upcoming 2019 will see the major organizing of the release and push on the series. We are planning to shoot in Michigan. Likely a series of shows shot in a tight production block. It’s new waters for me so I’m learning something new every day.
Tomorrow we’ll announce via PR our recent Crown Award and the Burbank International Film Fest win for ‘Best Faith Film’ and while I would have loved to have it gone against all the films – they work by genres. But WILD FAITH is just an accurate look at 1870’s life. As the screenwriter I did not add any overdue FAITH. People we’re just more living in tune with their faith during that time period. Life was more wooly and I think people had more life and death encounters be it disease, drought, famine, bear attacks – you get the point. I love the faith and inspirational themes. ROCKY being one of my favorite illustrations of that. On his way to the fight – the father priest throws down and few blessings. Yes. ROCKY could be a faith film and it would have surely won ‘Best Inspirational’ as I’ve seen it inspire masses and I’ve been inspired by that film. My point is, I’ve never set out to make a ‘Faith Film’ and I’ve never set out to not make a ‘Faith Film” – I’ve told a story. Characters in almost all stories are confronted by a situation that tests their faith thus the relatable conflict.
Dorothy in The Wizard of OZ must find her faith. Indiana Jones fights to keep his faith versus his scientific reasoning, Men vs shark in JAWS, puts faith out there to be chewed upon as a topic. I think every film made about mankind has faith woven into it. So, is it that the content must have X amount ‘faith’ in it? Judges in chairs that spin around and hit a button if your film has the required ‘faith’? I appreciate it mostly, the acceptance to our films. But because the story, characters, situations, lessons were all something that were touched upon. That shed a bit of light on our faults projected onto a screen, so we can better understand ourselves. Deep. I know. Occasionally, I feel quite grand with my profession, pride like a good woodworker, or any other artist. Mostly, I still feel like that kid, make believing with my neighborhood friends living out our own STRANGER THINGS life.
I’ve changed some in my screenwriting, I’ve noted. My earlier self was darker, heavier and nihilistic. My mom often questioning, why I kept dying in my films. Now, I’ve always had a funny, lighter side to my personality, ask anyone who really knows me. But, most of my writing came in my moments of solitary. Also writers in Michigan benefit from our long winters but the end result is often PSYCHO or THE SHINING writing in nature. Those previously mentioned films are two of my favorite for the season. Another side note: I do want to do another horror film but it has to be good. By good I mean story. Creating horror films in the handful of story formulas is like a rite of passage. The lovers of that genre cannibalize the artists with dastardly reviews. But meet them in person and they’ve always been very nice. Maybe because they saw you on camera foaming at the mouth and swinging an axe. Anyway, I was saying that I enjoy the laughter and smiles. I recall many showings of WICKED SPRING whereas people wept in the theater. We did that with our story. But I see so much negativity and anxiety with people not coping to our new world. A world where we’re more communication-connected than ever before BUT we’re not. FRIENDS have a new definition thanks to FACEBOOK but my definition stays the same. I want to be part of making people think, smile, laugh and still occasionally cry, if that comes with an enlightenment.
The ‘Faith Film’ anti-goodhousekeeping seal of quality is being shattered as more storytellers (without labels) are returning to tell stories that their grandmother, mothers and fathers would enjoy. Ben Hur (The Original) and Ten Commandments (The Classics) were always on TV when we had our family Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter gatherings. There are great organizations that are rising to recognize and award this kind of content. I always worry about censorship, we can choose to watch what we want. But if a demand is there, look at the rise in METV, Heroes & Icons, and the rise of the faith market. People are casting their votes with their rentals and purchases. I feel most honored by the online communications from viewers having powerful emotions invoked from our stories. It is a dream to have holidays where the films play and families bond over a watch. My goal is to make a few classics. All of them might not make it but we’ll give our ‘best effort’ every time.
I was reminded yesterday when inquiring about a director whom a close associate had worked with – their last film isn’t done. It hasn’t been completed in a matter of several years. As an actor, I’ve got two films shot in recent years, one a co-starring role, not finished. I’ve got a call, meeting, catch up with a director friend who’s trying to finish one of two projects we did together in the very distant past. It bothers me occasionally talking someone’s new project(s) when those people have loose strings to tie up. There are many films about that don’t interest me as a viewer, but I always tip my hat to finishing. Finishing is a skill needed in this industry, without it, suffering. But it sounds like my old friend is trying to finish, so that’s a good thing.
This week I finished my first solid draft on our next script with BMG entitled LOST HEART. In meetings with our distributor, they really liked a concept made easier that I had written something in the same vein. But I wanted to apply some of the growth I had made mentioned above. Same log line but different script. I had a wonderful time creating this story and it became so alive with characters and a world, other’s will long to visit. Jeff Kennedy and I, my partner in CDI, semi-retired – always had that as a goal. To create a world and invite people inside it. The CDI first five – really helped hone this craft. You have to BELIEVE in the world. Another 2019 goal is to get Jeff Kennedy back into a director’s chair. I have a few good ideas but they will require a good pow wow or two.
MBF has been in editing. They shot a few pick up establishing shots and transitions this week. Always good to do this once you get into the edit and really see what could be added. This film I’m so proud of. It showcases and pleads for better treatment of our war vets and dogs, that can heal us. We continue to release official stills from this film. For now the spotlight is given to…
THE CHRIST SLAYER!
Find our social media site on Facebook – lots of updates.
Part 3 has a bold name. But the title has a meaning that audiences will discover, maybe not what they thought. I’m excited to say that Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy is coming all together. I watched a recent 5k work flow version with 98% VFX. Color Correction and conforming still lie ahead. ADR, music and sound design are steadily under construction. I’ve been working with the distributor and their marketing team as we prepare for release in early 2019. I was really happy with the story, smiling throughout. I love watching artists friends give moving performances. That’s what we want deep down. To captivate and transfer that emotion via story. This will be an exciting watch and so again, catch up – parts 1 (FORTY NIGHTS) & 2 (CHASING THE STAR) on Pureflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Christian Cinema, Parables TV….and so on. To our cast and crew, it will be worth the wait.
Okay, time for a pumpkin spice english muffin and another coffee.
Have a great Sunday!
I see that several new readers have joined us from India. Namaste my friends. A handful of years ago I co-starred in a great spooky thriller in India entitled “Karma: Crime, Passion, Reincarnation” – what fun. It played in theaters but did not make it here. When we get the streaming part of CDI up I want to try to get that film on our platform. It stars Carl Weyant that others will see this Christmas in our third film in THE QUEST TRILOGY, “The Christ Slayer”. Speaking on this film, I’ve seen the first music draft of the trailer and now color corrections and final tweaks are underway. It is exciting to have this film preparing to meet the world around Christmas with a large targeted release next Easter. We also just had a bday for my co-star Josh ‘Ponceman’ Perry! (Fist Bump)
GREEN LIGHT. I’m also proud to announce all funds are committed and MBF (Man’s Best Friend) was announced in Official Pre-Production. It will film in May/June in Michigan with an amazing team gathered around Anthony Hornus as director. I’m playing a title role in this film and I’m EXCITED about being able to watch the performances. We have a tech scout this coming week and I’ll be reaching out to possible crew.
In a matter of days the music video I participated in entitled ‘My Ghost’ by musician Trey Connor will release around the 14th. I am trying to see if I can arrange it to play before “Wild Faith” on one of these special screenings. I’m very happy with their work and the story put forth in those few minutes is really powerful.
Let’s talk about “Wild Faith” for a moment. I always knew if this film could ever be made it would be powerful. I’m so glad I stuck to my guns all those years ago. I feel bad for the dishonest folks in CA who almost killed this project. I’m so very happy that the power of the story would not die. It’s a different movie from the original screenplay which you can read via the novelization. In many ways things in the story changed but the heart of the story survived the transplant. Budget is the #1 reason why we had to go from page one through the script. Names were also changed to fit the new players of our story. I’m so proud that the story made it into existence. The response is more than I could have asked for. Sold out shows. Listening to people laugh and cry in the theater has been touching. I love that people are now understanding it is a FAMILY movie. A history class full of middle school children set up a special screening at Celebration Cinemas. How amazing is that.
If you want the film in your area you need to 1) Contact your local theater and request “Wild Faith” and 2) Get an email/name of the manager of that theater. 3) Get us that contact info. The film is now moving to Novi, Michigan near Detroit thanks to our friends at Emagine Theaters. It starts playing on April 6-12th and if that first weekend is good we’ll likely get another week added. We’re in talks to try to bring it to Hastings area where we shot. Also we’re in talks with theaters in West Virginia and South and North Carolina. I can see Texas and maybe GA in our future. We’ll bring the film wherever the demand is and the business makes sense. I do know that it will be traveling to Florida to play for audiences at the Christian International Film Festival. We’ve been nominated for several awards and many of our nominees will be present.
One of the main films “Wild Faith” is up against is part 2 of THE QUEST TRILOGY – “Chasing the Star” which also has Dennis Therrian up for Best Score, myself for Best Screenplay and the overall ‘Most Inspirational’ which “Forty Nights” took last year. If you have not seen these two films both can be found on Amazon Prime, Christian Cinema and many other platforms. With this being Easter weekend both these films are a wonderful watch. “Chasing the Star” is more adventure and can be watched at anytime. There was no snow, jingles bells or Christmas carols. I know “Forty Nights” is playing Parables TV tonight I believe at 8:30pm not sure if that is EST or what so check your listing.
“Wicked Spring” is a beautiful Civil War era drama that our team produced many years ago. It can now be watched on Amazon Prime or the DVD has a great 44 min making of for those aspiring filmmakers. Joining this classic is “Ashes of Eden” which is now also on Amazon Prime. I really do appreciate all the fans that are now enjoying our past library.
I could go on about development and such but I will leave that to next week. I’m just going to again talk about collective compromise. Every great endeavor is usually the result of mixed collaboration. Led Zeppelin 12 years of compromise and collaboration. Individually or paired Page and Plant are still not the same as Zeppelin. I think too many people want/need to win so absolutely that it comes at the expense of the whole. Same side of the table negotiation. Whereas both parties walk away with some degree of satisfaction. These same ideas can be applied in all areas of life personal and professional.
Poor communication usually leaves both parties unable/unwilling to look for that common ground. Good communication starts with respectful communication EVEN if the opinions differ. Most people fail right out the gate with condescending communication which just says that they never entered with an attempt to collaborate. Many want to be heard but don’t care if they’re understood. That is failure. When I see people shouting at one another or vicious text communications – I just see venting. Good maybe for the person unable to cope but it does little to advance any understanding.
So now I try to see with compassion that people are so under their own self-inflicted negative rage. High blood pressure, anxiety attacks – people build their own prisons emotionally. So to bring this full circle – take yourself out of crisis-mode. Empty your cup of opinions and learn the art of good communication. Learn to collaborate with others and you’ll see amazing things happen. Life is too short to be angry all the time and for many this is just a phase in their lives. Whomever you are – be that someone in your actions and words that inspires others to be like you. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Try treating and speaking to others in the respectful manner you would like to be addressed. Before letting that “Conservative POS” or “Snowflake” comment fly from your irrational angered mouth or key board – STOP. Take a deep breath and be open to communicate, collaborate and yes, compromise.
Be good to one another. Happy Easter.
So again this morning I enjoyed watching our squirrel friends eating the strawberry tops and some aged bread. My desk now looks out over the favorite feeding spot for our furry friends. Our yard is already a haven for wildlife with our acorns, mulberries, edible mushrooms and our garden full of abundance in the season. This winter we had a few cold days coupled with a heavy snow here or there but overall not too bad. This week I might bottle up the next batch of wine “Frankenberry” which was a use up of fruit taking up freezer space. We have a lot to celebrate as of late and I foresee more toasting in the near future.
This weekend started with a nice surprise bday gathering at a local place called DUSTY’S CELLAR. I had a great blond ale that tasted a lot like the last beer I made. Also had some aged ribeye that was wonderful. The full moon also allowed me a few indulgences. I eat junk food (donut, cake, candy bar, ice cream) only during 24 hours of each month. It makes those things a little more special and keeps my sugar/junk intake very low. To anyone who might try – it was only hard the first month or two. Sugar addiction is real and while I seldom partake I know it can be a real challenge. My funniest moment that night was walking into the wrong private room. “Someone order a stripper?” Just kidding – it was funny for sure.
This Sat I had a chance to see BLACK PANTHER and it was cool to see an exotic take on the superhero genre. We always see the NYC-type big city so it was great to see a story based in Afrika. My brother got to join us and that is always fun. A good movie in my opinion. I did re-watch “Raiders of the Lost Ark” this week while doing some desk work. That is truly a great film in my book. Okay, we’ve come around to talking about movies. I guess we can discuss our movies.
This week saw “Wicked Spring” premiere to digital streaming and remastered DVD this past week. It is on various platforms but Amazon Prime is the big one. Read about it here – https://www.prlog.org/12695043-digitally-remastered-cdi-civil-war-epic-wicked-spring-hits-amazon-prime.html
The Amazon link is here – https://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Spring-Brian-Merrick/dp/B079HWQQKC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1519913275&sr=8-3&keywords=Wicked+Spring
This film is the one we cut our teeth on as producers. This is a wonderful primer as we’re about to premiere our new 1800’s action/drama “Wild Faith” this month. We did a great Showbiz Weekly radio show and we have more PR leading up to the March 16-22 run at Celebration Cinemas in Lansing and Grand Rapids, MI. Tickets can be purchased now online –
You can also read an earlier version of the film here – I would appreciate any reviews-
Book your tickets here –
This past week and the week ahead will be important meetings for the film and possible TV series. I’m just excited to have family, friends and fans watch this film. Those that have gotten the advanced look have raved about the balanced blend and pacing which is a hard thing to achieve. On the indie level I see that people often become close friends with all the talent and there exists pressure not to cut certain scenes. This can be because of an insistent writer. Or not wanting to hurt feelings – but the overall film needs to be a deciding factor. I think those involved will be very happy. I’m also excited to have friends from out-of-town coming in to see the film.
THE QUEST TRILOGY
As the 3rd film “THE CHRIST SLAYER” is being worked on we’re about to put the Easter push on the first two films “Forty Nights” and “Chasing the Star” which are great adventures to watch at any time. But families gather at the holidays and these films are built to be enjoyed by the whole family. Have you watched these films? They can be found on Amazon Prime and several major platforms or on DVD.
MBF – We made some good advances on Man’s Best Friend, and we’re so very close to moving into pre-production. We’re into a slight push from our ideal time and so the sport theme in the film may change but it does nothing to our story. We’ve had some great strides made by the Red, White and Blue Project non-profit that is sponsoring some of the military vets so they can do some educational events as well as filming. If you want to see how your company or you can get involved feel free to reach out to me direct.
Aside from all these endeavors I’ve been looking at future acting possibilities and preparing to cut some checks back to investors. A few new deals underway and I’m just flowing with 2018. I had updates on a few projects I thought had faded out but apparently not. One could mean a script sale this year so we’ll see how that works out. Always good to have a few irons in the fire. But a few of those irons are RED HOT. Soccer season is also soon upon us and so I’m going to be increasing my conditioning. I had a good winter of healing last year’s battle wounds and I’m ready to go at it again. With our few nice days I was able to get a lot of yard work done. I’m excited for Spring.
Have a wonderful day. If you feel like supporting feel free to watch some of the films at your leisure at home or experience them on the grand screen. We will be announcing other play dates throughout the Spring/Summer for “Wild Faith” – have a great day!
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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Shane Hagedorn’s big shoulders to carry his first feature
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.
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.
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
We’ll be posting places you can buy/rent as they go live on
Wicked Spring Facebook
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.
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.
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!
I’ve got the hot hazelnut coffee by my side as I ease into writing these few words to share with all of you. New readers from Spain – welcome.
So I’m going to share something from my process of character creation. I’ve grown comfortable with my long hair and even my beard of various lengths. From Donnie in ASHES OF EDEN to Mark Franklin in BESTSELLER. Add in the identity that comes with playing Jesus or mountain man Ben Lily. The prep for the new role is for an injured military vet. I decided with some time to spare I would destroy the ego/self and go boot camp. I did not serve in the military and not sure that with my flat feet I could have. But holding onto the bearded long-haired look was holding me back. So I decided I was going to remove that. I did not WANT to cut my hair. I did not WANT to go clean-shaven. Especially as the air gets colder in Michigan and in a few weeks snow will fall. I thought about the ego of someone like Elvis who entered service and the pics of his haircut. I needed to break myself down. So I deemed this haircut as a NEED for the character but not a wanted thing. So my significant other helped with possible haircuts military in style. I did not like any of them because I did not want the cut. What I did want was that feeling new recruits went through when they got all their hair cut off and they became part of a unit/team/company of soldiers. So I had the cut done. I felt vulnerable with the shorn hair. I was not happy with my decision but beneath it all I was happy. I was far from Jesus, Ben and all the longer haired roles. See I think my girl thought I was doing it to feel good about myself. Many get hair cuts to feel good about themselves. I did it to destroy my current self. To create a new base to build Paul, whom I will play in the upcoming MBF film. This brought about an interesting conversation about change of looks. I was asked if I ever consider her in my hair choices. The answer was no. It has always been based on movie roles for 20 some years now. I’m always in development of some character. But it was interesting because I think many people do care about how they appear. I only want truth in the character. Does that constant change affect her? Perhaps. I guess because I do it for work reasons I never give it any thought. She asked what if I wanted a pixie hair cut and tattoo on her chest, would I care? I guess I’m open to allow people to express themselves. I like people who wear/look how they want to. I assume she picks styles based on what her work allows and what makes her feel good. Here I am cutting my hair against my own will to break myself down. To strip away the old and allow new growth. Not just in hair but in character. So a lot of credit to those non-industry significant others who have to deal with us and our character creation. So from this point on I’m growing into that new role. I just realized how different I think from many others. I don’t give a rats ass about the brand of clothes. I’ve been to India and I know the real cost of textiles. I know the mark up that these companies put on your favorite garments. I don’t believe the clothes makes the man but the man makes the clothes. I think if you judge me wrong because of a hair style, your loss. The other reason I pushed to do the cut this week was soccer. We won one of the most exciting soccer matches last week in round one of the soccer play offs. A fluke goal at the start put us behind. We settled in and took back control including scoring and making it a tie. With only 2 minutes left they scored. A minute or less and we attacked and scored with only seconds left. A shoot out that went to the fifth penalty shot kick and we WON. Tonight under the lights is the semi-final game. I’ve been using a headband to keep my long hair out of my eyes. Now I have full range of vision and I’m ready to focus on getting to that final game. Okay. Onto some film updates.
After a long wait the first official poster is HERE. I’m excited to finish this film. It will be done this year and if we can get done early enough we will look at a cast and crew screening. The music and sound design is going great. We just have 10 seconds of VFX work that is being worked on.
THE QUEST TRILOGY
VFX is the main push on THE CHRIST SLAYER. We’ll be rolling out the first official poster on this project in the coming weeks. Once VFX is dropped in we’ll fine-edit the picture and in Jan. 2018 it moves into music and sound design for 3 months.
CHASING THE STAR is in the marketplace and along with Part 1 FORTY NIGHTS will get the holiday push. I was looking at all the films on Amazon and it put a smile on my face. I’m so proud of all the artists. If you’ve watched and enjoyed the films leave a review on http://www.imdb.com (Film title) or amazon.com or wherever. I cringed when I saw our director asking on social media because it always brings the trolls, haters and such to leave their mark. But these mudslingers just smack an entire group of artists. I mean even in a bad film clip I can usually pick out some positive. I recently watched a clip edited by an associate I know – it featured some good locations but made me cringe when it came to some flashback footage. It takes as much energy to do something right as wrong. I would rather not call these people out as they’re doing something and improvement comes from doing. I also don’t feel in competition with anyone save our last project. I try to improve the work flow that often improves the final film. This example I’m thinking of was a failure of either the writer or art department. Know what you’re writing about. If I’m playing a Marine in the next film, I make sure it’s CORRECT. And if it is not 100% correct it should be close. Get the right consultants. There are many who will gladly help so that their history is not made a joke on-screen. Trust me as someone who has done many period films – it’s added work but so worth it at the end.
The new project by CDI is in full swing. Our first investors are giving their interest and casting is coming to a close. We’ll be announcing our two major keys this week. Anthony Hornus will be directing with Jesse Aragon serving as director of photography. We held on that PR due to the WILD FAITH poster announcement. We’ll start announcing cast over the next couple of weeks. I can say we have a powerful cast lined up. Stay tuned.
I’m going to call it for the day. The coffee cup needs refilling. I have a few errands to run and I need to mentally prepare for our game today. I hope you all have a great conclusion to your weekend and a productive week ahead.
Be good to one another.