HOT TOPICS – INSIGHTS
OK! I have my hazelnut coffee beside me as I work on a few business items. I think it’s good to first say thank you to all our military folks who allow us all the freedoms we enjoy. While we are far from perfect as a society here in the USA we do strive to better ourselves. I personally did not elect to be a politician and so my personal feelings on certain subjects are just opinions. I did choose to be a storyteller. Be you – Right wing, left-wing, wing nut, black, white, yellow, brown or purple – I want to entertain and enlighten you via motion pictures. I recall late last year getting fan mail from Egypt following one of our films playing the Cairo Film Fest. I got fan mail a few weeks ago from India over another film. I really love people’s cultures, traditions, foods and art. I think we are in a time whereas people are boldly putting mortal agendas onto divine heresy. Words are symbols combined to convey meaning. I see communication breakdowns passing a few instructions down the film production line. Imagine various levels of educations, multiple languages, lacking the right word to describe something, unable to describe something and the humanistic urge to put their own agenda and spin on something. Now multiple this by hundreds or thousands of years and things get very blurry.
I would say preach whatever religion or outlook you wish. Shall and Shall Nots. But nowhere does anyone mortal have the anointed position to make judgement spiritually. People flock together to feel more confident in their own choices and decisions. Numbers don’t make one right. And each person may be judged (if you want to subscribe there) individually. But not by anything or anyone here – not in matters of soul, spirit or divine essence. If people would let people live and stand accountable in the end for their own actions – all would be better. Concern yourself with yourself, I say. The Golden Rule is beautiful because you don’t know if you are right. You can tell yourself that. You can quote from text that may or may not be accurate. But in the end IF you believe in judgement – what if you are wrong? What if a half-dozen people different from you in their beliefs are brought forth and asked if they would vouch for you as worthy. Did you give kindness, compassion and love to these and other people? Or did you pass hate, intolerance and judgement upon people. That feels like a power best left to scales held on a much greater divine level. When I see those who stand in high judgement I see the coming of their fall. When I hear talk so crazy or hate-filled – I imagine what great displeasure of someone who puts words into others mouth. People may await the return of a savior but from what I see – people should not be so excited by this unless God is grading on a curve. And those who think they have the cheat sheet created by authors – edited a thousand times – and hand selected for digestion again by Wise? Men? Be careful!
THE CLOAK THAT COVERS THE SPARK
The color of our skin is but the traveling cloak. Perhaps our body itself just the bio-organic clothes we wear over our individual sparks. I see how a spark within us could be created in the image of a greater – more vast powerful divine spark. Stripped of EVERYTHING mortal how are our sparks different from one another? Ponder that. I’ve often thought that while so many sit and await some return of a savior perhaps the people themselves have the power over when that someone will return, reveal or make oneself known. Should mankind evolve to a higher state where they are truly ready – maybe someone will step forth. It could happen:)
SYMBOLS – GOOD, BAD & UGLY
I have also done a Civil War movie in Virginia (Wicked Spring) and spent much time in the beautiful South. I was also born in the North, in equally beautiful Michigan. While I will be the first to say I’ve seen shunning and disparaging talks about people wearing different traveling cloaks everywhere. I’ve always been quick to step up on these conversations if in earshot. Some Brits talking about Indians. (From India) Indians (From India) talking about darker skin Indians. Japanese talking about the Chinese. Whites about blacks. Canadians about the Detroit Red Wings. Seriously – all shaped by our experiences with one another. Be that good experience. I can say with all truth that in my travels IF people labeled me as an AMERICAN – I left them with a good impression of how we can be. FREEDOM TO BE. Just because we have the freedom to exercise something it is up to us to question should we. Where does the motivation lie? Pride, Shock, To Hurt, To Isolate, To Associate? Take a sensitive issue like FLAGS. What are flags? Symbols. These mean different things to different people. The cross. A dove. Crossbones with a skull. Symbols meant to rally, inspire, unify and identify. I keep hearing the comparison to the Nazi flag. The symbol on their flag was used first in Neolithic times. It has different meaning to the Chinese or the Indians. WW2 left dark meanings on a symbol that for thousands of years meant lucky. The beholder will see what they see. Today is a day that we celebrate the stars and stripes. I say it represents the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY. We as represented by that flag – have done remarkable, shameful and unthinkable things. But UNITED WE STAND. Our goal is to add more GOOD to our list of accomplishments. Can we ever erase the BAD or UGLY? No. But the ratio can be off set by adding additional GOOD deeds. We are also a country of freedom that purposely limits censorship. The need for “Censorship” to me often shows a lack of faith in select individuals to make good choices. AND while those groups may be partial correct – (We make bad choices as humans all the time) – to error allows one to grow. You will fall learning to walk. We allow much free will in America and constantly try to adjust our compass. Politics and special interest of those who hoard of shells and beads (currency which = symbols on paper or metals) this will make change slow but it will change. For better? For worse? Flags can mean PRIDE or HATE. Flags can get a reaction of PRIDE or HATE. The stars and stripes do not bring tears of pride to inhabitants of a far-away village accidentally bombed in some drone attack. The stars and stripes proudly flew on the moon. A flag can be the good, the bad and the ugly. It often is all three.
Finally! I know some of you are saying that. I usually take a step back on all those current issues but had many people ask my views. I had to ponder them for a while. Meanwhile in the film world GREAT things are happening.
We announced our new Parables TV licensing for “7 Stones,” “Outside the Wire,” and “Standing Post” – congrats to those cast and crews.
ASHES OF EDEN Oct. 13th worldwide release and how about that poster art! I love it.
BESTSELLER – We will know Monday about the July 21st show date at Studio C Celebration Cinema BUT we have our week run at the south Lansing location from the 24th-30th of July and I’m excited that some home town folks can come see the film. Audiences have really enjoyed it. I’m in talks with a handful of distributors for VOD, foreign and such. We are close to setting up some dates in the Detroit, MI area. We also have been working several others in hopes of getting it to all of you. We’ve gotten your communications and we’re working on it!
DONORS does look like it is signing a domestic deal with one of the distributors CDI Distribution has been in talks with. More on this is the coming weeks.
CDI Distribution is in talks with the Philippines and India on some licensing of films. China may be next via one of our associations.
40 NIGHTS – I’m very excited by this film. I got my final notes over to our director/editor and I think we will be closing up the edit in the next couple weeks. I would love to have the film move to music and sound around July 15th. The first official trailer is also almost done and I love it. The great part is that the trailer is powerful yet the film itself holds so, so much more! Not one of those trailers where all the best parts are thrown into the teaser. We do have a place on the http://www.40nightsthemovie.com website where churches and organizations can sign up if they want a screening. We will push this harder once we release the trailer.
UPCOMING PRODUCTIONS & CASTING
I’ve finally gotten to a point where development (always ongoing) is ready to take front and center. I’ve been writing on a handful of projects which will have their own PR forthcoming BUT those of you who come here to this blog get the 1st drop on some of these developments. Let me bullet point a few as my fingers are growing tired and eggs are calling me.
– We will be looking for (2) African-American Michigan-based talent. One is young girl 8-10 years of age and also a fine young lady of mid-late 20’s. We want to see dramatic resume reels and they can be sent directly to email@example.com and will be looked at by our development team. NO OTHERS AT THIS TIME PLEASE.
– I’ve been working on the “Knight Chills 2” script and that is moving along nicely. It will possibly go into production this year.
– I have started in on the next biblical feature to be shot as part of our Lightworx Entertainment deal. It is entitled “Chasing the Star” and we are looking to once again shoot in AZ come Jan/Feb 2016.
A couple other scripts are also being worked on as time and inspiration hit.
What is next acting-wise? I’ve gotten this question quite a bit as of late. We do have a few CDI projects as noted above that I will be participating in. Outside of that I’ve got a few projects my management has presented. It looks like I’m going to shoot a western trailer in August with an actor I truly admire. I’ve also been submitted directly to producers on a film to perhaps play a very famous person of history. Next week I’m also announcing my involvement in a studio project that has been coming together for a while. I had to get studio approval on everything but now that is all in place – SHAZAM! My HINT: The original source material is a Stephen King book.
I might have missed a few things but it is the 4th of July. I need to go relax and eat some good food with family and friends. Be safe everyone!
This new sunny day comes on the heels of a beautiful full moon and while cold something stirs. I think spring dares to creep into my mind – cook outs and cocktails. New showings will be forthcoming this year with I believe seven new films rolling out. I’ve grown to enjoy the marketing aspect. Working with the CDI sales team I really enjoy being involved with bringing this art to different countries and different people. While we have had some distributors that work we also have had our share of those that do not. I’ve had the pleasure of talking about our library of CDI films with distributors in many territories. For fans of my blog not in our TV/Film industry the domestic market consists of US/Canada. The rest of the world is divided up into forty some territories. Sometimes you sell a country or an area/region. So there is distribution 101 in TV/film. I’m looking to increase the number of allied buyers this year and we look to be in line to fulfill that goal.
We have been blitzing some PR on “Darkest Night” to align with its move to Hulu Plus. The recent success in Berlin of “found footage” style movies has directed some good heat to our film. So IF you like that type of film check it out. I’ll admit here and now NOT my favorite style of filmmaking BUT it was a good experience. Will I ever do another one? It would have to be the right project. I will be working with Russ Williams the writer/producer again but I think this next film will be more traditional.
Some exciting news is that our sales team will be handling “Judges” to the foreign market. I think Australia was the only foreign country that had an earlier release of the film. We plan to change that in the coming year so prepare for BUDDY COLT and the JUDGES to invade a country near you. I had great talks with director Stephen Walker and I will say that discussions about a JUDGES 2 are happening. A script that had “Father Kane” played by the late great Russ Stine, had been written. His passing away took the wind out of the sequel sails for a while but the winds are changing. We both agreed that after we do this foreign blitz with “Judges” we should prep for a sequel. So to all the “Judges” fans out there – things are happening.
I will be announcing a small pet project soon – actually 2014 could be the year of pet projects. If “Soul Eater” finds its legs along with a few others such as the “An Ordinary Killer” follow-up “Race to Judgment” – it could bring back some old faces. Old character faces, well my face maybe older – not really, grey…ok next topic.
“Ashes of Eden” is getting to the end of post production and our first premiere talks have started. We have had some wonderful interest in this film and I think it will have people talking. We have decided to walk at the end vs run so we make no mistakes and allow maximum creativity. This film is gonna play some theaters and is looking like we will have an international audience. If you have not seen these two trailers/previews go to http://www.ashesofedenmovie.com/trailer.html
As if that wasn’t enough – “Bestseller” is about a week from our rough edit. The goal is 120 minutes of heart pounding tension. The flight footage was just shipped in and we will all be excited to watch the 1st cut and start making notes. I’ve been happy with editor Chad Ice’s passion and excitement while working on this edit. I know that after the 1st cut we will assemble the first teaser trailer. Also things were put in motion to have the behind the scenes materials assembled. David Gries is going to edit some great footage captured by Seth Steele. Also look out for some upcoming poster art!
Distribution talks include too many films to break it all down here and now but trust me when I say that more of our international fans will get to see more of the films. My films are in more than twenty countries and I want to thank all the fans that reach out on the social media. I create these stories as do all the artists involved to entertain and share with you. So thank you.
OK. I have some work to do in the office and planning for the week ahead.
It has been a great week filled with few distractions save one of my furry children had surgery on his knee but he has been so very good. Luckily resting peacefully when it is cold and winter-like is a strong suit of his. So the nice part is I don’t have any real comments from the week other than I still am waiting for communication from one or two people on some business. I guess I’m already looking past those people because if they drop the ball on something small why would you entrust them with anymore greater. It is sad but that is business. I’m not a hobbyist and so I have to keep some clear lines. Other people are really impressing me and you will see how that affects them. Those people will grow as they adapt a new way of conducting themselves. PROFESSIONAL.
Okay let’s get onto some good updates.
Business with Germany is coming full circle now as “Wicked Spring” released and “Darkest Night” will be next in April followed by “Locked in a Room”. We are in talks on additional films now.
Also we are in talks with companies in Brazil, UK, Australia, India, Asia and soon I’m confident I’ll be announcing new deals. Also many development talks underway with a handful of companies foreign and domestic. The fruits of many years work is starting to ripen.
“7 Stones” is now on the market and “Darkest Night” just released to Hulu Plus which is exciting. They have a lot of movement through there and we are excited to be reaching so many. And with the recent announcement of the resurgence of “found footage” at Berlin I see many sales ahead!
I’ve got a project that looks like it will shoot in May and so PR on that project will be released in the coming weeks. I’m excited about the genre and the role itself. Some casting will be done on this project – stay tuned for announcements.
“Soul Eater” is also making some real strides and this does look to be the year that we find out what led to “The 8th Plague”. (Great watch if you like horror/gore)
In additional to all this business/creative work I am happy to say I have another writing project on deck. The paperwork should be done end of next week and PR will also go out on that. I’m feeling blessed by all the good progress being made on many fronts. All these calls, emails and writing are perfect snow day activities so I’m just staying warm and knocking stuff down. We’ve also started serious discussions on the premiere set up for “Ashes of Eden” that will be done end of the month. Lastly, “Bestseller” rough cut is getting close and we will also be putting together some behind the scenes and the first look teaser trailer. So I’m extremely excited by all this and can’t wait for audiences/fans/you to see the work.
Enjoy your Saturday!
Hazelnut coffee is flowing as another bout of snow gently falls. I’m happy to be here with all of you recounting the events of the week. The traction on deal making is really picking up. I will take a moment to give some heart-felt advice that they don’t teach these kids in their film studies. PROFESSIONALISM IN COMMUNICATION – By this I mean if you are contacted by someone (especially if they have paid you prior) you need to respond in a timely fashion. I would bet that not one of these individuals I’m speaking about has the work load I do. Even if I am extremely busy I will respond back to say I’m extremely busy. From there a mutual good time to communicate can be set up. I’ve been disappointed because a few people who I saw as developing a foothold in our organization may not be. If I’m offering work I’m always amazed at how quickly some people respond and that same person can procrastinate over other call backs. This is a sure sign that this person will have a limited time in our industry and likely not a good investment of time. I want to develop people who really want to be in our industry because it is hard. opportunities are hard to come by and someone given one needs to make the best of it.
Okay onto updates!
“7 Stones” is getting some heat with its entry into VOD/DVD market. The doc film “Outside the Wire” is following behind that release with one of our new release partners.
More talks with companies on our “Supermodel Showdown” TV series. More companies are reviewing our 3 shows that are put together. This is a new area for me so things are a tad slower.
Great distribution and development talks this week with a few companies. We had an offer on our Civil War film but I think we may have to pass. I have some larger deals brewing and I think it will benefit better from one of those deals.
We are still waiting to see what product some new foreign film buyers like. I’m looking forward to expanding our alliance of companies to distribute with.
I had good sit downs with one of our new attorney’s and we will be doing some PR on this new team member. He is dealing with a small handful of issues that is pretty common in our business.
“Ashes of Eden” is closing in on the final scoring and after that a mix and we are done. “Bestseller” is in full editing now with our editor Chad Ice. Marketing will start to ramp up on these projects and we’ve started discussing premiere showings on “AOE”. It is great to note that both films have a lot of interest from distributors and we will find them a great home.
I’ve also been in talks on a few acting projects and I’ve got a secret project I’ve been writing on. It would shoot out-of-state in the spring because the story calls for it. I’ve had some talks on this project and will announce more later. It is a great role that I’m ready to sink my teeth into. I’m also putting some work into gathering investors on “Soul Eater” the prequel to “The 8th Plague”. I would love to film that this winter in Michigan so let’s see how that unfolds.
So my friends, stay warm and be productive. This time is great for buckling down and making stuff happen!
Beautiful snow ?- Yes it is. But the cold is biting like a winter wolf and I think even the Yeti’s are huddling up for warmth. I had a strong week of business whereas I still have to continue to have patience. I did a lot of gathering of information for 2013 taxes for CDI. I still have to dive into my own but that has become more of a system. I had many great meetings last week with different key people in our organization. Development is happening all over the board and I’m curious to see what project will come out on top. Some are small films and some are studio/network projects – and all are important.
CDI Distribution has some new talks underway with networks, studios and foreign companies and I’m confident that we will be making some new deals here shortly. I had good meetings with old partners and potential new partners.
I’m very pleased to announce that “Bestseller” has moved firmly into editing and we are well into the rough edit with Chad Ice, our editor. PR on that went out this week.
There will be new updates coming on “Ashes of Eden” that is in final scoring as we speak. After that it will be a watch through and mix on the entire film.
We have had more interest from distributors in both of these films. We will see who presents the best offer but I’m excited to bring these to audiences.
On the acting front I just took a read on a project in Miami that would have me playing a cop. I will have to wait and see how negotiations roll on this film but I liked what I read of the book. It’s a very gritty story in a TRAINING DAY sort of vibe.
I think we are getting closer to SOUL EATER and perhaps another biblical story where I’m slated to play a Roman military man. Also development continues on the western which may or may not transition to a TV series for a network. I also had a comment on “Race to Judgment” the follow-up to “An Ordinary Killer” – I can say that work is being done on it. I will hold any other comments until something becomes more solid.
I’ve got a full week ahead as we conclude Jan. and so I wish each and every one of you a productive week. Stay safe if you are on the snowy roads and keep warm.
Keep Clawing Your Way To The Middle!
The year is underway and many business endeavors are moving. It has been a good week of organizing and prepping for new business. I’ve also been getting some good training in for the new year. That is mostly for the soccer field but doesn’t hurt for camera work either. I know many of you are putting your new year resolutions into play. Let’s look at some of the new actions in motion.
1) We are about to PR “7 Stones” now available on VOD.
2) Discussions are underway on a few new biblical films after it was reported that we have the highest grossing biblical film with our distributor. We had some good talks over this property.
3) Our director Shane Hagedorn is in studio doing a music check today on “Ashes of Eden” and we are excited as this film nears the finish line. Early distribution talks have started and many are just waiting to see our full story.
4) “Bestseller” is now officially in editing and we should have a rough cut in about a month. We are all excited to see this film moving to the next phase. I’ve had several good talks about what will follow “Bestseller” and soon we may have a sure direction. I am getting distributor input on all these ideas.
5) I’ve been having some literary agent talks after a recent option/purchase agreement on one of my script properties. I think that scripts that I do not see as an acting vehicle I may consider selling. There will be more PR on this as it develops.
6) We’ve had some interest in possible financing on “Soul Eater” my prequel to “The 8th Plague” so that was submitted last week and now we wait.
7) New foreign territory and TV Network talks started this week. We will see what develops from all of that.
8) I need to get new updates on “Donors” and “The Terrorist” but I know both are very close and will be coming to market this year.
Aside from all this I have been prepping some of the end of the year business work for taxes and such. It is the less exciting aspects of filmmaking but so very important. I hope you all are staying focused and enjoying your first month of 2014. It was a week of steady business and that always leads to something exciting.
What a busy week. I’m sipping some coffee and reflecting upon the week and I’m smiling. Scenes are being knocked down on “Ashes of Eden” and it is rewarding to see those pieces of the puzzle coming together. We are on schedule and soon we will start to release more promotional materials as we move along the post-production line. As we work on the edit and the distribution flow another film “Donors” is even closer to the finish line. Locked picture is about done and sound design has been underway. Now it will come to Michigan for music scoring.
I’m excited about the March releases of “Locked in a Room” and “Darkest Night”. Echo Bridge Entertainment did an early “Locked in a Room” release to Google Play and we debuted in the top 20 with #12 being our highest. We were shoulder to shoulder with several studio films so we were very happy. “Darkest Night” will release on March 22nd in the USA and than we are going to release in Asia with South Korea likely being the first Asian territory.
“The Beast” will be the follow up from the GPI/CDI collaboration and GPI has been doing some casting as they adjust their filming plan. I think “Soul Eater” may shoot 4th quarter this year as well. That deal may be close to closing.
“7 Stones” is starting to shop international and domestic TV. That brings me to another announcement that CDI will soon be announcing a TV line up. These properties will be developed with TV play in mind. We have relationships with various networks and these will create some new business on those fronts.
I’ve been having meetings over “Rifle” a western I’m involved in but that may not be the only film in that genre launching. Yes. That is a tease and so stay tuned for more information on this.
We will be doing a call for ACTOR REELS here very soon. It will be for certain characters in a breakdown. So if you don’t have your reel together this is a hint and a half for you to GET R DONE. Damn. I think I owe Larry the Cable Guy a dollar.
Talks with several foreign distributors are also underway. We are licensing our films directly on some international fronts. It is an exciting time here at CDI and with so many new doors opening it truly is hard to keep up.
I’m in talks about a possible film role in April. I’m contracted to be in the film “Somnium” in March. May looks like it will be camera time also I just have to make an important decision on casting. Which role do I want to play. There are two different characters in this film. Both are powerful and have different vibe and character arc. So I plan to refill the coffee cup and take another read this morning. I have to get that settled within myself so I can move forward. It is a WILD time:)
Have a great weekend!
SNOW is a large force of nature in many folks day. In Michigan the Great Lakes gave us some protection and so we have a beautiful blanket but a reasonable amount. I’m sipping the hot coffee and giving all of you a little update before I put in two days of work on the new office. We are going to finish up the electric on it and this past week was organizing my desk and added another bookshelf. Last week was a cautionary tale told as a tribute to an old friend. This week is vastly different. At Collective Development Inc. http://www.cdiproductions.com we have engaged in working with other promising filmmakers. We go into association and use our experience to help others emulate the success we’ve had while trying to help them avoid our past errors. This usually works only as well as someone listens. I will say that some of the associations become the foundation of long-term maybe lifetime collaborations while others are the first and last. I’m very focused upon this task of storytelling. I will ultimately only work with the same. I will first talk about one of these collaborations. ‘Locked in a Room” directed by Larry Simmons. By his admission the film was going to be an exercise and he expected it to be a few rungs higher than a student film. When we first talked I told him I don’t play. If we did this we did it right. The proper marketing and PR, high prod value, distribution friendly cast and worldwide distribution. We had professional differences of opinions on occasion but all done with respect. He discovered how much more BIZ work was involved with SHOW+BIZ. He knew a lot from the music world BUT film is audio, music, fx, color correct, quality control – so many more layers than just audio and LONGER! Ten 2 min songs is 20 minutes and we are dealing with just under 2 hours of product. Many people can manage a short be it narrative or commercial but a feature is another beast. I think Larry learned so many lessons that he will carry over to our next projects. That said, I was so proud of Larry. We finished the film, shopped the film and now Echo Bridge Entertainment has released it. They have a studio level distribution set up to handle Lionsgate and Miramax material. They released us a touch earlier than our March 7th release and boy did it come out with a bang. Google Play is becoming one of the new powerhouse venues pushing instant downloads. We came out debut at #20 and it has moved to #12. This painful piece of art so many hours to create is now in the mix with major Hollywood releases and standing its ground and climbing. It is scary as I saw people in the theaters hiding and yelling at the screen:) More than just the exposure and profit that can follow Larry is a role model. Not just to his kids as a man following his dream but to many aspiring filmmakers. This nice write-up is in celebration of black cinema and those that create it. Even more Larry can stand as an inspiration to other filmmakers in Detroit, MI be they black, white, asian, hispanic, middle eastern – doesn’t matter. STORYTELLERS are one TRIBE! The haters will come out as they are as sure as the Northern star. My script is better. Why can’t I find backers. Those who feel left from the limelight. Smile and keep moving I say. I like the old saying that if someone comes with their cup already full I cannot help you. Many are not open to listening. Listening is not weakness it is wisdom. A common question I get is from people who want to work with me/CDI. Be a good listener. Be a doer. Don’t come with your cup full to the brim – I will have nothing to offer. I don’t like to spill.
GREAT LINK TO THE STORY ON LOCKED IN A ROOM SUCCESS STORY
Other updates –
“DONORS” http://www.donorsthemovie.com is looking to lock up picture and have it over to us for music score in two weeks.
Development talks/meetings going strong. New scripts are being reviewed. Some budgeting underway. “Race to Judgement,” “Soul Eater,” and many others.
Some exciting news coming on CDI TV. The new Parables TV Network deal for “Figure in the Forest” and “Wicked Spring” are on the forefront of the TV movie dealings.
“7 Stones” is rolling out to the 1st distribution folks.
A pair of biblical features following the success of “Book of Ruth” is close to pre-production.
Westerns are certainly on the development slate. After “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” released to #1 western rental for 7 weeks, top 10 for 17 weeks. This film has grossed well over a million dollars with Lionsgate and we are looking to recreate this success. Soon it will be time to strap on the gun rigs again!
“Ashes of Eden” editing is going great. I can only say that this film has dynamite dramatics. Check out the trailer teaser if you want a look. A lot more on this film as we get a little further down the line.
Well, I think it is time for a coffee refill and to get ready to work on the office.
Stay warm. Stay safe. And have a wonderful weekend.
What a good week on many levels for me. I’ll sip some of my favorite coffee and reflect with you all. I decided to accept an offer to do a local Michigan project that is being done in connection with a university. It is a project that gives students experience and exposure to a professional world of filmmaking. I have to say I am deeply concerned on many levels about the future of filmmaking in our state. I ranted enough on the casting situation in Michigan last week, which in many ways is ass backwards. I saw more examples of it this week. For some I don’t think it is a desire to present poorly. It is just our entire environment is not accepting of the next level of film work. It is why in years past people would outgrow this market and be forced to move to another place. With the technology we now possess the country/world is becoming smaller. You have to believe in what you are selling. If an agent doesn’t fully know, understand and process this worth into a proper pitch they revert back to the one size fits all shoe store approach. The talent needs to be realized by the agent as a hand-made unique, special, magical pair of shoes – like ruby slippers or LIKE MIKE’s magic basketball shoes. You would have to sell 10,000 or 100,000 pair of average shoes to even come close to a pair of the above-mentioned special shoes. So if agents can’t get over the shoe store mentality they should at least become the seller of odd, unique, special, one-of-a-kind shoes. I can assure you the +10% will be much higher and you won’t have to do a mountain of paperwork.
The local acting union rep was approached to handle this university film program. When the programs information was brought forth to the rep they pushed the wrong agreement. This agreement had previously been used in years prior but still it was the wrong agreement. If you distribute the film for profit it is this agreement, if not for profit the one proposed would be fine. My question was why would someone push an agreement that puts already struggling actors on a “deferred” type agreement? If this agreement was used in past years whereas they did distribute the film for profit – why was this not adjusted? I can tell you those actors have monies due to them. If nobody brought it to anyone’s attention – Let’s stop there. I heard that the response to the notice of the wrong agreement attempted to be used was “If we get attention – we’ll renegotiate.” This is the person entrusted with the job of fitting the right project with the right agreement? Why would someone push an agreement that doesn’t pay talent up front and has no benefits of health and pension or residuals? There is more work associated with the next contract up, which requires deposits and more paperwork. Why do you think an employee on likely a straight pay would elect to take the easiest course of action. Again the same rep pushing the same agreement when confronted with the info that the wrong agreement was being proposed responded with – “Why not just accept donations for viewings or DVD sales?”. Again the situation calls for an obvious different agreement yet still the wrong one is pushed, why? Also this is in an environment whereas the students are intended to learn the correct process. There is a reputation given to our local acting union and I’ve never spoken badly about them, but I see now where this stems from. This is the office responsible to work on behalf of our local talent. Put that with the one size fits all agent mentality and the casting director’s common view of talent as cattle – It doesn’t make me mad but it does make me sad. I’m not on a witch-hunt. I don’t want anyone’s job or head. I just want people to put in an honest effort and do things right so we can work to eliminate the backwoods reputation that people attach to our state and film industry. I think the project is now non-union because so much time was wasted and wrong information given. Good preventative action always outweighs reactionary fix it actions after the fact.
Now let us bullet point some updates –
– The casting for the next GPI/CDI Philippine feature “The Beast” is underway. We are continuing our distribution discussions over “Darkest Night.” Actresses meeting the requirements should submit!
– I’ve been working on our “Faith” slate with Reel Frog Films and I think we will have an entire slate in production including Dean Teaster’s next feature “Long Road Home” which was requested by financiers this past week.
– “Deadly Renovations” is going up for pre-sale and we will keep feeding you these outlets.
– I’m waiting on final word on another film slate that CDI will operate as the production entity. “Soul Eater” is first on deck and it includes a series of western films.
– Development talks to match the right project with the proper opportunity continue.
– “Benjamin” is working distribution after a great NYC screening.
– At Risk Entertainment and CDI have been evaluating distribution deals for “Locked in a Room” and I think we will have something soon!
– I’m looking at acting offers presented that extend from now to 2013.
– CDI Commercial is working towards a few deals including a great “Making of” deal.
Lastly, I promised a little bit on my next acting role. The film has a working title of “Realizism” but I think I might start calling it “Strippers”. I play a colorful character Manny who I’ve been describing as a rogue with a heart of gold. The drama has a strong comedic edge to go with its serious message. Mitch Nyberg is directing it. It will have me working with some old friends and new ones. I film in a little more than a week and I’m excited to be working with my old friend the camera again!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone! My best to each of you and your endeavors!
Again I want to take this moment to thank of all you who take the time to read my blog and share it with those who are trying to make their way in this artistic industry of ours. It was one heck of a week and I will try to update folks on some of my adventures. I will say the garden is doing great save the fact our puppy decided to chew the garden hose in half. Today will be a day of getting the yard and garden cleaned up for Father’s day tomorrow. We are having him over and so with the exception of rain possible it should be a good day.
Last night I went to my 1st ever poetry reading. It was to see my girl read with several others in their group to honor their mentor. Mentors are very important in our business and working and getting advice from those who have lasted is so needed. I’ve talked before about some who want their 15 minutes of fame. I see social networking is full of LIKE this and LIKE that and people whose egos ride on a star meter or number of friends. None of this will be as helpful as seeking out those that have been there and done it. To get those gems of wisdom on how they got their foothold and the secrets to longevity. The power of the art will and should outshine the popularity contests at functions and now online. In casting we never look at number of friends or the often corrupt star-meters on IMDB. If you have little to no credits save glorified extra work and no reel to show do not expect to get treated like a star. Many of these massive mutual LIKE groups just come across as desperate computer hackers. Non-working actors who spend more time trying to find an easy path versus the real path of work hard to get the work. Followed by work that begets work. We use the database to show cast/crew lists to distributors but the once great database has lost so much credibility to real producers that it is kind of sad. So I say, focus on the work and the PR buzz comes second. Don’t be in the “Fake it to you make it” club as 99% of those folks will fail in their endeavors. “Be real and get the deal” that is the motto I would replace the previous with.
It was a very inviting reception in Saugatuck, MI for “7 Stones” which I’m very appreciative of. A welcome on the signs with my name was appreciated but a touch odd as I am only one of many great artists on that film. I was not blown away by the projection system but appreciative that it was donated. Also the film still needs some major audio mixing before it is sent to distributors but that is part of the learning curve for the new young company that CDI associated with. Overall I think my co-stars home town enjoyed the drama unfolding on-screen and I am proud of the product.
Early that same day the Philippine horror film “Darkest Night” played for a handful of distributors in Hollywood and more had screeners sent. We will see now where the offers come from but I think it was a success in that the interest is there. What deal is to be made is yet to be seen but I’ve heard that it gave some good exposure to some very talented Philippine actors/crew. I look forward to returning this fall for the launch of the theatrical run and in the Spring to shoot “The Beast”.
One of the best Bday gifts might be the funding of a film slate where I sit as a Production head with CDI there to help execute production. They chose a handful of properties to put on their slate and the first SOUL EATER could get full green light at month’s end. That would see MASON from “The 8th Plague” back in action in a prequel.
Dean Teaster’s next feature “Long Road Home” is also close to launching after a deal was put on the table for distribution. This Faith Drama will be a good next feature for Dean Teaster and I fully expect that to shoot late Summer/Early Fall if schedules allow.
A TV Division has been developing and we will soon be announcing some updates here. A couple of projects are in development and one series has Jeff Kennedy’s name all over it. He and I need to sit down and discuss so until I do I cannot put too much out there. All I can say it that it will be way cool and the path to production is clear.
I’m told we are closer to a start with the “Henry Ford” project as they attach the director. I would say that this directors is relatively well-known and worth the wait:) CDI is handling all the behind the scenes materials and so it will be a good project for me on both sides of the camera. I’m slated to play a major supporting character opposite an A-List talent that many will know. I’m looking forward to throwing down in this powerful drama.
I’ve got 4 directors and 1 producer call lined up for today so even while working about the Bluetooth will get some usage. My plan is to solidify these films so I can move out of the business phase and into what I feel I do best. That is, bring the character to life! I’ve had some communications with folks this week about the SHOW vs the BIZ and how they intertwine with one another. It is a delicate balance but once you get that balance you will see more doors open. I’m going to hop off here and get to my personal and work business. That is another balance that we all must achieve in our lives to be successful.
I want to thank Brother Max again for his sponsorship product. His hot sauces and BBQ sauces get much use and exposure at my various grill N chill meetings and personal hangs. So if you like natural ingredients in your sauces look at http://www.gourmetfoodandproducts.com/ .
Enjoy your weekend one and all!
WOW! Mother Nature is showing who the boss is and it is not the tiny ants fondly known as human beings. I was having a great conversation yesterday with a friend of mine who is Native American. The topic was about taking environmental issues serious. Now global warming scientists may not have it all correct but certain actions won’t help the issues. Many choices are all about financial and lower EPA rulings to better exploit valuable resources. When out of the norm storms wipe out the child home homes of some of these lawmakers maybe they will look at things differently. You can’t lobby mother nature or buy your way out of the path of a storm. Again it brings me back to what I use to teach at the Ebersole Center (A nature camp for city kids) about Chief Seattle and the web of life. Basically it talks of how everything is interconnected and the balance is vital to our continued existence. Well I feel very bad for all the folks out there dealing with such destruction.
Today I want to try to oversee some changes to the CDI company site. We’ve got so many good things moving and grooving and I’ll try to hit on a few major updates here.
– “Ghost Town in the Sky” the location of our “Ghost Town” western is set to re-open after a mudslide caused issues a year or so ago. So go check out the locations and get your special edition release.
– CDI Co-Production “Deadly Renovations” will be heading to the Hong Kong film market this month and we are awaiting a new sales trailer from our international distributor.
– CDI Co-Production “Donors” is now in post and has been getting some good PR buzz out there including distributors coming at us early.
– I’ve been working on a few Corporate programs for CDI product one with a major beer company.
– We know that New Video is releasing some of our titles (Figure in the Forest, Heaven’s Neighbors, An Ordinary Killer) late 2nd quarter and I’m working on hard dates now.
– The sequel to “An Ordinary Killer” is packaging with an updated “Race to Judgment” formerly known as “A State of Hate”.
– CDI The highly anticipated Co-Production “Darkest Night” is getting a lot of press and fellow producer Russ Williams is now in the Philippines overseeing the final post for the theatrical cut. Screening for distributors in LA will likely happen in April.
– Development on “Secondary Heroes,” “Soul Eater,” and “Long Road Home” continue as well as a handful of associated CDI projects
– CDI Co-Production “Locked in a Room” has announced a May 3rd Michigan showing.
– CDI Co-Production “7 Stones” is in final post polish and is slated to be done this month and several festivals are targeted.
On a personal acting level I’m waiting to see if a deal happens this weekend on a film in NYC. I also am waiting on a 2nd project that if we agree would film in Texas in April. I also have a project in June that I’m awaiting my deal memo on as well. The snow is starting to fall here and I’ve been a hint under the weather. I will likely do some reading and perhaps bottle the “Green Goblin” our batch of Green Tomato wine.
That is enough of an update for today. I wish safety to all those in the path of these great storms. Have a great Saturday.