(Happy Memorial Day – Veteran Paul Landings and Brown Boy)
I want to welcome the new readers from Spain, Egypt and other territories around the world. The mornings have still been chilly and so the hot hazelnut coffee is a welcome treat. Again it was just an amazing week but a few things have sat on my mind. Poisoning wells is a term we use in our producing and it means an individual or company that doesn’t take care in their action and business and it can ruin it for everyone. It happens with locations, investors and business relationships. I’ve been accused of keeping my cards close and that is because many do not treat those relationships as they should. Many people are mindful only of their immediate wants and don’t look long-term. CDI has been built upon many years of trial and error and filtering out the toxic and/or lazy. I really do care about our people and seek to develop them. At CDI fertile grounds exist for tribal loyal to undertake project development but many like to make their own go at things. No experienced overhead and management often results in zero funding even if the creative talents exist. People ask me what “tribal loyal” means and it is quite simple. If you are lucky enough to hunt up a strong opportunity do you bring it to the tribe? The tribe has the success record and gives confidence to investors and new partners. But many would still horde the contact and try to make the best of it, often resulting in failure. In simple terms if you hunted up a deer for food, would you bring it back to feed the tribe or hide out by oneself to horde the kill? We’re fortunate to have developed a solid core of people at CDI that know that a contact/opportunity will be properly used for the good of the tribe. We have some that are “in orbit,” that circle the tribe, enjoying many of the benefits but maintain their…looking for something better to come along. Which of course is a perception and often isn’t better- “the grass appears greener…” you get it.
I had one situation whereas an established, well groomed relationship was approached covertly by one of these “in orbit” tribal members to further a personal agenda versus the tribal agenda that I serve daily. This go-around communication was brought to my attention out of respect for our mutual business by this long-term business associate. I’ve gotten these calls from LA with people using my name as a ‘friend’ because of Facebook but that is another thing. The big table is for those with funding and accountable for the money. This person circumventing was just like thousands of others seeking funds. But they were politely given the same answer I’ve always given. I’m not tech savvy, I’m people savvy (sincere) and so that is what I focus on. Collaboration and deal-making. When I’m successful many artists get put to work. But the process in which this particular individual went about getting their own answers reflected poorly upon them. They made light of it when it was addressed and in the same communication was asking for more from the tribe. So the hard truth is that previous to CDI funding, there wasn’t any funding confidence in this person. This person’s personal agenda pursuit yielded the same answers. Now that their perceived “better” agenda doesn’t look plausible they return back asking for more. But should the “more” be held back and gifted to the loyal and those enthusiastic and appreciative to grow and develop with our tribe of artists? I recall a conversation years ago that “We got all we’re going to get out of DJ Perry, no need to communicate with him anymore.” Harsh but a realism in my world.
A TV series and a continuous slate of films with an increase in size and scope is what lies in store for Collective Development Inc. It is not a boast, a challenge or anything of the sort – it is just a truth if I’m drawing breath.
Within CDI, I do expect a certain behavior from our tribal members and it matches what I expected at summer camp, the martial arts dojo and in soccer practices/games. I try to use the resources we have wisely to do the big 3 – stay on schedule, stay on budget, give high artistic quality. Team formation and management is what I excel at and it starts by recognizing and respected each cast and crew as an artist. And my power to make definitive decisions lies in my accountability no more. Currently we don’t have enough projects active to have every artists working their ideal role via acting or director, DP, etc…but we will. And those hungry for more could undertake in-house development. Done from within it carries the weight of the company and the field of successful endeavors. Outside the tribe, that project stands alone and the same hinderance exists.
I personally could have left the tribe and been a lone wolf as the offers were there. But I realized immediately that separated from the tribe one doesn’t carry the same power. I represent honorably our tribe’s storytelling ability. And it is a TRIBE. Every person involved plays a great role in the success. Know that these examples of missteps are not one person but a few scattered over a span of several years. Some recent and some not. But I will grant you this nugget of wisdom. I see many artists pass up opportunities that they feel are not in line with their own direct dreams. I’ve learned a secret. Often the keys to our own dreams lie in helping someone else achieve their own dream. I’ve watched people selfishly step on and do whatever, compromise whatever, all seeking that elusive key. But what if the key appears only as a reward for helping others? We are all interconnected. The other thing is we cannot always help everyone save by good example. I love as we grow we keep bringing more artists together. In my life when I’ve had external issues I looked internally. Tend the inner fire. Also the path forward is seldom a straight line. That line might go all over the board and that is the journey of life. Live it well and worry less about the final destination. Keep moving in the right direction.
And I want to be clear – the above examples are NOT some passive aggressive lament on personalities of a few. As the counselor, sensei, coach and CEO of Collective Development, I take my accountability. But my decisions won’t and don’t always line up with everyone’s opinions. But even when some feel I got it wrong I think everyone would agree that I’m asserting fairness as I see it. My passion for the stories being told is also unquestionably legit. I tell stories I truly care about. So you have two sides to a coin. Have I failed to open some minds to the collective strength of a tribe of artists? Have they failed to recognize and appreciate the opportunity and benefits of an artistic tribe? Bottom line is we are growing at CDI and I am looking to give opportunities to those tired of the selfish agendas and wanting something more inclusive. We have had some very good crews over the last several years. Our last film really flowed well and all during the break in the Covid surges. We are just getting back to crewing on our next WW2 drama -shall we take a look?
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA
A few of the departments include discussions with the keys so we’re going to be focusing on crewing in June. Also our German casting is almost complete so we’ll be announcing them. Sponsorship and brand alignment is launched and I might have our first to announce very soon! Our Facebook site is growing and adding more everyday.
LOST HEART & BIGFOOT, UFOS AND JESUS
The General Market (GM) release of ‘Lost Heart’ has begin and it will start appearing on platforms as early as next week. This movie started in the family/faith market which can turn some viewers off. But this film truly is much more and deserves to be seen by a wide international audience. The GM title will also do better overseas where these three words in the title are more easily understood versus ‘Lost Heart’ but by any name the film is a true joy and we hope you and your family will love it.
Under the title ‘Lost Heart’ the film will be up in June for ‘Best Film of the Year’ at the Crown Awards. Here is a recent review of the film which I really enjoyed.
BEST YEARS GONE – So the film is racing around the post production track. Dialog, sound design and music are underway. We had two of our celebrity judges sound off on their top 3 songs. These videos are on our Facebook page so seek us out. We will be announcing the winner very soon and a music video will be done. We had a meeting on that and we’re quite excited. The actual first official trailer is done visually and is now in post-audio and we are all excited to share it. The trailer and screen captures will travel to our distributor to begin poster work. We have two premiere events in the work. Both in September with one being a theatrical premiere in Owosso, MI and a race/bigscreen event with the Springport Racetrack. We had a great meeting and scout on Friday and it will be another unique CDI experience and we’ll be looking to film it.
Recently FORTY NIGHTS broke the 1 mil viewers on Encourage TV and with TV play around the world this trilogy (Part 2 CHASING THE STAR and Part 3 THE CHRIST SLAYER) is being seen by 10’s of millions. I really enjoy the great fantail from those who keep discovering and enjoying these films.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – The trailer teaser for this documentary will roll out July 4th! We are really excited to be bringing this look and eventually entire documentary on the nearly forgotten art of catch-can be brought back to life by some of the greatest grapplers on the planet.
SMOKE & MIRRORS – I’m looking forward to seeing this project come together and as noted this project was created from a feature script. I think the success of this short showcases what an incredible story could be told as a feature.
MAN’S BEST FRIEND is a title that ties into Memorial Day weekend giving viewers a look at the sacrifice many of the survivors of war made. If you haven’t seen the film please do take a watch. If you have seen it, enjoy another watch.
So yesterday it was yard mowing, trimming, planting and such as we put in our veggies and herbs. Today maybe a bit more of the same plus I might do a version roast in the smoker. I always think about maybe deleting the opening ponderings and stick to just updates but those lessons discussed are what will truly help you succeed. I could just talk about the success we’ve had in our updates but if you’re having issues getting traction with your own endeavors maybe those words will bring you insight. I hope you all have an enjoyable couple of days. Happy Memorial Day! Remember those US troops who dies to give us all the freedoms we have.
Until next week!
Me, T Hornus, John Saxon, T Turner and David Borowicz in Lone Pine.
Good morning and welcome to all our new readers from Denmark, Spain, China and more…coffee salute. I’m a bit later this morning getting to my blog because I was enjoying a larger breakfast. I also was putting some paperwork together for delivery this week to our distributor. First before jumping into film let me ponder to see if any events this week trigger any discussions. I want to offer up a RIP to John Saxon who was a great actor in movies like ENTER THE DRAGON. I was lucky enough to meet John in a honey stand in Lone Pine, CA at a festival market. He was a nice man and we chatted for a few and took a few pictures. I wish I had gotten to act with him but meeting him was a joy. So RIP to this fine actor for a lifetime of storytelling. Also Regis from the morning TV scene passed on. The circle of life keeps turning and it makes me feel blessed to be doing what I love. I had many conversations this week both business, personal and in-between. Maybe we’ll do a TOP TEN updates.
- LOST HEART will arrive Monday at the distributor and as previously mentioned we’ll be delivering some paperwork behind it. It is very exciting and we’re having a producers watch and theatrical/premiere planning meeting this week. We are looking for venues so if there is one near you that wants to play the film let us know. Home Video release is looking like Oct but I will know more end of the week.
- The short SMOKE & MIRRORS is in editing and we’ll have that rolling out this fall just in time for Halloween I do think. It was a short film taken from my feature script. The footage was used in a demo for a well known sound design company izotope. We’ll be finishing it up and use the short to launch a feature in the near future. Nathaniel Nose director/editor on THE CHRIST SLAYER was the director and is also editing. It was a fun period piece and I think it will lead to the full feature.
- We’ll also be announcing that CDI has entered into an association with The Red, White & Blue Project Inc. to produce a feature length doc entitled ‘For the Love of Catch‘ with our own Catch-Can World Champion Curran Jacob. We have some exciting people getting involved in the film.
- With LOST HEART done we will also be looking more at the 2021 line up. In active development is the WILD FAITH TV series ‘Hastings‘. I had numerous productive conversations on this project and I think it is WHEN not IF. If you have not watched WILD FAITH please do so. It will film in Michigan and could include the creation of a mini-studio.
- We are about to make some presentations on the WW2 Christmas project CDI will produce next year entitled SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We have over half the budget being covered by a foundation and we’ll be bringing on investors for the balance. Some great talks with the distributor also over this powerful story. It will be directed by Anthony Hornus as his follow up to MAN’S BEST BEST. If you have not seen this film please do.
- Three CDI Associated films will be getting a new release with ITN Distribution. Deadly Renovations, Darkest Night and Donors. These are films that CDI helped with and I co-star in all three. They are for those who like things that go bump in the night.
- BEST YEARS GONE is the next film up for CDI with a planned shoot window in November finishing before Thanksgiving. We had another great meeting and the film will have lots of exciting firsts for CDI. Shane Hagedorn is directing and those who enjoyed ASHES OF EDEN will be excited to see him directing again. We are planning to start shooting beauty shots and B roll soon as well as a few VFX sequences. Stay tuned! We’ll also be announcing a few more cast and crew soon!
- I need to turn some attention back at CDI Merchandise, CDI Animated and CDI Music Division developing. Having Lost Heart finished will give me some added time to work on these emerging divisions of CDI.
- I’ve got a batch of beer and wine ready to go. I just need to kick the process off.
- I’ll keep pushing ahead with my writing. In a few short weeks the new book that I was a contributing author on will by Callie Smith Grant. It be releasing nationwide with Revell Publishing. You can pre-order here – https://www.amazon.com/Second-Chance-Cats-True-Stories-Rescue-ebook/dp/B087RTPCT4/ref=sr_1_9?dchild=1&keywords=Second-Chance+Cats&qid=1595775817&sr=8-9 – I’ve also got a story in the book after that about DOGS and features a story with my ‘Luke Mr. Brown’ in it. I so appreciate being involved in these books and I’m actively seeking more book writing work.
PRE-ORDER NOW!!! My story involved ‘Lulu’ our little princess:)
As you can see it has been busy, busy with another dose of busy. If anything we are going to come out of this virus crisis with projects lined up to be filmed. I can work with that. Thank you as always for all your notes and fan mail I do read it and appreciate it. Control what you can control and keep moving forward!
Be good to one another!
Good morning. I want to welcome new readers from Belize and Qatar to our little weekly circle. Lots of interesting things to discuss but while I’m welcoming people here it makes me think on ANCESTRY. For Christmas we decided to do our DNA test and see what our family history actually is. Here is my breakdown – EUROPE WEST – likely German 46%, Great Britain 33%, Ireland/Scotland/Wales 16%, Europe East 2%, Finland/NW Russia 1% and for trace amounts under 1% – Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal), Asia South (India and surrounding region), Europe South (Greek) and Scandinavian (Viking). So I’ve enjoyed discovering the trace amounts and think it is completely amazing that we’re so connected. This kind of enlightened knowledge can make the mindset of people more unified. I knew the first three but I’m happy to know what else lies in the past family tree.
This week also was great for writing. I’ve been working on the script for what will likely be our next CDI feature film. I’ve been sitting out on the patio surrounded by hop vines and sipping coffee. The story is starting to really flow and I’m excited about where it’s all going. This week will include more time spent with the imagination.
It was a week that saw a few good meetings at the fort. A few new meetings including a local director. Always fun to get to know someone and see where their journey is taking them. Also had Curran Jacobs out this week. He’s one of my co-stars in MBF: Man’s Best Friend. He also resenting became the World Champion for Catch Wrestling, the premium style pre-WW2. It’s making a come back and I’ve enjoyed watching the matches on SNAKE PIT’s Event site. Curran was battled MUCH bigger opponents. I watched these monsters go from no respect to major respect. That is because respect is earned. He earned respect. That is what we must do in all our engagements. I’ve seen in our industry circles people with a bit of success who withhold or fail to give others respect. They view them as unimportant and with little to nothing to contribute. I respect everyone until they give me a reason not to. From top to bottom on our cast/crews EVERYONE is important. I’ve observed people acting this way to others and that alone is reason to keep them at an arm’s length. Life is too short to have toxic people in your circle even if they have access to something helpful. No when to say no, because that is what will define you and your work.
As the holiday season is around the corner we’re looking to market our trilogy, getting people to enjoy Forty Nights and Chasing the Star before we release part 3 The Christ Slayer. Part 2 just won a silver Crown Award at the ICVM this month. The theatrical trailer for part 3 released a few weeks ago. If this looks interesting please do go back and watch part 1 and part 2. This films could be enjoyed if you never stepped one foot in a church or never cracked a bible. It is the age of style of the parable of telling stories that gives something back to the audience.
WATCH/BUY ‘FORTY NIGHTS’
WATCH/BUY ‘CHASING THE STAR’
THE CHRIST SLAYER – trailer
The film is having music and sound design work done and I’m looking forward to that. Our composer Dennis Therrian will bring forth a powerful and inspirational score.
We’re going to be playing on the big screen at the AMC in Burbank, CA on Sept 8th – please do join us and take a trip back to the 1800’s.
We’ve got some exciting things happening for the home video release and things are developing for the TV series. It is still too early to discuss it but it is all very exciting. I would like to see the TV series go into production back half of 2019.
‘MBF‘ is all on the computers and editing is ready to start in full. We’ve got great ideas for the teaser trailer and will have one to release in the fall. It was an amazing experience and I look forward to inviting this team back together. We’ve just released our first official still and we’ll be releasing 1-2 a week on our FB social media site. Follow us here! Thank you to all the military and dog supporters who have joined us.
Additionally I have heard that ‘ASHES OF EDEN’ will be releasing in another country but I will let Mr. Shane Hagedorn announce that once the ink is dry. This film can also be found on Amazon Prime if you’ve not watched it. I really do love the role I played in that film.
Today we have another soccer match. Last week we played a tough squad in the blazing heat and won soundly. This is a good kick off to the second half of the season. I do enjoy the battle each weekend and the second half of the season leading into fall is my favorite. This week I’m looking to bottle the FRANKENBERRY WINE because I need my carboy for the upcoming wine. We have lots of wild grapes growing around the garden. I’ve been researching recipes and I’m excited about trying something new. Thanks to the squirrels we have a few vines of either pumpkin or squash growing around the yard. We had to also shut down the access by a woodchuck under the office porch. I think he has moved on. I look forward to the week ahead – more writing, more development, more post work and more enjoying time with people. Have a great week and be good to one another.
Good morning my friends. I’m sipping the sweet hazelnut coffee on a sunny morning here in Michigan. Once again I want to welcome our new readers from Spain, Ireland and France along with our international friends already following along. What an amazing week of developments on so many fronts. Let’s start with the ongoing success of THE QUEST TRILOGY. Part 1 “Forty Nights” continues to grow an audience on Amazon Prime and other fine platforms. If you still love DVD’s like I do you can also but on Amazon. The second film in the trilogy “Chasing the Star” just played the ICFF (Essentially the Christian Oscars) and from 5 nominations we WON ‘Most Inspirational’ film. This is my favorite award because it speaks to the hard work of everyone involved and we did what any storyteller can hope for – inspire people. Both of these films are so worth a watch and the part 3 “The Christ Slayer” will release in theaters during the holidays this year and will release wide on home video Easter 2019. Look for us to release the theatrical trailer in June of this year. Congrats to our entire cast and crew of CHASING THE STAR!
WON ‘Most Inspirational’ Film at ICFF following last year’s win with “Forty Nights”
With four nominations “Wild Faith” was in competition and WON for Best Leading Actress – Ms Lauren LaStrada and also WON 2nd place “Runner up” for Best Film. Now I know what Ricky Bobby would say but we’re very happy to accept the second place spot. But this horse (Kentucky Derby references) is still running hard. We have play dates right around the corner.
And we will not stop there. We’ve got many venues we’re still in discussions with. But I wanted to thank ICFF for their acknowledgement of our hard work on both films. We’re also in serious home video discussions on “Wild Faith” and I should have home video release dates in a week or two. But if you have friends in Holland or Grand Haven, MI or in Gibsonton, FL make it a point to see this fine story on the big screen.
Let’s talk “MBF” or Man’s Best Friend, our next film. We’ve almost finalized the cast (waiting on the last few offers to close) and we’ve started work on hotels, flights and such. Have some patience as we start getting the cast and crew agreements in place. I’m beyond excited at the talent we’ve got attached. The script has drawn great praise and personally I’m almost where I want to be with the character I’ll play. I’ve been immersed in the role and I’m excited by the various exchanges I’ll have with some other very talented actors and actresses. I’m even more excited by the positive light we can shine with our collective storytelling.
In my casting discussions on the west coast I’ve identified a few other notable talents to work into the tribal fold. CDI will be entering into a production deal to help us create more often with less down time. The idea of a TV series or sequel to “Wild Faith” is a real possibility on the table. I’m sincerely thrilled to be where we’re at as a production group. Those in our crew circle should soon be able to enjoy some consistent work on projects that steadily get larger in scope. It’s all team building and we’re starting to get there.
I’m about to go throw the first mowing of the year on the yard. I love the zen of the back yard and watching birds, squirrels and other beautiful wildlife gives me daily peace. The garden will get tilled this week since right now only weeds are growing. I have another soccer match today. Last week we fought to a 4-4 tie in a great battle. We’ll see how today plays out but I’ll be ready to attack the week. In a few short weeks we’ll be on set storytelling again.
Be good to one another.
We have our first readers from Iraq and Spain and so welcome to ‘Clawing our way to the Middle‘ blog. I’ve got the hot coffee in hand and seeking the right words here. Last night I was having a few old friends over to the office to sit by the fire and talk old times. Just before people showed up I heard news that my dear friend Rance Howard had passed away. We met in Benson, AZ while shooting on ‘Miracle at Sage Creek‘ and bonded over breakfast at Denny’s with his wife Judy. Rance later went on to join us on “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” whereas he played the father-like figure to my character. Rance loved our church scene in that film. Here is a few clips.
He could not join us on “The Book of Ruth, Journey of Faith” because he was working with his ole friend Andy Griffith. But when The Quest Trilogy came along he grew a beard for the first time in many years. He was excited to play “The Devil” after a lifetime of good guys. Play it he did in all three “Forty Nights” and “Chasing the Star” out on Amazon Prime now. His devil turn in “Forty Nights” won him best lead actor at the International Christian Film Festival. I’m proud that we still have “The Christ Slayer” coming in 2018 but I’m a touch sad that he will not get to see it. I remember on “The Christ Slayer” the two of us in that boat in the middle of the night – holding hands. We shared so many deep talks both about the role and about life. To pass at 89 years of age – working right up until the end is an inspiration. He was truly a mentor to me. One man who had truly been there and done that and he actually cared about my career. Very few people take that kind of time and nurture but you can see that manifested in his own family. He was supposed to play a funny role in “MBF” and we had always wanted to do this “Algona” WW2 POW/Xmas script but that was not meant to be. He was my source expert when I was writing. He was a dairy farmer and had first hand experience of WW2 so his input was vital. I know that Rance touched many people’s life and made us all feel important. He would walk between working with Russell Crowe followed by DJ Perry and never made you feel any less. Actually the opposite, as he made you feel great about being a storyteller. He was deep with his characters and he always came with lots of notes, ideas and intuitions. He will be greatly missed.
Where do I go from there…?
Forty Nights and Chasing the Star has been getting a great holiday push here in the US/Canada. Chasing the Star has been licensed to Netherlands to a network called Family 7. Forty Nights might be right behind it. Also the films are looking to invade the UK and I will have more details on that soon.
The Christ Slayer is just finishing all the VFX and final edits preparing to move into post music and sound.
Wild Faith is preparing to come out of post sound/music. The VFX are all in and end credits are being tweaked. The last step is color correction along with the audio mix. I’m excited to roll this film out and I feel good about our chances of rolling a series out behind it.
MBF – now has the bank account open. We need to start collecting paperwork and checks and also drum up the final investment units. We’ll be announcing more castings in the run up to Christmas. A lot of wonderful support for this film.
If yesterday put anything front and center for me it’s to keep following your path. I don’t know how many films I have still in me but I’ll keep creating and moving forward. Cherish those mentors in your life while you can and remember to turn around and mentor those around you. The holidays have been filled with joy and today we will decorate the beautiful tree.
Be good to one another.
Good afternoon everyone. I want to welcome our new readers from Ireland and Spain. See there are artists like ourselves in every corner of the planet ‘Clawing the way to the Middle‘ – and we share some of the same challenges. I’ve often referred to these films like children and it is true. As an actor/producer I have found myself often divided about what I want and what is best required/wise for a project. In those cases you put the child (Film) before your personal. I’ve been working hard with our CDI team on the new film knowing we would roll into pre-production/production either before the holidays or after. From a company owner – to film before means we could be filming something else after the holidays. From a producer stand point – more prep is always good. Flights after holidays will be cheaper versus before, schedules and such. From the actor point of view I’ve been working to “peak” at the right time. Those into athletics will understand the peak. It could be both physical (looking a certain way for a role) and mental (getting more tuned in to that life). I was prepping for the first possible shoot window. We have a work flow that we follow that is based on best chance success for the film. We’ve been bringing on the financial backers and we’re roughly half solid. But with required prep time to bank everything plus cast/crew contracts, travel etc…we have an evaluation deadline of Monday. I will evaluate everything at that point and decide if we will move focus to after holidays.
People might be surprised that I too feel the same creative itch every other actor feels. I feel like the ‘Call to Races’ has sounded and I’ve been brought to the starting gate. Now…do we get to run or do we get led back to the barn for a few more weeks? In these situations – I’ve seen projects fly together in six months and I’ve seen development hell that dragged for a dozen years. Faith in the knowledge that a story WILL be told when it’s time for that story to be told helps. I’ve seen other groups ill-equipped to launch a ship do so anyway, led by passion. Note, many ships have ran aground the rocks because of lapse in judgement and passion. So at end of business tomorrow the course will be set. I’m actually starting to feel better as the actor if I have to return to the barn for a short stay. I bottle up that energy and use it for when I do get to go into ACTION. I’m so excited by this new story and that grows harder with each film. After you’ve played so many roles – you’re looking for that one moving role. Paul Landings in MBF is that role. If an “after the holidays” shoot turns out to be the case – audiences will get to meet our upcoming cast week by week in our PR. Our talent will enjoy the holidays while sinking into their upcoming roles. You’ve been introduced to Tim Abell and Tony Becker in our last press release. Two amazing actors and just wait until you meet our other artists. This project is gaining strength as more people are exposed to our powerful story. It is the way of things.
With Shane Hagedorn
The Quest Trilogy
Forty Nights will play Texas in November followed by Chasing the Star on the big screen. We will start to release these cool art pieces focusing on the trilogy starting with Forty Nights, this week. Also I’ve got meetings upon meetings this week concerning Chasing the Star which has numerous PR campaigns gearing up by our distributor. I also know that this week we’ll be putting the final touches on the first of many foreign licenses. I finally got to hold the two DVD’s in my hands. What beautiful packaging BMG did. When I was proofing the films for delivery to Texas I had to just smiled. Watching them play out back-to-back was just eye-opening. I’ve been doing this a long time now and these projects are surely something to be proud of. It feels like just a few years ago I was getting friends together after school with the video camera to make our silly films.
The Christ Slayer is the 3rd film in the trilogy and not long ago audiences were treated to the powerful first trailer. Directed by Nathaniel Nose, this film is having VFX work done and will move into post sound/music in Jan. But I’ve also been lucky enough to see some concept drafts of a new poster. That is on-deck and we’ll have something for you real soon. Stay excited:)
With Tony Hornus
Wild Faith – The VFX work continues and music is now at roughly 60 minutes. I’m excited about watching the next phase with music. It was strong to watch with just sound design and now music will just make it all soar. The goal is to have the film completed by years end.
I had mentioned that we would also start releasing some of the films from the CDI library with Bridgestone Multimedia Group. That is happening and we’ve got a deal before us now. So next week I should have an announcement.
I finished reading the KNIGHT CHILLS book that also has a film link. I cannot say how fun it was to read the book by David Hayes. I’m also in talks to possibly attend one of my first comic cons supporting this book. The book is based on the screenplay by myself and Jeff & Juanita Kennedy. I am trying to move the filming of Knight Chills 2 higher up on the production slate. There are plans in motion:)
OK. Well I’m going to sign off here. I need to look at caulking this roof that covers the firewood. I think the office will be getting a nice wood stove fire tonight. Yesterday my alumni school MSU taught UofM the law of the jungle. I hope everyone has a good week ahead.
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.
Welcome December! I’ve got the hazelnut coffee brewed and I’m ready to have a little chat with the “Clawing My Way to the Middle” readers. First I want to say it is an honor to have each and every one of you take the time to read my journey. I try to present lessons that can help others on their own journey. I wanted to let you all know where many of our readers are from. Of course the USA, Brazil, Mozambique, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Norway, Thailand, Australia and Netherlands. How great is it that we all reside within our boarders of our country but we are all on this planetary journey together. Storytelling as been helping to shape society and artistic expressions while various all share common traits. I’ve always been drawn to culture that is different. I think that is what is uniquely special in all of us. That is why I could never get the concept of unifying. No one art is better – it is uniquely different. My mind even goes to food and drink when I look at that list of countries. I know all the unique traditions that surround great meals prepared in all those lands. USA is the hodgepodge for sure and that is our thing. But I’m deeply appreciate of food, song, culture, religion (as an expression) and storytelling. I’ve been honored to have worked with a handful of international filmmakers and I plan to work with more. I think my interest in ancient history, martial arts and even the culture of futbol/soccer has driven me to explore and enjoy the diversity we have on this planet. I want to thank all of you readers for your precious moments. I also will make it a goal to get more and more of our films into your territories. Some of them already are but with distribution growing as they say at Disney world “It’s a small world after all.” True words:)
I’ve had a great week both personal and professional. The Thanksgiving family time is past us and now the Christmas tree is up. While not yet decorated it has been a welcome sight each day. The tree will become the fuel of the transformation fire (Fire pit) that will help burn up the winter clutter once spring arrives. I’ve been gathering gifts for family since I will be gone the week before Christmas week. I’ll be in Nevada playing space cowboy in the Valley of Fire. I was informed that as a young child I went there and even saw a few old photos yesterday. I look forward to gathering with these artists and performing with a few actors I admire and have not yet worked directly with. I’m ready save my packing so soon it will be time to shoot in the WASTELAND.
2015 Distribution Updates
ASHES OF EDEN – Feel free to read a great review of the film. More of these will be releasing leading up to the 2015 national release. I have a goof vocabulary but I had to look up the word they associated with my name. I thought it might mean “Loud and Opinionated” Ha! But I was happy to see that it meant “marked by outstanding strength and vigor of body, mind or spirit.” So please do take a read on the review and we will be getting the film on the market and out to you very soon.
DONORS – Also will be releasing nationally in 2015 – more on this in the weeks to come
WICKED SPRING – produced under Lionheart Filmworks when that was our southern sister company. The companies split ways a handful of years ago and now “Wicked Spring” is under the CDI banner and is getting a 2015 spring special edition release. Also on BluRay!
We will see a 2015 re-release of KNIGHT CHILLS with a novelization release. Likely fall 2015. Also work on a sequel script has begun.
HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS and FIGURE IN THE FOREST rights are back at home here at CDI and a domestic release set up will also happen. “Figure in the Forest” can be seen on TBN and Parables TV.
BESTSELLER – Early look at FX work is very exciting! I know music work is in full swing. We are looking at a 1st test showing of this film early in 2015. We are getting some early interest from distributors. It is going to be another film that proudly showcases Michigan filmmaking at its finest.
NON-CDI RELEASE INFO
I have a few co-starring/supporting roles in THE TERRORIST & DEAD QUIET and make appearances in DIVISION 19 and SMALL TOWN SANTA (Released now).
Several VERY exciting projects are in development some with partial funding. We’re hard at work with some script work and prep that will lead to more production in 2015!
My last advice pulled from recent events. ALWAYS, ALWAYS give more by way of effort than what you are paid for. NEVER be one of the people who does just the absolute minimum. Maybe at some boring desk job but in an industry that moves on passion you never want to be seen as just a functional piece. Your passion is what makes you an artistic contributor. It is what will get you re-hired. A great example taken from BESTSELLER film shoot. I like to ninja about and just observe people at work. I came up to the grip truck one day to find our key grip Paul Burt busy organizing. Most people were just trying to stay warm and get the shots as this was a wet, cold day on a remote dirt road. I watched him move and arrange. Wipe down and clean C stands and such. When I revealed myself to his surprise – I was met with a smile and asked if I needed anything. My response – “I need an entire crew with an attitude like yours.” I said, hot coffee was ready and he explained that he would go up in a few minutes. This was HIS responsibility. HIS grip truck for this shoot and HE wanted to make sure it was clean and orderly because it was a reflection on him. WOW! I want people like that on our team. That is a reflection of us as a company. That is a reflection of us as an industry. Character is what you are when you think nobody is looking. Pride starts with yourself and extends outward like a pebble thrown in water. Paul Burt’s phone will ring again. Will yours? With only so many people making narrative features and with the way producers get referrals on performance. How many times can someone give just the bare minimum before one of your peers with passion takes that hire away from you? Let me answer that for you – not many. This goes for actors. This goes for vendors. I’ve had companies mad because I continued to get my gear over the years from LOWING LIGHT & GRIP. I even had a trash talking vendor from Detroit once ask how she could steal my business. Her choice of words alone made me say, NEVER. David (Lowing) was there when I first stepped up to fight monsters in IN THE WOODS. He has always been there for me. Like I said about cast/crew, he always gave more goods or service than the dollar amount on the check. That intangible is where loyalty lives. The actor who gives every ounce of themselves – I immediately think of Melissa Anschultz freezing in a warehouse under rain machines while filming “7 Stones”. I already spoke about Paul Bert and David Lowing as examples of crew and vendors. If you desire loyalty from people you better give them a reason. I know people out there get mad (of course at someone else) if they get passed over. We know sometimes it’s just a casting thing or a key crew position that was already in play – but look at yourselves. Are you respectful to those above and below you? Do you give your best effort, always? Do you spread positive energy in your wake? Would you be an example for others to follow? If you can’t answer YES to all of these your time could be limited or your advancement may stall. Stand accountable and watch your career and life experience amazing growth.
Happy Full Moon!