Welcome one and all to my “Clawing My Way to the Middle” blog. It is noon and I’m back to sipping the last of the coffee while putting a few thoughts down on here. This week was full of meetings and interviews – vetting and exploring as we continue to move forward. Last week we announced “Wild Faith” our next film with director Jesse Low. The heat wave snapped with the storm yesterday in Michigan and I’m very happy about that. I’m more of a cool weather person and so we’re soon to transition into my favorite time of year. I picked a load of veggies yesterday from our garden. We’ve been enjoying fresh everything daily from tomato on sandwiches to steamed beans and squash. The rain also has the yard filling in dead spots from the brutal heat. My hair and beard are mountain man crazy (Is that a hint?) so the heat was mildly uncomfortable. Let’s look at some of the weekly recaps.
The second film in the trilogy “Chasing the Star” is moving steady down the post-production tracks and so if you’ve not seen part 1 – take a watch.
Chasing the Star
This week we should start looking at VFX work. The music and sound design is underway with that talented Dennis Therrian. Our INTRO will again be done by CHOP & HUE. We plan to have our first premiere before Christmas and I’m excited for audiences to see it. I had a dental cleaning and my dentist right away wanted to know how the second film was coming. He and his daughter attended the first one in the theater and loved it. So we have a built in audience waiting for part 2.
The Christ Slayer
Next month we will start to pull some business together on this film. The script is out to the returning players. I was happy to get such a beautiful response from our returning talent. I’ve been talking with other possible players and looking at behind the camera players also. I’m excited about shooting the last of the three in the QUEST TRILOGY.
Wild Faith will be officially entering pre-production as our business paperwork comes together this week. We’ve been looking at reels and reads and I’m excited about the cast coming together. We’ve been discussing the business behind this pilot feature and a possible 10 show season #1 to be shot in Michigan.
Knight Chills 2 – We’re prepping some PR that will detail our development underway with our friends at BlackJacket Films. Camera tests and casting have been quietly taking place. Distribution talks are underway both for the 20th anniversary re-release of the original and our follow-up feature.
Additional talks have been underway with Jeff Kennedy, Dean Teaster and Anthony Hornus and we might see new projects from all of them in the near future.
This week is full of more meetings but I’ve been enjoying the on-camera prep work I’m doing. We have the first round of soccer playoffs this eve so I’m looking forward to that. We finished 3rd overall and it’s been a great season. That intense running in the heat has me in good shape so running around in the woods should be a breeze.
Enjoy your day and have a great week ahead!
PS: Luke is home and doing very good from his bout of illness.
Much of the country got hit by a major winter storm. I thought this pic would remind us of a warmer place. In Michigan we only got a dusting thanks again to the protection of the Great Lakes. It has been a busy week for sure wrapping up old business and beginning new business. To look back upon the previous week’s news of death, it reminds me to live. Do what you’re suppose to do. Use your gifts. Be happy. I’ve been entering new areas of business as we climb higher on the ladder. It’s always an adjustment to climb higher, to believe and in our case, put forth your art to a wider and wider – world audience. I talked prior about my refusal to complain but adapt to our new growth. I know a few filmmakers with talent but they don’t really grow. They spread along the ground – ground cover but they don’t grow UP! You have to compete with other trees for sun to do this. So while some will play if safe and spread – making more or less the same material. It’s about taking bold moves but having the right business in place. Sunshine can equal shelf space, theatrical time slots or just the attention of an audience pulled in a thousand directions.
I’m thrilled that younger people are again gaining patience and a new appreciation of character development that is coming through mini series and TV shows. I think that Starz or HBO may be one of our future destinations for production. I place “Game of Thrones” and “Black Sails” as two of my favorite shows. I like that different time and place – world creating. We’ve done it on several films and it takes artists who are 100% committed. I’m so happy with our latest and greatest period film. It takes place in biblical times, “40 Nights” the first of a three part trilogy. The three films explore the quests of some amazing individuals. Early test showings have way exceeded expectations. Now I would rather pull expectations down and not light a match to fire up the haters, but I think many audiences will sincerely enjoy this story. I think within the story is something for everyone. We’re now done with the film. From here, we’re looking at theatrical and event showings. Our distributor may do a month push on domestic release to give us a little more time. It’s a film that truly should be seen on a large screen if possible.
I’ve finally circled around back to the business of the soundtrack deal. The agreements are being put together. “40 Nights,””Donors,” “Ashes of Eden,” and “Bestseller” will be the first ones to roll out.
A lot of prepping and energy spent on these new films releasing to the world market. We have an entire group of the older CDI films in the library heading for a new release. At least in one case “Knight Chills” – it comes shortly before a sequel moves into production. Essentially, instead of going to film school for 4 years we made 4 test features in various genres – crossing all the T’s and dotting the I’s so they could keep selling like they do today. I like to call them the CLASSIC CDI FILMS. They can also be defined as the pre-HD generation of CDI films. I was working in film in the early years before it became video with poorly attempted film looks, hopeful multi-chip improvements and frame rate adjustments. CDI moved aggressively into HD using some of the first cameras used by George Lucas in “Phantom Menace”… Lastly the journey has brought us to the age of RED and a slew of great HD cameras in the digital uprising.
We’ve got so much going on with prepping for the roll-outs on these films. We’re looking at a few projects we were approached on for feature film production. (They have their $) A few script reads teasing future acting roles. But we’re excited as “Chasing the Star” is gearing up to enter official pre-production. Some good news is that 4 days will be shot in Michigan which will allow some of our great talent to be showcased. Right now we’re finalizing our business. Almost done. From there we get ready for the first part of the shoot in Yuma, AZ.
I’m happy to announce I’m done with the 1st polished draft of “Knight Chills 2” and almost done with the polish on the third script of the QUEST TRILOGY. (“The Christ Slayer”)
Stay safe. Stay warm. Stay the course with your dreams. Have fun:)
Welcome one and all to “Clawing My Way to the Middle” first blog of 2014. It was a wild Christmas holiday with the ice storm and even now we prepare for another Arctic storm to come. I had a good friend come and help me cut up the fallen elm tree which I stacked up. I will say that once it has dried I will have a good amount of firewood. I had to do a little make shift fix to the fence until we can really address it. There was a lot of business that finished at the end of 2013 and some that was just on hold. Let us look at the year ahead so top off that coffee cup and let’s take a look.
In December I was filming later than usual in the year with my acting on “Dead Quiet”. It was a cool okay COLD chance to film with some dedicated folks. I’m curious to see what we created although the first look at dailies brought good feedback. I’m also curious to see the Christmas film I did locally renamed “Small Town Santa” which ties into my next announcement. I had almost sold/produced a Christmas script of my own several years ago. It banged around with some majors and would have easily been the largest script sale I’ve made. I had Hollywood try to do a commercial tween rewrite. I was willing to sell but truly hated that version. When that deal did not go through I put that version in a dark vault never to see light of day again. I kept my version inspired by THE WALTON’S versus the AfterSchool special mess. I held onto it in hopes that either I could do it right or that someone else could. I finally had a studio read MY version and loved it. The option/purchase agreement was made and it is very likely that it will launch this year. A press release is being put together so I will hold on details. I’m starting to look at a few scripts that are not acting vehicles for myself and I might consider a sell. Many like the visual style of the writing and so 2014 will see me put some effort in this area. My agent wants me to look at scripts to sell via them also so I guess I will consider. So if you are in need of a script in a certain genre reach out. You better bring your checkbook though.
I’m starting to continue distribution and studio talks that started at the year’s end. I’ve got some legal meetings this coming week over properties. I’ve got a few scripts to read – one being the proposed follow-up to “Ashes of Eden” with director friend Shane Hagedorn. Post work on ‘Ashes of Eden” is almost complete and “Bestseller” is about to dive into editing. This year will see “Donors,” “The Terrorist” making 1st distribution pushes along with the two films above. CDI will look at more associations and continue the tradition of storytelling. The chances are good that I will be doing a follow-up project “The Beast” with Russ Williams (Darkest Night) and the western “Rifle” with Carl Barbee (Resurrection).
As for acting – the hair got a sizable trim and I’m ready to tackle some new roles. I love the family of folks in front of and behind the camera. In 2014 we will create more stories.
I’m so happy to be relaxing with a cup of streaming coffee from the new coffee maker that we now call “The Cylon” because it is chrome with cool blue lights. The office also got a new coffee maker. The Holiday season and year is coming to a close. I feel blessed that all we had to deal with is the big downed tree that will be cut up this week. I know many friends/family had to deal with the results of the ice storm. Many were without heat, water, power and many suffered more damage. I did have a large branch bounce off my ride but it was protected by the 1/2 inch of ice that covered it. I did have a relative pass on Christmas eve and I know many people deal with that as it is just part of life. I really enjoyed 2013 for many reasons both professionally and personally. Several things that happened will surely be springboards to another busy 2014. Not a ton of new developments since last week as people had to deal with the storms and/or holidays. The next blog will be in 2014 so I’m waiting to give any major updates until that one. I’m also still finalizing a few deals that got help up. I imagine those will close this week so we can start the new year with some new business!
I’m sipping hot coffee looking at the beautiful sunshine coming in the window and I have a large dog snuggled close to my leg. I had to spend a few days getting my sleep schedule straight after my return from the “Bestseller” shoot. Also we now have our back up’s complete and we are now starting to marry audio/visual together before the editing starts. I’m also carefully watching the typhoon in the Philippines where I filmed “Darkest Night”. Such great people and I feel horrible that they had to deal with that massive storm. Very sad. My thoughts are with them there today.
I also had the wonderful job of going into the studio with Shane Hagedorn and see the new color correction on “Ashes of Eden”. The film looks beautiful and I’m excited to have this rolling out soon to audiences. We also had some good time to discuss what is next in our collaborations. On sound design – we are about 85% complete there and also some music has been dropped into the film. I will be watching/listening to some of that this coming week.
Upcoming 2014 is going to bring some great developments by way of releases and sales/licensing to other territories with our films. Give me a few weeks and my mind might drift to what the next film is but right now just getting a handle back on these two films that are in post.
I know that a small Christmas film I had a role in “Holiday Miracle” is going to be showing at a few festivals – it should come to DVD soon after. I’m still looking forward to “The Terrorist” to get its big release. I’m going to reach out and see where we are with that.
Other than these updates I have to give congrats to my brother Adam and his new wife Abby. That was a great event to come home to and a nice change from the day-to-day of being off for over a month with “Bestseller”. If you have not found the Facebook site to see pics from the shoot feel free to explore http://www.bestsellerthemovie.com
Have a great fall day!
The day of yard and garden work may be halted due to the approach of the storms outside. It has been another wild week of business, business and more business. A lot of time is being spent on promotion of the projects now coming out. Some are coming out to audiences and some to distributors. Let’s take a look at a few…
LOCKED IN A ROOM – Had 1st Michigan theatrical and setting up a few more. We’ve been getting distribution offers but will likely wait until July to make any final assignment of rights. I feel this film is a small stepping stone to bigger things for the director Larry Simmons.
DARKEST NIGHT – Just finished final mixing in the Philippines and is prepping for a showing to distributors in June. If you are a distributor in the area and want to see a damn scary film give me a holler:)
7 STONES is also now complete. A new trailer is showing how strong this project is. It will play a test run in the theatre next week in Grand Rapids, MI. Following that many festival and screenings are being planned. I think this is some of my best drama in the last couple years.
DEADLY RENOVATIONS – They are prepping the domestic artwork and I know they are in discussions with Redbox, Blockbuster and other retailers. I think this film will scare and entertain. Again a great 1st step for some new filmmakers.
OUTSIDE THE WIRE – This film is gearing up for additional showings across the US. I also know that plans are underway for additional military docs by director Anthony Hornus.
I don’t have any major updates yet from SplitVision Ent. on the status of BENJAMIN. I think this film will be greatly enjoyed by audiences when it comes out. Seek out some of these films on Facebook, IMDB and such to see some preview trailers on these projects.
CDI/Myself are involved in the pushing of two slates of films forward. One is geared towards projects to be shot in Michigan and the other includes locations outside of Michigan. I also heard yesterday that we might be sharing an office on the 20th Century Fox studio lot. I’m not planning on moving to LA but it will make a nice visit from time to time. I’ve been learning from some more experienced mentors in our business. I think we all need those mentors.
As for acting I’ve been in discussions and doing a few reads on scripts. I also did a follow-up read for a director on a drama. I really like technology in the sense of my cell phone camera. I never liked going to casting offices to be treated like cattle. Thankfully those times were few and far between as I almost always get cast off previous work. I recall those casting days where at the end I felt like I gave a sub par read usually due to a forced read with someone from the casting office who could not “give”. Add in a casting director who really has no credit/resume to back up their attempted “directing” – often I would have been better just staying home and working in the garden. Now I can be relaxed, mull over the character, do a read on my phone, email it off…DONE! Back to my day. I don’t often credit technology but in this aspect I love the new digital age. No stamps, no printed headshots, no B.S.. Face to face discussions are a great gauge of mutual VIBE and understanding of character and their place in the story. When location is an issue SKYPE works well. It has opened up the world in many ways and my international filming trips attest to that.
I’m sure I could ramble on about a few other topics but I think I’ll go grab another cup of coffee.
I wish you all a safe a wonderful weekend.