Again Michigan is covered in a blanket of white snow. I know that many of you are from various parts of the world. Welcome readers from S. Korea and Burma. How wonderful that all these artistic people have found our little corner of the internet. My hazelnut coffee is going down easy and I’ve got a list of updates on several of the projects. This morning I did take a stroll through the Facebook which has kind of replaced the newspaper sadly. I usually find science articles to read and enjoy certain animal posts that highlight how intelligent and soulful animals truly are. Where to begin?
I commented on a fellow filmmaker’s vent this morning. In short – a disdain for people who have more resources or who falsely claim experience. It’s a problem but one that usually works itself out. We use to lovingly refer to it as The Oregon Trail. For us older people it was a TSR-80 game. But in real history it was a rugged journey that resulted in many dying and being buried along the Oregon Trail. We use that saying to describe the many in our business who perished along the trail.
Many people have long-wondered what the “trick” is at CDI to producing their content. First, there is no trick. It is a logical checklist of work that must be done in a particular order. You can refine that over time but this takes an effort. Good management of people is something that you cannot buy for yourself. There is no piece of equipment you can purchase that will motivate good work flow. Some of the secrets, if you wanna call it that are…
- Hire artists firsts not friends – you can become friends (True definition not Facebook’s) through shared art, dependability, accountability and positive collaboration. But to assign/hire someone unqualified for a crew or cast role out of friendship hurts the collective endeavor and often the friendship. Don’t set people up to fail. Don’t let preventable failure lower the quality of your projects or worse yet – kill it. I think for young filmmakers that is where these 48 hour film challenge things help. With a youthful generation of highly creative, technology-adept youths INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION is a learned skill. It is easy to be disrespectful, behind a computer. But these comments in the real world to a real person, can get you kung fu’d, fired or create a poison in an otherwise productive creative atmosphere.
- Chiefs. I’m talking to company owners. I’m talking to producers, director and keys. You all set the tone for the environment. Define the roles ahead of time. Don’t figure it out as you go. Producers have months or years of development work before any camera roll – use it. Creative MUST respect the Business machine and the business must respect the artistic contributions that will elevate it above being a mere formula genre film. Only strong leadership can walk this balance between the two and enforce this kind of collaboration. NEED vs WANT…KNOW the DIFFERENCE.
- Follow Through – this means the same in micro as in macro – for anyone in the chain of execution. You NEED people with follow through or they’re simply a negative – excuses not withstanding. It does not matter what the creative potential of an individual is if they’re not able to follow through. This should always disqualify/limit a person from leadership. Now you can put creative slackers under a disciplined key so they can be exposed and maybe learn from leadership. Ego will sometimes make them reject the chain of command if they feel they are a superior artist. The best artist in our world has follow through and a “best effort” positive attitude. Again, the best artist is not always JUST the best artist but the best artist with follow through. If a creative caterer made half a crew lunch = fail. Someone at go time had collected only half the props = fail. Wrong instructions as to where to park support vehicles = fail. Hundreds of things a day can cause strife on a film set if your team is not properly prepared. Be prepared.
- Help is not weakness – many people have not learned the many important lessons from managing projects of various sizes and budgets. People need to know when to say NO or to seek out and hire the proper experience. But either greed or fear of loss of power, causes many to sell themselves onto projects that they are truly unqualified for. F- YOU DJ! YOU GOTTA START SOMEWHERE! Okay. Settle down, I hear you:) Now in the beginning, I might have been one of those people. But, I did qualify as a doer of many other things. Some of these things small and some large in other areas of my life. I have always been someone who has a natural drive to GET IT DONE if I’m behind something. Investors saw that eye of the tiger in me. Investor interest seldom comes from a fancy fluff package or a regurgitation of business buzz words – more often that investor see’s or feels something in you that was/is akin to his own inner fire.
OK. I need to save a little wisdom:) But I try to keep a pulse on this Michigan film community. I see positives and negatives. Michigan has always fought the ‘backwoods’ mentality given to us by Hollywood. Funny thing is much of the Hollywood elite is midwestern. But I will say that I see improvements. Tax incentives gone – my opinion – it never should have been about drawing work to Michigan but development of work from within Michigan. But it did help legitimize filmmaking as an acceptable title here in Michigan. Ask old-timers and MI filmmakers from the 80’s and 90’s, about being called a filmmaker. It was like telling your family you want to be an astronaut. It was usually met with a sideways stare and a loss of words.
Now people don’t sideways stare at me they simply want to know when the next film releases. They tell me they have young children interested in filmmaking. It’s great to see the parent support of these young dreamers. I burned out on festivals a decade ago but I respect all the great festivals our state has to showcase, network and nurture our creatives. I watch the yearly migration to the west coast where people learn that the increase in opportunities is usually matched by the increase in applicants. But many have to experience it. I will be out there for a week on some business this month. I’m looking forward to seeing some friends and associates. Oh, and the sun. But after a few I must return home. Home is Michigan.
Shane Hagedorn’s big shoulders to carry his first feature
We master the film off this week and I’ve got some meetings coming up over home video/foreign. The TV series is something that I’ve been aggressively chasing. I think it would be great for Michigan. I know a few other TV series working to get traction. How great would it be to have a string of TV shows happening. We’ve also been hard at work on securing theaters. We’ll be announcing soon as several deals are almost done. I do truly love the genre and I think it would be great to see weekly as a show. Once you watch the movie let me know.
If you cannot wait and need a fix of 1800’s action/drama our Civil War film “Wicked Spring” is getting a re-release 16 years later. 18 years from when cameras first rolled. We shot the pre-war and war stuff in two separate shoots and areas. I’m waiting for the streaming link to go live on amazon. 2/5/18 is supposed to be digital release date. DVD’s on 3/5/18. Here is the new cover that the distributor settled on. It has one of my favorite pics from the shoot and it is of Anthony Hornus, who played the Union commander. Also that’s Michigan’s Brad Egan front and center marching forth.
Look for this cover that has the remastered film. Also the DVD includes a 45 min Making of that is a wonderful look back at producing 18 years ago. Please do take a watch.
Cool look at the TOP Civil War Films
We’ll be posting places you can buy/rent as they go live on
Wicked Spring Facebook
Are you ready for another look at Part 3 of…
THE QUEST TRILOGY
Forty Nights and Chasing the Star are working into more platforms and networks. The push will start for Easter sales. I’m excited that the poster and movie trailer for The Christ Slayer part 3 is almost done. As if the excitement of “Wild Faith” wasn’t enough this first full trailer will allow BMG to start promotions. It is amazing the scope of it all and it brings the greater story of the trilogy together and answers many questions.
SIDE NOTE: Forty Nights is part one and if you don’t know I play Jesus. I’m over due on a few character reels but this one was hard. When you’re in about 70 min of a 88 min film or so and you are looking for 2-3 min sizzle it can prove to be…difficult. My actor/filmmaker buddy Shane Hagedorn knew I’ve been very busy the last few years working on the whole. He surprised me with a character reel of Jesus. I will be sharing that with you all in the coming days. I always ask that one good role just gets me one more. This will come in handy as I’ve got a few things in the works hence the LA trip.
Many have asked me what’s next for me on-screen. As we’re always working on delay – this year you can watch me as mountain man Ben Lily in “Wild Faith” and reprising my role as Jesus in “The Christ Slayer” film. I’ve got some good film role options that I’m not at liberty to discuss. It might be the year that several development collaborations pop. I can say that the main focus for me is MBF. (Man’s Best Friend) We’ve accepted collaboration with a military non-profit http://www.theredwhiteandblueproject.org/ that has done some great things in the past for our soldiers. They want to off-set some of our military cast/crew costs and create an educational aspect. That aside we’re trying to complete financing on this project and we’re getting close. I am excited about this project and I think so will you once you find out more about it. Here is our social media site.
I could go on and one but I have some snow to shovel and I’m prepping to do personal tax prep tomorrow. Coffee cup is low.
Be good to one another!
I’m sitting here watching the rain slowly fall from Hastings, Michigan the current location of our midWestern “Wild Faith”motion picture. Yes, I am sipping the hazelnut coffee and I just got done reviewing pics from the shoot. We have only days left this week and it will be a WRAP save one pick up Civil War flashback day. Of our 11 days we finished barely late twice, early once and on time all the remaining days. That is a tip of the hat to our fine crew and prepared cast. We shot in the Historic Charlton Park last week and this week a beautiful cabin at a Nature Center and a period train in Coldwater. I’m a tad tired because when not on camera our producer team is making sure catering, rentals and payroll are all completed. In a few short days I’m looking forward to trimming my nails, hair and beard which I’ve been living with quite a while. It has been worth it as I’ve enjoyed the character on-screen. I play trapper/tracker Ben Lily. I’ve enjoyed all the old friends I’ve had a chance to catch up with and the new friends I’ve made.
OTHER FILM NEWS
THE ACTOR is a great film I did in NYC with Jon Osman and my good friend Carl Weyant. It has a great message at the heart of it. Adler & Associates are taking it to the film market and soon we should know where it will land. Here is a preview trailer.
Additionally I’ve seen the locked picture of “Chasing the Star” with the music composed by the talented Dennis Therrian. That poster and trailer should release very soon to an awaiting audience.
“40 Nights” the film before “Chasing the Star” is gearing up to expand over the Christmas season. If you have not experienced the film I encourage you to do so. Once “Wild Faith” moves into post we will start focusing on the final installment in THE QUEST TRILOGY – “The Christ Slayer” …
“Bestseller” is in prime season and they had it here in Hastings at the Family Video. I think a news story came out yesterday that talks about “Wild Faith” filming but also drops “Bestseller” as something audiences here can easily see in store.
So much positive momentum on “Wild Faith” and once again this film will showcase the beautiful of the state and of the artists. When naysayers come at you the best course of action is to prove them wrong by doing. Over the past 20 years plus I’ve heard lots of lip service but it is the people who create that I respect. Producing movies is hard work and it takes a tribe of artists to do so. I don’t compare or contrast our company with others we just do our thing. If you’ve worked with us you know how we roll. If you haven’t worked with us – you don’t know. Just work hard to keep the drama on the screen and always give your best effort. This team has been wonderful and I know some will be relationships that continue for years to come.
Enjoy your Sunday, I’m going to get another cup of coffee and prep for the week ahead. A few more days and this film will be “IN THE CAN” haha…or maybe “ON THE DRIVES”…Oh, how life and technology changes.
Be good to one another.
This morning before the sun came up I was slipping into my buckskins to go travel back in time to one of Michigan’s coolest historic villages in Hastings. I also got to sit atop a fine animal and perform one of our scenes in “Wild Faith” shooting now. Today marks the end of week one and so far we have kept our schedule every day which is a huge compliment to this hard-working crew. We also have had cast in that were ready to rock and roll with their scenes. People today were so excited they were whooping and hollering coming out of wardrobe. I love the excitement of all the artists working on the project. We’ve had some great guests visit such as the local prosecutor and even my father. He has watched all this develop since I was a young lad playing with the camcorder with my neighbor buddy Darrel Folkert. It has been a wonderful week with actors Lana Wood (Diamonds are Forever) and Darby Hinton (Daniel Boone) visiting for a few days to shoot their scenes. They LOVED the town of Hastings. Our large extra days are behind us and the other days should be a bit easier logistic-wise.
In Other Film NEWS
“40 Nights” is now on PUREFLIX On Demand joining “Book of Ruth” and soon “Ashes of Eden” will premiere on that platform.
“Chasing the Star” has the music in place and is now working to finish sound design and VFX. That poster and trailer I promised should be arriving soon!
This is the ideal season for something scary like “Bestseller” or any of our darker themed films – so turn off the lights late at night and enjoy one of those films.
I’m working to finish the last of cast/crew payroll here and might have to return to set for one last shot today on horseback. So I’ll leave this one short and with a beautiful pic of Lana Wood & Darby Hinton, also feel free to check out the developing site for http://www.wildfaiththemovie.com
Have a great week ahead!
Hello my friends out there. I’m writing this on Friday night to release around midnight because tomorrow is busy. We’re having the 2nd of basically three Thanksgivings or family gatherings. I’m not a huge fan of the history of the day but that is neither here nor there – the day has become one to gather with loved ones and be thankful. I can get behind that and so I’ve been enjoying some family time. I’ve been sneaking business in on these off days. Let’s see what we’ve been up to…
The producers decided to make Part 1 of the story FREE. Wrap your face to protect from the harsh sands and enter the WASTELAND!
“Knight Chills” deal was signed and so book cover/film artwork will begin. I also got some time to write on the sequel. We’ve had some cool talks with a few keys involved in this sequel.
Once we get this going we will look at “From Venus” to see what can be done there. We just have so much more technology at ours hands now. Some of these earlier films did not have all the bells and whistles we wanted. It will be fun to revisit some of these worlds.
The national release dates we are hearing –
“Donors” – Feb 2nd, 2016
“Bestseller” – May 3rd, 2016
“Ashes of Eden” has a new street date pushed in light of a TV deal. That announcement I’m told will release from distributor on Tuesday.
A few development talks on our next project with Jesse Low. We’ll be announcing something on that maybe around Christmas. It will shoot in 2016.
The foundation of the “house” (film) “Chasing the Star” is about to be set. I had to get some paperwork around this past week. It is much easier to focus on paperwork when it is cold and wet outside. Coffee (David Hayes) and I just TCB’d. That is an Elvis saying that I take to heart. Taking Care of Business. I try.
Had good negotiations on a script that’s being re-optioned. I got half way through one script I was reading. I started the book I was sent to look over for a film role. Aside from reading others work I’m closing in fast on a first draft of “I can’t tell you yet” but the 3rd script in the QUEST trilogy.
The 1st film “40 Nights” is about to be all pulled together. The intro, VFX, sound, music – all the elements. The last two steps will be color correct and final mix to 5.1 surround. We released a teaser about a week ago. This was a small test snippet after already releasing the official trailer. Check it out on the “40 Nights” Facebook site and JOIN US:) Everyone is excited to see this film as a finished project.
We’ve also been digitizing the CDI library. Many of the films were stored on tapes of various types. One had to have some fixing. Thank you Scott! We have offers extended on more TV play so we’ll be presenting for 2016. Some of the films are getting a great repackaging – VOD did not exist when some of these films released. Also some have not had a BluRay release yet. So lots of fun stuff with the earlier films. We still have lots of people watching “Darkest Night,” “7 Stones” and many others. Thank you for reaching out.
“Bestseller” is getting ready to release early December in Grayling, Michigan. I’m working on Kalamazoo and Detroit area still. We’ll keep playing it leading up to the national release. The film plays great on the big screen. I also can say that “Bestseller” was the film that cemented the upcoming “C.U.J.O.” role. Is that a hint? I don’t think so. Maybe?
Lastly, in 2016 we’re going to try and launch an online store, theater and such. CDI will keep evolving and working on collective developments:)
Have a great weekend. I hope my alumni school MSU has another good week on the grid. Our Lions made us proud on Thanksgiving – great job!
Be good to one another out there.
The first snow of mention kissed the ground last night. It’s beautiful and welcome at least for a while. The harvest was finished yesterday with the pulling of the beets. A final mulch and mow and stowing the last of the yard items until spring. This morning has been all coffee (BREAKING update) I may have a new coffee sponsor – stay tuned. Speaking of sponsors, this morning has been wonderful with coffee and The Candleberry Candle Company! They have been a personal sponsor for a few years helping me find my mindspace to work on scripts. My zen to keep patience when dealing with accounting and BS technology issues. OK. Let’s be honest on that front. 98% of my technology issues are with my technological issues. From my earliest days of friends playing with the video camera – my buddy Darrel was always the camera guy. He could get the camera to roll back to the right VHS frame. We didn’t have editing back in the day. We shot one take in order. Boom box on set was our music. Those days were fun and free. Of course being young without the daily adult issues was more free. I cherish those days beyond words. I’ve worked hard to establish a worth in our business and I can’t just play. It reduces value and being part of something “bad” (maybe still fun) can make you go backwards. I’ve got management pushing me up into the larger films. I’ve got a few studios that have taken an interest in developing my branding. I still have fun when playing on set now – it just has to make sense business-wise.
I had a funny message a few weeks ago but I was too busy to really even address it. It was from a filmmaker whom I had heard all good things about. Previously they had expressed to a mutual associate that they wanted to get a script in my hands. It was in the thriller/horror genre as I recall. With good recommendations behind them I even thought a future collaboration might be possible. I have a few horror scripts with interested distribution and foreign sales waiting. It has to be the right director and the project just is not front and center right now in development. They were working on a script and we inquired about bringing to the table scripts that made business-sense because business was there. I recall the idea being just lukewarm. Lot’s of people have their own scripts to do but if distributors/retailers don’t want it why shoot it? So fast forward and coming from Yuma shooting “40 Nights” I recall getting a script and reading it at the airport. It wasn’t bad as I recall just not anything I was into doing. Maybe I needed time away from playing Jesus before heading into the dark side again? But whatever reason – it was a pass. Now under some odd screen name I got contacted and scolded for talking SHI$% about their script and making a Jesus film. OK. They wanted to twist a dagger with a “So and so also just made the same Jesus film…” 🙂 First, you have not seen our film. Second, that is like saying, “someone else made a film about a haunted house” – okay. I’ve had rocks thrown at me for years and I’m okay with that. It is a badge of honor and respect – some of my celebrity friends have all confirmed – when hate starts you’re getting success. Now, when I got around to reading this message I wasn’t mad. To me, I saw a frustrated artist who took my rejection of a role as a rejection of his art. Not true. I almost reached out because if he is a good artist this kind of negativity leads to career death. I can say that because I’ve seen it. That was the funny thing about our screening of “An Ordinary Killer” last week. A perfect movie? No. Art is subjective. It did sell out 12 of 13 theatricals, USA/Australia distribution and played on ABC. We made that film 13 years ago. WOW! And that was our 5th CDI feature and the library is much larger now. The point is I want people to succeed but by good business and hard work. No shortcuts and half-ass business. People who know me will say that I give you an honest opinion. I’ve had lots of experiences in our business and while I learn something new daily – I’ve gathered a good amount of knowledge.
RESPECT. I’ve given it and had several good advisors and mentors.
IF YOU GIVE IT – you too can learn, grow and thrive.
That one communication was just a good example of how not to build bridges. You get feedback and you get defensive – that shuts down any respectful communication. Do I practice what I preach?
CHASING THE STAR – On Friday Bret Miller, our director and I, concluded a three-hour plus script meeting. I’m happy to say we have draft 2 with the directors input. We moved a few scenes for pacing and flow and he had a few ideas that we put in there. Our distributors had purchased a suit and we were giving it a tailor. It is exciting and so that will start to go out next week.
On casting we’ve been looking at several reels – most on the west coast because we’re limited on flights. We also fly in several of our keys because that is just as important. They are stars on the other side of the camera. Funny. In Michigan I hear complaints when films come in and bring their keys. I will once again get back at them by bringing some of our Michigan keys. I can’t bring everyone and that is a hard balance. But once again some of us will depart Michigan in Feb for Arizona. Maybe that is why I can enjoy the snow.
40 Nights – This week my goal is to pull in the intro sequence and VFX. Sound design is closing up and our director loved the direction. The music score is also coming together. We released a teaser that used a snippet of music.
We’ve been re-mastered the CDI library in prep of some new VOD, foreign, TV deals and a possible CDI Online store. The book/DVD deal on “Knight Chills” is signed and some PR will release on that.
I thought some PR from our distributor was coming out on the “Ashes of Eden” TV deal. Something for next week! Closed caption deal on “Donors” releasing Feb 02. “Bestseller” is playing Grayling, MI Dec. 10th look for a new event page and updates. The national release date on “Bestseller” might be March 02 but we’re trying to confirm. I will confirm that artwork is being done and I’m looking forward to that.
Script, script, scripts… – I signed an NDA and had a book sent to me that will be followed by the script. A studio I’m working with sent me a script that they want me to star in. Also another couple of projects to consider/talk about – one is a TV show reboot and the other a major film on par with C.U.J.O.. That project is moving forward and looks to shoot in 2016. I will say more when I can.
Let’s wrap this up. I’m going to watch MSU and maybe read a script.
Enjoy your weekend!