The hazelnut coffee taste so good on this chilly Sunday morning. We got a record setting 13 inches when the snow storm came through. We might get a bit more later in the day. I for one love the beauty of the snow but I’m ready to move on to Spring. We had a “Viking” day chopping wood to keep the wood stove roaring. I’m excited to implement many new improvements to the property this year. Our moving of veggies and herbs to raised beds and turning the garden into chicken land has been fun. They are fun to watch like little Dinosaurs.
I want to say that everyday that I read about someones untimely passing it reminds me to love what I’m doing and the people I’m doing it with. That is professionally and personally. I know friends and family that have lost pets, parents, grandchildren and even one past film peer was announced to have passed away. I was not extremely close with him but exchanged communications over the years when either of us has a new success. The sad thing about the last mentioned loss was that it may have happened by their own infliction. I’ve had a few friends over the years that fight real mental battles with themselves. I think on some levels we all do but some cope poorly where others eventually find their way out of the forest.
I’ve had dark days in my past whereas my parents divorced after 30 years putting me in the middle and my acting career was struggling. Michigan’s film scene in the late 80’s and into the 90’s was lacking. I see folks complaining about a lack of opportunities today and chuckle. Today is like a sea of opportunity versus the 90’s. Also post tax incentives the term filmmaker became legit to the common everyday person. Much of my darkness was knowing what I wanted but not having any guides or mentors in that field. My dearest mentor, my father, was rightfully concerned. I had essentially came home and told my father I was going to be an astronaut. Again something made more realistic thanks to the billionaire space race. But he knew how easy life could be if I took the easier road, the practical road. His concerns came after several years yielded very little, in his mind. Failure can affect people different.
A certain amount of punishment and failure can break some and force them into a secondary or pie-life. Pie-Life is when you work X amount of the pie to earn shells and beads ($) so you can freely enjoy the remaining part of the pie, your life. A few years in the real world and most have sufficiently built a standard of living prison around them that forces them to stay the course with the survival job, pie-life. For others of us that have “it” (passion) bad and refuse to let go no matter how much rough ground they’re dragged over. I felt like Indiana Jones being dragged behind that Nazi truck hauling the ark. (Raiders of the Lost Ark) I climbed hand over hand up the whip, climbed on the truck’s bumper, over the side, kick in the doors, punch and throw the driver out and took over the truck. BAM!
If someone can do something else occupational and be happy living the ‘pie life’ or even something close to contentment, do it. But if you are stricken with that passion that will not leave you, embrace it. By that I mean stop being half-ass and whining and do those things you were afraid to try. Pull your confidence, self-worth and inner fire from your own personal well and don’t just try to pull energy from people. When people feel your personal geothermal-like creative energy, they will be drawn. People who draw energy from the masses is a slave to the masses. Now artists create for the masses but often to show a perspective. Life is all about perspective and perception. What we perceive can be seen via positive or negative filters. A failure might be seen as negative but in deductive reasoning it can be a positive. An elusive goal might have just been made easier to obtain as certain roads are found to be dead-ends. No more time wasted or spent. Although some will get caught in that loop, beware.
So the negative of loss that I see each day ever since we’ve all become so much more inter connected as a society, can be a positive fuel to live and pursue dreams and goals. I’m so proud of one of my associates who set out to write and take a few children’s books to market and he has. Tomorrow isn’t promised. A beautiful and haunting statement. Life is a mysterious and short phase of existence and so I would ask that those out there questioning, stay the course. Ride life and learn whatever lessons you can but best of all is learn to be the best you. I’ve said this before, the path to your dreams sometimes lies in helping others with theirs. I know some people will say I’ve helped their journey immensely and others will say, I have not. The truth is you can’t help everyone. You can inspire by your actions to pass it on. I’ve had mentors and I try to mentor. But I come from that martial arts background and sports. To take valuable time from some teachers you have to be prepared and focused, ready to learn. You can apply that lesson to teachers in school. Respect that they are there to try and teach you.
Let’s bring this around to movies, my favorite medium. It also includes some of my favorite artists, filmmakers. Last week we were treated to the announcement that BEST YEARS GONE was multi-nominated and won a few awards. The biggest award being BEST PICTURE which is great because it embodies the collective effort.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is soundly in post. A BTS (behind the scenes) video is being worked on and the first look teaser is being outlined. Meanwhile the feature is being cut with the first rough being done by mid March. We’ll keep rolling out some new photos while we wait for these first videos.
HOT ROD LOVE is the next CDI picture and we’re looking to prep in May and shoot in June. It’s a heartfelt comedy that has many classic 70’s and 80’s influences. We’re putting our investor/sponsor presentation materials together, but the truly exciting news coming this week is the announcement of a director and Dir of Photography- Mr. Shane Hagedorn and Travis Hayward. This re-teaming is building on the previous chemistry of BEST YEARS GONE, coming to home video starting in June. Our #1 goal with BEST YEARS GONE was to have fun filming. The Covid lockdowns had beaten everyone down and the humor and fun making the film translated to the final product. That laughter is the big take away from the theatrical playdates thus far. The world needs more laughter right now.
WILD FAITH: HASTINGS – More great discussions on this TV series spin off. I have follow ups first thing this coming week. It is going to happen, I’m just trying to follow the best road to production that keeps the integrity intact. Have you seen the feature WILD FAITH? Take a watch. Leave a review on imdb.com or the film’s amazon page and let us know if a sequel interests you. I love the idea of how many folks will be involved should the tv series happen.
The WEEK ahead-
This week is wrapping up end-of-year tax materials for the films. I actually got almost all my personal tax stuff around. This year has been quite smooth so far thanks to our amazing team. I’ve also been keeping my daily screenwriting happening. I’m deep into another comedy script from a treatment I’ve been bouncing around for years. I’ve got my next work-for-hire script/production coming up. It is an adaptation from a book, which I’ve almost finished. I’m really excited about the time period and the storyline. One other work-for-hire script/production is in discussion. Everything in their own time. But I find these cold days are the best for screenwriting.
Last week we talking about video game development and more which haven’t advanced too much in the past week. I got buried in numbers for a few days. But several projects including animation and a music video are in development. It is a busy time but as we discussed prior, get doing- if that is your calling. I have lots to work out in the coming weeks as we’re also in some serious production talks that could be a multi-year commitment. I laugh, because it’s all really a multi-year, lifetime commitment. It’s all a process to try and streamline funding and production. Balance. It’s all about balance. I’m going to bring this to a close. I have some writing to attend to and a few things to do around the homestead.
Be good to one another and coffee cheers.
Happy Sunday! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and happy that we did not get hit by that huge east coast storm. It went under us meaning we got the cold and a few snow flakes but not 20+ inches of snow. This past week flew by with me attacking the gathering of info for our accounting firm. This coming week the 1099’s will go out and I’ve been prepping things for end of year taxes also. We had one day this week we chose as “Viking Thursday” to cut firewood. We actually damaged the axes breaking one handle and losing the head on another. That means I’m in Axe fix mode this week but we got the job done using sledge hammers, wedges and a splitting ring. A splitting ring is a device that you place the log inside resting on a blade and hammer it down to split it. That day we worked was bitter but we got enough split for the next week or two.
The next CDI feature film is looking to be HOT ROD LOVE. The script is getting some amazing feedback and this week I’ll be breaking down more of the business aspects. We are looking at trying to hit an April/May shoot in Michigan. We’ll be announcing more on this property as we go. Now wait, didn’t CDI just do a race theme film? Yes. But that was circle track racing and this is drag racing. The CDI Race Trilogy? Haha, not really, maybe. The film is a comedy with some nice life lessons attached but it could be our biggest comedy to date.
BREAKING NEWS! So BEST YEARS GONE is prepping for its home video premiere run in June-Sept and in the meantime we’ll keep playing some theaters and also a few select film events. I will say that I’m not a fan of virtual events but with all these festivals going remote one thing stands out to me. Often the filmmakers that show up at the event and smoke have a better chance of winning because the fest gets a good acceptance speech (sometimes). So to me the one positive is that the films are really being evaluated on the content vs the political ‘schmooze’ factor. Our director Shane Hagedorn submitted us to a few select festivals. We announced that we had our first official acceptance into –
We found our yesterday that we were nominated for the following categories and actually won a few award. I’m so proud of this film and the cast and crew involved. First the SCREENPLAY was Nominated as one of the best. I appreciate this nomination greatly as I love writing and believe it is the foundation of every great film. Without a good battle plan you don’t have a real chance. I also think that having such strong source material from Karl Manke (book Hope From Heaven) also helped.
I feel our entire cast could have been nominated for the rich roles they brought to the story but this organization nominated three actors for awards. Melissa Anschutz and Randy Spence for BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS and ACTOR. It is only due to all these supporting performances especially by my costar Erika Hoveland that allowed me to be nominated and actually win BEST ACTOR for my work as ‘Gil Gilles’. But that’s not all-
As we all know the technical people behind the scenes help create and capture the world/story. I again believe that many of the crew were nomination worthy but Mr. Travis Hayward was nominated and WON for BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY. And finally, my favorite nomination and WIN…
This award represents the TRIBE! We all made this picture what it is and again I’m just so proud of our cast and crew and excited for the world audience to see this film. Here is a great statement from our director Shane Hagedorn. But first a quote from a legend.
What we do come up with has no special right to call itself better. It’s just different. No, if there’s any excuse for us at all, it’s that we’re simply following the old American tradition of the maverick”.
And from our director-
“I am thrilled for our cast and crew on these major wins and nominations from Maverick Movie Awards. Although we filmed through the height of the pandemic of 2020, our tribe of artists and crafts folk banded together to create something unique and special–all the while overcoming many obstacles while doing so. Thanks to the team at Maverick for recognizing our art and best efforts”.
Our release dates can be found on our IMDB.com page and updates are flowing out to our FB page also. I also want to take a moment to give congrats to my fellow local filmmaker/actor Michael McCallum, who was also nominated in the shorts division for ‘Best Actor’ and I believe had a few other nominations between two (?) shorts they had represented. I’m not 100% sure on all the nominations but I wanted to tip my hat. Two filmmaker groups from Lansing, Michigan getting noticed in London, England, nice.
Let me see if I can do a bullet point of some of the weeks activities-
- More “Silent Night in Algona” stills are being released on FB and soon (Feb) we’ll release a BTS video. Editing is underway with a first cut expected by mid-March.
- “SMOKE & MIRRORS” the short proof of concept short cut from the feature script is uploaded to film freeway and a few choice festivals will be chosen for this steampunk, spooky short starring David Gries and Melissa Anschutz.
- We are moving closer to a deal on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, our doc on the history of grappling/wrestling directed by our own Curran Jacobs.
- A verbal agreement has been made on moving forward with an app video game based on CDI’s first feature film from the 90’s KNIGHT CHILLS. The film is a cautionary tale about bullying woven into the awesome realm of role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. Paperwork will follow this week.
- Look on Facebook ENCOURAGE TV for my buddy Josh “Ponceman” Perry promoting BIGFOOT, UFO’S & JESUS. If you haven’t seen the film you should. It is a fun romp and ‘Chip’ Josh Perry is a show stealer. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=4724060584352381&id=124174114296086&ref=sharing&_rdr
- In the wake of THE QUEST TRILOGY push that will continue through Easter has brought up discussions on a couple other possible films set in the time of sand and sandals. These films come from a unique perspective different from most biblical adventures. So even if organized religion is not your thing, you might enjoy these three films which purposely shoot in a ‘Star Wars‘ original trilogy style.
- WILD FAITH and the developing WILD FAITH: Hastings TV series are growing stronger. As millions view the feature each year, enjoy the storytelling, the eight show series is getting closer. Now as people are getting back to work I hope to move some major pieces on the chessboard with this TV series.
- BESTSELLER is finally getting the home video release it deserves. I cannot wait to see the new artwork and such. It goes to digital rental I believe same day as BEST YEARS GONE (Sept 1st, 2022) This script is adapted from the book of the same name written by Michigan’s own Christopher Wright.
- I hope to do a follow up meeting soon to see what the evaluation of some of the old CDI library films yields at BMG. Some would need to be uprezed and conformed but that would be cool to see! Are you hoping for any one film in particular to come to the market in HD?
- WICKED SPRING is being introduced to new audiences and old audiences are getting to stream the film in HD. I want to try and do some collectors merchandise on this film in 2022. I’m thinking about a collectors poster. If you enjoy merchandise we have several items up from various films at the http://www.cdiproductions.com site.
I’m going to wrap this up and get on some bacon and eggs. Our chickens are doing well even with the frigid cold they are still kicking out eggs. I might look into my axe situation. This week ahead will be productive. I’m doing some more writing and have two other potential script writing projects. I do enjoy that writing time especially when it is freezing outdoors. If I missed anything – forgive me. This week I wish you all well and remember to have patience and be good to one another.
This morning was in the negative degrees outside but the sun is out and that is nice. I’m sipping on the hazelnut coffee and I’m thinking over last week. I have to admit with the cold outside my energy gas tank was running low on Thursday. I had a big meeting on Friday but it was rescheduled due to illness on their end. This new strain of Covid has been really making the rounds and I know various parties and people dealing with it. The vaccinated folks I know have had a mild go of it but I have at least one relative who is in the hospital after foregoing any vaccination. I’ve also followed a few folks who have been really having a struggle with ventilators and such. I’m not going to grandstand either way but I do wish you all a healthy week ahead. Do your part, whatever that is so that we can get past all this. It has been a point of concern now for the 3rd year as we plan our new artistic endeavors.
ACTOR ADVICE- I know at least a couple individuals who work in our circle that also state they have a passion for performance/acting. The issue comes when perhaps they are great workers behind the camera but in front of the camera is not as strong. Acting for film can also consist of how you break down and learn the script. Taking tidbits from the script and use that to add layers upon layers of character complexity. To play larger roles you need to really know, KNOW the character inside and out. Dreams, hopes, fears and more all play into a character arc that can have many changes throughout a story. If you are an extrovert and like the socializing, an acting/improv class might help you get comfortable with a crew. If you are more “keep to your self” you could do your own scene study. You could keep recording and working a monologue until you can make someone watching it laugh out loud or opening cry – all good signs in your performance. So if your peers have never seen you push a moment, a scene to that level – you need to show them. You also will get stronger as you show yourself you can mine out these feelings and put them to camera. Some people are good without the camera but add that amazing device and some freeze like it is a pointed gun. So to the few out there who want to evolve from extras or featured extras into larger roles, follow that advice. Put those reads down and work it (keep doing it) until it truly moves people watching it. To want something is great but if you are not there you NEED to put in the work.
BEST YEARS GONE – The final delivery pieces have been uploaded to our distributor which means I should have home video dates soon. In the meantime we will explore a few more theatrical runs and festivals. Our director is picking a few select festivals that would be fun or align with the festival’s audience. One of the first to respond is a 19 year old London festival and so the UK will be getting an early look at ‘Gil Gilles’ and gang. I have not released the distributors poster yet as I was waiting on those home video dates. But we have some fun and special things lined up for the home video release. How many out there have a “Gil Gilles Survival Kit”? See http://www.cdiproductions.com where G$ is handling our growing merchandise section. 2022 Lunch boxes? Action Figures? Coloring books? Who knows but man are we having fun with it all.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – First I want to say how sorry we are that DP Dan Chipman just lost his father to this Covid. Our hearts go out to Dan and his family. Speaking on a happier note we’ve been rolling out still photos of the film chosen by and color corrected by Daniel G. Chipman (his professional name) and man are they beautiful. I also will announce that Adam Towner will be reaching out to cast and crew to collect captured memories from on set and put together a behind the scenes. As he is doing this our director will be crafting ideas for the first teaser trailer. It was a wonderful experience and it will be nice to have something for cast and crew to remember fondly that CDI adventure. So the future months will bring us some great updates.
I had someone reach out last night saying their family watched WICKED SPRING for the first time and loved the camera work and the themes presented. CDI once had a sister company Lionheart that I part owned and we produced VA area projects under. When we separated we took Wicked Spring as part of our deal. Since we’ve kept is active and I’m so happy that they’ve brought the resolution up to HD for new and old audiences. Decades later and fans are still being moved by this simple story of men at war. Take a watch and leave a review and let us know your thoughts. Too many enthusiasts it is a top film for them. Others who don’t appreciate as much pacing and character development find the start slow but I love it. I’m proud of our director Kevin Hershberger who has carved out his own niche with TV docu-series and working costume and B unit are larger films. He is a good example of how far passion can take you and he loves that 1800’s time period too.
Several other older films in the CDI library are being evaluated for new release campaigns. What one would you love to see streaming in HD? Heaven’s Neighbors? Knight Chills? An Ordinary Killer?
Talks were had this week with a TV show runner of sorts about WILD FAITH: Hastings and it was met with strong enthusiasm. This was another great perspective on how strong a property we have with a feature film proof of concept and tens of millions of views. I think we’ll be back to the 1800’s with the Murphy family it is a matter of when. I’ve started a FB page where we’ll track the development of the series. @WildFaithHastingstvseries
Also looking at a Spring shoot, I’m in the final stretch on scriptwriting a new story that I’ve had in my head for a while. My best pitch of it is “A 1975 American Graffiti” with a few great influences film-wise. What influences? Cannonball Run, Caddy Shack and a few others. It is an ensemble comedy with a few great themes written throughout it. The 1970’s will be fun for our artists to tackle. I’m already growing out my hair for that 70’s feathered look:) And wardrobe will be fun to find and we all likely have some already. HRL is the initials to the script, can you figure it out? I will be done with the script this week with a good polish to it also. From there the producers will get a read and we’ll discuss the next steps of bringing on our funding and start casting. See: ADVICE TO ACTORS UP ABOVE
I have two other possible scripts to write and I’m evaluating which project to take on in February. Both are work-for-hires and CDI would likely produce both as films. I do have two other personal scripts underway which I’ll return to and plan to finish in 2022. I love to write especially on these cold days.
I’ve been playing phone tag in trying to connect with a few new contacts. Some are casual contact to get to know one another and share war stories. From that foundation sometimes endeavors are born. I’m really excited about one opportunity that just recently came about. This opportunity comes on the heels of a conversation I had last week, about how much I enjoyed working on the music video “Off to the Race” – so there is your hint. I LOVED growing up in the MTV music video golden age. It was a great collaboration platform between musicians and filmmakers as both are storytellers. Above is a pic of the MSU party bus the band “Vertical Bridge” came in to the premiere of “Best Years Gone” in Owosso, MI.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the documentary of the history of grappling is having the EPK put together and a screening link for the few business folks to review. We’ll plan a premiere for the near future and will look to put a deal together in Feb for home video/worldwide. It takes several months to a year to put a full home video campaign together. But we might do a series of event screenings leading up to home video. All in steps. Follow us @fortheloveofcatchdoc
SMOKE & MIRRORS – is being loaded to film freeway to submit to a few fun festivals. This is one of the two personal scripts I’m working on. I love the time period and it also has a tinge of steampunk to it all. The short will become a great feature film and audiences will enjoy this fun and spooky romp. Follow our progress on @Smokeandmirrorsmovie
As I’m typing I received messages praising The Quest Trilogy and Lost Heart aka Bigfoot, UFO’s and Jesus. Last week I had a nice note on MAN’S BEST FRIEND. These films are really helping people and that is truly priceless. If the films aren’t your cup of tea I understand, although there are many different flavors to choose from. But try something outside your norm and give it a chance. I’ve found so many gems and seldom are they the most advertised films.
I’m going to wrap this up and I might even work on some script writing for a few. I want you all to stay safe, warm (especially those being hit by the big storm) and keeping working to make 2022’s kick off great! I’m going to go get a fire kicking in the office and prepare for a productive week ahead. Maybe another coffee fill up although it is close to noon. I switch to water or tea usually in the afternoon.
Be good to one another!