Photo by Dean Teaster
Good morning my friends. I’m indeed sipping the hazelnut coffee this morning and taking a moment to type to all of you. Our CDI team has been hard at work capturing the story pieces for our next film MBF: Man’s Best Friend. We have an excellent cast and crew working hard to make each day. This film will surely live up to the standards we’ve been trying to set for ourselves as storytellers. I’ve truly gone to some new places with this character Paul. A wounded war vet who is just trying to find peace. I think many of us are trying to do that and certain things give us that feeling. What happens when that peace is disrupted or taken away? This film is just growing in leaps and bounds gathering worldwide interest. It will be featured on an upcoming ANIMAL PLANET show called ‘Amanda to the Rescue’ this fall.
Me with my boy ‘Luke Brown’
We’ve got military supporters and dog lovers. The hearing impaired and spinal injury activists – all sorts of messages in this story that unfolds in small-town America. Please check out our social media site and join us on this journey. It’s fun to see the lifelong friendships being born through mutual, shared passion in storytelling.
Aside from this we have some exciting news pending on ‘Wild Faith’ pending only until the deal is done. We’re looking at setting up more theatrical screenings this summer as we move towards fall home video release.
I also just saw the new color correction for part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY trailer. Such a beautiful job. The film VFX is still being worked but I got to see some of the digital matte paintings and such inside the feature film. We have this great film about to join ‘Forty Nights’ and ‘Chasing the Star’ in the marketplace. That will happen as ‘MBF’ is in editing.
I’m so very proud of these films done by hard-working artists on both sides of the camera. If you’re a filmmaker work hard to do things right. I saw filmmakers online talking about locations. These are so important and can make or break the look of a film. If you don’t run an organized off-set and trash a location that defines all our industry. I’ve stated before about being accountable. We’ve had some poison-individuals in this state of Michigan who caused quite a bit of damage to projects and their self. Luckily several of them are gone having burned too many bridges. I noticed how several of these toxic people were hailed for…I’m not quite sure. But I do notice that talent especially seem to fear being ‘blacklisted’ for speaking truth. Don’t get me wrong ‘blacklisting’ exists. I will remove and refuse to hire toxic cast or crew. Occasionally one gets on board but they either adopt a new positive way to perform or they are made to walk the plank:) But I will always speak my truth if asked. If I disagree with something said, I will and politely try to explain my viewpoint. I would never fear being blacklisted by any of the people I deem toxic because they could not pay me enough to collaborate with them. Don’t get me wrong, I want these people to change for the positive. Most won’t and they’ll fade away like poorly written story. But some just might decide to try to live as the best version of themselves. But often taking the high road with integrity is harder and many are seeking selfish shortcuts. I was reminded of this behavior just recently in a discussion. You can choose to be part of the problem or solution. None of it really affects my world but I see the damage it does to others working hard to build their dreams. Our tribe honors accountability and that is why we are growing. Try that and see what it does for you and your community.
I’m going to bring this to an end because I have to prepare to film. I promise to have better updates once this ship lands. But sails are about to be raised and another great day of filming lies ahead. Have a wonderful day.
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!
– Happy 2015 everyone! I was up early and had the coffee flowing so I could travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan to do a film commentary for the 15th anniversary release of IN THE WOODS. I awoke to a flurry of white that is supposed to change to freezing rain and back to snow. So we decided to reschedule the session. So you get my blog early and now we’ve got BBQ ribs in the crock pot and I’m going to get some office work and such done today. The holidays had me tired and some cold tried to get me but I beat it back. I don’t got the time to be sick! It was a great holiday filled with family and friends and I’m so ready to attack the new year.
We are close to announcing a couple of new film projects. Art work is underway on several films releasing and in development. Post production work keeps chugging along. We’ve been updating the http://www.cdiproductions.com website and I was stunned to see both the company site and this site had visitors/readers from over 70 countries. Let’s look at some updates in no real order.
– “Knight Chills II” script is underway and new artwork is underway. The book novelization to go with the re-release of the original will be underway this year also. I’m excited to re-visit this film. The 1st run moved 26,000 domestic units whereas much of that revenue did NOT come back home when the company went belly up. It was a major disappointment and set back at the time. This franchise is going to rise from the ashes.
– “In the Woods” 15th anniversary re-release is coming on Blu-Ray, PPV, VOD with the book by Nancy Gideon re-releasing also. There is some chatter about a sequel and a few ideas have been passed about but nothing solid.
– Assigned to Winters Film Group by CDI Distribution – 3 films. “Ashes of Eden” will lead the charge with an early release. “Donors” and the “Wicked Spring” re-release will follow. I’m told next week release dates will be set.
– CDI Releasing is also looking at directly releasing two of its earlier films “Figure in the Forest” playing multiple TV networks and “Heaven’s Neighbors” both directed by CDI’s Jeff Kennedy.
– CDI is looking at releasing more of the library into theaters in 2015.
– Foreign sales could really start picking up. We know the fans are out there and we want to get more of these stories out to them. Deals are underway and we hope to have some exciting announcements on this front.
– “Bestseller,” “Dead Quiet,” “The Terrorist” and “Wasteland Part 1” are all in post production and should all see releases in 2015.
I’ve had several projects approach me to consider acting in. One recently came from a studio head and is a pilot film that could spin-off into a series. The distribution is all set up and I’m looking forward to hearing more on this project. Also I might have a new work-for-hire script writing project which would be fun. I’m also working on a CDI commercial project which will shoot for a client this year. Overall I can say that 2015 will be a busy and productive year. I hope this holds true for each and every one of you that has put in the hard work. It doesn’t just happen but when you work smart and work hard the results will come.
I awoke to a light rain and I got the coffee flowing while making chili for todays MSU game. As I prepare to get into the movie updates for the week I want to thank our new Czech Republic readers for tuning in. I LOVE fall and it is really setting in here in the Michigan. It was a good week whereas many projects moved on down the line. I’m trying to get my brain moving enough to recall some of the stories that might impart some lesson. I’ll just jump into updates and we will see what flows.
BESTSELLER is now in our post sound studio and our editor got to know Dennis Therrian, my post-supervisor. Again finding artists who are not only talented but take great pride in their work is the key. I’m excited to see the layers of music added to our final picture. CGI work and sound design will also be taking place as well as color correction. Be ready for many more updates in the coming months.
ASHES OF EDEN – yesterday we kicked off 42 showings of the film in the Detroit area. (Canton & Novi) and the first audiences went to the theaters last night. If you are in the area and you want to see a powerful, professional story told mainly by Michigan artists please do take a look. It is at the Emagine theater chain so go on-line and pick the best time for you. We look to be close to signing with another big theater chain and will be announcing more on our national distribution deal in the coming weeks.
This week saw me getting to review THE TERRORIST with a finished music score. Also DEAD QUIET released an advanced poster for the horror film slated to release in 2015. I had a small role in a SMALL TOWN SANTA, Christmas film for a producer associate of mine. It is now out on streaming and will start selling DVD’s in Oct so as you get closer to the holidays it could provide a nice watch. I look forward to seeing how it unfolds. I do a small role in DIVISION 19 and I’ll be keeping my ears open for updates on that project.
SUPERMODEL SHOWDOWN shows 1-3 are now on Indieflix.com so check it out if reality TV and travel is your thing.
That really covers most of the projects in post or releasing. The big question I’ve been getting is – what next? We’ve got a handful of projects in development but I may be close to signing onto a new project. It is best described as a Sci Fi/Western and I had good Skype talks with the director. He extended an offer and we are talking terms. It would have me shooting a handful of days in December outside of Las Vegas. I will keep you in the loop on this project and my potential involvement.
This week had me catching up with several of my friends living elsewhere like Terry Jernigan and David Borowicz. I always enjoy reconnecting and sharing laughs with these friends of mine. Okay I’m off to stir the chili and get a few things around this morning. I hope you enjoy the remaining weekend ahead.
What a week, what a day… where to begin? We had a blitz of media leading up to the Lansing, MI release of “ASHES of EDEN” that kicked off last night. It will keep playing in theaters for another week and starts the Grand Rapids, MI run on Monday. We’ve received new national distribution offers this week to consider and will keep hitting the theatrical cicles. I think Detroit area is next for this film. We also have a nice support of directors DVD, posters and T-Shirts. Our first night was a great kick off and we had a handful of the stars show to do some signings.
I was with my CDI associate/close friend Dean Teaster who tied the knot last night. It was a great dinner and social and I had one of the best steaks I’ve had in a long time. I tried a bevy of drinks last night and was reminded of my age with a small ache this morning. I was able to meet up with our “Ashes of Eden” keys and enjoy the exciting stories from the nights first showings. So if you have not had a chance to see the film please do. (Look at the CELEBRATION CINEMA websites)
On deck is our final pick up shots for the dark thriller “Bestseller” and we have all those details just about worked out. It will be fun to return and capture these last few pieces. It will included a little bit of in-water work but at least I won’t be bumping my head on ice:)
An exciting drop that I will give you here first is that “Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventure” will look to launch on Indieflix’s AFTERDARK programming this forthcoming Friday. It is funny with a little sexy mixed into it all. The 1st three shows will be available on there and I think audiences will enjoy this adventure.
We are also about to start shopping “DONORS” which is another thriller starring Niki Saletta best known for “7th Heaven” and also co-stars in our upcoming “The Terrorist”. She does a wonderful job in both films and we are happy to have her artistry.
My parents both had birthdays this past week and we are have a party for my dad today and likely hosting a dinner with my mom first of the week. We’ve been using the smoker and grilling a lot and soon fresh garden veggies will be in abundance. Besides yard work that I need to get done this weekend we are going to put a cleaning on a new purchase. It is an old late 1800’s hutch that Doc Holiday would have been right at home with. It needs a little work but will be a great piece in the office.
My only advice this week for filmmakers or anyone working in art as business – don’t allow yourself to be dragged into peoples drama. Don’t associate with people that will tarnish your good name and work. Let those people isolate themselves and they will burn themselves out. It is funny how when I hear of projects that are disorganized cluster%##@@’s – I’m never surprised to discover that one of those handful of known screw ups is somehow involved. VET people out! If you are going to invest (I didn’t say donate like these social hand out sites) invest – talk to people. I would be happy if anyone were to talk with our past E.P’s because you would hear that we stayed on schedule, budget and handled ourselves professionally. Now, I’m not the only one that runs a tight ship in this area but there are only a few. There are many BS’ers out there trying to tell you what they think you want to hear and others still that will laugh and tell you how disorganized they are as if that is truly funny. No. Funny is when your work reflects your effort.
I need another coffee before going to see how we are going to clean up this old timey hutch.
Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll talk with you all next week. If you go see “Ashes of Eden” feel free to send me your comments here.
A morning of fresh coffee and the surrounding love that comes with peaceful Saturdays. Yesterday was a nice relaxing day whereas we smoked ribs for 7 hours and had a nice dinner. I did some mild puttering around the yard, workshop and office but nothing too taxing. Our neighborhood was relatively peaceful with just a few random BOOMS. The dogs all stayed pretty calm and it has been fun to watch Luke (Our dog that had surgery) enjoy the yard, the bed and other places he had previously been restricted from. Today I’m going to try and put in a screen door on the double french doors to my office. May the TOOL TIME spirits smile upon me. Today burgers and more relaxing seem to be the call of order. I had several business things that had built up on me at the week’s end so this morning I knocked those out. It included another distributor who wanted to see ASHES OF EDEN, acting reels sent around and some additional PR work. Now that is done and I can focus on all of you. Let’s jump into some film updates starting with the exciting theatrical info on ASHES OF EDEN.
ASHES OF EDEN Theatrical Updates
Please do check out our facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/ashesofedenmovie
If you haven’t heard we will be screening our film at Celebration! Cinema in both S. Lansing and Grand Rapids Woodland mall locations.
The Lansing screenings are July 11-20. The times are various with some days up to 3 shows a day. In Grand Rapids, we have been selected as one of just a few independant movies to screen as part of an Indie film series. Those screenings run July 14-Aug 28. Tickets can be purchased HERE.
It is very important to get as many tickets sold to these screenings to give a strong impression to potential distributors whom are waiting to see if our film has the legs to run. Please email, text, or bring a friend. We encourage you to spreed the message to your friends and family and thank you in advance.
We will have mechandise at the Lansing screenings for sale. DVD’s, T shirts and Posters. Look for these items to be for sale at the Lansing screenings and online soon.
For Detroit area, we are currently in the beginnings of talks with Emagine Theatres to screen our film there. If you have a theater chain in your area that would be open to a screening run please do pass their info along.
On “BESTSELLER” we now have our dates for our pick up and a few crew members will get an invite this week. I wish we could bring everyone back but we only need a few for this final shoot. At the end of this month the dates are set with us being up north the 28-31 with some prep, our shoot, wrap out and meetings as we prepare to lock a first cut of the film. We will do a test audience screening of the work in progress and if all good – off to music and sound.
In other good news – we released the PR on “Supermodel Showdown” TV series and the run of the 1st three shows. See here – http://www.prlog.org/12344397-supermodel-showdown-costa-rican-adventure-arrives-at-indieflix.html
More to come on this exciting news.
I also got word that the music work on “The Terrorist” is moving right along and also CDI Sales Group will start doing some submissions on the thriller “Donors” that has just rolled out of post.
I’ve had a few people ask me about upcoming acting roles. I went back and forth over a couple of local films but a deal just could not be made. It has to meet certain qualifications in quality, story and yes, pay. Right now I’m just excited about doing my final return on “Bestseller” and beyond that is anyones guess. I’ve got many people interested in me as they move their projects along but until ink is dry it is still open season. I do know how much work a film well received can bring but I always just look for the one for one. If one film performance brings one new film you will always keep working. I’ve got 6 films and a TV series rolling out this year to audiences and I’m happy with them all. I’m just not one to let the artists “itch” overcome me and cause me to jump on a project just to do it. I will save that enthusiasm up and as anyone who has worked with me knows, I’m serious about my work and I will bring 200% to a film role. So for now I’m just focused on Mark Franklin (Bestseller) and I will refocus after that on what is new/next. I’m also thrilled that family, friends and fans will be able to go see ASHES OF EDEN in the theaters. I’m proud of this film and so I’m asking you to check it out.
Well, I’m going to get another cup of coffee and go look over the garden and pond. I hope you all have a great weekend and be safe.