“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ― Sun Tzu

Posts tagged “Toronto

Sails UP, FULL Ahead- Picture Locks, Post Updates and NEW Releases

The hazelnut coffee is flowing and we’re getting the morning rolling. Welcome to the new readers from Colombia, Ireland, France and more. It’s a small world after all over here at our ‘clawing our way to the middle’ blog. This past week was nice weather mostly and the little rain we had was well received by the plants. Our soccer game was a good one adding another win but its really about the awesome workout. The berries are still kicking in full fashion. I eat handfuls each day and the animals have also been enjoying them. The hops are starting to form and the garden plants are starting to have blooms and a few even fruit.

TEN TOP UPDATES:

  1. BEST YEARS GONE had a great first week trending and giving us a great kick off. You can watch it at any of the places above and more each week. Leave us a review also and let us know if you had any favorite parts. We’re going to keep releasing a few actor videos every few days talking about their characters and the experience of filming with CDI. Here is the most recent a pair of talented young ladies – https://www.facebook.com/Bestyearsgonemovie/videos/1516086865477412
  2. BESTSELLER – the lake and the haunting sounds of loons. A crackling fire and…this great adult fiction by Christopher Knight aka to the children as Jonathan Rand, is available to rent or own. Shot in beautiful Michigan it is R rated for language and intensity. A great watch, not alone. Many of the same platforms as listed for BEST YEARS GONE above.
  3. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – A wonderful community who opened their hearts and trusted us in telling the story of their town. We will be showcasing some beautiful new poster art here soon. And next week the first edit of the film will be watched for any final suggestions. Once any last changes are done it will be a locked picture. Music and sound design have been prepping for weeks. Playing with compositions and building the sound library. VFX continues and we will have more videos showing this amazing process. A new theatrical trailer will start to be cut after our showing next week. They have been outlining ideas for a while and so we have lots of exciting things ahead for this movie. We are targeting a first theatrical premiere Dec 10th, in Algona, Iowa. We hope to expand the theatrical across the midwest where most of these camps were for several weeks. We’ll look at a few festivals maybe even one in Germany, Italy and a few other countries. Too early to announce anything but it looks like CDI will be making more travels to Iowa to bring more stories to the screen.
  4. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – We are still waiting to see if we get into Toronto Film Festival. There is a great wrestling tradition throughout Canada and so it would be awesome to premiere there. But it will be coming to living rooms and phones this fall. I don’t want to announce yet until these dates are locked. But let’s just say that the ‘Great Pumpkin’ might also be making an appearance in this same month. The awesome releases for CDI keep coming and this one is still forthcoming. The wait will be worth it and I’m proud to have been a part in filling in this history.
  5. July 30th, be in your seat at 5:00 pm to be ready for the festival/convention premiere of SMOKE & MIRRORS at the Motor City Nightmares in Novi, MI. I’ve been to Comic Cons (Thank you Nathan Quinn) but never a horror festival. I have gotten a kick out of the collector’s talk of looking for ‘Dead Alive’ VHS titles like IN THE WOODS and KNIGHT CHILLS.
  6. Speaking of KNIGHT CHILLS. I just got the full rights from author David Hayes (Thank you David) and we might look into a small form reprint and an audio book. You all know a video game is in development. The BluRay deal is signed and will be coming. We are doing some cool things for the packaging. The sequel (funny I’ve written three) is still in development. I’ve had multiple creative groups (fans usually) of the movie present various ideas to incorporate. I’m keeping myself open- Knight Chills itself was us trying to make a movie (our 1st) and was a loving nod to all the cool stuff that Jeff & Juanita Kennedy and I were inspired by. I think for the sequel you could go too polished and perhaps miss what made the first one so special. It needs to be a nod, but stand on its own two feet. It is all fun. That is the secret to Knight Chills, fun. And could a Knight Chills TV series be as cool as Stranger Things? More storytelling potential versus a feature film.
  7. HOT ROD LOVE working hard to get the last of the funding in place so this can film in our favorite fall/end of the year spot. It works for the story and I like the temps versus humid. Had some great communication with some of the targeted talent. Mister Terence Knox, will have a great role in this film that really showcases his humor. He is playing my father, the track owner. Oh, hell. The clothes, the music and the groove, CDI is gonna go to the 70’s. Seek out our FB site and post some of your favorite 70’s photos. We have some classic images there.
  8. WILD FAITH: HASTINGS – We just might have our first backer interested. Still a bit to work out concerning details, but we’ve done previous business, so that helps. That just might allow us to start the engines and start planning the first few shows of the eight part season one.
  9. HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE – The first draft of the script is done. I will collect some feedback and do a second draft. After that we’ll start with active development. Broad location scouting as already begun. This will be a fun film to make fall of next year.
  10. Thank you to all the CDI FANS. I really want to thank everyone, especially those who have taken the time to express via a post, emails…(a million other ways) how our films spoke to you. Often beyond a few sit-in theatrical showings, we don’t get to hear the giggles or see the tears. With several CDI films with views in the 10’s of millions, I often tell our people, we’re not making these films to appease the 3-5k social circle associations, but for the millions globally that we will never meet. They don’t all know us but they sure know our characters, our stories. We are storytellers. We tell the stories to be seen, heard, and experienced. We do them for YOU. So thank you. Two of my favorites.

I just thought I would take that moment to really thank you all fans. I get caught up in my own little world of trying to hatch the next story. Maybe because I know you are out there waiting? Some of you have been with me since the early days when I was still trying to get my footing. Because of you, I get to do what I love. To do what I feel that I’m good at. My performance is subjective but I’ve always had an undeniable ability to pull people together and direct their effort all while getting the best out of them. Often a best that they did not see until challenged to bring it forth. The effort becomes a gift to us. A gift to themselves. A gift to you all, the story watchers.

I’m going to go “beat a few eggs” like my buddy Dean would say. A flea market down the road might reveal a treasure or two or just an hour of people watching. I might put a mow on the lawn and get a few outdoor things done. A recharge before I jump into the new week ahead. I hope all of you take the time to get a recharge, even if that is only in mindset. Be positive and go at your dreams knowing each step, small or large is taking you closer, giving you valuable experience.

COFFEE CHEERS! Until next week.

DJ


NEW CDI Development Projects, New Platforms and Premieres

I’m bringing the bday week to a close and I have to say I was so appreciative of all the family, friends and fans who reached out to wish me a happy Bday. Thank you to all the new readers from around the globe joining us here. I’ve got my mug full of hazelnut coffee and I’ve just enjoyed a few eggs from our hens. It has been a good week of progress being made on several of the film projects. Let’s take a look at a few exciting updates.

1) WILD FAITH has made its way to NBC’s Peacock streaminghttps://www.peacocktv.com/watch-online/movies/wild-faith/be7fcef2-f423-3114-b26c-c66588e2d7ed – We’re happy to have our story available to the 33 million plus subscribers.

2) MANS BEST FRIEND has followed right behind at NBC’s Peacock streaminghttps://www.peacocktv.com/watch-online/movies/mans-best-friend/a0e02318-16e4-3b33-9550-f2a633ad2333 – Excited to make these two films available to a much larger audience.

3) SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is closing in on the first edit and in July will be polishing it up towards a picture lock. This week we’ll start some discussions on the theatrical trailer. We’ve been gathering theatrical interest from a few chains. Another round of poster art is being worked on for the theatrical release most likely. A BTS of the model and VFX work is being edited together to share with all of you very soon.

4) BESTSELLER has been released to Amazon Prime and several platforms and on DVD. Thank you to those fans who reached out directly to share your thoughts. I told you it was intense:) A little mood, murder and mystery sound about right – travel to beautiful Northern Michigan with the birch and the pines. Buy/Rent here and let me know your thoughts at our http://www.imdb.com page –

Buy & Rent here BESTSELLERhttps://www.amazon.com/Bestseller-Melissa-Anschutz/dp/B09YH7X3RY/ref=sr_1_3?crid=UV4JFVKKJBZQ&keywords=bestseller&qid=1656251166&s=movies-tv&sprefix=bestseller%2Cmovies-tv%2C81&sr=1-3

5) SMOKE & MIRRORS – I just got loose word that we’re in the MOTOR CITY NIGHTMARES festival. I’m hearing Sat July 30th late afternoon (5:00 pm wish) as part of a block. We don’t usually do shorts but a commercial opportunity allowed for us to shoot a proof of concept for the full feature. I’m going to try and attend with a few of the CDI team. It will be fun to return the horror scene. I went to a Frankenfest with the family yesterday and had a great time. All the cool art and merchandise spun off from the films. That is what I want to do with some of the older films that have gained some cult classic status.

6) BEST YEARS GONE is coming JULY 5th and we’ll see how the world reacts to this wild ride. We did get a great response from our theatrical crowds and I think folks will really dig it. We have some fun PR coming up this week. We’ll be starting the engines and waiting for that flag to drop. I’m very excited about how this film turned out and I hope you take something away with you that you enjoy after watching.

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StL5oUdnOlc

MUSIC VIDEO: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=393380005705951

BTS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgt-xeK1LCw

7) FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the documentary went through quality control and our team addressed a few small issues and now they should all be adjusted. We’re awaiting our home video release dates and also our submission to the Toronto Film Festival. Step by step it moves closer. Soon the world will know a lot more about Catch-Can and its importance to the history of grappling.

8) HOT ROD LOVE – is projecting a Sept/Oct shoot and this week we made some good strides in our package. We’ll be announcing more exciting updates as pen finds paper. This 1970’s comedy about drag racing will surely be a fun one. This film is getting traction and I for one could not be happier. Do you have any 1975 or before rides you would love to feature in the film? If so let me know but we are shooting in Michigan.

9) HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE, the first draft is completed. Shooting is planned for fall next year 2023. I will be circulating this draft to a few in the circle as we’ll start having background development talks. I LOVE how the film script came together and it will make a wonderful film.

10) DEVELOPMENT – Hastings TV series as well as several feature films are in active development. It was my desire to double the CDI output of content this year but Covid and various variables have slowed things. We managed to keep creating in the hardest of times. We will keep moving forward thanks to all of you! We appreciate you all.

WRAP UP:

Aside from all this movie work I’ve had the pleasure of conducting business in our zen yard. The mulberries are in ABUNDANCE but I’m leaving them to the chickens, squirrels and birds save the handful a day I eat. We’ve been eating raspberries and soon blueberries from the yard also. The apples and hops will be coming in strong and maybe I’ll make some hard cider this year. The clover has been quite beautiful and also requires less mowing as the height stays low. I’m growing four leaf clovers. A Memory- Our 1st AD Carol on JUDGES could spot a four leaf clover in moments. She pulled like four from a patch in under a minute. She surprised me with a framed and matted group of four leaf clovers which I’ve kept to this day.

I had a few days where I forgot Lulu (Our last cat) had passed on. I was concerned if the upstairs was too hot or not wanting a door to close her in. I took one short nap before an event and she would always crawl up for a nap with me. No Lulu. But the Finn and Luna Mae (Our dogs) have kept us busy and entertained. Attack the water hose stream is one of the favorite games.

I had a week of business meetings that also involved birthday toasts and additionally several family dinners. All this around my birthday of the 23rd but the actual day was quiet by design. I still play soccer in a men’s league with my brother and several old school friends. No gym/dojo workout has every matched the raw competition. No value of name tags or titles just warriors, old warriors giving their all to show themselves they still got it. I’ve learned to love my opponents as they challenge me and my steel is sharpened. Sometimes in victory and sometimes in defeat. We’ve got a good team this year and during the first part of the season we lost once. And on my bday we lost to that team again. We were ahead until the last 15 min of the game where a call evened the game. We had one healthy sub and we had battled the heat. The other team had six subs and a strong will not to lose. I had a fast striker attacking that took everything I had to nullify his attack. We battled to the end and on my birthday I had been gifted health and humility. To play as hard as I do at my age is a blessing. Win or lose I won because I got to play. I felt a lesson in there that came out in another later conversation.

In that conversation we reflected on life as many of my talks do. I was asked, if I ever wished I had more in the film world. I want and work towards more frequent and better compensated films. But, I will tell a story that needs to be told for a modest pay day versus not having the story told. I also would not change being known for our art (stories) versus anyone else’s art. I think the best is yet to come and what I carry is patience and experience. I don’t chase dangling carrots and I’m not seeking short cuts. I’m not making the stories to impress or gain any glory just to offer a perspective that could affect people in a positive way. I don’t worship at the alter of value symbols pressed into metal or parchment. I say no more than yes but when I say yes, things happen. Okay, gonna slow on the coffee and head outside to mow and put up a windmill. Yes, I said a windmill. I just put up a wonderful set of wind chimes that were a gift and those are very peaceful. Tend to your zen and space and watch how things flow.

Have a great day and week ahead. Coffee cheers!

DJ


Spring Updates, Spartans & Showcases

Usually I’m posting my blog first thing in the morning but I had a full morning of other activities and so now here we are together. I apologize for my tardiness:) I will give a few updates before my alumni school Michigan State University starts their tourney basketball game in a short while. My thoughts have been on spring and so many things are happening that I feel very optimistic about. I will pick a topic that ties into a few events of our own.

FESTIVALS

I love that film lovers can be exposed to product that is not direct mainstream and is often a showing ground for developing filmmakers. What I’ve learned in almost two decades of filmmaking is that they are great networking opportunities. Many ongoing relationships between writers, directors, producers, DP’s, actors and so on – start at festival events. I met fellow filmmakers at a NYC festival years ago and we ended up making a film in Mexico together. So when creative minds meet good endeavors can come about. Now on the other end – overspending on many, many, many festivals in the name of marketing versus going directly to distribution/licensing to start capital investment recoupment can be a mistake. IF a distributor does not like a product it does not matter how many small festivals you won – it won’t help you. There are only a handful of festivals that attracts buyers and even inclusion into those festivals does not assure anyone distribution. As a matter of fact only a very small % at those major festivals get a deal. Now I’m not saying don’t do any festivals because playing to a home crowd who often assisted in the making of the film is good. Targeting a few horror festivals for your horror film is not a bad thing. BUT a grand tour of festival partying that might see tens of thousands of dollars being spent vs returning on the investment is…well you do the math. We’ve seen a surge in festivals in the past few years and so the wreaths or laurels or whatever they call the “award logo” has lost a lot of value to distributors and even to audiences. SUNDANCE and a few others such as TORONTO has kept their value. Others will perhaps grow to become major festivals – I’ve watched that evolution first hand in my own home town with a pair of festivals. I’m proud that our ASHES OF EDEN movie will play first to the local Lansing audience. We used cast and crew from around the state of Michigan but it’s especially  nice that 3 Lansing area companies created this moving film. Often a lot of talk is centered on Detroit or the West side of the state but I think people will start to realize that right here in the heart of Michigan (LANSING) – talented artists exist. With ASHES OF EDEN, we’ve been given the great honor of closing the festival. You can follow here http://capitalcityfilmfest.com/info for updates. I know that we are working a deal for cast and crew and our sponsors to be given tickets but many family, friends and fans will want to know how/where they can buy tickets. That info will be coming to that festival site soon I would guess.

On the same day (April 13th) REALIZISM will play in the afternoon.

http://www.grfilmfestival.com/schedule/short-narrative-block/

REALIZISM, a cool short will a big message!  I truly LOVE my role in this film. It has me playing a touch comedic which is something I really enjoy. Mitch Nyberg directed the film and it is truly worth a watch if you are in Grand Rapids. If you want the double dose you can get in your car and drive to Lansing!

The interest in licensing films from the CDI library and our new arrivals is in full swing. I’ve had great talks last week with a few major TV networks. I can see the doors opening and that is good news for several of our products. You all will be getting many new announcements about our films playing in different territories, TV networks on various platforms. We just got word that the Afghanistan doc “Outside the Wire” is fully delivered for VOD and I will be announcing  where you can watch this powerful piece once I know.

Here is a current example from PR Newswire

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ups-two-week-celebration-of-easter-presents-the-greatest-stories-of-the-bible-251413651.html

BOOK OF RUTH, JOURNEY OF FAITH our hit biblical film is part of a BEST OF two-week showing of faith films with this Atlanta-based network. We might have some other exciting news forthcoming on the biblical film front. Look for some PR from us around Easter.

Also 180 degrees from this news – our Philippine based horror film “Darkest Night” releasing into Germany, Austria and Switzerland on March 28th, next week!

Our sales team is also working on some theatrical showcases that we will be announcing soon. This will basically be a once a week theatrical showcase that will go on for several months. We also have new reps in India and possibly the UK to help facilitate dealmaking in those territories.

“BESTSELLER” is about to start PHASE 2 of editing. This will be an intense polish with our director. I’m looking forward to getting you all a 1st look at a teaser here soon. I’ve got distributors begging for a 1st look on this film as well. I’m extremely happy with the 1st cut and so it is only going to get stronger.

“DONORS” the feature thriller starring Niki Saletta, Russ Clark and myself will have a premiere in May in Yuma, AZ. I will have more details on this in the coming weeks.

Aside from that – I’ve been putting the new desk to work on script writing. I just completed a film I was hired to write and what a joy that was. Another property of mine that’s been optioned by a studio – just paid their next tier option. (This is when a company pays increasing amounts of money for the exclusive rights to a property) They also reported pre-production is close at hand. You know this to be true when the option checks keep coming. Once in pre-production, a full purchase deal is executed, the film is assigned over and they move into production.

Following some of this success, I’m actually looking over the 20 or so scripts I’ve held back. I’m looking to see what films I can sell off. Basically, If I don’t see the script as an acting vehicle  I might as well sell it off to someone. So far this revisiting of script properties is turning into another good business venture. I’m in talks to pen another script as we speak. I’ll keep developing this avenue because I really do love writing.  My coffee, my imagination and I’m good to go. So if you are looking for a certain type of script or need something written or adapted – bring your check book and let’s talk.

OK. It’s about time for me to relax with a RED EYE (Look it up) and get ready to watch MSU! WE ARE SPARTANS! This is the part where I scream and kick someone in the face right into the pit of DOOM!

Have a great end to your weekend!

DJ