Hazelnut coffee cheers! It’s a wet and slightly chilly morning here in Michigan but the birds are chirping and the neighborhood rooster is crowing. I want to welcome all our new artists from France, China, Pakistan and more. Subscribe, and invite a friend to join in and share a few moments with us. I’m so happy Spring is right around the corner. It has been fun to work around the homestead getting ready for the year ahead. At a few of the meetings this week we’ve enjoyed a few of the wines I’ve made in the past. The lilac wine “Royal Lilac” was sampled, as only a few bottles remain. It tasted like Spring in a bottle. I’ve only made one batch of this wine since the plucking of 15 lbs of pedals was labor intensive and my significant other did not like coming home to all the lilacs cut down, but it did come out heavenly. Before I get into film updates I will speak into something that we can all work on.
Understanding and kindness- Like all of you my Facebook news feed randomly brings up all kinds of posts. I saw one where a performing artist was playing at a festival and some young fella likely running late as many people are, stepped in to get a microphone or some piece of audio equipment. It must have been a momentary distraction like a person getting in an actors eye line. This moment had been filmed and the artist posted it with a “look at how rude this person is” type of commentary. What followed is a slew of negativity and insults with at least one person offering to do physical harm to this person. Knowing festivals like I do – this person was surely a volunteer. Obviously not a professional stage hand or band “roadie” but a young person, likely socially awkward, who was just trying to do his job. We’ve all been that guy. I’m that guy every holiday when I stay in the kitchen too long, in the way and messing stuff up. This kid could have just been plugged into his computer with a headset, hidden away in a room playing some video game. But instead, he was likely trying to help and learn from a new experience. To just rip someone apart is just lazy. Take this young man aside one on one after the set and explain to him the right way to do it. Young people need mentors, teachers and people to help guide them. Not highlight their mistakes to embarrass and shame them publicly to draw some sort of sympathy for oneself from the masses.
I work on our films with teenagers and those well into their 70’s and beyond. It works great to combine the old and the young. They learn from each other and learn to respect one another. That is what I really dislike about cancel culture mentality. It either destroys a person vs developing them or it entrenches them deeper into the behavior pattern that is not constructive. Again, that is why we work with all types of people from all walks. Diversity isn’t just about race. It’s about of various backgrounds, customs, traditions and more. Working side by side on positive endeavors having positive experiences creates a new mindset. And if you need to course correct someone the best way is by direct message or behind closed doors. Anything else seems like grandstanding for attention. It’s negative attacks like that which causes people to quit or worse. Yes. Suicide is real and when someone feels the world is against them because someone with a fan base attacks them… You get my point. Many see an opportunity to create a “woe is me” moment versus seeing a chance to help someone grow. I was moved to comment publicly which I seldom do. That kind of group negativity doesn’t usually deserve my attention and energy but I saw a chance for a lesson.
In the same week, I saw a post whereas someone had a personal disagreement with someone privately and in person, yet they presented this to their circle of social media followers along with the persons profile and encouraged “trolls” to go get them. A “Social Media Mob” with torches and pitch forks. But it’s funny how if you just turn it off, it doesn’t matter. Clucking hens, and I already got those here. Which speaking of hens, they’re back up to 4 eggs a day. We have 4 chickens for those that have just recently joined us. It just takes me back to ole Spiderman “Uncle Ben” telling “Peter Parker” that with great power comes great responsibility. If you do carry some influence over the flow of people, use it wisely. Use it to help people grow not tear them down. I just feel for the meek who might be trying something new and not doing a stellar job getting attacked and shamed. No. Shame on you for being part of the problem versus being part of the solution.
Let’s move on to some amazing endeavors where people do work together to do something positive. Let’s do a TOP TEN updates shall we?
TOP TEN UPDATES FROM LAST WEEK
I’m being told that BEST YEARS GONE is an official selection of the 2022 BareBones International Film & Music Festival nominated for BEST COMEDY. This is in Oklahoma I believe and so again nice to see the story and humor translate to so many folks.
The DVD wrap art for BEST YEARS GONE is underway and I think the pre-orders on Amazon and other places will start soon for a June release.
Also preparing for release in May is BESTSELLER, an intense thriller releasing with Deskpop Entertainment. Again pre-order on the DVD will be appearing soon.
The paperwork on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH doc is awaiting counter signature and we’ll start delivering the film. Once all materials are in and approved they will set a release schedule. We are in talks about the premiere showings. We might be doing it in Las Vegas which would be fun.
This week I have to finish review of a few distribution agreements. My printer is not working properly and I like to review paper vs digital so I’m behind. But a KNIGHT CHILLS blu-ray deal is under review as is a full wide distribution deal for DARKEST NIGHT, the CDI associated “found footage” movie shot in the Philippines.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – We are eagerly awaiting the first cut of the film but I might have gotten a peek of a couple of scenes. I can see why our editor has been so excited. The teaser trailer is being worked on as we speak so that will be rolling out likely at the end of the month.
We’ve been starting to meet with potential backers and sponsors for the next CDI film, HOT RODE LOVE. An ‘American Graffiti’ comedy with drag racing at the heart of it. We have the first few stones in the foundation and will be working to put more in place. The fact that this film is in 1975 will give a good challenge to the tribe CDI team but having just tackled 1944 they are ready. Do you have a business that might want to align with this film. Reach out and join many great product partnerships like Hilton, Hersheys, Smithfield Foods, Hormel and more.
I’ve just finished reading a great book that is being looked at as my next scriptwriting project. This would go into production maybe this year or in 2023. If I can get that darn printer working I will send over the paperwork. I really do love the screenplay writing and love to see it come to life on the screen. Do you have a favorite?
CDI is finishing the final touches on a music video we did with the rock band DEEPFALL. The single “Revolution” drops on April 1st, no fooling:) on Spotify and iTunes. They are also about to go on tour with Sevendust. Much like our friends at VERTICAL BRIDGE this venturing into the music video realm is fun. The video was directed and edited by Carl Weyant. He also filmed along with our good friend Travis Hayward.
I need to meet again on merchandise. I really would love to see a BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS tee-shirt. Lunch boxes and even action figures and/or bobbleheads. You can find various CDI merchandise on the http://www.cdiproductions.com page – subscribe and stay up with the CDI tribe. If you have any ideas for CDI merchandise feel free to drop me a communication.
WRAP UP: I’m about to go into the third week playing indoor soccer. This is great training for touch and endurance before outdoor starts in April. Last game I was lucky enough to score the winning goal in the final seconds of the game. It has been fun to run and play with my brother and friends. Speaking of my brother, on our way to Menards to pick up brinks to build a chicken coop foundation, he notified of an abundance of unused bricks. They worked perfect and I got an amazing shoulder work out. We’re also putting a brick foundation down for the new fire pit.
We had a great Friday CDI wrap up meeting to celebrate a few of the wins and to plan the next moves on several of the projects. I’m also getting a new water dispenser in the fort/office greenroom. Soon will be some tree trimming and wood cutting to get the wood boxes full for next year. I hope to make many improvements this year. We are also still working our new adopted Luna Mae into our family pack. What a good dog and she is learning Finn (our other dog) and all his quirks. We’ve had a few muddy dogs that required major wipe downs or a bath. Especially Finn as he’s low to the ground without any mud flaps. I’m going to add a few pictures to this and go have a few eggs for breakfast. I hope MSU, my alumni does well today in their play offs. To bring our talk full circle- look around for opportunities to help others grow with sincere feedback versus angry condemnation or shaming. Be part of the solution not problem and know that at one time you too were likely a knucklehead frustrating someone. Ask my dad:)
Be good to one another and I’ll chat with you next week.
Hazelnut cheers! A beautiful snowy morning here in Michigan. I want to welcome all the new readers from Germany, Sweden, Germany and China. I appreciate you stopping by to take a read and apply what you can – where you can in your own personal journey. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the unity topic we’ve had for a few weeks. My fireside meditations led me to the analogy of a spending train. We’ve got so much developing here at CDI we’re thundering down the track. The occasional hater throwing rocks out of boredom or a need for attention. If a few people threw rocks at a speeding train what would happen? They would bounce off the steel hull and be gone down the tracks. The train had places to go, people to see and things to do. They would never stop the train to debate or waste time – they would stoke the fire and full speed ahead.
In this time of Covid it’s a great time to stoke the fires of passion within. Build up your reserves of energy and get yourself in your best shape. Do all those things that often get neglected because you have others things to do. How many hours saved by not spending two hours in a car commuting back and forth to work places. More time to read. More time to update. More time to plan. From March 2020 I have been putting this into practice. While I could list so many things missed in 2020 I could also make a list of the things I got done using the extra time. Again as I write on such topics of motivation and such I say again that I am not better than anyone. You have the ability to make changes in your situation and it starts with a thought. Thought powered by the imagination, focused by the will, held strong by faith in yourself and your life purpose.
This week was very productive against a backdrop of ice and snow. Let’s see if we can do a TOP 10 updates from the week. Refill your coffee and let’s take a look.
Additional “end of year” tax materials supplied for the fun part of filmmaking. We’re streamlining this process all the time to try and better the overall process.
Our WW2 Christmas drama Silent Night In Algona is now formed as a corporation. We’ll open the account soon and start bringing on the funds. We still have a few units to assign but within 60 days of entering into pre-production. Casting has been full speed ahead with a national casting for our young lead. We’ve also been doing a lot of casting within the tribe of talent we’ve used before. The audition reads have been great to see the words ALIVE! I’m excited that we’ve almost got our lead family cast. We’ll announce that in a few weeks likely dripping them out or in pairs. This project will be a great story of love and unity set in small-town USA in 1944.
I had a wonderful call from Darby Hinton, an actor best known for playing the young lead on the Daniel Boone TV show but has reoccurred or guest starred on many of the great shows of Hollywood. He was our ‘Gerald’ the shopkeep in WILD FAITH. He was one of the folks I offered a read on season 1 of ‘Hastings‘ the Wild Faith TV series. He called to tell me he wasn’t blowing smoke – he has read and been part of shows with great writing and THIS (tv series) is great writing. He said he reads at night (like myself) and to his wife’s regret he had to keep reading. He asked if I had writers meetings, other writers…to which my response was just me and the voices in my head:) I would ponder and spill notes out onto paper. From those legal pad notes I just dive in and start writing. I’m going to get the 8 shows edited up and ready for outside presentation. If you haven’t seen the pilot feature do yourself a favor. A fun film with a powerful message.
Best Years Gone – So this week we prepped the new audio studio and I’m beyond thrilled that it is amongst the pines and forested fields that we’ll breath the audio and music into these stories. We will be rolling some new still photos out this week. I just might have a Valentine’s Day gift for our cast, crew and fans and I think we’ll give it to you on Sat. the 13th on the BYG Facebook page. Are you already part of that? If not come on over. We have some exciting things still in store including merchandise that is coming and the BOTB. (Battle of the Bands) I’m working to get that launched. We are also soon to have the next draft of the film edit now that Shane (our director) has given his new round of notes and adjustments. This film is heartfelt and will be funny for sure.
The CDI website http://www.cdiproductions.comis undergoing updates. First you can now subscribe to the tribe which will become a center of updates. I even thought of my blog existing as a weekly send out. But the film pages are updated. Streaming is now connected to our distributor’s ENCOURAGE TV. Merchandise is slowly coming together with a few new items. This will explode by year’s end. We will also be doing artist spot lights and have some of their work on consignment. If you have any ideas feel free to drop a comment. From those subscribed we might start looking at pre-orders and that could allow some larger piece orders. Lunch box? Bobble heads? Posters?
LOST HEART & MBF are the most recent releases. Both are growing their audience nicely and I so appreciate all the fan mail from folks. We’re not big festival folk at CDI but like to select a few. In my experience and opinion the festivals best serve if someone from your team can attend. But with everything going virtual you are essentially paying to have them do a free streaming of your work. But new circles of exposure and if people are truly impressed you can have lifelong fans. I’m a person who in the last handful of years I’ve not attended industry mixers and such. But with the absence of even my few – I’m looking forward to talking film and the arts not by phone or zoom. Again get up to speed with the CDI stories with a watch on these two films. Do you have a favorite CDI film? Comment and let me know.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – The CDI Tribe earned their desert stripes with this trilogy of biblical adventure stories. I’m excited that PUREFLIX (Sony) is going to do a big push as a series to their viewers. Now with ad based Video on demand everyone can take a watch and experience the CDI films. These films have the trademark style and quality that you’ve come to expect from our storytellers at CDI. The bible is full of stories many untouched because of the R or X rated material suggested within. We haven’t tackle those stories but did find “unexplored territory” to address with our speculative storytelling. I think this is more interesting versus retelling the same handful of stories. I do have my next trilogy of stories to tell back in the sands but that is a way down the path.
This year we will have SMOKE & MIRRORS finishing. This has no deadline so it got moved down the release line. But this decision allowed us to make some more aggressive choices on VFX work. I LOVE this short and I’m excited to see it develop into a full feature. I am retooling the feature based on the short film. Knowing locations really helps in planning the story. David Gries and Melissa Anschutz are MUST SEE in this film. But those that know their work will not be surprised in the least.
‘FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH‘ – the CDI associated with Red, White & Blue Project doc will start shooting again this month. I think we’ll have some sort of promo video for this documentary in the coming weeks.
We also have something special coming from one of our crew/associate producer Nate Robertson. Nate was our foreman on the last film that set sail through the storm of Covid. Nate took a job that already had pressure and had it magnified by Covid procedural pressures. As a show of how our system at CDI is strengthening. The producers create a bubble of harmony for the set to exist within. Inside the set, the flow is controlled by the AD. The flow was there, time was managed and Nate was able to express some of his artistic self via a BTS video of sorts. I know we’re excited to see it. I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg.
If I forgot anything it will have to wait until next chat. I’m going to make some good food and watch the football contest and the commercial creativity. I have a few emails/calls I might make to get a jump on my week. That is another good secret – work with people you truly enjoy. I never roll my eyes or stress over phone calls. They are always good touching of bases between fellow adventurers in life. We discuss our separate ventures, our shared ventures, and those yet to be made. I don’t have a close relationship with everyone as time won’t permit. But those who do know me truly, I think would speak well of my intent. My intent is to see dreamers win. I want you to break poor patterns and do better by yourself. If the artistic path is a true calling that calling grants faith in yourself and a purpose. The latter is priceless and exactly what is missing from many people. People who check many ‘success boxes’ yet still are unhappy. To me it’s like the moment when Obi-Wan puts the helmet on Luke to further test him against the remote droid. Reach out. In those moments of sensory deprivation if the calling is heard – have faith. If you don’t know ‘Star Wars’ you are now assuming I have had a stroke.
If storytelling is a great road winding up a mountain – many people are at various places some higher and some lower. What I’ve always prided myself on is being in good company at wherever place I’m at on the road. Climbing higher only changes the view but it’s still about the laughter and fellowship that accompanies the climb. And when my time comes to leave this world where I’m at is where I’m at. Always a work in progress. So the secret is enjoying the early struggles of beginning filmmakers or the challenges of the mid-road struggles – have friends on the journey of storytelling. Have friends outside the journey of storytelling. Have these things and your journey while unsure at times will not eat at you with stress. Living by ‘Best Efforts’ will allow one to laugh off the failures (with friend), toast the wisdom learned (with friends) and forever be the better person. Getting along with a little help from my friends.