Casting and Crewing Updates- Improving Communication, Time Filters, and Iron Sharpening Iron
I’m sipping on the hazelnut on a sunny but still chilly morning. We had a snow storm hit and start to melt the next day. Spring and Winter are in a wrestling match with one another. It won’t be long before CDI meetings will also include some outdoor hanging. I want to welcome all our new readers from Spain, UK and more. It has been a nose-to-the-grindstone week and I’m happy to report it was very productive. On the broad view – I got all the CDI film taxes done and thank you to our amazing team. My own taxes are submitted just need to review and send when completed.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– The film is still opening new screens based on fans calling in and requesting the film is booked. We even have some new April bookings forthcoming so stay tuned and keep calling your theatre. We’re also starting to put our home video deal together for later in the year. We’ll be delivering the final film for home video on May 1st. I’m excited because it will open the film up to millions.
Harsens Island Revenge – This is the next #tribeCDI film and it is in full pre-production mode. We had some great meetings last week that included our director and DP. We discussed crew on the next film focusing on camera and G&E. (Grip & Electric) We already have a few of those people falling in place. #1 GOAL is to have fun and really appreciate the rare opportunity that we get to engage in with our storytelling. We have a new department leader for Production Design and we’ll likely be announcing an Art Director next week after a few final talks. CAST – We’re awaiting a dozen reads from folks CDI has worked with on different projects. We review these each week and will be making some hard choices on casting soon.
After many reads we think we’ve identified our film leads. This is such an important part of the process. You want people that are truly dedicated to the story, the process and appreciate the opportunity. These two have been developed inside the CDI Tribe. This film requires actors to not only appear natural in their moments (scenes) but in 1926. This is a world where Civil War vets were still alive. Cars were replacing horses for transportation. So many “time filters” to put into ones performance. We know that you can’t get it perfect out the gate but it is something you work into. My role in this next one is not camera ready yet. I will work on his look, attitude and his time filters. I’ve done a lot of digging into the period as the screenwriter. But, you put these filters into play to create a complex and rich performance. In the past we’ve done PR on individual or pairs of actors with promo cards but I think we might do something different. Like what? Like a group mug shot or…
I want our proposed lead talent to hear first from our director. If I hear back while doing this blog I will make a BREAKING NEWS update:) But we are looking forward to seeing many new reads this week. I see a few have direct messaged on the CDI FB page and we’ll be reviewing those. Every week we’ll be pulling for cast and crew onto the film. I’m looking forward to watching more reads this week and solidifying more of the cast.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – The script is now a first draft lock allowing me to start to rough budget and make a production plan. 2024 was the shoot plan but it will all depend on how fast it all comes together. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA only took 14 years so I think we can beat that in less development time. I’ve had the film out to several Native American friends and associates to get their perspective. I also want to thank Lynn Kueck for his historic input. More as this develops.
MISC. UPDATES FROM THE TRIBE
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 is being outlined and groundwork is being laid. We’re talking to interested parties to once again help us tell this more in-depth follow up doc.
2) THE MAKING OF ‘IN THE WOODS‘ – I’m awaiting this book that is suppose to arrive today. It was delayed by the storm but it details the journey of my first starring role. This ambitious film by two young and rather in-experienced filmmakers will entertain you. The film got strong penetration into the domestic and foreign markets being a favorite at Blockbusters, Hollywood Video and more. Released on VHS and it made its way into many foreign territories. It is a fun romp and this book is the start of a new campaign that will be coming together. This film made me a B-Movie star in the late 90’s and while some critics tried to kill it – the film has a loyal audience. Drinking games have been formed around the movie and soon we might have a new 4k enhanced movie with lots of merchandise extras. I could even see a Con appearance or two to celebrate the 25th anniversary. Click and buy it below.
3) KNIGHT CHILLS – The first CDI film is also getting a new enhanced version. I am going to be collecting some interviews from people to include on the new release. I need to get extras around by June so I’m guessing an end of year Blu Ray release. In 2024 we’ll go to DVD and streaming plus start licensing foreign. If you are a fan of fantasy role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, this might be for you. We were back to the original source without any film-look filters that were all the rage. I’m excited to be re-releasing some of these classics in new format that will allow them to survive moving forward.
4) GHOST TOWN, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and AN ORDINARY KILLER will be getting the updated treatment but it takes time. It has been really interesting to walk back and work on these projects.
5) I’ve been working on a few new stories for those national books on animals, that I have contributed too for the last several years.So far, so good. We will see if the editor likes them once she takes a read. One of the books I contributed to his above. I believe that one has a story about my boy Luke Brown. I really do love doing these side stories and I might get more involved at some point but for now film script, producing and acting keeps me busy enough. Look up “Callie Smith Grant” and any of the books from the last few years will likely have stories contributed by me.
6) This week I’ll be starting work on another chapter of an audio book series I narrate. The book author Ronnie Lee has several works for sale in this book series. The audio version is coming right along and will be available soon – https://www.amazon.com/Generations-come-Book-Classroom-Copy/dp/B09RM7LBWV/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2H09KBLP4QV3V&keywords=Ronnie+Lee&qid=1678029492&s=books&sprefix=ronnie+lee%2Cstripbooks%2C161&sr=1-4
7) While waiting for Spring, it is a great time to re-watch your favorites. BEST YEARS GONE, WILD FAITH, LOST HEART, MBF, ASHES OF EDEN, and as Easter is upon us – take a watch on The Quest Trilogy. Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer all deserve a good watch even if the faith isn’t your path. The films can speak direct to your faith or as a parable tale with messages to ponder. I’ve said before, that the trilogy, was shot with a Star Wars heroes-myth style at the heart of it. The translation between the two works quite well. It really is noticeable in the photography and the music. PLEASE DO take a watch. I promise you it is a fresh take on what can often be confusing stories.
My personal goals going into these new projects is to try and make the communication even more efficient. We have some really large opportunities looming on the horizon in the not to distant future. I’m trying to develop our team so they will be ready. Positive Problem Solving attitudes. Clear Communication. Respectful Communication. Gratitude. I want to develop our team for that next level. I want to work with good folks that I truly enjoy. That is the journey.
I’m looking forward to soccer season. I’m looking forward that that weekly competition you get doing battle on the pitch. I have really learned to appreciate our opponents because iron sharpens iron.
Once this snow goes away for good it will be time to get the yard cleaned up. Tree trimming and planting clover again this year. Soon the yard will be full of hops, berries, veggies and herbs.
The chickens are back laying eggs steady so we are now rich. Rich with eggs:) The birds are returning. The squirrels and rabbits are about. I love all the wildlife about.
CDI will probably look to support the Capital City Film Fest by attending the mixer kick off. Several years ago ASHES OF EDEN was the closing film to 600 people. That was a great night. We would have played SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA there but they wanted only MI premieres and the film has its theatrical run underway. I love that our home town has two festivals. The ELFF is still running after many years also.
That is all I have for this morning. I’m going to drink my last cup of coffee and get on with my day. Until we gather again next Sunday – have a productive week. I think I will watch Manchester United play while getting a few things done.
Mastering Pressure vs Stress (Five Updates-including ‘Silent Night in Algona’)
Good morning! The hazelnut coffee is flowing and so is the rain. I will say, yesterday we had a 55 degree beautiful day when we went to harvest a Christmas tree. I love pine trees and having one in the house is something we all enjoy. This is our first Christmas with Luna Mae, our newest member of the pack. We adopted her shortly after Daphne, passed away. Finn, has enjoyed having a sister. We had a lost cat hang with us for two days until the owners were found. Thanksgiving, was a nice small gathering having had the moms over. Now that is behind us, I need to get a bit more aggressive with my Christmas shopping. I’ve been busy on several film fronts. If you follow my blog, you know many of the updates but I’ll recap the top five.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, is closing in on being done. I was treated to see some of the “in progress” CGI FX, wow! Tomorrow, I’m back in the studio to watch/listen to music and sound design. The week will be spent tweaking and adding any nuances. At the end of the week our editor/VFX supervisor will be in to help make sure everything is implemented properly. The German subtitles are almost complete and will be dropped in this week. It has been a beast, but this will be a beautiful film. A handful of the producer/actors and director, will be heading to Iowa, for the Dec 9th premiere screenings. Two showings on Dec 9th, will be filled with many of the folks that participated in the film. Public showings will start that night with at least one public showing. But the film will continue to play for as long as the demand stays strong. Once the film is completed we’ll start looking at the other theatrical showings. We also want to look at showings in Germany, Hollywood, and a few other select runs. I really had a chance to reflect this holiday season at how blessed I am to do what I love with people I love and admire. If you get a chance to watch this in the theatre please do. It will release on DVD, streaming and broadcast in the later part of 2023, for those unable to attend any theatrical showings.
2) The great holiday tradition of watching “The Quest Trilogy” continues! I’m thrilled at how many people continue to journey and experience the three films. I’m humbled by all the great fan mail that we’ve received on these films. Shot in the “heroic” style made popular with the Star Wars films, these films are for anyone to enjoy. Lotta gems to be found in these stories and I was told with every watch you pick up something new. So take your first of tenth watch, but just watch them and introduce them to someone else. Happy Holiday Season!
3) I need to try and schedule some meeting time this week to keep on our writer/director polish of the Harsens Island Revenge, script. This story will take place in the epic 1920’s in Michigan. Once we have SNIA (Silent Night in Algona) completed, we will start focusing more on this projects pre-production. I want a teaser poster completed and we’ll start talking with sponsors in the new year.
4) The script I was working on SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE, has a first draft and I’m starting to examine for a polish before proposed cast and crew get to take a read. The story is very powerful with many lessons to be learned. I’ll have some meetings over this project when we’re in Iowa. If all goes well, some developmental construction might start in 2023 and filming in 2024. Yes, this is how far out you need to start the development work on a film project. Often the development can take years. I want to have a teaser poster but together in the new year.
5) FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – Get the DVD! It will make a great stocking stuffer for Christmas. I will take the time here to note something. Our director, Curran Jacobs, a 2X Catch-Can champion is also the young male lead in SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. I’m so very proud of him and Cassie Dean, who plays his wife, as the young lead. While being known as an elite grappler, it will be nice to see him get recognized as a storyteller actor, also. Both of those actors had smaller parts in other CDI films. This was a great opportunity for these two, well earned.
WRAP UP: Today I will likely finish up some online shopping and maybe do some in-person shopping. It was nice to take some time the other day to watch the World Cup USA vs England. Now, if they beat Iran on Tuesday, they will move forward. The turkeys and scarecrow decorations will soon give way to our snowmen and Christmas decorations. I think we will get snow again mid week, so I’ve been putting even more yard stuff away for winter. I also spent some time cutting and sawing wood for the stove.
I’m trying to remember some of the good talks this week, which might provide good lessons for us all. I know I have more reviews before me with the end credits. Like, I’ve said, we’ve missed names before and misspelled even more. Often it is from the bad handwriting of our extras, not always. I will make several more passes on it before it gets rendered this week along with the German sub-titles and the front credits. Our Algona coordinators, will be reaching out this week to our final people on the Algona, premiere invite list. We are trying our best to put on this showing a state away, while finishing the film. If your name gets missed, misspelled, please know, we have no bad intent, just a massive undertaking. If you don’t make it onto the guest list or if you can’t bring certain family or friends, please go again to a public show with them. We just have very limited seating. Even the night of the premiere, I think they might only have 1 screen open. Tickets should go on sale soon and you’ll even see the trailer start playing in front of other films.
Editing of scripts and studio time – it will be nice getting together with our tribe of artists at CDI. First, to finish some work in studio with my friends and after, enjoy the work, again with friends. Or enjoy the reaction of people who watch the films. Cue, the Christmas music as I’m going to just roll with the holidays. We are artists who take great pride in our work. You want to allow yourself to FEEL the pressure but not allow it to twist into STRESS. I always liked the saying that pressure will make the three pointer at the buzzer and stress will result in the air ball. Embrace pressure, that can make diamonds but resist feeding into stress, it does nothing positive for you. So as you navigate the holidays, pressure is fine just don’t allow it to become stress.
Have a great week! By next week when I type, we might have a finished film.
TOP TEN Updates on this Beautiful June Sunday!
I’m back from a flea market whereas a VHS of BLACK BELT JONES starring Jim Kelly so that’s a $2 WIN:) I LOVE looking for props both for our worlds and my own characters within them. We are working hard to get the 70’s drag race film fully fueled up. We had a good meeting with Nate Robertson this week to debrief from the previous shoot and talk about the upcoming. We try to get feedback from people especially concerning people in their departments or just the department as a whole. We always work from the inside out starting with story to script to producers to director to cast and crew and the ripples move across the creative pond until we have a finished film. But I can honestly say that materialistically I get more excited by the VHS find or the Bear recurve bow estate sale take versus all these items whereas YOU are paying for that marketing campaign. Luckily I love a cabin as much as a castle, and a driving a vehicle with character versus high value. I recall as smaller flip phones were the vogue, the jokes in Hollywood about my ‘yellow brick’ Nextel construction phone. The whole CDI group was on walkie talkie. I made some good deals on that phone. I’m not against nice things at all I’m just saying simplify your materialistic wants. Many purchases don’t bring the happiness or added skill. A golf pro could still take most golfers with basic sticks whereas the opposition could be playing with clubs worth several thousands. A car that goes faster than you’ll ever drive. More square feet or acres that you won’t put to use. Many use it (coins, property, stamps, paintings, gold) as an investment to hold or increase value versus some conventional savings. Often it can be a good process. But you just don’t want to get caught overreaching to impress or project an image. Only negative things usually follow that kind of advertising. I like to keep things real and you’ll often find all walks of life at our table. This nice weather had some of the meetings taking place outside. The yard is green and in full swing. I’ve been working to get some trees trimmed and prepping new firewood for the coming winter. The clover in the yard we planted as been really starting to take over and it is beautiful. Irish beauty was one deception of it this week. Do take the time to create your ZEN place. If you live in tight quarters maybe try some plants. Nature is great for balancing one so you can better focus on your TO DO’s.
- I have some PR that will start going out on BESTSELLER this week. It will essentially be talking about my start in the thriller/horror genre and follow my diversifying into more genres. BESTSELLER is one of my most intense roles and I’ve had several. Plus I love the author and this work really captures the haunting and moody atmosphere that is Michigan. Have you seen it? If so please do go to https://www.imdb.com/title/tt16421224/reference/ VOTE and leave us a review.
- BEST YEARS GONE will start rolling out on July 5th both DVD and digital. Providing you still have enough fingers from your drunken 4th bottle rocket / Roman candle war to press play on the DVD or navigate the remote – you need to settle and watch our tale.
- Aug 3rd is the date when we should know the Toronto Film Festival’s decision on acceptance of FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH or not. We would love to hold our premiere there and so we’re remaining optimistic. We should also have our home video dates from Deskpop Entertainment very soon.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – The rough semi-polished first draft is almost done. It will be reviewed and that point by our team and any suggestions will be put forth. We are looking to picture lock in July which will move us to music and sound. Both of those are already in motion as sound FX libraries are being gathered and music beds are being played with. We hope to provide a great behind the scenes of our model and VFX team on board.
- SMOKE & MIRRORS has been submitted to a few festivals and we’ll await response. Once we have word it will be a nice eve with the CDI tribe celebrating this fun endeavor that will develop itself into a feature film.
- WILD FAITH and HASTINGS – the momentum continues and on a few fronts we are so close but sometimes you have to relax and let things work themselves out. If it does well at Peacock perhaps they will work with us to order up the first season.
- LOST HEART aka BIGFOOT, UFOS & JESUS is a great summer film. We are looking at some different marketing campaigns including new poster art for Lost Heart. I still want to do tee-shirts of the BF, UFOS and Jesus artwork. We’re looking into selling iron on sheets so you can put some great artwork on your favorite shirt. That is 70’s and 80’s style right there. I think I had a DARTH VADER LIVES tee shirt that was an iron on.
- I’m waiting on word to see how the HD file of KNIGHT CHILLS is coming along for the upcoming Blu-Ray. We have interest in a digital release from Deskpop Entertainment and we’ll still probably do a DVD of the CDI Classic Collection Double Feature of KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS. And we have the video game which I think I want to call KNIGHT CHILLS: DICE DON’T LIE – what do you think?
- This week I’m set up to record another book chapter for the audio book series FOR GENERATIONS TO COME that I’ve been doing. Look it up on Amazon under author Ronnie Lee.
- This past Friday, I met in person with several CDI folks mainly over FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH. I could have taken the day and likely ended with my first draft of the new script HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE. Instead I enjoyed the beautiful day and spent some time outlining. One of the rainy days this week I’ll finish the first draft. I’ve had a wonderful time working on this amazing story and looking forward to bringing the script to an exciting end.
I will no doubt start working on another script soon after I finish the one I’m working now. If I don’t have a script for hire on deck which I just might, I have a few scripts that were underway. We made more steps on HOT ROD LOVE and we are about to start scheduling work soon. Chipping away at what needs to be done in order to get this film green lit. It was a great week for soccer again and our team brought another win. Either way it is still about the battle that keeps you mentally and physically strong. I do have another bday in a few weeks (23rd) and I’m not sure what I might do to celebrate another journey around the sun.
I’m going to wish you all well. I hope that you have or have had some clarity this weekend, that will allow each of you to have a very productive week ahead. Be good to one another.
BEST YEARS GONE and Other Film Updates!
Coffee cheers my friends. My last week has been extremely productive and we’ll get into all of that. I also took advantage of the nice weather and did various tasks in the yard including trimming hedges and trees. Cleaning up a few of the beds and planting various edibles from beans to peas. I was a touch out of “garden shape” as I woke this morning a bit sore. I also had my first “abstract” dream during this pandemic. I’ve had them after long flights to other countries as my jet lag hit. Also a few times out at sea on ships. But I’m awake and back at it now. I think we have storms again so today will be a good day to get inside stuff done and rest my garden-weary bones.
The world pendulum is swinging emotionally as people deal with the stir-crazy of being home bound and others managing stress from facing higher risk due to their jobs. I see tempers flaring and anger stemming from opposing view points. Blame and blatant disobedience. There is no game plan for this crisis and so many are doing the best they can. Several are being severely cautious while others are just ignoring as if it doesn’t pertain to them. I’ve found that until it effects/affects someone they don’t have the same serious attitude. But for those connected to the sickness or loss they take it much more serious. Isolation sickness and the mental challenges that come with isolation are real and many are reaching their perceived limits to cope. No judgement just observations.
I see people who don’t understand virus transmission and the gluttony of information has led to most being confused or questioning. With our over-population and the invasion on nature something like this was bound to happen. The fact that it has such a far reaching grip has made it a world issue. That is a change in thinking and perspective for many isolated from such challenges. The elderly already deal with many of these isolation issues. Many may fear the grim reaper walking about as much as some virus. This event has changed peoples thinking and overall that might turn out to be a good thing. Only time will tell.
I’ve used the time to organize and catch up on life as many of you have. I had one friend sorting through 10,000 emails which beat my 600 I had to sort through. I’ve been having great personal and business calls lining things up. Deep clean and organize on my office and the yard might be the most groomed ever this year. So many birds, squirrels and rabbits everywhere as spring fights to emerge in Michigan. We had an odd snow day in Michigan one day but I think we’re past that now. I’m planning on making batches of beer and wine so I’ll be ready for in-person meetings again once we open back up.
Today our cast and crew on BEST YEARS GONE will get communications from our director. The project is funded and we’re working on what we can which is character, shots and sponsorship partners. We’ve been planning on how we’re going to run things on set. The nice part is for our cast and crew to know that a paycheck and endeavor lies at the end of all this. We’re pushing our projected time line by a month to earliest August but that will all depend on the state of things. It looks like we’ll be up at the Double JJ Resort again and they’re excited to have us. We announced additional cast and crew this week and more will follow in the weeks ahead.
LOST HEART is thundering towards the finish line. I’ll be writing out more post checks this week as we finish up VFX, color correction and more. Not sure how we will premiere the film but we’ll see. I’m so excited for audiences to enjoy this next CDI release. If you want more updates FOLLOW our Facebook page and ‘Subscribe to the Tribe’ at http://www.cdiproductions.com
WILD FAITH – Fans of this film are growing and I’ve been having lots of discussions over the TV series ‘Hastings’ – momentum is growing! If you haven’t seen the film check it out. If you have – watch it again:) We’re in talks with distributors and networks and I feel confident we’ll find all our partners.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – foreign sales and wider domestic distribution is underway. I’ve been working to clean up the FB sites for FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. Also I will say that we will have a full line of merchandise for the films the trilogy included.
MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Armed Forces Day was yesterday and several times last week I awoke to fan mail. Such beautiful messages of gratitude but the appreciation is all from our end. Thank you so much for spreading the word on this film and sharing it with others. We’ll be marketing this film all year long and will also have some merchandise coming out for this film. If you haven’t seen the film take a watch.
Several of the CDI associated films are being reset with new streaming platforms. Next month we should have some exciting updates on many of the films.
I’m starting talks with national sponsors/product placement on the films that are getting millions of impressions/eyes upon them. If you’re interested in showcasing your product or services to our audiences do drop me a line.
We’ll be announcing some advanced casting notices on the http://www.cdiproductions.com site in the coming weeks for upcoming projects.
I hope everyone uses this time to reevaluate and align their goals with a steady plan. I’m not in a place to tell folks what to do but emotional defiance of elected authority figure’s orders tasked with trying to keep people safe could have repercussions. Rep president, democratic governor – this is not a political crisis but many have made it political. I would urge people not to but people will do what they will. You might remain unaffected by the illness and that is a blessing. The people who have know it is not some contrived hoax. I’m going to focus on what I can control. This is a unique time that we’ll look back upon many years from now. What will history say? We will see said the wise man:)
Be good to one another and stay safe.
Father’s Day – Sunday Chat
The coffee is fresh and hot and I’m sitting here in the lazy boy with all of you on this fine Sunday morning. I want to welcome new readers from the Czech Republic to the blog. I love that as the movies expand our circle of artists expands. The garden got some much-needed rain and is growing fast. We’re already enjoying lettuce for salads and on sandwiches. Also the large dead elm tree we had dropped is finally cleaned up. I spent a few meetings going outside and slowly feeding the outside chiminea and organizing the logs. Wood does not get wasted with the wood stove in the office and in the winter you need it. Also the siding is purchased and has been picked up to do the upper part of the office. I have a small bday/CDI gathering coming up so I did not want to try to do that this week. It will be a nice bday present to myself. I got to watch two good films this week that we’re not my own. One was “Wonder Woman” and I really enjoyed the film. It featured great action, locations and the production design for WW1. I also finally watched “In the Heart of the Sea” directed by my good friend’s son Mister Ron Howard. A great peek at life during that time period and how some thrived and fought to survive by the sea. It was said to be the inspiration behind MOBY DICK. I might have to try and tackle that book again. I fell asleep many times with that film on my chest trying to read it. Two very different films but both had great glimpses into other periods of time.
Let’s talk development first. I’ve been working hard to put everything in order here at CDI as all these great films roll out. Even other older titles are finding new life as people discover our films and potential $ still locked into some of them. The new slate of films I’m working on with the studio is coming nicely but I require another 12 month slate of smaller films until that deal can get going fully. So I might use this time to produce a few films that distributors have been asking for.
Knight Chills the film that kicked off CDI in the late 90’s has grown into a bit of a cult classic. It has been turned into a book that will release on paper and digital this Summer. It will be sold at Comic Cons as well with Source Point Press. I’ve written three sequel scripts now but the first two were too high of budget for what that small little film did. I did discover that it sold with Spectrum Films much better than we thought. The company liquidated and went under and we never recouped all our profits. The film sold again with another minor horror distributor and released to several countries. The bottom line is that a friend of mine in the Comic Con circuit via films, comics, books and graphic novels was a big fan of the film. He asked to write a book off the screenplay and we set up distribution with his Source Point Press. I’ve always thought the entire ‘idea’ could be a great franchise. I think this winter we’ll shoot the sequel. It’s a fun romp in the vein of TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL. They want to do a book on the sequel and expand into graphic novels. Not bad for a little film thought up by the Kennedy’s and I all those years ago.
I’ve also finished a first draft of a new script we’ll produce either this Fall or next in Michigan. The working title is “Man’s Best Friend” and I feel it’s a powerful piece that will find a broad audience. We’ll soon start doing some advance casting trying to find a few of the required roles. I’ve been identifying the 3 new films in THE CONQUEST TRILOGY the BMG follow-up to THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) that will film once again in AZ. I’m also setting up talks with a few entities about the Wild Faith TV series. A few discussions also over literary representation after writing/producing the last 4 films. I’ve done several work-for-hire writing jobs in the past including adapting books to script. Soon I’ll be throwing my hat into the ring with some large production companies. I love to write and so I might get the right team behind me.
Let’s look at a few new updates on the CDI film front.
Forty Nights – I’ve had several buyers, promoters and PR companies contact me over this film and our trilogy and I’ve directed them over to our distributor. I think we’re just at the tip of the iceberg with these films.
The Christ Slayer – This past week we got to see the 1st cut of the film. It was moving to see the 3rd film in this trilogy there on the screen. The film with no color correction, minus VFX and with minimal sound clean up was still beautiful. I also got to see the difference between Jesus in “Forty Nights” and now “The Christ Slayer” to fully see the evolution of the character. That can be said about several of the characters. They have started building some of the VFX modeling since we brought on our VFX folks. We had to get a special piece of equipment from New Zealand and that finally got worked out. Two scenes are still being worked but it will be a worthy add to the trilogy.
Chasing the Star – the film is delivered to our distributor and it is already creating positive dialog. See – http://lenovotips.net/news/The-Star-of-Bethlehem/
I’m excited to see this film pushed during the Christmas holiday season. It’s truly a biblical adventure that I think will help make that story seem more based in reality. I’ve said in many interviews that I wanted to take people behind the figurines of 3 wood or plastic nativity scene wise men and make them breath. I think we’ve done just that and while the film is darker in tone it paints the picture of why a celestial Messiah was sought after. Pre-Order this title when you can and prepare for an adventure.
Wild Faith – VFX work and sound design has been underway. Once music is applied this film is truly going to be something special. I love the film also because of all the special people involved in the making. We stayed in little lake side cabins and created this beautiful story. I do sincerely think that this film is a beginning of something more.
Well, I have a full day. A short flea market stop followed by a visit with my dad. Later if the fields hold we have a soccer match to play. I want to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and father-like figures out there who mentor and guide.
Have a great day and be good to one another.
Fun, Sun and Getting Work Done!
(This is how my boy Luke helps with the tree clean up * Sorry no thumbs)
Welcome readers from Costa Rica and Hungary! Another week down and we had a few beautiful days last week with a mild breeze. Even today which is heating up to be a scorcher has a nice breeze. It will be low 90’s during the peak of the day at 4:00 pm about when the whistle will blow on our soccer match. So I’m taking in water and catching up with all of you. This past week our dead elm started dropping more branches and it is right over the path to the office/fort. So when getting a bid this week they offered to return within the hour. Ruby’s Tree Service did a great job and they chipped up 80% of the branches at no added cost. Everyone else wanted a major bump to chip up the branches. After they left I worked for three hours moving some 300lb+ pieces about. I had to leave a few until I recruit an additional lifter, but I got lots organized Friday afternoon and Saturday. I did feel a bit beat up on Saturday from my lumberjack efforts. I eased up until Monday since I have this game today. But I am happy that I have no fear of falling limbs and the garden is getting a major additional in the sunshine department. This tree adventure replaced my bottling of the Irish Stout so that will happen this week. Okay. Let’s look at a few film updates in no particular order.
Accounting Paperwork went our to Forj Digital and putting together the agreement for the ‘Chasing the Star’ soundtrack. NOTE: ‘Bestseller’ and ‘Forty Nights” soundtracks are available on iTunes and other music outlets.
This week PR on the DVD artwork for ‘Chasing the Star’ was released and so Sept 5th will be the national roll out. Some pre-order sites will start to appear in the coming weeks. Also artwork for the above mentioned soundtrack is also underway.
PR from this week
“Forty Nights” keeps rolling with more disbursements to our backers. I was also sent this review of the film this week. I don’t agree with all of it but that is why it’s a review:) Thank you Dr. Jeff Krupinski for your watch.
Third in the trilogy “The Christ Slayer” will be reviewed this week. We have a first cut and to say I’m excited to watch it is a true understatement. We’ve got big things in motion on the VFX and we’ll be doing some PR on that in the coming weeks. We had a heck of a time trying to get a piece of equipment from New Zealand but that should finalize this week.
(Lana Wood & Darby Hinton in “Wild Faith”)
“Wild Faith” watch through was exciting and as the film moves towards completion we keep pushing on the business end. The film is exciting to watch and I’m happy to once again be working in this genre. I do LOVE westerns!
I was able to get quite a lot of writing done and I’m closing in on a first draft of a new screenplay. I’m also working a few deals that could have me selling or doing work-for-hire writing. I really do enjoy the writing experience and enjoy seeing how the story gets translated from page to the screen. If you’re looking to hire a writer feel free to reach out and discuss.
I’ve been keeping my eye out for that next character/story that captures my attention. Rolling out in the near future will be Jesus (The Christ Slayer) and Ben Lily (Wild Faith) so I’m seeking. If I don’t find a role that I connect with well, that script is almost complete.
(Old release poster “Knight Chills”)
This week we did another pass on the temp website for CDI and discussed more on the roll out. Also a few of the books I want to release are getting closer. One exciting book project is the novelization by David Hayes of the “Knight Chills” script. I’ve seen the cool cover art and they’ve been typesetting. It will be a hardcopy in stores and on the Comic Con tour with Source Point as well as an Ebook. I’m excited by the possibilities here including talk of a graphic novel and the sequel script which is complete. Sir Kallio rides again. Pretty cool:)
Well USA is about to challenge both Norway (Women) and Mexico (Men) and at 4:00 we take the field. I love the game. The garden is doing great for those who asked – actually eating lettuce on our sandwiches as I finish this. I hope you all have had a good week/end and that you have a great week ahead. I know a few people dealing with hardships and losses so appreciate each day and keep chasing your dreams.
Be good to one another!
Welcome November – Updates
The first sips of coffee are soothing on this November chilly morning. Yes, we’ve left the ghosts and goblins behind to end the harvest and prepare of the coming snow. Yes, I said it. It was a good year for the yard with many of the trees either showing good growth spurts or the trimming of some of the more problem trees. The garden had a wonderful year and I recently gathered a final crop of green beans and hops. I might use the latter in my next beer batch. Our youngest furry child has had a bout of illness lasting a good part of the year but he seems to be strongly on the recovery. It is good to see him active, talking, running and getting back to his old self. I’ve spent the last couple weeks getting settled back into home from a month off filming “Wild Faith” in Hastings, Michigan.
Wild Faith updates
The film was an amazing experience for all of us involved and I know the final product will be a worthy credit on people’s resume and in their memories. The time has been spent getting all our accounting updated and prepping for end-of-the-year business work. I also wanted to get everything updated so I could go into our one pick up day with confidence. We’re bringing a small crew back to shoot a day of flashback scenes that take place during the Civil War. The two actors in the scenes include Shane Hagedorn, our Emmett and a powerful Detroit-based actor we will be announcing this week. I’m excited about shooting these key scenes to our story.
You can see some of the fine cast and crew here on IMDB
THE QUEST TRILOGY
40 Nights – This powerful film was reviewed with marketing in mind by the new corporation taking this film to the next level in 2017. The response was –
“-watched the full movie and loved it … PERFECT for our retail partners and target consumers.”
We’re reviewing paperwork and this week we’ll be putting this deal in motion. The deal is with Collective Development Inc. and will impact the trilogy, “Wild Faith” and several other films in the CDI library. We’ll be getting involved in co-productions following the last film on our current slate, “The Christ Slayer” (part 3 of The Quest Trilogy). I’ve enjoyed a beard and hair trim before prepping to return to a role I played in “40 Nights” – wonder what that might be?
This week consisted of lots of business. I have a series of envelopes ready to go to the post office Monday morning. That means after today back to meetings that kick off on Monday and continue through the week. It was nice having these past few days spent relaxing and watching the golden-red leaves rain down around us. I truly do love this season.
I did actually get a few quiet moments one night to work on some script writing. I’ve pulled out a few of the scripts I was working on before the “Wild Faith” shoot. That is always relaxing to get lost in a world and just create. I do love getting lost in the writing. I’m going to end this and move onto a few other things I need to get done. As always I appreciate all of you who take the time to join us and get a few updates and insights into the life and career of an artist.
Be good to one another!
Zen and the Art of Filmmaking- Half Full vs Half Empty
I’m taking these few quiet moments late on Sat night to write versus tomorrow which could be busy or peaceful zen. We’re on location with our pre-production team telling an 1800’s story that proudly weaves a lot of Michigan into it. The mail system continues to be the stress it has been for twenty years. But we’ve done just fine thanks in part to the digital age. It does get hard to digest more and more digital. I’m a paper person. I love trees and all the many kinds of woods and their properties and aromas. Man has survived by wood, paper and pulp. I just cannot enjoy reading a script digitally like I do a book. Our sets become more and more digital communication BUT we do interact as artists, IN PERSON.
We have a wonderful team of people forming up to tell this story. Some are new to our circle and others have been here for many of moons. I’ve known the joy of giving an artist their first ever paycheck for their art. They cried. It is something that I will always remember. Now artists when starting out often do unpaid work to get exposure. When they get to a place whereas people will pay for their art that fulfills something in them.
Now many are ready to suffer and sacrifice for their exposure. In the film world it is the “NO PAY but IMDB credit and a COPY of the film” deal. The first is a database of film work and the second the piece of history that those artists shared – gaining exposure. That is not us, we’ve paid people since our second film at our company in the late 90’s. I can say in all honesty I’ve never been able to fully pay what I think these artists are worth. But, we do pay what we can. We’ve paid many artists over the last twenty some years. I’ve payed what each film can afford and I have many friends that commit onto our films rate unknown. They know I pay across the board the fair price that a project can afford. If you’ve never launched a feature film than you don’t know the true hardships of doing so. When a “playground” for the arts does finally launch and a story is going to be told – it’s a voyage. Now, imagine a backyard football game or capture the flag as a kid with the neighborhood full of kids. There was always that one kid that came into a game complaining about the brand of the ball or lack of this or that – never seeing what is provided but only what isn’t. Half empty versus half full we would say in the martial arts. These attitudes are a character flaw – a cancerous negativity that will cause them great strife throughout their life. On a film set you have to learn to identify and avoid these toxic people. They are not ready. If they cannot balance their own filters they will never find happiness – just flaws. HINT: Life is flawed. The long lesson is that we’ve put literally millions of dollars into the coffers of artists and vendors. Sometimes by big checks and sometimes by small, again what that film can handle, but we always made something that made us collectively proud. Our stories travel into the world marketplace and touch people’s minds and hearts. In a short handful of years the shells and beads earned will be spent frivolously and forgotten and only the art will remain. A lasting display of the story that those people told. Some have not learned this lesson and others never will. Okay enough about those type of individuals as they run their course and after they burn every bridge they settle into a job they dislike and the circle of negativity is full circle. Of course for these people it is always because of someone else.
WILD FAITH – This pilot film has been making some amazing announcements about casting. I’m thrilled about the crew forming up behind this film. It is all team building for moving forward. We will be announcing more castings in the next few days which includes a legend of the western genre and one award decorated actress. Yes. I will be acting/co-starring in this film but I want to get my other announcements out there first. I’m looking forward to “playing” with some other talented actors and an amazing crew being led by director Jesse Low and director of photography Jesse Aragon. We all worked together with our producing team on “40 Nights” which you can check out now.
More updates have been given to me on a pair of other possible network shows that are interested in having me act. One would be a reboot of a very famous series and the other a continuation of a very popular series. I just keep doing my thing and when they are ready to get serious I’m all ears.
CHASING THE STAR – The music is complete and we’re heading to the finish line. Official poster and trailer close to a reveal. Stay tuned!
BESTSELLER – A perfect season for this film. We’re working our foreign set up so all those friends asking overseas – soon:)
40 NIGHTS & ASHES OF EDEN continue their advance into the marketplace with more places to watch almost weekly.
NEW releases of classic CDI films in the works. Development on the next slate of films is underway. Once this film has set sail we will start putting the foundation together on the third and final film in the QUEST TRILOGY entitled “The Christ Slayer” to shoot in 2017.
I’m going to finish my hazelnut coffee and hit the shower. I have a long list of TO DO’s for today’s pre-production. We’re gonna grill out with our pre-prod crew tonight and make final preparations.
Enjoy your day and have a great week ahead.
Theatrical News & Talking CDI Updates
As I sit here sipping a bit more hazelnut coffee I ponder all the things we could touch upon this week. I also want to take a moment and thank all my readers from different countries. We are all cut from the same cloth just different mountains, trees and grasses. I just returned from running around this morning that included a stop at SEARS. I was stopped by someone I didn’t know smiling and pointing before asking my name. ASHES OF EDEN bringing in new fans and I love it. I know many friends, family and fans who went to (some are there now) in the theaters watching the film. It has been fun having one of the films play in our hometown/state. Let’s talk about that a touch…
In 2002 we shot AN ORDINARY KILLER and the only HD digital projectors were in California and traveling with the National auto show. We encoded for it and rented one of those traveling projectors for just under a week. We had the best theatrical run with 3,400 people in 5 days with 12 sold out showings and one still over 200 seats sold. We took those numbers to LA and at that time it would be a transfer to film and creating film prints. Shipping on those things was big $ and so P&A money would have to be spent. The thing is that we beat Harry Potter in that theater run but the cost of a theatrical was beyond us.
In 2006 we shot our smokey mountain western “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” and we ran it an entire summer in conjunction with a theme park. We sold steady but in a limited area but for many, many weeks. I would have loved to play more theaters but we refused to go back to DVD/BlueRay projection. The HD projectors by this time 2007/8 were only between 500-1000 in the USA and that was reserved for studio films billing the new Digital as they would IMAX or THX – bottom line too expensive still.
Now it is 2014 and I’m happy to report most all modern theaters are digital and we now have an in-demand film. This run is a partnership run not a four wall (rent out) and we are able to supply content. The cost is more in line and now theatrical could be part of our revenue stream. We will be opening CDI Theatrical and looking back into the CDI library to do some special screenings.
I will be going with some friends tonight to watch what could be one of the last showings at Celebration Cinema. Remark that I said at Celebration Cinemas:) Also we will be playing the film in the Detroit area and beyond but you have to wait for the official word on all that. We also had yet another distribution deal step forward that includes some possible foreign. I’m just happy that we are at a level where we can bring high quality content in the same format as the studios. Stay tuned for much more CDI action to grace the big screen!
“Bestseller” pick ups are about all set. By the end of this next week we will be locked up. Now my one pet peeve of the week. Insurance which we’ve always carried from film 1 at CDI. First you need to acquire high end gear not the small cameras and so these vendors require this. Next – we carry protection for our cast/crews because this is the right thing to do. Now again because we try to do everything right, note I said TRY, it costs. I was taken back because a one day pick up quote was near the same rate as our 18 day shoot prior. Because a new policy has to be started versus reactivating one. Anyway, we will do what we must but again I would bet a slew of filmmakers out there are running without insurance. It’s all good until something happens and it will, eventually. So stepping up is just part of playing as a professional I say but to the many who want to call themselves professional – actions speak louder.
“Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventure” was suppose to start streaming on Indieflix.com yesterday. I would love to hear from anyone who subscribes and watches the 1st three shows. www.indieflix.com
I had some good development talks this week and a few more investors interested in this project or that. So once I get past this final pick up on “Bestseller” I’ll be ready to look at some new projects. I’ve been picking berries for an upcoming wine batch. We shared some good homebrew and wine with my mother and friends at her belated Bday gathering. We smoked a pair of pork shoulders for 8 hours and that turned out great. Okay. Now I’m hungry.
Have a great week ahead!
Happy Holidays 2013
I’m so happy to be relaxing with a cup of streaming coffee from the new coffee maker that we now call “The Cylon” because it is chrome with cool blue lights. The office also got a new coffee maker. The Holiday season and year is coming to a close. I feel blessed that all we had to deal with is the big downed tree that will be cut up this week. I know many friends/family had to deal with the results of the ice storm. Many were without heat, water, power and many suffered more damage. I did have a large branch bounce off my ride but it was protected by the 1/2 inch of ice that covered it. I did have a relative pass on Christmas eve and I know many people deal with that as it is just part of life. I really enjoyed 2013 for many reasons both professionally and personally. Several things that happened will surely be springboards to another busy 2014. Not a ton of new developments since last week as people had to deal with the storms and/or holidays. The next blog will be in 2014 so I’m waiting to give any major updates until that one. I’m also still finalizing a few deals that got help up. I imagine those will close this week so we can start the new year with some new business!
“BESTSELLER” LAST DAY
MSU game on the radio as I do some wrap up work on our last day of filming. We had another great day/night of filming yesterday and now our last day is upon us. As I looked back at some of the day 1-3 photos I am brought back to the start of this journey. It started weeks before showing up on site but continued with 2 weeks of pre-production and our 3 weeks of shooting. Our biggest obstacle was also what made this film so beautiful and unique – the great N. Michigan outdoors. The wet cold that soaked into your very being but also into every bit of footage. The hauntingly beautiful colored trees set against the dark moody skies gave us just want we needed for ‘Bestseller” to come to life. I want to thank Christina Rohn, our director and Scott Castelein, director of photography for their passion and hard work. To our crew for their patience as we created the best artistic shots. To our cast for their powerful performances that will propel this story forward. I’m proud that in the fall of 2013 this is where I was at, these are the artists I was with and THIS is what we created. I want to thank everyone with the team on and off set. All our sponsors and supporters and the fans. We make the art for you and I’ve been so encouraged by all the great communications from those of you out there. This is another project that I will be proud to put my name to. Speaking for us all at Collective Development Inc., Misery Bay and Lake Street Media we give our thanks to you all.
I will have my updates next week that cover some of the other projects and what’s happening with them but right now I need to look over my final scenes and get ready to wrap this film up. I wish everyone safe travels on their way back to their loved ones. Have a great weekend and go MSU;)