A beautiful Sunday morning to sip coffee and reflect back on the past week. I want to start with a tribute to a wonderful woman who was like a second mom to me when I was a wee lad. Marie DeFord was my daycare while my mom worked and my dad was in the National Guard. She was my Monday-Friday from when I was a little baby until about five. She had two older boys Jon and Dane, whom I interacted and learned from. From them my interest in model cars, Universal Monsters, music and cartoons grew. Marie gave me my love of books and animals. While many young children fight nap time, it was always exciting for me. I would sleep surrounded by cats and dogs. At 88 years of age Marie passed peacefully. I’m beyond happy that I have reconnected with both Jon and Dane, and the latter has joined us on a few filmmaking adventures now. I attended a wonderful service and lunch where many shared the same kind of special stories of Marie’s love of people. One person said it best, she spoke to children as if they had something to say. She had that special ‘something’ that Mister Fred Rogers had. She loved everyone and was always there to listen, help and nurture the people in her life. So many special memories that I will cherish and again so happy to have had her be part of my early upbringing. I also discovered only at the memorial that she too was a Sexton Big Red graduate! RIP Marie.
Since maybe about the age of 5 or 6, I’ve been playing the game of futbol/soccer. The ‘teamwork’ aspects is one of the things that this great sport has taught. I’ve played overseas and club soccer most of my life. My detour to the community college before attending Michigan State University hindered my soccer journey. I likely did not possess the skills to make it to the highest level of the game but I’ve always loved it. It is one of the special things I get to share with my brother. He convinced me to play this year in the Over 40 league versus the Over 30 which I’ve played since I was 29. This was my second year in this age bracket and had us joining the ‘Williams’ brothers over to their team. We ended up placing 2nd in the season and we WON the championship beating the one team that had defeated us twice. Old man soccer is no joke. There is nothing more aggressive than a bunch of older gents trying to prove they still got it. On the rainy Thursday we came together and became the new reigning champs. I wanna thank all the warriors in that league who help one another stay active, in-shape and competitive.
- The final FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH artwork is being approved for the 10/4/22 DVD and streaming release. We’re all really excited to have this roll out to all of you. I think we’re doing a 10/1/22 premiere in Owosso, MI just waiting on final approval.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is moving down the post-production line. Music and sound design are being done while color grading and VFX work also gets worked upon. A NEW theatrical trailer is being worked on and we’re starting to line up participating theaters. We plan to premiere in December in Algona, Iowa followed by a theatrical roll out. We’ll also be setting up a premiere in Michigan, likely in Owosso. We’ve already got the interest for the film to come to Lansing and Grand Rapids. We will work on getting it to Detroit as well.
- BESTSELLER and BEST YEARS GONE will be going to Broadcast and ad-based video on demand 9/1/2022 but both can be seen now on Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes and more! We would love to hear your thoughts so please do post to imdb.com and/or any review platforms. We have a few upcoming reviews coming on both films.
- SMOKE & MIRRORS might get a FREE release to our CDI Youtube that has many great videos. Trailers, behind the scenes, promos and more…I think this just might be the spooky treat for October from your friends at Collective Development Inc.
- Following the Halloween season we’ll be heading for the holidays. The Quest Trilogy always enjoys a nice increase in family watching over the holidays. Have you seen FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER? The films take a great look at some of the stories from the Bible from a unique perspective. It is not heavy handed and many non-religious folks have really expressed how much they enjoyed the thought provoking stories.
- HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE – This story will film in 2023 and we’re already starting advance development work. Location scouting has started and will get more serious in the coming weeks. We’re looking to put in place a few major creative pieces before we start casting and crewing. It is another awesome period piece and CDI will again rise to the challenge. A teaser poster will be worked upon in the coming weeks also.
- I’ve got ‘Screenwriter’ paperwork in process on another ‘period piece’ that will just be epic to film in 2024. I’ve been researching the history for weeks now and I’m excited to write this story in the weeks to come. I want to do a teaser poster for this film also and we’ll do some PR once the ink is dry.
- 2023 is also going to see some of the past CDI library coming once again to market. Right now we’re doing some prep on GHOST TOWN, our smoky mountain western that will be coming next year. We’re about to have the film uprezed to 4k and a new trailer cut. That will go out this week and we’ll start to get our delivery elements together.
- I need to circle back and see how the Uprez of KNIGHT CHILLS, is coming. We have an arrangement for a BluRay release likely in 2023. We will also be releasing to streaming with DeskPop Entertainment. Audio book, video game, sequel? Lotta cool things in development with CDI’s first feature film.
- Rounding out the 2023 Uprez and releases will be FIGURE IN THE FOREST and AN ORDINARY KILLER. Each one takes a lot of work to prep for re-release so we’re tackling a little bit at a time but we’ll get there.
I’m going to get after a few things in the yard. I’ve been harvesting the hops which have grown in great abundance. Our squash, pumpkins and such are growing nicely as well. I’ve been splitting wood in anticipating of winter. I want to have a professional tree trimmer come in and trim the trees around the fort/office. I need to put a trim on the mulberry tree that has taken off like gangbusters. The squirrels have started their gathering for the coming months. I love to watch them work especially a few of the young ones new to the area. I’m going to refill my coffee cup and get after some of these outdoor tasks. Until we meet again next week I wish you all the best. Remember to keep working hard and following your dreams!
I’m sipping on the hazelnut coffee and enjoying the sunshine this morning. Welcome readers from Finland – happy to have you here with us. So I returned on Thursday from my trip to LA. I had been wanting to return to LA to see one of my dear friends who now has a little one and wife. Several times I had debated taking the time to go visit but I’ve been in production or post-production for a few years now. Busy does not stop it just keeps going. Well I received an invite to a private family memorial for my friend, mentor and co-star Rance Howard. Rance has always been that voice of truth in an industry that often moves on lies and half-truths. He was a mentor/friend that often felt like a grandfather. He was a script consultant on a WW2 Christmas film I wrote. He was my co-star on several films including THE CHRIST SLAYER that will release to theaters on the run up to Christmas this year. I know that EVERYONE who met Rance loved him. I did not plan on any invite and knew nothing of the planning. I felt fulfilled and secure in the memories of the beautiful relationship we had shared. When working on a role Rance and I were like two ten-year olds playing. His wisdom was always a guiding force and I was content with my quiet prayers to a friend who passed. Weeks later I was surprised to get an invite from his sons to attend a private service. I did not want any stress/expectations around this event as the purpose was to celebrate a friend passing not business. So I quietly left in the middle of a massive snowstorm to say goodbye to an old friend and to visit another friend with new child. Circle of life.
To say that is was a nice tribute would be an understatement. It was a true look back at a farmer’s son who had an undeniable urge to be storyteller. The odds of this small town young man finding success in the industry were very small. I was his friend for a dozen years but I met many who had that gentle guidance for a lifetime. I realized just how blessed I was to have Rance in my life. One after another – family and friends stood up to speak of the qualities of this great man. To hear sons, grandchildren, directors and fellow actors tell their stories of how Rance touched them was beyond moving.
Tony Becker, myself (Slightly Beat up) and Rance Howard on “Ghost Town”
To have an opportunity to speak with his family and friends and share my stories of Rance and our relationship was beautiful. I know that Ron posted some pics and video of the tribute on his official Facebook so you can visit there. That’s what the family felt like sharing. It was interesting to hear the “family story” behind stories I heard from Rance and Judy directly. Johnny Depp retold the story Judy Howard had told us of her trying to convince Rance not to jump from a train at 80+ years old. She tried to get Johnny to talk with Rance but the long/short is Rance did it anyways. To be able to tell the family directly what their father meant to me was powerful. That day remembering Rance is one I will remember for the rest of my life. I got to hear some wonderful comments on our art. The family all knew about our films because Rance had grown a beard, which they lovingly teased him according to Judy. He kept that beard until the end of his life telling me he hadn’t had one in many years but he was enjoying the freedom of it. I was pushing him to go play a Jedi Master. I’m sure his family was also aware of the management/rep craziness when Rance told the X Files producers that a certain shoot date would not work because of Forty Nights. Knowing agents like I have – I bet that was one giant rant of “What the @$#@#% is Forty Nights and who in the hell is DJ Perry?” – He ended up doing both because he stuck to his commitment with us (never in question) and that was that. A free lesson for all of you out there. Don’t have someone’s back only until something better comes along. The “trade up” mentality is a common thing to starving talent who will climb at all cost. But as Rance once said, “if the cost is your integrity – you can’t afford it.” Free advice from one of my great teachers. I will miss my friend and I’ll be always grateful for the stories we told together.
Dean Teaster and Shane Hagedorn in “Wild Faith”
Now two days prior to my travels, our final film of WILD FAITH had been completed. Over the past year I depleted energy like everyone else in this hard industry. Often taking three steps forward and getting knocked back two. Raising money is always hard and executing with ever-growing expectations is even harder. But at that memorial I took stock of my own path and journey. I turned around and looked at where I started and where I’ve been. Who I’ve worked with and what we created together. And the most exciting revelation is looking ahead visualizing what I will work to create in the next dozen years. I spent the balance of the trip visiting with friends laughing, recharging and reflecting. I came back home ready to do what I do. Create. So I’m working hard to widen our investor base so we can create more often. The demand is there for our content and so we’ll work hard to fill that demand.
We’ve signed our first theatrical deal on “Wild Faith” at Celebration Cinema and we’ll release the show dates in the next few days. I’m very excited to see this play in the theaters and I’m just so damn proud of all the artists. The talks on home video and TV series are in full swing. I would love to have the TV show move ahead because many Michigan talent would get to be part of this beautiful world.
“Forty Nights” and “Chasing the Star” enjoyed a great Christmas season and I’ve been working with BMG on paperwork for additional foreign sales. BMG entered “Chasing the Star” into a few select festivals. I’m a person who likes to just target a few festivals. They take time and energy and often I just choose to direct that energy towards deal making.
So our distributor plans to make part 3 of Collective Development Inc.’s THE QUEST TRILOGY “The Christ Slayer” their flagship release at the upcoming markets. They got the sneak peek at the soon-to-release theatrical trailer and poster art. Additionally the hype over Mel Gibson‘s development of a sequel to The Passion of the Christ has been encouraging. That proposed film focuses on passover and the days that follow Jesus rising from the tomb. That is exactly the time period and event we focused on with THE CHRIST SLAYER. A final story filled with incredible performances by everyone including Rance Howard shining in one of his last feature films. So I agree this “piece” of the Jesus story is unique and audiences will be able to see our take a good year plus before the other film is set to release. I will be excited to see their take on the story as Jim does an awesome job as Jesus and Mel is one of my favorite directors. Audiences will be able to enjoy our film in theaters leading to this Christmas and home video leading up top Easter 2019. I’m going to let all of you see the theatrical poster HERE before the PR release this week.
Judy and Rance Howard, Anthony Hornus and myself on set “Forty Nights”
I want to also wish a happy birthday to Shane Hagedorn and Anthony (Tony) Hornus – two tribal amigos who share a special day. I’ve created much with both of them and look forward to many more. MBF is growing with more support and I’ve got a few talent I want to approach once all funding is locked. I’ll be back to that this week. We’re getting close but do not start anything you cannot finish. Exert patience and get everything proper with your ship before taking it out to deep waters. So to proposed cast and crew know we’re working hard to allow us to tell another great story.
Myself and Shane Hagedorn in “The Christ Slayer”
I also want to take this moment to thank Shane Hagedorn. I’ve been very busy the last few years. And you filmmakers know the films are like your children. So the films have gotten strong marketing but I have not really pushed my own acting. I’ve had no time to cut any character reels. Shane was kind enough to Christmas gift me with a ‘Jesus’ reel cut from “Forty Nights”. Now when you’re in 70+ min of an 88 min film picking the best 2-3 min can be hard. I’m appreciative that he did that for me. Now if you have not yet watched “Forty Nights” DON’T WATCH the reel. Go to Amazon and watch the film first. But I will use this reel to discuss future work on other projects.
DJ Perry as ‘Jesus’ in “Forty Nights”
I’ve recently had a few west coast projects in my orbit picking up speed. I had a few new updates on C.U.J.O and the western RIFLE development. I cannot speak on these publicly but I hope they both launch. They will be great fun. A few other projects with Reel Frog (Book of Ruth) are advancing on the development board also. An animated venture is coming together piece by piece. Overall 2018, the Year of the Dog (My sign) is upon us. I will keep my tail wagging and trotting along.
OTHER MISC RE-RELEASES
WICKED SPRING should appear for streaming on 3/1/18 like VUDU, Amazon Prime, Hoopla and more. Please do check out this powerful film that we produced 18 years ago.
THE ACTOR – I’m hearing April release.
PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ (Animated for Children) – On Vimeo On Demand and coming to Amazon.
ASHES OF EDEN – has a new market push with a new distributor. INFO SOON
I’m going to sign off and go pour a last cup of coffee. It feels great to be back in my home state and I’m ready to show audiences our new films this year. I’m ready to work hard as usual to make new content. I tip my hat to all of you out there working hard. Do good business. Make an environment to create great art.
ENJOY THE FIRST RELEASE OF THE THEATRICAL “THE CHRIST SLAYER” POSTER
Be good to one another.