Good morning from HOME! Yes. I’m sipping some coffee after a few puppy cuddles and now I’ll be sharing with all of you some updates and insights. First I want to talk about LOST HEART. What a ride we had. First it was just amazing to go from just a blueprint with the script to capturing magic. This script has been hailed as one of my best pieces of writing. I know that writing is much like a film in that it’s subjective. But the story did a great job of painting interesting characters in unique places and situations. It was my first script with Melissa Anschutz in the lead and she performed beyond all my expectations. Much like Shane Hagedorn in Wild Faith, it was great that my scripts could be used as starring vehicles for my friends/peers.
While we were filming LOST HEART, WILD FAITH was rolling out across the nation. Wal-Mart’s and other retailers around the country starting carrying the film DVD and the fans responded. I had so many people approach me the last few weeks who had watched several of the CDI films. One day in prep – Shane Hagedorn (Emmett) got stopped by a maintenance guy who had seen Wild Faith. Already thrilled to met Emmett, he was further thrilled to be led into a room where Melissa Anschutz and I worked accounting. His eyes got big and his smile wide as he got to meet Ben Lily and Hester Thickett. This meeting of fans played out several times during our multi week stay. All around town – handshakes and kind words. I’m so proud of both Shane and Melissa – they are true leading talent. Everyone sits around and wishes for a starring role but only a select can really ‘lead’ a film. It’s not easy physically, mentally and keeping that arc requires constant adjustments. These two along with my ole workhorse buddy Anthony (Tony) Hornus made up my senior producing team. We have a great associate producer team that helps us do what needs to be done.
Jesse Low made his third film with CDI (Forty Nights & Wild Faith) and now Lost Heart. Nate “The General” Robertson led a great production campaign. One of his very best to date. We had Nancy Oeswein and Witney Wagner working with CDI for the first time in our office. I think it was a great collaboration and while they had to jump into a very existing system they adjusted and brought some new ideas to the table. I look forward to another future collaboration. Now it cannot be all rainbows so what were some of the issues. Now before addressing that I will again say that prep is so important because it allows a production to aim all its efforts at the immediate problem solving. I see too many businesses run in reactive mode putting a bandaid on something but that in turn causes three issues. Put in the hard work in advance – it pays off. We did this and it was apparent on set and in the final footage.
- Communication – making better communication is always the goal. While we are VERY good we always strive for better. Most small issues arrive from assuming and not knowing. We are all guilty of that at times and work hard to correct that.
- Focus – when we are at work people need to set aside their personal relationships aside and focus on the goals of the day. From Call to wrap a film crew works to get its puzzle pieces (Footage). Time is the essence each day and focusing on task will result in earlier days, less mistakes/damages and make a better final product.
- Representation – When you work for a company you not only represent the film company but the craft as a whole. One of our major locations had someone call and warn them before shooting about “filmmakers” because of a bad experience they had. When asked if it was our company they replied NO. CDI was defended by the owners by telling them their experience had been 100% positive. It is why I am so protective and communicate with locations that all companies are NOT equal. I’m not even comparing subjective final films but how we conduct ourselves while working. I’ve had people try to “drop” my name or our company to gain access to a place. Location owners all know to call us first if approached because if your operation is ‘slash and burn’ meaning getting footage by whatever means possible, that is conveyed. Or at the least letting them know we are not connected. Our team was raking up mulch at one location after the shoot. Pride in how your company/work is looked upon as a fine quality.
- Positive Attitude – This is something especial required of KEYS. You set the department tone. For example at CDI vulgar or aggressive outbursts are not tolerated without being addresses. Those examples again show poor communication and tells others that you’re not in control of your department. We always have a few that rise to the new challenge and fly while a few perhaps need more time under an experienced key. Skillset is only part of the equation – being able to motivate, inspire and lead a team with positive enthusiasm is the sign of a great leader. CDI is about developing leaders.
Once things are running smooth I get to sit back and watch everything. I get to ninja about and observe. I see who treats their gear proper. You should always treat gear as if you own it. Watch someone who does own the gear care for their gear. This is much like the care given to our locations. I can see when outside personal issues intrude upon someone’s focus. I see when personal interactions interfere with work flow and cause distractions. I see when people rush versus moving quickly with care. I see when people are not fully conditioned for feature length shoots either due to lack of rest, poor nutrition and/or lack of prep. I’m proud to say our production only had a few occasions where these things happened. But it is easy to spot on a film set that runs smooth. It is the job of management (producers) to sit back after and evaluate performance. This leads to rehiring or perhaps realizing someone needs more development. Sometimes it was a person was used in the wrong place and would be better suited elsewhere. But applying the 4 principals listed above will improve any production.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – This film is about to heat up! A premiere in the director’s home town is being explored first. The film will be releasing into select theaters and home video in the next few months. We got to do a small private screening in pre-production and…(SMILE) – I cannot wait for people to see the film. It showcases beautiful performances by wonderful actors. The hardworking crew made this story flow and it shows. So get ready for this story that showcases the plight of military vets and adoption dogs to come to the big and small screen.
The Quest Trilogy – The films are continuing to produce even in the non-holiday season. These are adventure films set in biblical times and so they can be enjoyed at anytime. So as we prepare to market for the holiday season ahead – enjoy now. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER.
I’m going to do final wrap up this week on LOST HEART. We’ll meet next week over post process again and to evaluate the shoot. I have a few acting reels to update – one with Ben Lily (Wild Faith) and one for Jesus (The Christ Slayer). I additionally need to work the final paperwork on the new agent collaboration for my screenwriting/producing. Lastly, I have a week-long vacation in the U.P. coming up. But right now it is about unpacking and also getting the yard/house caught up from week’s away. I hope you all enjoy your weekend and the week ahead.
Be good to one another. Doh! The coffee cup is empty.
Well, well, well last week’s blog entry made a large impact. We had maybe the most readers from around the world. It was crazy to see all the countries represented. It was a great week and I’ll speak on some of that. I’ll also give a few open spoilers before released in PR next week. But I want to sincerely thank all the people who joined me this past week. I’ve got the hot hazelnut coffee here by my side and I’m going to get into some updates. I will note on a few things I noticed this week.
We had our 3rd film in THE QUEST TRILOGY – The Christ Slayer release to amazon, google play, Christian Cinema digitally. This film is unusual as it is available on home video (DVD will be March 4th) and will be releasing into theaters for Easter on April 19th. I had a big conference call meeting with the VP of BMG and 8 executives/employees from the theatrical company. I’ve never been in on a call quite like that as we’ve never had national releases. The call also touched upon WILD FAITH that releases into theaters March 23rd and will roll to home video after the platform release. I’m so happy that these films that do play great on the big screen due to the strong production values brought by our artists. I’ll be getting lists of where the films will play city and theater chains. I’m hearing that we have in MI early interest from Emagine, Celebration and Goodrich who carried the film before. Canada is being considered for theatrical and I hear that a deal in Brazil could be close. I was just proud to have all these talented people focused on our films.
I had a goal of making a trilogy of biblical adventures that would appeal to a broad audience like the Chuck Heston films of old. I’ve noticed that beyond the normal trolling that films with a religious topic or theme also get attacked. If you’ve watched The Christ Slayer and enjoyed it I encourage you to vote and share your thoughts. When you see a two sentence slam on a film versus an intelligent write-up/review it’s pretty easy to make up your mind on which review is more accurate. I’ve noticed on past films like Chasing the Star, that people don’t know their history. They complained that the film was dark. Ummm…King Herod’s reign was dark. They called it unGodly because it focused on a different religion with the Magi. Ummm…this is accurate and Christianity wasn’t close to being a religion. I don’t mind if someone doesn’t like something but when they claim something isn’t accurate is silly when only their education is what isn’t accurate. Lot of viewpoints are subjective but that doesn’t make it wrong. It just tells me that films like these were badly needed. So feel free to watch all three films now on Amazon but if The Christ Slayer plays near you in April please do check it out on the big screen.
Wild Faith should roll out new artwork and we should start to see more PR on this wonderful film. There are also some few things in play with the distributor that could lead to our TV series. We had good talks over this film which I think will play great all across this country. I hope my Canadian friends and fans get a chance to see this film on the big screen. But I learned that in Canada they have different ratings boards for each territory. So you could have to pay for multiple ratings but they still might elect to do just that. I’m excited to see this again on the big screen. We’ve remastered the film for the new release and added a great new addition to the film with a surprise story narrator.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend will have a first edit end of this week. We’ll spend two weeks refining the cut before moving it along to Dennis Therrian for music and sound design. The theatrical company has an early interest in the film and with a good amount of lead time we’ll be able to do some great marketing. We’ll also start work on a new trailer in April cut from the edited film. I’m excited that while we deal with all this new release business this film is right behind it.
And right behind that film is our newly announced movie LOST HEART. Our FB social media and IMDB pages are now active.
We will start announcing cast this week as we move forward. Also you will hear it here first but CDI will once again be teaming with director Jesse Low (Forty Nights, Wild Faith) on LOST HEART. We met with several talented directors and some of them could end up working with CDI in the future. But for this next journey we’ll be working with Mr. Low. Also we’ll be announcing Melissa Anschutz, who will be playing the title role of ‘Hannah’ in the film. A big congrats to them both and we’re looking at April/May timeframe to shoot. The film will again be distributed under a deal CDI has with BMG.
I’ve also been working hard on the end-of-the-year tax work for the films. On a personal level I’ve been in talks over finding the right literary agent to do work for hire writing and to sell a few scripts I don’t plan to produce. I’ve got a few outside CDI films I’m looking at for acting but we will see. Even if paid I don’t like working hard on films that never get finished. I have a few of those lingering in my past. But I believe I will be directed towards the right projects. I will be playing a fun supporting role in Lost Heart but you’ll have to wait to hear more on that.
Yesterday I spent some time cutting up firewood for the office stove. I’m going to work on finishing a few other business items today and get a jump on things for next week. Again I was just so happy to see the HUGE spike in readers and from so many countries. Keep following your dreams and telling those stories and creating that art. We’ll talk next week. Feel free to check out http://www.cdiproductions.com for other film updates. We will have a few holes in our casting that we’ll be looking for soon.
Have a great Sunday!
I hope everyone is having a good week. It was a long week filled with sadness, laughter, success and set back. But with my trusty hazelnut coffee I get to sit here and reflect back on some of it with all of you. First, our household has been much quieter with our reduced pack. Two sisters Lulu and Daphne are spending lots of time together. We will be getting another dog for Daphne to help train. She did such a wonderful job with our Luke. We really want to have a new guardian by the time LOST HEART shoots this coming spring. It might happen on the lead up to Thanksgiving since we will both have lots off time to make a new pack member feel welcome and loved.
Speaking on loved ones, cherish them because our shared time is finite. One of our neighbors from our childhood passed away unexpectedly after a brief illness. We got to catch up with childhood friends but unfortunately it came at a visitation. New childhood memories were made with the nice and nephew one night with pizza, pumpkin carving and seed roasting. This coming weekend we’ll have another reunion with my Uncle and cousins but also at a cost. My Aunt lost her short battle with cancer. She was the sun which everything went around and so they’re rightfully having issues adjusting. I am looking forward too sharing stories and laughter with my cousins.
This week I spent a good amount of time communicating with our film distributor as they prepare for AFM. For those not in the knowing it’s the American Film Market. A version of our MBF teaser is going to travel to AFM. The DVD/poster art for THE CHRIST SLAYER is being prepared. WILD FAITH deal is also in the works and I need to find out the details of the theatrical deals.
Part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY – The Christ Slayer is in post sound and music. Also we engaged our colorist for the film’s color correction. That is now underway. We had both Carl Weyant (Longinus) and Melissa Anschutz (Mother Mary) into the studio. A few lines had to be fixed and that process went smooth. We also were treated to some opening music that shows carpenters building wood crosses on the hilltop as Mary watches. With the opening music it is so POWERFUL. I’m excited to have audiences go on this final adventure. Again if you have not watched part 1 or 2 (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star) buy the DVD or stream it from Amazon. Also many other great platforms are carrying them.
WILD FAITH is also heading back into the theaters as the strength and power of this film is being noticed. Our celebrity narrator is looking at availability and paperwork has been sent across. We’ve had various outlets contact us directly over wanting this film. All those communications are being forwarded and soon the entire distribution flow will be announced. Once everything is in their hands we’ll turn our attention back to the TV series.
Also with MBF our military vet/adoption dogs film, I’ve seen about 30 min of the rough film and I’m rather happy with it even in the rough state. It’s a powerful and moving film and something else to look forward to next year. We keep adding more official stills to our Facebook page. Please do stop by to see pics and get updates.
LOST HEART has gotten its first feedback from one of our proposed stars and it was everything I had wished for. We will start moving it out to others to read. I really do love the story and again it is filled with powerful themes.
Speaking of scripts – this past week I wrote a PSA (Public Service Announcement) script and the client loved it. Now I have to prepare a budget because we also might produce it with CDI. Again, we do some commercial work at CDI but it’s selective. I’ve also returned to doing some writing on my first SciFi script, which is beyond fun. I’ve also started to look at a few possible literary agents to help sell a few scripts that I don’t plan to produce.
I also was encouraged to submit to a film shooting in fall 2019 as the bad guy. I sent my materials and if I am what they’re looking at I will read their script and do a short read. I am ready to get back in front of the camera again but it has to be the right project. This year audiences can see me as Jesus again, mountain man Ben Lily and injured marine Paul Landings. I thought maybe the DEAD QUIET film might release this year but it doesn’t seem like it will. This year I did do a commercial gig for “Our Daily Bread” and a music video for musician Trey Conner. I’m about trying something outside my box if the business is good and the project professional. What else will 2019 bring?
One thing I like to do at the end of each year is do a self-evaluation. Look at projects and project your goals for the new year. Look at what goals from the previous year were met and which ones were not. Writing this down so you can actually review next year is a very useful tool. From seed to harvest. Goals, destinations and such are all good but remember to enjoy the journey.
Have a great week and a safe Halloween.
My update for the week as I learn to use my left hand.
-peace to everyone