I’m sitting here sipping my hazelnut coffee in my Oswald’s Bear Ranch cup. We were planning another UP Michigan trip when all this virus stuff erupted. Now we spent a good amount of time discussing that last week and so I’m not going to hammer that this week. In Michigan we have had our stay extended for two weeks. I’ll just call it confinement for all the things in my youth I got away with. Again it was a wonderful week of organizing, personal and biz calls and getting things done. Let’s start with our next film up – BEST YEARS GONE.
This week we’ll load in the last financial piece and we’ll be all ready to sail once the storm passes. We’ve got a new schedule to review and I’m putting some fine tuning to the budget now that our day-of-days is more defined. We’re announcing more of our crew and cast and preparing to do a few ZOOM script reads. Shot lists are being prepared and I for one will be ready to get out and tell another story.
I had some productive talks with our distributor and we’re already looking at marketing for the immediate and the year ahead. The Quest Trilogy has been playing strong during the holiday window which runs after Halloween on the run up to Thanksgiving through Easter. Many new countries like Mexico, Brazil and more have enjoyed our three biblical adventures. We spoke of them cutting a great TRILOGY trailer for the next ‘holiday’ season.
NOTE: I also had the pleasure of watching Douglas James Vail’s new film 40: The Temptation of Christ – that also imagines the 40 days of Jesus in the desert. I enjoyed their beautiful locations, camera work and the unique way they handled the temptations. Take a watch if you enjoy these stories.
LOST HEART is just finishing up music and will be turning to sound design this last month before we mix, master and deliver. There is going to be a big need for new content so I think we’ll get a good push with this story. We might have a few other surprises when it comes to this film. This week ahead the distributor is working to lock up DVD wrap art. I would guess we’ll see pre-sales start after a while but we’ll see if we do any exclusive TV runs first. I’m excited to put this fun, heartfelt movie out into the marketplace. – Soon.
WILD FAITH / HASTINGS TV SERIES
The film is gathering fans as the distribution keeps getting deeper. Meanwhile we continue to have promising discussions on the TV series. If you have not seen the film please do and let me know your thoughts on a TV series. Like all the films, I had some fan mail on this film talking about the power of the themes and how nice it was to spend time in a world more simple.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND is also making the rounds thanks to all you fans out there. The reviews and word of mouth keeps growing our audience. I’m so excited that this film is making people ponder and discuss the topics. So watch with your family including the furry ones. As with any of the films just google the film in quotes and it will show where you can buy the DVD or watch the film. Again a big salute to all our service men and women who serve.
At this time my thoughts are with all our family and friends and we all look forward to sharing a few in-person laughs. Soccer season is approaching and I’m in hopes that we can still enjoy that. The blossoms are starting to bloom on the newly trimmed apple and mulberry trees. The hops and rhubarb are also starting to get some size and that is fun to watch. I’m going to use this nice day to get some more outdoor tasks completed. I hope you all have a wonderful week and be safe!
I’m sitting here sipping coffee and watching my squirrel buddy Gordy prepping for the high winds we are going to have. The last week was a combination of busy business and family business. I’ve been out of grandparents for a while but have enjoyed the company of my significant other’s grandparents. We lost one – a grandmother who was the center of the family. She had a long 89 years and her service was really nice. The family all came together and now they will have to re-adjust. We all have to keep doing that as we move forward. It once again made me see how special the work we do actually is. And the journey is also just as important as the destination. Let’s look at a few updates from the week.
LOST HEART – This is the film being pulled together to shoot in late April/May time frame. This past week we announced the addition of Mr. David Gries and Dean Teaster playing a major character at two different ages. We welcome them aboard.
We are looking for someone who resembles this picture. It is playing our main character at a younger age. It is a paid role and we’ll accept both union and non-union submissions. So you heard it here first. More casting calls will follow.
This week we’ll be announcing two new actresses joining LOST HEART. Both have worked with CDI on different films. We’ve also began some TOP SECRET model work:) We had one of our producers up North starting some initial talks. I, as the writer started by dialog and script note review with our director Jesse Low.
A learning note on this point – When I work with a director it is line by line, page by page because I want the director to REALLY understand the characters. Once they are fully understood we can change certain locations or interactions but they will respond in character. As a producer you want less page count. As a writer – the colorful descriptions might help cast and crew immerse themselves into the world. It is a balancing act whereas a director can strip it down to bar bones because they have shots and such in mind. But for landing quality talent it helps to paint the world. As I stated last week, I would not sign onto a film without reading the script. Maybe a Star Wars flick would be the first but the project I backed off from was not a Star Wars flick. When it has inexperience involved the need for a GREAT blueprint (script) becomes even more important. Also once I sign off the script to the director the writer goes on vacation. Even when actors ask me questions I try to redirect them to the director. Writers need to let go at a point. Many have issues doing just that and that causes problems on projects. So in development get all that solidified with your director. That is what we’ll continue to do next week. Here is Jesse Low working on WILD FAITH with DP Jesse Aragon.
Let’s MOVE to the WILD FAITH movie. This week was working with the distributor as they prepare for the theatrical release and the DVD/streaming to follow. This coming week we’ll announce and release the new poster art for WILD FAITH. I’ve been holding my breath waiting for the artwork. Once I saw it my first two impressions were – 1) Classically Beautiful 2) Lauren LaStrada is going to LOVE this cover:) There is my tease. Coming (back) to theaters this March! Remastered. Enhanced. Ready to Rock!
The month after on April 19th THE CHRIST SLAYER will roll out into theaters. I’m trying to make sure that Harkins gets it in AZ. That way all our Yuma, AZ family can watch it on the big screen for Easter. For those that want to watch now it can be seen on Amazon Prime, Google Play, Christian Cinema (and the list will keep growing) DVD will release March 4th so add it to your collection. People who have been sending ‘fan mail’ I greatly appreciate it. I love how into the story they are. You can watch these films as a stand alone but they also tell a story as a trilogy. The Devil and Angels story runs through all three. As more people realize the thread between all three films it will become more interesting to read people’s thoughts on the trilogy. I’ve seen the same few type ‘hate’ posts. Usually at Jesus. OK. If you don’t believe in Jesus, just enjoy the story. ROCKY and APOLLO CREED did not exist as real people but they still inspired determination, self-belief and the power of love for generations of viewers. If you live for Jesus, I hope you enjoy the film. It is not a documentary or a bio-pic but a story. The issue I see that stems from pockets of religious denominations is that they fight over details (the devil is in the details) and miss the entire meaning of the story. I read someone lamenting the darkness in Chasing the Star. Um…King Herod’s rule was dark. That is what I liked about The Passion of the Christ. The reality of crucification was played out and it was much darker than the pageants plays of the day. Someone commented negatively on the Magi, obviously not knowing the actual history. That is why that film felt important. Everyone knows the statues out front of the nativity scene but few really knew anything about them. Our take is not 100% as history often exists in fragments. Anyway, I’m very proud of the three films. Those that let themselves enjoy the story will take something away, their path matters not. So watch FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR and follow it up with THE CHRIST SLAYER.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – I’ve been reviewing the first cut and making suggestions. The film is very good. I’m out on a limb playing a wounded Marine. I feel that gravity because I represent the actual wounded. I can say that so many of my peers gave incredible performances. Maybe one of the best from Dean Teaster (played the Preacher in Wild Faith), Anschutz, Abell, Gries, Hagedorn, Most, Nations…I could go on. I think people will be happy with their involvement. I did get emotionally hit at the end of the film so I know it works. But we’re just working the story for pace. A few scenes to cut into later or cut out early. We’ll work toward a lock at month’s end with dialog clean up being the first task up for post audio/music.
Aside from this list of things to do – I’ve been writing out checks to investors and residuals to talent on some of our films. I’ve been prepping to do some VO work on a commercial project. I’ve got a few meetings in the next few weeks to discuss possible collaborations. So, I’m just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Merchandise creation is under discussions. Sponsorship for the new film, the CDI website or even my blog. I’ve been trying to get that coffee sponsor. One big bag of coffee beans a month and I’ll put your company logo on here. And I’ll speak kind words about it weekly:) DING! Magnifico – only my Philippine DN cast/crew friends will understand that.
The hazelnut coffee is flowing and I’m ready to sit down with all of you for a few fine moments. On our way back last night from visiting our furry brown buddy at the MSU Animal Hospital, a LUGNUT baseball game was happening. The downtown was filled with people of all colors and nationalities. I remember noting how proud of the diversity of Lansing, Michigan. We’ve got our issues like everyone else with crime stemming from poverty and bad choices. But those differences are again what makes our lives so interesting. Just like various foods, clothes and customs – all add to the spectrum of our daily lives. From Northwestern Elementary school to Otto Middle to Sexton High to LCC and MSU – diversity. Embrace it.
One of the weekly highlights was the release of the 1st teaser trailer for “The ChristSlayer,” the third film in THE QUEST TRILOGY. Read about it here and included within is the new trailer.
Chasing the Star just played Lanett City Film Festival and I hope the people there enjoyed the showing. We’ve got a few more big screen showings in the works. More on that once we get the deals done. The film releases to DVD on September 5th with Bridgestone Multimedia Group.
PRE-ORDER DVD – https://www.christianbook.com/chasing-the-star/9781945788239/pd/889043
Forty Nights continues to give audiences a look at the first film in the trilogy. I cannot wait until all three of the films can be watched together.
On the development note I have been working on the next three films in THE CONQUEST TRILOGY.
WILD FAITH – Our post Civil War western has lots of themes that I think need to be examined. The film is having VFX work done and music. We’ll likely finish the film at the end of the year and perhaps play for cast and crew before a 2018 theatrical followed by home video. I hope to release a behind the scenes sizzle and a poster soon. Here is the trailer in case you have missed it.
If you’ve an old school fan of CDI you really need to get the book written by David Hayes on CDI’s first film “Knight Chills” which is a cautionary tale on bullying.
Our meetings on M.B.F. are very productive. We have been reviewing actors for certain roles while working other logistics. We’re working to gather our business partners to travel with us on this powerful story that centers on our military vets and shelter dogs. I’ve been enjoying the layers of exploration as I discover the new role to be played. After taking on the roles of Jesus and bearded Mountain Man Ben Lily, this clean-shaven look is taking a moment to get use to.
I’m going to top off the coffee cup and do a few things around here. I did a major mow and trim on the yard which needed it. The garden is kicking out major tomatoes and beans but with Luke sick again the yard animals chewed into my one pumpkin. The HOPS are starting to come on and today I will cut the last of the rhubarb that will become wine with the mulberries. I also have another soccer battle today and we have everything crossed that our furry boy can come home from the hospital. We were on vacation the week before and to not have him home this week has been hard. We want the pack to be whole again.
The climb often feels like walking uphill in sand but keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Welcome everybody to my blog where I can download my journey which is a balance act of life and artistic career. Last week I took a first real vacation in a long time. I travel a lot thanks to my film career but I always have lots of responsibilities. These can range from cast/crew safety to schedules to being prepared with my lines. I was and still am excited to tell you all of my journey to the rugged U.P. of Michigan. Lessons in life can be gathered from the simple things we participate in and try to prepare us for the storms that come and go. We came home from missing our own bed and our loving pack. We lost our eldest dog Joplin several months ago and our baby Luke dealt with a hard year of treatment dealing with an auto-immune issue. His greeting of us was kind but lacked his normal energy. The next morning he was hesitant to eat which is not like him. So we took him in for a check and he again seems to have an issue. What does that mean to me/us? Schedules of meds that must be kept ands kills much social interaction. Watching my strong buddy waste under some strong meds that makes him look like those poor starving dogs on TV. And the cost…I can say that a good portion of my pay on the last few films did not purchase anything materialistic. I’m a simple person for those who really know me and thankfully I require very little. I enjoy the short emails from strangers who say how our stories helped them or made them feel. I enjoy the simple things that grow in our yard from morels to mulberries. But when facing the raging greed and egos of our business I find solace in my animals. So my boy Luke is at MSU Animal Hospital again overnight. We had just gotten home and so he did not want to stay. He is likely getting a blood transfusion or two and if all goes well he’ll be released to start 6 months of treatment. With the irony of it all – my next film we’re working to launch M.B.F. centers on our military vets and dogs. My boy in the hospital was a major inspiration to my writing. I’m motivated now more than ever to launch that film because my humble takings will once again start being directed towards – love.
Shipwreck on Lake Superior
I love to use ship talk when speaking on filmmaking. So many issues can leave a film/ship just as you see it here. SHIPWRECKED. Work very hard with every opportunity to make something worthy. That starts by finishing. That requires good planning and execution. It’s hard work but so deserving.
The Quest Trilogy
I’m so proud of our team(s) for shooting all three of these feature films. “Forty Nights” is selling and I want to really push it again with the September release of “Chasing the Star” part two. Pre-Sale sites are starting to pop up and I’m told retailers are really liking the subject matter. Part three “The Christ Slayer” is in post-production and the plan is to release the PR and 1st teaser on Monday. I sincerely hope you all enjoy it. It is a beautiful wrap up to the trilogy.
The “behind the scenes” sizzle will be releasing soon after our “The Christ Slayer” teaser release next week. I know I’ve been promising a poster and one is coming. I’m excited to get back at my talks on the TV series. The post work continues and we’ll likely have a premiere this year followed by the theatrical play. Music is starting to be composed and that will make this tale even more powerful.
The book based on the film authored by David Hayes is now available. If suspense thrillers and/or role-playing games like ole Dungeons and Dragons is your bag take a read and leave us a review.
A great Christmas gift for that lover of sword and sorcery.
I truly did intend on much more insightful writings about our trip up North. We interacted and fed bears and saw beautiful landscapes surrounding the Great Lakes. A nice bed and breakfast one day and saw an old naked man walking his dog on the beach. Ravens, chipmunks, cranes and more but we failed to see any moose or Bigfoot. I think we’re going to get around and go visit our buddy in the hospital. If you have furry family of your own you know the hold they have over our heart. Send a few good thoughts our way for Mr. Brown – such a good boy and unfortunate that we’re having issues with him again. This ordeal was not the way we wanted to end of little vacation but that is life. LIVE and LOVE because there is no promises of tomorrow.