“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ― Sun Tzu

Posts tagged “VFX

2023! Goals, Gifts and Growth!

Good morning 2023! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and happy to report no hangovers or such this morning. I had a few drinks yesterday afternoon in a meeting with a few of our artists, picking materials up. We toasted the victories and those lost, no longer traveling. The beverage sipped was some of the Frankenberry Wine, made from all the berries on the property. But in the eve it was just ginger ale and a peaceful welcome into 2023. I can recall many days of my youth of celebrating too much and paying for it the next morning/day. I get up early and have my productive routines that I follow. I don’t regret most of those party days but I don’t miss the aftermath.

I carved out a day this past week and did film disbursements to our backers. I’m so thankful for all the supportive people who love the Tribe CDI stories. I had a sit down with one of them this week and really enjoyed all the positive feedback. We also talked about future endeavors, of which we have many. I’ve been working to get organized and prepped for a highly productive new year. Being organized is one of the secrets to success. I’ve got a series of end of year tax prep stuff for the films but I have a great team and this year should be quite smooth.

It was a year of hard fought victories and some sad losses. My furbaby Daphne, my second mother- baby sitter Marie DeFord, my friend/family and building mentor Dan Chapin, all powerful losses. Also a slew of artists passed on, which leaves us artists to pick up the torch. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, was the most complex film we’ve produced to date. Two languages, 1940’s clothes, props and vehicles. Windy, cold days and nights. Extensive VFX and just a few bumps bringing all the elements together on an advanced release schedule. But, we did it. The Algona, Iowa premiere was so full of good energy and the ongoing energy has had the film hold over four times now and expanded into multiple cities with more emailing about booking every week.

We will be having a producers pow wow this week over the ongoing roll out. A special screening in Owosso, MI is in planning. We will be exploring a few choice film festivals and we really want a few German screenings. We have a few VIP’s awaiting to view the film which could really assist the home video release. We’ve had many people talk about merchandise and swag and we will be addressing that and hope to have that available with the home video release later this year. We’ve already received so many nice emails about the emotions stirred by watching this story based on true events. Some reflected the deep pain and hate that some carried from their own war (Vietnam) experiences and that this film gave them a new perspective that allowed them to let go of that hate. That is powerful. A story made them let go of poison and replace it with understanding. We’ve had many of these notes sent to us. The community is alive with history. They are all talking the stories once told and almost forgotten. The museums in town being part of family trips into Algona, to watch the film. We had a beautiful letter from the museum boards about the quality job CDI did. And the interest has brought a new awareness that will help these places not just survive but thrive. I’m beyond proud.

We will have an amazing 2023 journey with this film and I cannot wait for each and every one of you to experience this story.

ON DECK-

Once I get past the state filings, K-1 send outs and any 1099’s for the films- we’ll be forming the new company to produce Harsens Island Revenge. If you liked CDI tackling WW2 and the 1940’s, wait until CDI gets after the roaring 20’s! I plan to get with our director and finish our writer/director draft. We’ll be putting the casting breakdowns together soon and that will be an enjoyable process. We were lucky to do some location scouting and found many great places to use in the telling of our story. Stay tuned to many new updates on this film.

SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – In 2023 we’ll be doing some passive development which might include the building of a few period cabins. This is a spring 2024, Iowa shoot if everything stays in the right direction.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH (Battlefield) – Working title- Following the success of the documentary film FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, directed by Curran Jacobs, edited by Adam Towner, produced by CDI and The Red, White, and Blue Project Inc.. The film will now have the first sequel documentary going into production this Spring/Summer. While the original was a much needed summary timeline of the history of professional grappling, these follow up films will go more in depth with various aspects of the history. It’s very exciting to continue this journey.

Furthermore, CDI is considering the first “in association” in a while, with an exciting supernatural thriller. An animated feature is heating up and more…

I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but I too, feel that rush of the fresh energy. Every year I write out my goals. Personal goals, business goals, home improvement- It is good to get those out in front of you. You won’t always make all your goals but you’ll be surprised at what you did achieve.

I JUST took a pause for my first 2023 eats. Eggs from our girls, 4H bacon and protein waffles with MI made syrup. If I had the right trees I would be boiling sap. Okay. Goals….bacon…back to goals.

A few of my goals as an example-

  1. Design and have new deck built – it is getting close to that point of need vs want
  2. Produce two feature length film endeavors
  3. Act in one outside CDI project- that said, I MUST connect with the material and role
  4. Better plant and garden bed growth and harvest
  5. Looking to increase strength and flexibility training for a good soccer season ahead
  6. Finish two feature scripts
  7. …you get the picture.

Even this blog is very helpful in me deeply thinking through my TO DO’s for the week. Communication continues to be a key to success and I find it can always be improved upon. I see or read about several people being overwhelmed by the waves of life’s hardships. Here is to the hope that 2023 becomes an island to get your footage, regain your balance and readjust your sights. I will keep trying to communicate better to serve as an example of respectful collaboration. Preserving history and stories, lessons to be remembered and to grow from.

Cheers to growth in 2023!

DJ


SURPRISE Early Post- End of Year Wrap Up (Thank you!)

I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee on a VERY snowy Michigan day. Negative degrees outside and blowing winds. But we will most definitely have a white Christmas. When we all left off, I had the premiere of SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, in Iowa. It has performed beyond expectations with several extensions (Algona until the 29th) and expansions into other theaters. (Follow our FB page) I did not attend the Michigan kick off at Celebration Cinema, as I was attending a funeral and memorial up North. My week stayed very busy with trying to deal with family things. Working with our team on prepping materials for the upcoming releases. It looks like we were able to get the film to a downloadable link for theatre owners. I was reporting and prepping for end-of-year check dispersement on the movies, which will happen next week. Lastly, was trying to get the Christmas stuff around. So, this Christmas is a bit chaotic with the death in our family, the blizzard and our film’s window of release.

Once we have this delivery of the film process set up, we’ll turn to looking at film festivals and a German screening. There is even talk of showing at one of the US military bases in Germany. This film will have an exciting journey ahead of it. The film has definitely gotten the positive response from the people I care about most with this story. I had an opportunity to speak with several elderly people and they gave high marks on the re-creation of the time. The regional people were so proud of this story and it is resonating with people everywhere. The film has already generated some heartfelt fan mail that is just humbling to read. That is the power of storytelling. Thousands have seen the film and many have seen it multiple times, taking friends and family. In Michigan, we’ll be looking at doing a special Owosso, MI screening and also a run around Detroit, MI in the new year.

Our battle plan with SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA), will continue through 2023. I’ve been re-reading a supernatural thriller for a possible CDI associated film. Also in 2023, we’ll get the foundation put in on our next CDI feature film, Harsens Island Revenge. We have already started scouting and we’ll be announcing our director early in 2023, as we enter the casting phase. So again, update those reels. I was able to take a few good meetings while attending the SNIA premiere. I’ve finished the first draft on the SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE, and some development actions will be underway in 2023. If all goes as planned we could be rolling cameras in 2024.

REFLECTIONS AND GOALS

Every year, I do deep reflection on the past year. Success, failures, trials and tribulations, all equaling growth. This year has had great harvest being the biggest release year I’ve had since 2005. We saw BESTSELLER, BEST YEARS GONE, SMOKE & MIRRORS, FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA release. Has anyone reading here, seen all five releases?

I set business and personal goals. I set goals on home fixes or improvements. I set goals as an actor, writer and producer. I set goals for/with Collective Development Inc. (www.cdiproductions.com) – new projects. New divisions. New endeavors. New collaborations.

This year saw a few music videos release under CDI’s production. As someone who was there when MTV started, I loved working in that medium.

OFF TO THE RACES from the movie ‘Best Years Gone‘ by Vertical Bridge

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=393380005705951

LOVE these guys. From our state of Michigan! And these gents are also from MI and really, really kick ASS.

REVOLUTION by the band DeepFall

This year full of releases and we did produce and prep several projects. HOT ROD LOVE, the CDI racing comedy set in the 1970’s went back on the shelf this fall. We had some funding. We had some sponsors. We had some participation from track owners. SOME, doesn’t cut it in filmmaking. It is truly one of the funniest ensemble comedy scripts sitting at CDI, with Caddyshack being the tone inspiration. Everything in its own time. I had to finally let go of a look I was developing for my character in that film. I am setting my “acting/producing” sights firmly on 1926 with WW1 veterans going head to head with the Purple Gang mafia.

This past year, I did turn down two different acting roles. I usually do so for one of three reasons. One. Not connecting with the role. Two. Not connecting with the story/script as a whole. Three. I cannot give the project the due attention I put into all my roles. I don’t phone anything in. I take each and every role very serious. That is why once business is out of the way, you get 100% effort, no less. $200 or $200,000 will get you the same performance. With acting performances, audiences got to meet Mark Franklin, Gil Gilles, Mr. Hosworth and Col Lodell. Vastly, different gents. have you met any of them?

The last gent was an honor and a very complex character to play. Let’s talk, Col Lodell. First the name of several characters based on actual camp assigned people, were altered. The events are true cut the characterizations are just that, not meant to be a biopic. That said, the camp commander that I portrayed, took his internal motivation from his faith in ‘The Golden Rule’. To treat others (Captured Germans) as you would want your PW boys treated. The filming was cold and rugged and that plays on everyones face in the film. A grit that cannot be manufactured on a stage or with a LED wall. We’ve been experimenting and will use LED walls in future VFX but there is something about a wild wind in your face, eyes near watering, and experience something closer to what these actual men did. We get to hear CUT and go back home. Every perspective has a story and they all dance closer and closer to a true event that helps to restore a touch of the humanity we all seem to have lost. Unity. Love. Even with a world at war. The fallout. The anguish, shame and soul crushing heartache.

My backstory was after serving in combat in WW1, Lodell, is pulled from academia, back into action as a camp commander. Seeking out Nazi-rot that grows inside the camps threatening lives and a PR nightmare should an escape happen. A majority of the PWs are farmers taken in desperation and forced to fight. Surrender came fast, not willing to fight to the death for Hitler’s war. Real threats. But like a needle in a haystack. The heaviness of supervisions production in many ways mirrored Lodell’s challenges. I channeled much of my real heaviness of responsibly to my performance and it works.

EVERY soldier just like the prisoners of war, missed their own bed, toilet, lazyboy, pet, family. I love a scene in SNIA where Col Lodell is just watching a Christmas scene of Santa and his nurse ‘elves’ giving children presents. He is the man with the most medals and he is as sad and homesick as the lowest prisoner. WAR hurts us all. I think that is why many SPORTS came about so that things could be handled more easily for both parties.

I’m happy that people are enjoying the film. Lodell, had to be the Col Potter of MASH. Leadership on screen or in real life takes many qualities to do it even semi successful. Lodell, has the secret to leadership but you’ll have to watch the film. I got to get more clean cut and play in the world of my dearly departed grandfathers. Burt Swope, in the Navy and Robert Emerson flying cargo in the Pacific, I believe in the Army. Air force was started in 1947. Anyway. This film captures everything that is nostalgic but also makes you feel as if you are living in it. Not some black and white flicker, cold and distant but in living color. If you can see SNIA on the big screen do. Otherwise, after running our theatricals into March or so, we plan to screen in Germany and a few film festivals. It will start DVD and home video around Nov 1st is my best guess. Meeting next year will tell. TRIVIA: On that scene above, my face got so cold I blew a take unable to fully pronounce my words. I asked for a moment, gave the face a rub down and a few good smacks before ACTION nailing it.

I think the performance will open a few new doors. I always tell actors, don’t get frustrated by people because they don’t see what you don’t show them. This is usually followed by, I don’t get a chance. The 14 year old filmmaker in my rolls his eyes. Almost everyones phone is a studio, where you can work a monologue a thousand times. Comedians and magicians work their craft over and over. If you get the slightest bit off when a camera comes close, you need to work on that. That camera should be that old friend, never glanced at- yet always embraced. Being natural leads to comfortable which leads to the environment to make interesting. In 2023, don’t get in your own way with doubts and ‘cannots’ and all that negativity. See dead ends, as paths of the maze mapped and now known. The true path becomes closer.

WRAP UP –

I truly do LOVE winter. I always have. It teaches you a healthy respect for nature. You admire the beauty of pines that thrives under the blankets of snow. Crackling fire, destroys the old leaving nurturing ashes to sprinkle for the spring plantings. Writings and new ideas like to seep into the pondering mind. A season of hardship and helping where you can. When everyone does a little the world is a better place. We here at TribeCDI are resting and rejuvenating with our loved ones. But rest assured the call of the storyteller rides these cold Michigan winds. Tomahawks and Tommy guns. Hot Rods and Painted Horses. I want to thank all our cast, crew, sponsors, supporters, families, friends and FANS. Tom T. Hall use to have a song, I wish I had a million friends – and I’ve complained about Facebook ‘Friends’ vs acquaintances – but with so many of the films being seem by tens of millions and I’ve been blessed to read your notes of encouragement and connection. I do feel like I have millions of friends, because you accepted our stories, our characters, into your homes. You’ve hunted Bigfoot with Niles Cass in Lost Heart. You felt for Paul Landings and his terrible loss in Man’s Best Friend. You’ve laughed with Ben Lily in Wild Faith. You’ve taken comfort during the holidays watching a relatable Jesus, in The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) And I could go on- my point is thank you. Sincerely, from a childhood dreamer who started with my friends and a VHS camcorder, thank you.

Next up New Years Day! So Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

DJ


SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, Updates and More-

Hazelnut coffee cheers. Welcome new readers from Spain, Portugal, Philippines and more. We are into November and we had a run of warm above average days. But now, the cold winds have started to blow. We are due to see snow today so I’ll be getting the wood stove in the fort going. I spent some time chopping some wood this past week getting ready for these cold days ahead. We’re also entering the Christmas season, so I’ve been looking at a few love gifts here and there. Thanksgiving is not far away, but with our family stretched, it can be a task aligning schedules. Also with the Algona, Silent Night in Algona, premiere, lots of time being taken the planning. I want to again say, thank you, to all our veterans. CDI has a good reputation for tackling stories with soldiers at the heart of it. Take a watch on them, and let us know your thoughts.

TOP SEVEN UPDATES:

  1. This week started off with a ZOOM meeting with our partners in Iowa, helping to set up the premiere and theatrical showing in Algona and beyond for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We are working hard on credits but some of those will be spelled wrong if your handwriting is poor. There is no changes once it is all locked up. But between us all, we should get our premiere night list pretty close. If we do miss anyone or you don’t qualify, they will have public showings starting that night Dec 9th at Fridley. I thought we were running two weeks and I also heard someone was told one week. The truth is that as long as a demand is there the supply will keep flowing. So don’t wait, really hit that first week playing at the theatre. I heard companies planning to buy blocks of tickets for employees. We had schools do that for WILD FAITH, taking middle school history classes. That would be a good idea here also. The film is not yet rated but would be PG. 2 hour and 20 min runtime. While not one of these Marvel four hour marathons, it is a full story that moves right along with the pacing. The new trailer was released and my home video meetings for next year went very well. The release plan is to play in several cities on the big screen after Algona, Iowa. If you want it to play in your neck of the woods, contact your theatre and request it. After that we’re working to set up the Michigan and midwest showings that will run into 2023. Discussions for a German showing is also underway. The final run will be the home video build towards Christmas 2023 for DVD and streaming. This week we’ll be watching a mostly complete film with several VFX scenes dropped in. EXCITING!
  2. Harsens Island Revenge, is in pre-production with our first step being the polishing of the script by the writer (me) and the director. Our director has asked to not PR anything yet as he is working to finish up a previous pair of features and we’re trying to stay focused on locking the script. We are 1/4 of the way through and should be close to finishing this week after another fun day of working the script. A few super sleuths have been digging, but we will not do things out of order, so early inquiry’s become just a distraction. Every move, is discussed in our development meetings. Once we have a locked script, and announce our director, many more people will get to see the script. Casting will be over the winter and crew talks will begin first of the year. We will film in Oct/Nov 2023, but this is another period piece that requires much advance planning. Our scouting trip was extremely helpful and this will be another great story featuring a piece of Michigan history.
  3. Speaking on development, I was engaged to research and write another epic historical that takes place in the 1800’s, SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE. At the end of the week, I finished my first draft. I now need to get in there and smooth and expand certain scenes. I plan to have a few meetings at the end of the year on this powerful story again taken from true events.
  4. The previous releases this year BESTSELLER, BEST YEARS GONE, SMOKE & MIRRORS and FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, have been finding their audiences. We have a few more reviews coming on these films. I love all the good folks who have reached out about enjoying the films. If you’ve watched any of them, please go to their IMDB or Amazon pages and leave your thoughts.
  5. I’ve been slowly, pulling elements together for some of the films in the CDI library, being prepped to release back into the marketplace. GHOST TOWN, KNIGHT CHILLS, AN ORDINARY KILLER and FIGURE IN THE FOREST, we’ll see how many we can get out next year. Also, THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ, CDI’s first feature length animated effort, is being rendered to HD for an upcoming release. I would love to do more animated projects and we have several things in development.
  6. We’re prepping to do an end-of-the-year dispersement on the films before I start 2022 business taxes with our team. Associate Producer, John Mashni, who helps oversee this process, also will play a large part in areas of CDI moving forward. One area is soundtracks. I would love to have a few LP’s manufactured and of course streaming. What soundtracks would you want? I’m thinking an LP with the best of The Quest Trilogy. Have you seen the trilogy of biblical adventures? FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER, are all available to watch on various platforms but Encourage TV is free with ads. The 1st film just passed 2 million views on Encourage TV, so thank you!
  7. LOST HEART, also released as BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS, is gaining strength. The film is approaching its first million views on Encourage TV. I think after the holiday season, we’ll exceed that milestone. On a personal level, I will look to cut an actors reel from my ‘Niles Cass’ footage. I loved working with everyone on that film, but especially loved Ponceman, Josh Perry. He is pure magic in the film.

The end of the year will be full as you can see. I sill look forward to some celebratory family time. The next couple years is being planned. Discussions on a few projects to add to the slate are underway. We will only consider funded projects at this time, but the tribe gets it done. If my polish on the scripts goes well, I’ll focus on a few other screenplays I’ve been working in my down time.

Acting has been part of conversations as of late. I had such a busy year, business-wise, I turned down two roles this year. I do enjoy the no stress of going and acting on someone else’s story. I don’t take a role just to take it, it must ring true. I will say the one role I have lined up for 2023, in Harsens Island Revenge is a good role. It is not the starring role but it is solid, a good role for me to play while producing. I’ve thought of looking at representation again, but getting someone up to speed is always a task. We’ll see, things are moving forward and I’m just gonna roll with it.

I guess I’ll wrap it up here. The LIONS play again soon and let’s hope they have a good game. My alumni MSU has been playing better so maybe a bowl game awaits. I’m looking forward to the World Cup starting this month. I’ve been healing up well from my soccer season and soon might start some indoor training. I hope all of you have a great Sunday! I’ll talk at you next week and we’ll share some new updates.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ


An 1800’s Lesson, Film Updates, Development

France, Ireland, India and more- coffee cheers. I will note as much as I LOVE my hazelnut coffee I so enjoyed my daily pot of South Indian Coffee in Otty, India. Also, I thought I had some basic tea skills but in India they take that task very serious. I recall on the set of KARMA, they had a TEA DEPARTMENT. Best coffee and tea service on a film set – hands down.

Speaking of places that still live very rural in places, last night during high winds we lost power. All around our state they had trouble but in Lansing, Michigan- it was in pockets. We could see lights on in other places but our street was dark. Worse was that it was not a total lack of power just a trickle that can cause issue when the power surges back. So all things that use consistent power like the fridge and freezer were pulled. Thankfully, we did not lose any of the frozen food. I might be a bit more motivated to look at generators. In winter you can move food in coolers outside to chill. Heat can be replaced with fire. Last night we had almost every candle in the house lit and it was still light a horror film. We even played the game ‘scrabble’ by candlelight which was a first. It really makes you think how good we have it. I’ve been writing a true event story SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE, from the 1850’s and it gave me even more insight. Insight to the hardships that came with keeping light and heat in the house. I’m 2/3 through the first draft and I will finish the first draft this month. It has been a powerful experience researching and writing into these story. Did I say, I love scriptwriting. This story will be very powerful.

FILM UPDATES

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, has a target date of Nov 14th to start pulling all the elements of the film together. We’re still working the German subtitles, music and final VFX. It will be exciting to see them all come together. The new trailer released and folks are really enjoying the peek. NOTE: The IMDB page is not fully complete. I do the data entry along with my hundreds of other tasks. But you can see many of the great artists behind this project and the two trailer previews.

IMDB Link: (Trailers included)

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13608086/reference/

It is beyond hard work to pull all this together. We’re not perfect, we’re still looking for a few items misplaced post shoot, including a uniform dropped off at Wild Haven and a camp banner. If anyone reading this from our team knows anything please do let me know. Otherwise, we’ll have to spend some time searching about once we arrive for the premiere. Our director/producers team will be represented along with a few of the cast and crew making the journey in December. Many from Michigan will wait until we do a premiere here after Algona.

THE QUEST TRILOGY – Welcome to the holidays! We just announced last week how WILD FAITH, surpassed six million views on our distributors ENCOURAGE TV. We’re proud to say the first film in the trilogy just passed 2 million views on ENCOURAGE TV, so we thank you. We hope that you take the time to continue a growing tradition and watch or rewatch the trilogy with your family.

With Veterans Day approaching, we’re putting some promotion together. Several #TribeCDI films have our fine military at the heart of the story.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, MANS BEST FRIEND, WILD FAITH as well as WICKED SPRING, recently released on HD streaming at Encourage TV. AN ORDINARY KILLER, like Wicked Spring needs to be re-conformed and also put to HD for a 2023 release. This process is much needed to allow films to stay out there in the marketplace. Take a watch on these films when time allows. Technology moves on-

This process on prepping for re-release is time consuming and difficult when you have some many present properties to deal with. But you just keep chipping away and get the work done. I’ve been chipping away, getting GHOST TOWN, ready for a new release.

HOUSE KEEPING

We’re also trying to organize all the past masters. Again technology moves on and you can easily fall behind. This new gathering of easy access masters will allow new trailers and promos to be cut. I’ll be prepping for an end of year dispersement on films and getting ready for end-of-year taxes. We have some new promo for CDI also underway. We’ll also be updating the CDI website http://www.cdiproductions.com

DEVELOPMENT

I’m looking forward to doing a script meeting this week to comb through and make some final corrections and adjustments. Once this is complete, we will more into more active casting. We will also start sitting down with proposed keys in the first of the new year. I’m excited to start more pre-production work in the coming year. We’ll have a new PR release coming soon on this project.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH brand might have a new documentary coming together for 2023. We’ve also got several spin off ideas beyond the new documentary. I hope to have a sit down this week over some of that. DVD’s are now available and so coaches get your copy. The response to the doc was awesome but not unexpected. It was missing – history, the ties that bind. And it was presented in a very moving and entertaining way. I had several people tell me that teared up and/or cries while watching. Why? Watch and you will see. Passion. Everyone speaking on the doc offers passion and knowledge. This rises above the differences and relishes in the uniting love of Catch or history, as it is. I’m proud of it. Proud of our small team. Proud of the sponsors who stepped up and made it happen.

WRAP UP – I did bottle up the Frankenberry R and Frankenberry B for raspberry or blueberry wine, used in the final conditioning in the bottles. The harvest has been good to many this year and our chickens are keeping pace with eggs even with diminished daylight. I’m going to go gather up a few branches, right the windmill which blew over, and clean up the yard. I’m looking forward to seeing some family and friends later. I’ll get the wood stove roaring. I might chop some more wood. Everything, even writing here with you, helps me to summarize and visualize what I have to do this forthcoming week. I’ll be curious to see how AFM treated a few of our properties. We will have more massive strides in our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, post work. Developmental script work! It is a time of celebration and hard work. This week illustrated that when busy and challenged, the present is the best focus of your energy. Past and Future have their time in reflection but can slow down ‘in the moment’ reaction time. Often resulting in a missed opportunity.

My last note- this is from DJ the actor. He has been at rest while DJ the businessman, producer and writer, drive the ship. I, like many of my ‘acting inflicted’ friends have that call to- ‘become’ and embody a character, weaving a lesson and story from the performance. I do miss this on camera sharing, but I can say that the energy continues to manifest, filmed or not. I’ve been back and forth over a proposed talk show, BY THE FIRE. IF, and that is a big IF because I like to keep my private aspects and not have them add nor take away from characters. But, I was inspired by podcasts? like Mike Tyson Hotboxing. Between Two Ferns, is pretty damn funny too. But good conversations. At the fort, many great talks happen, but that is sacred space, freedom, creative ideas. I would never put that under a microscope. Technology can be friend or foe. It is while they have artists retreats because people get away from nature. Connecting. I’ve helped many break an addiction of sorts with technology. You do not obey the phone the phone obeys you. It is a tool. Gather what you need to do and do it in a condensed time. After that put it down. Disconnect. It is powerful and freeing and it has helped many to be more productive and interactive people. That effects all your relationships business and personal. We will see, said the wise man. I’m going to check out of this technology. Refill the hazelnut coffee and go outside. Have a great day and week ahead.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ


NEW ‘Silent Night in Algona,’ trailer, ‘For the Love of Catch’ DVD and more…

Good morning. I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and enjoying the last few days of October, one of my favorite months. I’m a bit slow getting going as I stayed up a bit later last night watching my alumni school MSU play U of M. Not there year, but it started pretty exciting. Cleaning. Organizing, Winterizing. The leaves are almost all done and I’ve been staying on top of those. I’m still cutting wood in prep for the winter ahead. I actually finally bottled my Frankenwine, finishing with either a raspberry or blueberry in the bottom. I like using a berry of fruit versus just adding a sweetener. The Frankenwine was made with raspberry, black raspberry, mulberry and a touch of hops. I tried it and while it’s strong, it is very drinkable.

I had to get some antifreeze and a new battery for the “Black Mamba,” my ride. I can saw that I’ve never really been a car guy. I like cool designs and such but really I just need reliable A to B transportation. My old Saturn Due is customized to my liking and has very low miles but now it’s ready for winter. Some folks are really into their cars. I could just not imagine driving some of these house on wheels, cars. I’m also going to wait a good decade before considering an electric car. I have friends that work in fire safety and new guidebooks are being done to deal with auto crashes containing lithium batteries. So I think I’ll just wait a few before going in that direction.

Let’s get to some film updates.

(Above – DJ, Tony, Dennis, Carl at a post session for ‘Silent Night in Algona’ )

  1. Our recent release FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH will release on DVD, November 1st. many are enjoying this film streaming but soon it can become part of your library. Order here-https://www.amazon.com/Love-Catch-DVD-Curran-Jacobs/dp/B0BH96VCDX/ref=sr_1_1?crid=31IFQIHVO2APF&keywords=for+the+love+of+catch+dvd&qid=1667135347&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIwLjAwIiwicXNhIjoiMC4wMCIsInFzcCI6IjAuMDAifQ%3D%3D&s=movies-tv&sprefix=%2Cmovies-tv%2C138&sr=1-1
  2. Conversations have happened about another doc in the For The Love Of Catch series. We’ll be looking at gathering the needed resources this winter for Spring 2023 shooting. A promotion event was also discussed but more on that later.
  3. November 1st also begins the holiday window which is perfect for watching THE QUEST TRILOGY. Three films, Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer. We’ll start promoting them and one of them has hit a new benchmark at Encourage TV. (Passing TWO MILLION VIEWS) Again, that is only one platform. When you add up all the platforms, DVD’s and broadcast we’re at tens of millions. We thank you all and hope your family will watch these classics together.
  4. We’ll have some big announcements coming concerning, Harsens Island Revenge. Some establishing shots will be filmed on the island and maybe a scene or two but having to rely on a ferry for schedules and/or getting last minute needed supplies, isn’t good for production. Right now, we have a town that we’re seriously looking at to double for parts of our island. Having interiors that haven’t changed too much from 1926 is also key. I’m about to start next week on my final script polish with our soon-to-be announced director. Once it is locked, my hands are off as a writer. We’re looking at a few key roles in the script now but will be opening up to looking at reels and doing reads this winter. We will be shooting in Oct/Nov 2023 and we’re all very excited about this roaring 1920’s story.
  5. Staying with writing, I am over half way through on my first draft of SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE. This will be the follow up project to film in Iowa. We don’t have any dates set as of right now just getting a powerful script is the goal.
  6. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, is the front and center. The music and sound design is getting closer to done. Our composer Dennis Therrian, is scoring a beautiful soundtrack. Color correction is about done and the VFX are being finalized. Our editor/VFX supervisor will be coming in to help marry everything together mid November. I see some grilling in our fall future out at the ole Pine Studio.
  7. Additionally, a new two and half minute SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA theatrical trailer is almost done. We had some major director/producer meetings this week over adjusting a few shots in the trailer. We’re all so close to it all but I sincerely think folks will love it. It will be shown at AFM market to a few networks and foreign territories. Home video will be on the lead up to the holidays next year in 2023.
  8. But starting in December many will be able to see SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, in theaters. We’re working with the town of Algona in setting up a premiere showing and afterglow on December 9th. Following our premiere, public showings will start at the Fridley Theaters, starting with Algona. The plan is to start with 2 weeks of showing and some companies are planning to buy blocks of tickets for their employees to go watch together. That’s a great idea. I know other theatre chains in the Iowa, Michigan and the midwest are being talked to. I’m just so happy with the final product. It is a beautiful story of unity, healing and hope that many people could use about now. Soon, my friends. Please do feel free to call Fridley theaters and encourage them to get movie times for the public shows listed.
  9. This week, I have to send out one of the Knight Chills masters to see if we can get a better initial transfer. This is for the special Blu-Ray being put together for 2023.
  10. Ghost Town, is also getting the digital enhancement treatment and a new 2023 release trailer is being cut. I’m excited to revisit that film with it being digitally enhanced. The Smoky Mountain western will ride again!

I might be missing an update or two but there is a good ten point snap shot of our most current updates. To all the ghosts and goblins, be safe tomorrow night while collecting candy. I remember those days fondly. In elementary school, we had parades and classroom parties. I feel bad that the children don’t get to do that anymore. The world has its challenges and I try to help doing what I do best, tell stories. Thank you again to everyone that has reached out. I love hearing about your favorite films, moments and such. Keep watching and we’ll keep creating.

Happy Sunday!

DJ


TEN Updates – Silent Night in Algona (trailer), Development Updates, Tips, Advance Notices-

Sipping the hazelnut coffee on this fine October morning. We have had a last spurt of warm and midweek it is suppose to go chilly again. Yesterday, I got my final mow on the yard. We harvested the last of the plants including a few more decorative gourds. I’ve been cutting and splitting wood for the winter ahead. Yesterday afternoon we got to have a nice outside fall gathering with my brother and his family. Pumpkin carving, apple crisp, cider and soccer plus add in a bit of leaf fun. I love this season!

Our development of the film projects continues on. Let’s look at a few of the updates from last week.

  1. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is a wonderful feature length doc that fills in the missing history of this grappling art. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. It was presented by the leading authorities in such an entertaining way. The DVD is open to pre-order now for a Nov 1st release and/or you can rent/buy it now. https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/amzn1.dv.gti.3bc38d35-d79e-49e9-82a6-e87ff63b4040?autoplay=0&ref_=atv_cf_strg_wb
  2. BEST YEARS GONE is another release from this year. An award winning dramedy that will make you laugh, cry and ponder. You can buy/rent from here – https://www.amazon.com/Best-Years-Gone-Lana-Wood/dp/B09R4KDXGJ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2JUJIK4KVPU9K&keywords=best+years+gone&qid=1666530725&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIxLjIzIiwicXNhIjoiMC45OSIsInFzcCI6IjEuMjUifQ%3D%3D&s=instant-video&sprefix=best+years+gone%2Cinstant-video%2C118&sr=1-1 – And…if you want to read an in-depth review, you can do so here – https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fronnielee.rocks%2Fbest-years-gone-movie-review-by-ronnie-lee%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR1AL4lf8DCIxzPwRgU-0p4je7kNIFHj1KfKNw0avyDR25NjxRbbRkvawvM&h=AT0-ucPZlOsNalVICvt7_1cyBe5Gh38thIaNrYSscZu5PfJ70KPxjGT2vokU2piIUPgdERcaa3G2t1PFyH1CpyLmJpbn6c-l00Dv0qMxMNVs3vxrnDIUbiH4CmtNVUP-wVieTKcYrnFuQcaf1SQufAg&tn=H-R&c[0]=AT3LjCNz1EGR425orlMSHaN9h6RT070C39M9yk8LNKiwmb8xkHJ-aw1wuBh55Vu6UebSWPuIOzGWKGvAs1kKXmjL3gsizF9MOoNfAChhLVI9r8o5LkYvVlMzXhTf-aEQ_wsBEqsiKqbs1ySEMZXHpocAEHuNgyPWmrpbF0Xlme0Q-rNUmz6gfir3gikxLQqgJW3Llr1VjV90qkC9YRZs6moJ – We look forward to your reviews too!
  3. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – This is the last project for us to finish and release this year. We’ve sent an email to our cast and crew asking any of the team planning to attend the Dec 9th Fridley Theatre premiere in Algona, Iowa to RSVP by Nov 1st. We’ve got a list going and every ticket will be gone. Once we get RSVP’s on cast and crew we will start looking at extras. For those not part of the Iowa premiere – it will play to the public that night and for two plus weeks pending demand. We will also be setting up a Michigan premiere in the hometown of our director Anthony Hornus. This will be at the NCG theatre in Owosso. We might play the week after the Iowa or jump to after Christmas if we get too close. I know Celebration Cinema will be bringing it to Lansing and Grand Rapids. We will be looking to play the Detroit area and would love to have a Hollywood run. The film is looking and sounding amazing thanks to the hard work of Dennis Therrian. The VFX and color grading is getting close to done. Mid November we’ll be pulling all the elements together into a final film. Some exciting news, I saw the rough cut of the new trailer on Friday. I am so proud of all are artists and cannot wait for people to see.
  4. HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE – I’m so very excited that the #TribeCDI will be moving from one epic period piece to another. We have been preparing documents to assist in bringing onboard our product partners and sponsors. Our scouting trip was very successful last week. While a few days may be shot on the actual island we need interiors and such that we can control. We also need to not be dependent on a ferry or the few stores on a small island. So movie magic will be happening but it will all be shot in Michigan. We had some great meetings this last week and we’ll be making some exciting announcements soon. One of those exciting announcements just might be our director. I will be starting the writer/director script polish this week. Once I sign off it is up to the director and talent. We will be shooting in October of 2023! We are already hard at work.
  5. SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE is in script development. I am happy to say that I’m about 1/3 of the way through the first draft. There is a lot of research with this project and that is something I’ve immensely enjoyed. It has been an intense journey and the drama of it all is brutal and enlightening. I’ve had several times that after writing for a few hours I had to go work my hands in the dirt for a while. I will have my first draft by Jan 1st and from there we will start to look at production development.
  6. WILD FAITH just passed the 6 million mark on Encourage TV. This will can be found on countless platforms to enjoy. We have many fall themed films from SMOKE & MIRRORS, BESTSELLER, LOST HEART, BEST YEARS GONE and MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND. Enjoy them all with your family! Thank you for all the fan mail about these titles! Amazon Prime has most all of them.
  7. I had a great call out of the blue about another film project. This call took me back almost to the very beginning. A project that was in development many moons ago has interest and a proposed budget. This film is in the horror-genre with a large dose of mystery/investigation at the heart. Discussions were on how things have changed in the 25-30 years production-wise. I gave my interest in moving these talks forward. It takes time to develop things so the earlier you can start the better. More on this project if it becomes active. By active, I mean funded:)
  8. That is not the only project that was discussed in development this week. Following the release of FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, our team is discussing both another doc feature and a feature film. In the wake of projects I always get a rush of pitches on scripts and projects. I tell my tribal folks to be ready for this rush. It can be a time killer 95% of the time. People are wanting badly in this industry and it can be truly maddening. Every outsider is a variable that can rock the boat. It is why we are so careful with how we build our projects and with whom. Life is too short to be wasting time. If you have a funded project we might look at it but we are at no lack of stories, scripts or endeavors. I can say with confidence that we’ll be doing more docs in the FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH series. Thank you to everyone who has supported the first one. It is really powerful and informative and I’m proud of it. Take a watch!
  9. This week I’m going to be sending KNIGHT CHILLS materials off to the Blu-Ray folks and check on the up-rez and progress on the new Ghost Town trailer. Both should be available next year as HD and streaming. After those get underway we will be working on FIGURE IN THE FOREST and AN ORDINARY KILLER. Classics:)
  10. PONDERING/TIPS/OPINION – This week was interesting due to various conversations. As we start the process of looking towards future projects, sometimes as far ahead as two or three projects, we examine ENERGY. Positive energy manifests in how people are in their day-to-day. There are people who are just always a joy to be around. They make a journey enjoyable. They are CAN DO people not CANNOT do people. They look at the glass half FULL versus half EMPTY. They work hard and EARN the opportunities, by giving their BEST EFFORT. I laugh to myself when I hear some people think they’ve paid enough dues and they are deserving of….it would be like a martial artist telling the sensei when they feel ready to test for a belt. These positive people don’t seek short cuts or to get ahead by stepping on others. That is a VERY common thing is the outside world for sure. While common there, it doesn’t thrive here at CDI. Some people are just not cut out for long form media like movies. They do better with smaller, simple short format endeavors. Or they cannot positively interact with people for that many weeks. I heard someone else make a statement that they will deal with whatever for the sake of using some artists, even if they are negative and a pain. They can have them! I will take a positive, good person with talent and develop that versus drag some negative person along. It is about the journey and not just the art. Ideally you want both but the journey will be long remembered. So work with good people you like. Develop the people who respect and have gratitude for the opportunity. We have big things ahead and so we want to develop our team even stronger. Lots of things happening behind the scenes. Just be that person that producers want to have on board.

I want thank everyone again for stopping by. Subscribe here and perhaps our website http://www.cdiproductions.com and our CDI Youtube channel. I love that you all come from various places around the globe. I’m going to finish up here and do a few more things around the yard and get ready for a busy week ahead. I hope you take all these updates as an inspiration of what a group of artists can achieve when they work together in a positive manner. Have a great week and be good to one another!

Coffee Cheers!

DJ


SNEAK PEEK B4 PR RELEASE- Official Pre-Production, Updates (Silent Night in Algona) and more…

Spain, Ireland, Iraq are where some of our readers hail from. Hazelnut coffee cheers from chilly Michigan. Fall is in full effect and I’ve been working to get the property ready for winter. I’ve been using the wood stove for meetings already so chopping and cutting wood has been a priority. I’ve been trimming the mulberry trees which grew out of control. Last night I used the smoker and cooked venison steak and acorn squash. The steaks were awesome and there is much left over which will be used for steak and eggs and/or venison steak chili. The egg production has slowed but not stopped as the weather has gotten colder. I had the pleasure of watching my niece and nephew play another soccer match together. They are getting the basics of the game down and it is fun to watch them. I will likely do one final mow of the yard once the leaves all fall. They are still hanging on and many changing into beautiful colors. I truly do love this time of year. My alumni MSU is having a hard go of it this year in football. Let’s see how the Detroit Lions do this week. Okay, onto some film updates.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – We had a most excellent premiere showing in the NCG theatre in Owosso, MI. After was a great fall afterglow at Romas. Excellent pizza and hard cider were on deck. Some pictures were taken and everyone really seems to have loved the film. It played awesome on the big screen. 10/4/22 is the date when home video could start releasing. The DVD pre-sale site for 11/1/22 is up on Amazon but we are waiting for the streaming rent/buy link to go live. Several DVD pre-sale sites are popping up at many other record/DVD shops, just search “For the Love of Catch” and “DVD” and BAM! If you had a chance to watch the film at the premiere feel free to post a review on the http://www.imdb.com (For the Love of Catch). Hoopla which is the national library system for streaming films is carrying the documentary. We have been waiting, not-so-patiently for the Amazon release.

Another great update is that we met the other day about what will be next for the FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, and I think we have a great idea for the next documentary film. I’ll be gathering a few choice sponsors over the winter and we’ll plan to shoot in the Spring. Who knows, documentary might not be the only thing we are planning. Stay tune and definitely check out the film when time allows. You will not be disappointed. Educational and entertaining to be sure.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – One more film to release this year. Our WW2 Christmas film is now in music and sound design. The color grading is complete and the VFX are still be worked on. We’ll see a hint of that VFX work in the new theatrical trailer, being edited. We’ve been working on setting up the premiere in Algona, Iowa, the 2nd weekend in December. We plan to have a special premiere screening in Owosso, MI again at the NCG Owosso. Likely another afterglow although not on a patio, a tad cold by that time. The Iowa showing will have the theatrical run starting there immediately after the premiere. We plan to meet and greet folks at the VFW and share in their excitement.

I plan to start looking at a few event showings for the film. A few select festivals, but some might not like that we’ve played, or we are playing in theaters. I really want to see it play in Germany. We’ve been having the German dialog translated for the subtitles. I got some of the best news possible by the older German folks helping with this task. The thing is that for many Germans, that time period is not something they enjoy watching. Over and over they’ve been painted as all being Nazi’s which is not true. This film doesn’t sugarcoat anything but it also gives a fresh and new perspective. But the film brought tears to our translator and that speaks volumes about the story we have.

We’ve been in the studio enjoying the new sound design and music which just takes everything to another level. It is truly amazing that we took history and we truly bring it to life. In mid November our editor/VFX supervisor will be coming into Michigan to work with our team in assembling the final film. We will book into as many film theaters that will have us and once we ride that into 2023, as we said prior, we’ve play a few festivals. After that, it’s the big run up to the home video 2023 release. A truly powerful film that will likely become a classic.

WILD FAITH – Speaking of classics in the making. We’ll be announcing a new benchmark with our family classic Wild Faith. In 2020 we tried to work with the distributor to add up/estimate the number of views (minus broadcast TV which is in full swing). They estimated 20 million views, with the distributors Encourage TV having about 4 million views itself. Well that number now is 6 million views! So just that one platform has been getting about 1 million views a year. If all these platforms increased we could be looking at 40 million plus. We will continue to try and put the pieces in play for the WILD FAITH: Hastings TV series, but we’ve got several projects lining up in front of us.

THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) – Speaking of classics in the making. Starting Nov 1st we’ll be pushing this amazing series of films. The three films have been growing year by year increasing their audience. They are not preachy and just try to give a unique perspective to events often described in a few short sentences. They are inspirational and uplifting and provoke us to deep thought and contemplation. For many the watching of the three films has become a tradition. Make it one of yours.

This is also down syndrome month and I’m so proud of my brother from another mother Josh Perry. You can see him in THE CHRIST SLAYER where he is absolutely a gem. And as if he couldn’t get any better, BAM! LOST HEART also known as BIGFOOT, UFOS AND JESUS really showcases the comedic talents of Josh Perry. If you have a child with Down syndrome I would advise watching these films. I’ve seen the look in the eyes of a young child with DS admiring Josh and his work. You can see the mental limitations melt away and that is a beautiful thing.

Thank you to the fans of MBF: Man’s Best Friend who have made their love of this film known. To answer a common question I get- Will there be a sequel to MBF? First, I’ll say with how we left Paul, he’s just doing his time and it is not on the books. I’ve only played one character twice and that was JESUS in Forty Nights and The Christ Slayer. But, I will say that a rough treatment for a sequel does exist. Currently, I have my hands full with writing endeavors and CDI is about to officially announce the pre-production of our next feature film.

Here is the advance promo teaser for CDI’s next feature film. Adapted by your’s truly from another truly special book by Karl Manke. We will be releasing this pic and PR about the new project. Our team is location scouting this next coming weekend. I just might have some great pics to share next Sunday. I won’t write too much here and just leave it as a tease since we have PR releasing this week.

SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – This is the powerful story I’ve been researching and putting into script form. I’m well into the first act of this story and I’m very happy with how it’s flowing. A few scenes so powerful, I had to walk away for a bit after writing it. I’ll be looking to have a teaser poster created for this project so I have a battle flag of sorts. It is just such an honor to be able to save this event in history and ultimately bring it back to life on the screen. I’ll be done with a first draft in a few weeks. I’m just really enjoying the journey.

WRAP UP – I hope you all continue to enjoy the fall season. We’ve had several folks respond to the CDI treat, not a trick- of the full short SMOKE & MIRRORS, being gifted to all of you. Take a watch and let us know your thoughts. It will be a great feature film in the future.

I’m going to go do a few things around the yard. We are planning to attend a flea market. Watch the Lions battle. Maybe some more writing on Spirit Lake Massacre and a locations list for Harsens Island Revenge. It’s the full moon so watch out:) I’ll chat with you all next week. Until, be good to one another.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ


Hear Ye! Michigan Renaissance Adventure and Movie TOP TEN Updates!

Happy Labor Day! So for those that did not get my message Saturday night, I went out of town Sunday to the Michigan Renaissance Festival with family. I had said that I would blog today so I can reflect on the festival. IF you ever go to one you should get their early as you can. By early afternoon every vendor has lines and the town looks like zombie attack in ye ole’ village.

Some things have changed over the years like the DED BOB show no longer running due to the passing of the performer. But many things have stayed the same. I started my morning with my first ever ‘scotch egg’ which is a hardboiled egg wrapped in sausage. A cider slushy while walking about looking at all the people and art. It is so cool because so many people are engaging their imaginations. It reminds me of Halloween in that way.

I thought for a moment of doing some dressing up for ‘Viking weekend’ but instead went for comfort. I have lots of rugged boots but ye old Sketchers won the footwear contest. We watched a tightrope walker and a joust which was fun. The niece and nephew had never been and they enjoyed themselves. A few rides and activities added to their fun. Soon as we all became hungry for lunch, the lines became longer than Odin’s beard, so we opted to leave and go to Ye Ole Buffalo Wild Wings.

Last week was a busy and exciting week in the world of movies. Let’s do a TOP TEN for the week and see where that takes us.

  1. Horror Film Lovers blog FIRST TIME WATCH FRIDAYS did us the joy of reviewing BESTSELLER, watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTnYvuI3gjI
  2. BESTSELLER has also started arriving at TUBI and other AD based video of demand – https://tubitv.com/movies/685420/bestseller
  3. Joining on TUBI is our recent release of BEST YEARS GONEhttps://tubitv.com/movies/685418/best-years-gone?start=true
  4. You can read the PR about the above releases at https://www.prlog.org/12931464-best-years-gone-races-to-tubi-as-bestseller-stalks-right-behind.html
  5. This week we approved the billing block and art on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH feature-length doc coming from Deskpop Entertainment. We’ll be releasing the artwork this week and we hope to officially announce a premiere date this week. We are waiting on an answer from the NCG in Owosso, MI. Once we get that approval we’ll do an overall PR release and start an event page. It will be available on streaming on Oct 4th and DVD 11/1/22.
  6. We have been prepping elements for GHOST TOWN to get a new push to the marketplace next year. New pictures are being enhanced as is the movie file. A new trailer will be coming along with updated artwork. The film will go out with a new deal underway with Desktop Entertainment.
  7. BMG Global is going to be launching FAST or Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV whereas watchers can watch films playing in rotation. Forty Nights, Lost Heart and Wild Faith have been chosen for their first line up of films. More as we get updates on this program.
  8. Shane Hagedorn has started lining up SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA theatrical to run after our Iowa premiere. We’ll also be doing a Michigan premiere and the films will play several theaters. How many exactly is yet to be seen.
  9. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is progressing down the post production line. We’re suppose to see the color corrected version of the film any day now. VFX continues and we’re also putting a new theatrical trailer together that will show at AFM. The German translation is also being worked upon and if all these things come together we’ll soon have a finished film.
  10. I’ve been researching my next script writing endeavor even while waiting on final paperwork. I’m anxious to do some PR on this exciting project once the ink is dry. But I will give way this one little hint- it takes place in the 1800’s a favorite time period of mine.

I think we’ll do some grilling and chilling today. I want to make time to watch the new ELVIS movie. Also the new RINGS OF POWER Tv series pilot is on my list. This week I’ve got an online interview set up on Thursday and I’ll promote that in a day or so. I’ll be talking all the new film releases and anything that comes up. I’ve almost harvested all the hops. I have some end of season tree trimming that needs to happen. Also the yard is about ready for a mow with all the rain. I’m excited for football season to continue. MSU won their first game and they look like they’ll have a good year. I’m going to go refill the ye ole coffee cup and get on with my day. Until next Sunday, be good to one another.

DJ


HELLO CLEVELAND! Updates From Indie-Gathering and More…

I’m back in my comfy chair sipping on some hazelnut coffee having just returned from a dentist cleaning. I’m writing on this fine Michigan Monday after returning late last night from Cleveland, Ohio. Some of our BEST YEARS GONE team traveled for the 27th Indie Gathering International Film Festival. It was nice to be around storytellers and talk our craft. It was extra special because we were joined by Detroit filmmaker Harley Wallen representing ASH & BONE, a cool horror film that is a true tip of the hat to some classics. I have to say that actress Erika Hoveland gave a funny, disturbing performance in ASH & BONE and does an incredible job in BEST YEARS GONES, as Sylvia. It was cool to have Michigan filmmaking represented and Erika co-starred in both films. Shane Hagedorn, directed and co-starred in BEST YEARS GONE and also had a supporting role in ASH & BONE. Amazing to watch these films almost back-to-back and to see the range of Erika and Shane’s performances. I only appeared in BEST YEARS GONE but I’m humbled to say I received the festivals ‘Best Actor‘ award, for my Gil Gilles performance. Gil, Gil, Gil…he is truly a character and if you have not seen either of these films you can watch BEST YEARS GONE now on Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google and more. ASH & BONE releases in October. Congrats to Harley and his team. Congrats to all the folks at the Indie Gathering. We had some great Mexican eating also. Thank you Melissa Anschutz and Deskpop Entertainment.

Soon I will unpack and likely take a nap. The above film event in Cleveland kept me up past my bedtime. I’ve got a good sleep pattern down and closing down a bar mixer was already over my sleepy time but we had to pass on the 2am to dawn tailgate with grilling and games. If I was 24 I would have been there but…and I’m still tired. We talk about that often. Sleep. Many like to impress folks with how much midnight oil they burn. How hard their grinding. But I can say, that experience and life has shown me that good rest results in better quality use of time. You can say, I worked eight hours straight but how productive were you. Some can do the same work in three focused hours with good rest behind them. Even those meditations, sleep shut down for even 15-30 min can reboot you. Sometimes when flustered people will say, I don’t have the time to take a rest. What results is often mistake-ridden, half-ass work versus taking a few moments and getting better results.

I’ll get my rest on soon enough but I wanted to get some updates out to all of you. BEST YEARS GONE, might have 1-2 more special events planned but it’s now spreading out to different areas of the world on home video.

OTHER UPDATES:

  1. Going to PR the release dates and info on the premiere for FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, once locked in.
  2. VFX, Color Correction, Music and Sound Design on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is in full swing. Interested theatre chains are starting to give their interest. We have to lock down details on the Algona premiere this month. A new theatrical trailer will also be coming in advance of the premiere.
  3. HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE development work will continue in full. We’ll be looking to lock our dates for next year. Some scouting will happen this year also – so exciting to be able to tell this story. This is another epic period action/drama and it will be one fun ride.
  4. I am debating a few moves on SMOKE & MIRRORS, our short concept film. We might just post it for everyone to watch. It’s a really cool, stylized piece and I think folks will really enjoy it. We will get around to this feature script in the near future.
  5. BESTSELLER, the thriller from the mind of Chris Knight is playing to home video audiences. We have a few reviews and interviews coming up. This film really keeps you on the edge of your seat once things start rolling. If you enjoy these kind of spin-chill films, take a watch.

I’m not going to carry on and on today as I need to unpack and catch up on a few things, rest being one of them. I’m glad that I’m making the effort to slow down and enjoy some of the wins. God knows we’ve had our losses. But I’m really starting to realize that these things happen in their own time. I’m trying to be better at being happy for the personal wins. I’ve found in the past that personal recognition often came with resentment and some form of negativity from others. I found it interesting that after winning that ‘Best Actor’ award which was a nice metal medallion on some olympic-like neck strap. Without thinking about it, I just slipped it into a pocket and carried on. I did not wear it around. It wasn’t a decision with myself – should I wear it? Yes? No? I never thought that. I believe I was thinking about the second half of my burrito that the lunch waiter accidentally threw away instead of wrapping up. My acting might be good but my hand communicating isn’t. “Wrap it up in foil please,” came out as “toss it out” please. Okay, I’ve wandered. My point is, that if my getting recognized gets more eyes to watch our collective art or help projects get made, I’m happy. Does my ‘self’ need the personal recognition? It doesn’t appear that way but maybe deep down, I’m sure it does. The writer in me is really proud of all these stories. I’ve had a few nominations on my writing and I do recall that feeling good. Honestly, I did not expect to win. I mean, come on, it’s Gil Gilles. BUT, folks do seem to like ole, Gil. So from Gil and I, I want to give one more whole-hearted thank you. I’m going to go unpack and try to get my flow back in order. I’ll be back with you all on Sunday, our normal day. Until- Coffee Cheers!

DJ


Home Video Release Dates, Festival Premieres and More…

Hello my friends. I’m writing a bulk of this the night prior due to an out of town family breakfast. The picture up top is from SMOKE & MIRRORS. It is a fun steampunk, Houdini-inspired short film taken from a feature script. It reunited director Nathaniel Nose and Director of Photography Jesse Aragon from ‘The Christ Slayer, ‘ shot in Yuma, AZ. This upcoming weekend Sat 30th, it will play as part of a block of shorts (Will start 5pm or shortly after) at the MotorCity Nightmares convention in Novi. It is a cool film and gives a wonderful preview of what the feature film will be like.

SPEEDING into lap 3 (week 3) and BEST YEARS GONE seems to be picking up speed. Today was yet another great character interview featuring the one and only Melissa Anschutz. She is talking ‘Mandy,’ and her experience in filming. If you liked her sass in “Lost Heart” you will definitely enjoy Mandy’s um… toughness.

Join us on Facebook and watch all the interviews – here’s Melissa

https://www.facebook.com/Bestyearsgonemovie/videos/3373143639674946

Alright – more updates…it has been a busy week.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – we are still hoping for the Toronto Film Festival premiere. But while we wait I can tell you that a hometown showing in Owosso, MI is in discussion after the Toronto dates. But for those who won’t be able to attend our handful of event showings we have good news. Deskpop Entertainment has confirmed that the Transactional VOD (buy/rent digital) date is Oct 4th, 2022 on Amazon Prime and many major platforms that we’ll announce in the coming weeks. Ad-based VOD starts Jan, 02, 2023 which is like Tubi and other watch free with ads. I need to circle back about DVD’s and see what the plan is there. But, very soon the world will see an entertaining and highly informative documentary featuring true pioneers, diverse, but united in their love of the art of PUT UP or SHUT up. The fragmented history of grappling is pieced back together and will be used to preserve the tradition and history for generations to come. I am very proud of this project. Poster art for the release is also starting to be discussed.

BESTSELLER – Join us at the Facebook site – this film holds a special place for anyone who has written and worked the steep slope of mainstream submissions and literary agents. That is the only hint I will give but it blurs the lines between protagonist and antagonist. This is a watch a night film, enjoy. Amazon Prime easiest place to watch but several are out there.

https://www.facebook.com/BESTSELLERTHEMOVIE

If you watched the film leave a review at http://www.imdb.com page or the platform (Example: Amazon)

MAN’S BEST FRIEND and WILD FAITH have been adding new platforms such as PeacockTV. I’ve had questions on sequels to both films. Speaking of MBF I think I will be seeing the one and only Austin Two Feathers. He played my cell mate Buddy. He’s a brilliant actor and a great friend. WILD FAITH will likely experience a sequel as a TV series, WILD FAITH: Hastings. We’ve had some initial interest and are in talks on how all the pieces would work.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – The film is looking so incredible. I’ve been working to digest everything after watching the director/editor cut of the film. After very few notes, we’re soon to head into a final polish before we have a picture lock. What this means is that the timeline of edited scenes is locked so that music and sound design can begin. Color correction can begin but we might wait until the VFX scenes are complete. My exact words were, “I’m impressed, but not surprised” -upon watching the film cut. The dedication that went into every performance and crew best effort could be seen on screen. I felt on the edge of emotion in several places (Bohdi) and laughed often, but beyond that, I saw real history being passed down, recorded within a story.

As the screenwriter it was one experience – the pride of capturing this town’s wonderful event. Also enlightening Americans and Germans alike to the history of the PW’s in the heartlands. As a producer, you work with your team tirelessly. Most times, cast and crew busy capturing the onset magic don’t know of the problems solved, nor should they. Distractions equal time wasted and when fighting for daylight- giddy up. Listen, our CDI crews from what I see, are proud of our stories. They’re proud to have participated in that particular adventure in storytelling. Our artists work hard, mentally too because we’re often creating other time periods. You have to be part historian not just an artist. As an actor, I saw my dad, in my role. My hair is now longer and my face shaggy, so the clean-cut, example-setter for the PW camp, Col Lodell, was quite shocking to me onscreen. But EVERYONE really brought their characters to life on-screen. I love watching actors soar. They need a strong script, good set environment and they need equally dedicated and passionate artists to live the scenes with.

The crafting of the scenes is where Nathaniel Nose and Tony Hornus get all kinds of credit. The story is moving, powerful in its exploring of emotions from the perspective of the town, the guards, the PW’s and the Tietz family. I WISH Rance Howard could have been here to see this film done. Heck. He never saw the final THE CHRIST SLAYER. But what I always felt was a powerful story, a strong script – well executed under harsh conditions by an incredible crew. Daniel Chipman, gave us some amazing images, capturing those powerful performances. I will say that when I watched it, I was again proud that we’re going to release another CDI film with a lot of heart, truth and beautiful style befitting the times presented. We are looking at a December 10th theatrical premiere in Algona, Iowa. We’re working to extend the run at that chain and others across Iowa for the weeks that follow. We’ll likely do a theatrical run in Michigan also and beyond that we’ll have to see. It will play theatrical and festival for a few months into 2023 and we’ll start to prep it for a Christmas 2023 home video run up. Which usually means Nov 1st as soon as those ghosts and goblins kick off. I’m so tempted to share the official theatrical poster now but that will come this week with a press release. I’m going to call it good perhaps having missed an update or two. Today following last nights storm and no morning power put me behind. But have have a great week and we’ll have more to talk about next week.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ


Whirlwind of Activity- Ride the Synergy

Hello friends,

It’s the beautiful eve of July 9th and it has been a busy yet enjoyable week. We launched right off July 4th, into the July 5th home video launch of BEST YEARS GONE. It is making its way into living rooms across the country. I’ve had people send pics of their DVD either purchased online or I’m told certain Walmarts. Like the cool ones:) I really enjoyed hearing the laughter in the showings of the theatrical run. It is why we charted a course with another comedy HOT ROD LOVE, gunning to film this fall. If you take a watch and have yourself a few good laughs, leave us an amazon or imdb.com review. I enjoyed some many aspects of this film and I truly did a few firsts in this film. You will have to watch to find out.

Via some little promo videos we’ve gotten to know some of the cast and their characters. So far we’ve gotten to watch Dean Teaster and Erika Hoveland.

(Dean Teaster)

https://www.imdb.com/video/vi2597044761/?ref_=ttvi_vi_imdb_2

(Erika Hoveland)

https://www.imdb.com/video/vi2731393561/?ref_=ttvi_vi_imdb_1

This week I think we’ll be seeing the twins and others talking about their experience. So to all those taking their watch this first weekend, thank you.

I’m trying to make arrangements to break away Saturday for a few hours to come tour the convention and watch the festival premiere of SMOKE & MIRRORS. (Sat. July 30th) I’ve never been to the festival, this will be my first. I’ve heard good things about it over the years. I’m actually going to return to my revamp of the feature script after we shot the short concept film. I love how it came out and really painted a stronger visual in my head for the new version of the script.

I’m happy to say that my previous writing project is complete. I’m so excited about CDI telling that story next year. It’s called HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE, and it will have CDI storytelling in the roaring 20’s. We have some advance location scouting underway but this will just be some early development work. I have had the pleasure of living in my imagination in the post WW1 world for several weeks. Again, a great time period for the CDI artists to story tell within.

Currently, our WW2 Christmas story SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, is marching towards a locked picture. We’re close to a director/editor cut review. Any suggestions will be made and a final edit pass will be made before we lock it up. From there it will be to Dennis Therrian and post production work. He’s already playing with arrangements and building his sound FX library. A new poster version is almost complete and discussions on the theatrical trailer have begun. We released a cool video last week of the model building. We’ll be showing more of the VFX work in the weeks to come.

BESTSELLER, our mystery thriller, released May 31st – I’ve had some fans of the film comment on the “masterful mood” that it invokes and the “unexpected intensity” on display. I don’t want to give anything away on this one but if you like the hair-tingling, heart-thumping, edge-of-your-seat movie rides, this might be for you.

I’ve had a noticeable amount of fan mail increase on MAN’S BEST FRIEND and WILD FAITH, telling me the NBC Peacock Streaming crowd have joined the viewing audience. It’s an honor and we do hope their audiences will get to watch more TribeCDI films. To answer a few questions I received-

“Yes. I was a martial artist before I was a professional actor. That scene in MBF was a thrill, to finally showcase some fighting arts. The actors I worked opposite off did a great job. I’m proud of that scene. ” (Man’s Best Friend)

No I’m not a method actor to the point that ‘Ben Lily’ actually manitou’d in his buckskins. Note: In the film, Ben, is an idiot, and isn’t using the word ‘manitou’ properly. (Wild Faith)

THE QUEST TRILOGY – I’m excited to be working on a new way to present the trilogy during the holidays. Having someone intro each of the films and talk a little about each one. I also had a good development talk with one of our past backers and they want to reengage on some additional biblical stories. I have a few great one’s on deck- another trilogy perhaps?:)

LOST HEART – One of our co-stars in this movie got complimented strongly by their peers while at a signing convention. By peers I mean, other legends. It was nice to hear that they really enjoyed it. That’s how our circle usually gets larger because friends of friends, become fans the stories and want to explore participation if a certain story calls for it. We are working on some new marketing angles for this film and its alter ego, BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS.

MISC THOUGHTS/UPDATES-

I made some progress in pulling deliverables for a slate of films from the CDI vaults that will be making its way out via Deskpop Entertainment and BMG. I also have been exploring some additional business in audio books having enjoyed the process on the series of audio books by author/musician Ronnie Lee.

For the Love of Catch – we’re still waiting to hear from the targeted festival, Toronto. We are also awaiting home video release dates from Deskpop Entertainment. I’m waiting word on several endeavors and we’re all excited but trying to have patience. It can be hard, but just like the long anticipated releases, the day will come.

We had the week off from soccer for the holiday week. We’ve been having berry explosion here in the yard. That means fresh berries on everything and I eat 60-100 mulberries a day off the trees. We have wild squash and pumpkins from the garden days growing strong. My hops are growing mighty – just a great year for all the plants! The chickens have been roaming again now that the bird flu subsided. They LOVE the mulberries. But so does the wild birds, squirrels and everything else. Blueberries are new this year as it takes a few years for them to start kicking fruit.

I’ve been putting this together tonight because tomorrow is a full day with a morning flea market and my dad’s bday dinner later in the day. (It was on the 8th) But, I’ve enjoyed the vibe of this cool summer night catching up with all of you. I hope you have a productive week. I have several meetings as per normal, but will also be attending the 4H auction where we get our pork for the year. I hope you’re all having a good balance in your day to day of fun and productive. Life is about the journey, not just the destination. Thank you to everyone who has been reaching out. I appreciate you all. Have a great night. A peaceful Sunday and a week of achieving goals.

Coffee Cheers, (In the morning)

DJ


Happy 4th of JULY, 2022- Weekend: BEST YEARS GONE Home Video Premiere and More…

Good morning, hazelnut cheers and thank you to all the new international readers from S. Korea, Ireland, China, UK, Brazil and more. Here is the USA we’re about to celebrate our independence day (July 4th) from the good ole UK. I’ve been super busy on many fronts but I’ve been able to balance it with some wonderful nature. For my recent bday I got some large wind chimes that go nicely with the sounds of the water fountain. (A 50th Bday gift) The plants have all been watered and the dogs tended to. The chickens are enjoying the morning clucking about. The hops, berries (mulberry, raspberry and blueberries) have been exploding. The apple trees are doing pretty good. One of them struggled a bit with the past heat and seems to be doing better now. Let’s go ahead and get into the news.

BEST YEARS GONE – This movie was made during the hardest time of the pandemic and brought our cast and crew much joy. We saw the film bring much laughter and a few tears in the limited theatrical run. The theaters were still trying to get back on their feet during that time. But now, on JULY 5th in two short days you will be able to buy the DVD or stream it. Amazon, Best Buy, Vudu and so on. Just google us up or follow the Facebook site for updates. One of the first major reviews was by Film Threat, link below.

You never know how the mass market will take any film, but they seemed to really like it and we think you will too. I also want to acknowledge the praise they gave me but say that if I did not have the awesome cast around me, the film doesn’t work. I love the music (Dennis Therrian) with added songs by various great bands including our BATTLE OF THE BANDS winner Vertical Bridge!

Watch the music video here

https://fb.watch/e1kpnLdxUL/

IF you decide to take a watch visit our page at http://www.imdb.com and you can VOTE for your self and leave your own review.

LOOKING FOR A DOUBLE FEATURE or something to watch tonight/tomorrow on the run up to our release?

BESTSELLER, a spooky thriller just released on May 31st. Melissa Anschutz leads a great cast with myself, Ralph Lister, Terence Knox, Lana Wood and more…

Read about it here

Watch it here!

These two films releasing is very exciting and represents a lotta hard work by our artists but we’ve got so much more happening.

  1. The first festival that invited SMOKE & MIRRORS was Michigan’s own MOTOR CITY NIGHTMARES. It is a weekend of convention fun, celebrity signings (I was asked but, no I’m not doing any official signings, but if you track me down with a pen I will and the cost – ZERO:) You cannot ala carte the screenings so the cost might be too costly if planning to just go see the 16-17 min film. We play at like 5:20 in a block and I plan to try and arrive at 5pm. I’m solo with the dogs so I’ll be just doing a 6-7 hour trip with drive time of 45 min or so to Novi. I think they have a party but it’s later in the eve so the post party will likely be back at home:) But this short film is so much fun. We filmed this concept film taken from one of my feature scripts in one day as part of a commercial project. It will likely play a few more venues this year so join the Facebook page and make sure to catch it where you can. David Gries and Melissa Anschutz and brilliant in the film and it has some fun supporting characters. I just might play one of them but if turn of the century/steampunk is your jam, this might be for you. July 30th! NOVI! MOTOR CITY NIGHTMARES.
  2. I will also note being from Lansing, MI that another fine artist/filmmaker, Michael McCallum/Rebel Pictures, has two short films playing right after SMOKE & MIRRORS. One is CHOICES and one is PHOTALGIA. So if you are watching our film you can stay a few and watch a couple other films. I’m sure the entire day has some great films to watch.
  3. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, the rough cut is done and our director has been feeding notes back to our editor. We’ll review the rough cut with our director changes soon and by months end will have a locked picture. Here is a great video showing some of the VFX/model work being done. WATCH THE VIDEO here – https://fb.watch/e1nJ7CbDvg/
  4. We also have a new SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA poster being worked on and the new theatrical trailer work will be starting soon. We are looking to have the first showing in Algona on Dec 10th if everything stays according to plan.
  5. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH has made the final fixes and tweaks working with Deskpop Entertainment on quality control. We should have our home video release dates soon and by next month (Aug 3rd) we should know about the TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL.
  6. I’ve finished the first draft of HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE, slated to shoot in 2023. I have my producers taking a read and if all comes back good without any problem areas to clarify it will go to the publisher. WW1 Veterans vs The Purple Gang during the prohibition. But this is what I call passive pre-production. It has committed funds but doesn’t shoot until later next year because of the script/story.
  7. HOT ROD LOVE, is in active development – and reunites director Shane Hagedorn and Director of Photography, Travis Hayward from BEST YEARS GONE. We are in talks on an amazing attachment that true fans of drag racing will love. Also a few amazing sponsors are being courted so with a little bit of hard work and some final commits we will look to film in October 2022, in a few short months.
  8. HASTINGS, the developing Wild Faith TV series spin off had more productive discussions this week. WILD FAITH, which just released with MAN’S BEST FRIEND to PeacockTV which could assist in the ordering up of the first season. We’ll see. We have several parties in talks and something will give. It is nearing 6 million viewers on just our distributor’s platform ENCOURAGE TV. Many of the CDI films can be seen here free with ads.
  9. I’ve noted that our Civil War film WICKED SPRING, now presented in HD is getting love on Amazon and the platforms it plays on. This film is 22 years old and still getting new audiences yearly. I know many classrooms that have used the film as a teaching aide. If you want to watch something about America’s history this might be for you.
  10. We’re working hard to plan and fund the next several years of CDI films. We are having some good traction in that department but I will wait as always to the ink is dry. I don’t do the mysterious teases on social media for hype. Okay, maybe once in a great while but I like keeping the cards close until we show our hand. Four Aces:)

I’ve just finished some eggs and toast and I’m going to do a few tasks around the yard. A short trip to the store to take back empties from our meetings. And I plan to fire up the grill today and tomorrow. Maybe even bottle up the HOPPY GRAPE APE wine. I have a beer mix up next which I will put into motion for this fall. As I’ve said before, I might even do another go on the hard cider. Next week we’ll be attending the 4H where we assist young people in their college studies by purchasing their livestock. That and the venison make up most of the meat eating around here.

After a loss, our soccer team was back in form last week in a hard fought victory. My body has adapted to the hardships of the weekly battles, and now only experiences some mild stiffness versus the first quarter of the season where I felt like I was hit by a truck weekly. Whatever your outdoor activity is, get out there and do it. I’m going to end this here and go get a few things down in the yard. Have a safe 4th of July weekend. I hope you hit the ground running next week and get things done. Coffee Cheers until next week.

DJ


NEW CDI Development Projects, New Platforms and Premieres

I’m bringing the bday week to a close and I have to say I was so appreciative of all the family, friends and fans who reached out to wish me a happy Bday. Thank you to all the new readers from around the globe joining us here. I’ve got my mug full of hazelnut coffee and I’ve just enjoyed a few eggs from our hens. It has been a good week of progress being made on several of the film projects. Let’s take a look at a few exciting updates.

1) WILD FAITH has made its way to NBC’s Peacock streaminghttps://www.peacocktv.com/watch-online/movies/wild-faith/be7fcef2-f423-3114-b26c-c66588e2d7ed – We’re happy to have our story available to the 33 million plus subscribers.

2) MANS BEST FRIEND has followed right behind at NBC’s Peacock streaminghttps://www.peacocktv.com/watch-online/movies/mans-best-friend/a0e02318-16e4-3b33-9550-f2a633ad2333 – Excited to make these two films available to a much larger audience.

3) SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is closing in on the first edit and in July will be polishing it up towards a picture lock. This week we’ll start some discussions on the theatrical trailer. We’ve been gathering theatrical interest from a few chains. Another round of poster art is being worked on for the theatrical release most likely. A BTS of the model and VFX work is being edited together to share with all of you very soon.

4) BESTSELLER has been released to Amazon Prime and several platforms and on DVD. Thank you to those fans who reached out directly to share your thoughts. I told you it was intense:) A little mood, murder and mystery sound about right – travel to beautiful Northern Michigan with the birch and the pines. Buy/Rent here and let me know your thoughts at our http://www.imdb.com page –

Buy & Rent here BESTSELLERhttps://www.amazon.com/Bestseller-Melissa-Anschutz/dp/B09YH7X3RY/ref=sr_1_3?crid=UV4JFVKKJBZQ&keywords=bestseller&qid=1656251166&s=movies-tv&sprefix=bestseller%2Cmovies-tv%2C81&sr=1-3

5) SMOKE & MIRRORS – I just got loose word that we’re in the MOTOR CITY NIGHTMARES festival. I’m hearing Sat July 30th late afternoon (5:00 pm wish) as part of a block. We don’t usually do shorts but a commercial opportunity allowed for us to shoot a proof of concept for the full feature. I’m going to try and attend with a few of the CDI team. It will be fun to return the horror scene. I went to a Frankenfest with the family yesterday and had a great time. All the cool art and merchandise spun off from the films. That is what I want to do with some of the older films that have gained some cult classic status.

6) BEST YEARS GONE is coming JULY 5th and we’ll see how the world reacts to this wild ride. We did get a great response from our theatrical crowds and I think folks will really dig it. We have some fun PR coming up this week. We’ll be starting the engines and waiting for that flag to drop. I’m very excited about how this film turned out and I hope you take something away with you that you enjoy after watching.

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StL5oUdnOlc

MUSIC VIDEO: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=393380005705951

BTS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgt-xeK1LCw

7) FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the documentary went through quality control and our team addressed a few small issues and now they should all be adjusted. We’re awaiting our home video release dates and also our submission to the Toronto Film Festival. Step by step it moves closer. Soon the world will know a lot more about Catch-Can and its importance to the history of grappling.

8) HOT ROD LOVE – is projecting a Sept/Oct shoot and this week we made some good strides in our package. We’ll be announcing more exciting updates as pen finds paper. This 1970’s comedy about drag racing will surely be a fun one. This film is getting traction and I for one could not be happier. Do you have any 1975 or before rides you would love to feature in the film? If so let me know but we are shooting in Michigan.

9) HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE, the first draft is completed. Shooting is planned for fall next year 2023. I will be circulating this draft to a few in the circle as we’ll start having background development talks. I LOVE how the film script came together and it will make a wonderful film.

10) DEVELOPMENT – Hastings TV series as well as several feature films are in active development. It was my desire to double the CDI output of content this year but Covid and various variables have slowed things. We managed to keep creating in the hardest of times. We will keep moving forward thanks to all of you! We appreciate you all.

WRAP UP:

Aside from all this movie work I’ve had the pleasure of conducting business in our zen yard. The mulberries are in ABUNDANCE but I’m leaving them to the chickens, squirrels and birds save the handful a day I eat. We’ve been eating raspberries and soon blueberries from the yard also. The apples and hops will be coming in strong and maybe I’ll make some hard cider this year. The clover has been quite beautiful and also requires less mowing as the height stays low. I’m growing four leaf clovers. A Memory- Our 1st AD Carol on JUDGES could spot a four leaf clover in moments. She pulled like four from a patch in under a minute. She surprised me with a framed and matted group of four leaf clovers which I’ve kept to this day.

I had a few days where I forgot Lulu (Our last cat) had passed on. I was concerned if the upstairs was too hot or not wanting a door to close her in. I took one short nap before an event and she would always crawl up for a nap with me. No Lulu. But the Finn and Luna Mae (Our dogs) have kept us busy and entertained. Attack the water hose stream is one of the favorite games.

I had a week of business meetings that also involved birthday toasts and additionally several family dinners. All this around my birthday of the 23rd but the actual day was quiet by design. I still play soccer in a men’s league with my brother and several old school friends. No gym/dojo workout has every matched the raw competition. No value of name tags or titles just warriors, old warriors giving their all to show themselves they still got it. I’ve learned to love my opponents as they challenge me and my steel is sharpened. Sometimes in victory and sometimes in defeat. We’ve got a good team this year and during the first part of the season we lost once. And on my bday we lost to that team again. We were ahead until the last 15 min of the game where a call evened the game. We had one healthy sub and we had battled the heat. The other team had six subs and a strong will not to lose. I had a fast striker attacking that took everything I had to nullify his attack. We battled to the end and on my birthday I had been gifted health and humility. To play as hard as I do at my age is a blessing. Win or lose I won because I got to play. I felt a lesson in there that came out in another later conversation.

In that conversation we reflected on life as many of my talks do. I was asked, if I ever wished I had more in the film world. I want and work towards more frequent and better compensated films. But, I will tell a story that needs to be told for a modest pay day versus not having the story told. I also would not change being known for our art (stories) versus anyone else’s art. I think the best is yet to come and what I carry is patience and experience. I don’t chase dangling carrots and I’m not seeking short cuts. I’m not making the stories to impress or gain any glory just to offer a perspective that could affect people in a positive way. I don’t worship at the alter of value symbols pressed into metal or parchment. I say no more than yes but when I say yes, things happen. Okay, gonna slow on the coffee and head outside to mow and put up a windmill. Yes, I said a windmill. I just put up a wonderful set of wind chimes that were a gift and those are very peaceful. Tend to your zen and space and watch how things flow.

Have a great day and week ahead. Coffee cheers!

DJ


Happy Father’s Day! Losses and Wins for the Week!

I’m awake early on this chilly Michigan Sunday sipping the hazelnut coffee and giving the dogs outside time. Poor Finn, my furry boy is adjusting to the loss of our 18 year old kitty Lulu Belle. Face kisses and snuggles was part of his daily nightly rituals with her. We were all there with her when she passed including Finn. I think it is important that they get to say goodbye versus they just disappear. But he has been visiting all their spots and I can tell he is missing her. We will all miss the queen.

Onto happier news, Happy Father’s Day! I’m so grateful to still have my father with us and that he is healthy. He did provide and gave us everything we needed to survive and thrive as adults. I will see him laster today with a few little love gifts. We’ll also be hitting the flea market down the road in a while. And tomorrow we celebrate my nephew’s Bday with family that will be fun.

I’ve been bouncing between film work and yard work all week. I’ve been working with a pair of 40V electric chainsaws and they work really well. My mower is also now battery powered and it is like vacuuming my lawn with no cords, easy. If I had a huge lawn I would need to get one of those trick 360 turn mowers but mine works fine. The trimming is also prepping the wood boxes for winter.

Let’s move forward onto the film updates-

  1. I completed the first draft of ‘Harsens Island Revenge‘ and now I’m polishing it up and reexamining dialog. The film will shoot in the second half of 2023 in Michigan.
  2. BESTSELLER which released May 31st has been selling out on DVD and streaming is expanding. It is a great look at the haunting beauty of Michigan. If you had a chance to watch it please take the time to go to our page on http://www.imdb.com and vote plus leave us any comments you might have. I hope it gives/gave you some edge of your chair thrills and chills.
  3. We met over promo on the upcoming July 5th release of BEST YEARS GONE. This occasionally heartfelt and often humorous film might play a few more festivals but soon audiences can stream or add the DVD to their collection.
  4. SMOKE & MIRRORS – We have a few regional festivals we’ve submitted to and even had a few reach out to us. So we’ll be showing/premiering this really cool and stylish short in the coming weeks.
  5. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – We’ll know in early August if this documentary will be playing Toronto Film Festival or not. We’re also awaiting release dates for home video which should be soon.
  6. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is closing in on our picture lock. It has been coming to our director in large chucks so that tweaks and evaluations can be made at the same time. Dennis Therrian has started building our sound FX library for this project and started playing with musical themes. Theaters in Iowa are being contacted to speak with them about runs after the premiere which as of now we are targeting for Dec 10th. Next week we’ll start talking the theatrical trailer and also we have a VFX behind the scenes and some new poster art underway.
  7. Waiting to hear on the Peacock releases dates for MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND and WILD FAITH. As soon as we know we’ll pass that info along.
  8. Development on HOT ROD LOVE continues with us targeting a Sept/Oct film shoot. We’re soon to start a script breakdown for scheduling. We approached several new possible partners last week and we’ll follow up on those. I’m excited to story tell in the 70’s, soon!
  9. HASTINGS (Wild Faith TV series) development continues to move forward. Patience is required and I will do my best to line all the pieces up properly.
  10. A new “highlight” video for Collective Development Inc. is underway. It is primarily for the website for when folks visit they can see all the wonderful stories that have been told at CDI.

Many updates to celebrate and I’m sure I overlooking a few. I have a Bday coming up this week as well as the first soccer match of the second part of the season. We lost only our first match which was our first as a team. We also were missing some forwards and were a tad out of shape compared to now. Touching back at the forthcoming Bday on the 23rd, it makes me think of our friend and CDI amigo David “Pappy” Pappenfuss, who passed when we were in pre-production in Algona, Iowa from Covid. My Bday get-together on a patio over drinks was my last time I saw him. He always brought me a musical card and sometimes a bottle of booze. I’ve missed his humor and I will surely be toasting this friend loss.

I saw many people commenting on the Texas holiday of Juneteenth that has grown into a more Nationally recognized day. I was disheartened to see so much negativity from some about this day that Hallmark and marketers fully embraced. If it isn’t for you, keep moving. But I saw some straight up hateful remarks and that’s sad to see. I had a thought as I pondered some of that hate I saw posted. Much of that hate comes from lonely, frustrated, and unhappy people. The cruel joke to these individuals might be that the perfect soulmate -the perfect partner to bring that warmth, love and peace to one of these individuals just might be wearing a skin coat of a different color. How sad to live a life and hate, blame and unbalance all because of hate blindness. Try love, compassion and understanding and you too will reap the rewards.

Be good to one another!

DJ


Practicing Patience and Riding the Waves…

Hazelnut coffee cheers! I’m sipping here after an active morning of getting the dogs around and fed. We’ve had some passing storms that last two days including a tornado up North in Gaylord. The clover seed we put around the yard should take off like crazy this week. I’ve already mowed twice but I see that we are close to another. Trimming, cutting, raking and fence work to shape the yard. The hops are already to the top of the patio. Various shrooms including Dyrad’s Saddle that I let be. On occasion I will try wild eats but the animals enjoy them also. The new chiminea is assembled and this week we got the new garden hose and hanger assembled and put into action. The fountain is set up and working nicely. All these little things help break up my office work which has been quite a bit as of late.

This past week was the dispersement of $ back to the many investors on our films. We are looking to get some of them to join us on this next film endeavor HOT ROD LOVE. We had a great visit with owners of a track that would look just great on camera. It creates a “field of dreams” like destination for racers and spectators. Also had a few great meetings on work flow for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA and we’re staying on course. We’ve got almost all the deliverables in on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and also submitted to the Toronto Film Festival which would be a great premiere showcase for it. We are in hopes of hearing some feedback on a few festivals we entered SMOKE & MIRRORS into so that we could have a premiere visit which fans of the genre. BESTSELLER is prepping for a May 31st release and Amazon will be the main platform although we are waiting to see on Hoopla, Kanopy, Vudu, InDEmand and more. Come Sept 1st the Subscription video on demand and Ad based video on demand will kick in. BEST YEARS GONE will be coming July 5th and we’ll announce more of those platforms as we get closer.

On HOT ROD LOVE we are having things pull together a tad slower in this economy but we steadily getting there. My goal was to film two movies this year but with all the delays the obstructions, I’ll be happy to settle for one. We’ll likely roll cameras 6-8 weeks after full funding is committed. The Facebook site is a good way to stay connected and we’re also posting some great pics from the time period. We’re all excited about creating the 1970’s and several of us are already putting things in place. I’ve been forced to take my own advice and have patience. Things are unfolding and as they do we’ll keep rolling with that momentum.

ACTING– I’ve been growing the beard and hair out in anticipation of our 70’s film. Better to have something to work with in shaping the character look versus not enough. I don’t like to do fake hair and beards but will color when called for. I’ve had a film cameo presented that I’m considering and I’ll discuss this week. A close friend is associated with the film and asked me to look at it. I had another producer reach out asking if I would look at something in June so I told them to email it on over. I have to make sure the the cameo look jives with what I’m doing in the 70’s film. I can’t go way off course for a one day cameo but it might work out just fine. The other project I don’t have any details yet.

WRITING – This week I’ve had a lot of great progress on the new book I’ve been hired to turn into a screenplay/movie. I’ve been playing with several working titles that are perhaps more catchy for a film but have not landed on that one title. But I’m over a third of the way through the first draft and I’m loving the flow. I truly do love writing and creating these words full of interesting characters.

I was also approached by another author with a book, also interested in a screenplay/film, if I like the story. I said it might be a bit before I can circle around to it but I am appreciative that people are seeking me out. I always use to keep the writing in the background to my acting but I like the attention it has been getting. I look forward to doing some writing for others and letting them produce it from the page. There is a certain flattery to that process also. I will get back to some of my other passive writing endeavors soon.

WRAP UP AND WEEK AHEAD

This week will be more promotional pushing on BESTSELLER. We might reach out and have a few reviewers in the horror/thriller genre take a look. Some graphic postcards promoting the release will be sure to follow. I’m looking to bring some cool PR/BTS materials on the VFX and model work being done on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. The pick up footage has just arrived and tightening continues on the edit.

We are working closer towards a Knight Chills, video game teaser. I hope to hear some word on the converting of Knight Chills to HD. We had some discussions on the sequel which we are letting slowly develop. This HD release will be the start of the new franchise push to market.

NOTE: This week my goal is also to keep the windmill set up in chicken-land. Our ‘girls’ have been giving us 4 eggs a day and fresh eggs are awesome. Our clover we planted should come on strong this week. Clover is a good food for the chickens and wildlife but also because of the root system might stand up better to the dog traffic. Always something.

As our reps return from France I hope they had a productive and pleasing trip. It is always fun to hear of new audiences for the films. We again won our soccer match last week and we’ll see if we can repeat on Thursday. I had to use glue and the vice to repair a blown out cleat. Breaking in new shoes can be a bitch so I don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. So now I’m a cobbler, no, I don’t make pies…shoes.

I go to a lot of flea markets and estate sales seeking fun props and wardrobe. You can also find lots of useful items that you use around the house for pennies on the dollar. I went to a great outdoorsmen sale ran by the ladies who sold me the furs for WILD FAITH. They were sewn into Hester Thickett’s coat and a piece or two might have ended up on Ben Lily. But I have people like this on call to assist with props when needed. I’m into primitive archery and so was this individual and I left with four bows. Two recurves, one a Fred Bear, and two flat bows. Add a hand forged knife, viking bookends and a few dinkies and I helped support another small business.

The new bows will be fun to shoot. I enjoy archery and find it very ‘zen’ but gun ranges don’t do the same for me. Nothing against those who do find the range relaxing but archery to me is more like fishing, chill. I enjoy stalking tree stumps as much as anything else. I almost played Robin Hood in a film fighting Vampires, true story. Robin Hood. Santa Claus. I have a few classic roles I would still like to play in my life time. On that note, I’m off to refill the coffee cup. Have a great week and be good to one another!

DJ


‘Happy Easter’ Updates and ‘Movie Easter Eggs’

Good – eve – morning! I have a very busy Sunday with flea-markets, family and friends and so I’m doing my update now. I love this picture above from our upcoming SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA because it shows courage in the face of uncertainty. That is the world that we’ve been living in with its challenges and the tolls it has taken. We’ve managed to stand and face these obstacles and still manage to create our stories and hope and enlightenment. To add some humor and escapism to the lives of millions. Tens of millions and when adding all of the audiences of all of them together the totals are humbling. At CDI we are committed to telling our stories highlighting the best aspects of ourselves. I’ve had fans of THE QUEST TRILOGY, MAN’S BEST FRIEND and WILD FAITH reach out over the last week. I’m reminded of what we do for people and I cannot even begin to tell you the appreciation we as artists have for those who support the arts. Our backers, our sponsors and our audiences – the STORY that needs to be told and YOU are why we take time away from our families to film. I just wanted to take this fine Easter Eve to express our appreciation.

HOT ROD LOVE is a CDI film in active development that has a few great themes woven into a great 1975 small town drag racing world. We’ve been preparing to present this project to several of our past supporters. This is coinciding with the BEST YEARS GONE kick off to the home video campaign on July 5th. We’ve been having a great time looking at different tracks around the country.

We are all seriously excited to see how the world responds to BEST YEARS GONE. The theatrical response was very strong and I was happy to see how the German actors also received the humor well. I hope it translates around the world. We’re nominated for ‘Best Comedy’ in an upcoming –

This week is going to be exciting on many fronts. COLLECTIVE DEVELOPMENT INC. expanding into music videos. We are excited to announce that the OFFICIAL VIDEO for DEEPFALLS first single “Revolution” will premiere on April 19th! 🤘🤘

This week will be the SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA teaser trailer post production work on color correction, music and sound design. We’ll also start some theatrical poster designs along with a special VFX featurette. The 1st cut of the movie itself is done and now director Anthony Hornus is working with our editor on the second cut of the film. From there it will be honed down to a final picture in a third cut.

BESTSELLER the dark and moody thriller from the twisted mind of Christopher Knight arrives on home video on May 31st. We’ve been dripping PR out at the films Facebook. We worked very hard making this intense film that showcases absolutely beautiful Northern Michigan.

This past week I had four different meetings over possible CDI associations. An association is where a group has their funding and not the experience. When you are entrusted with funds you need to succeed or the well will go dry. Many films never get finished and when that happens it hurts the artistic market. But I also have to look at all the variables and decide if a collaboration will be beneficial. Sometimes it’s easier to just fund it ourselves controlling those variables but we are open to discussion. I’m proud to say that I’ve secured one of the next screenwriting/producing endeavors. I’m not ready to announce it yet but I will say that I’m extremely excited by the opportunity. We have our TV series based off WILD FAITH being evaluated by a few solid companies. With two new platforms requesting WILD FAITH just this week I’m inclined to feel that this TV spin off project will soon go into production. If it is meant to happen it will!

This week will also start the delivery of the elements on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH documentary to DeskPop Entertainment. We will be meeting this week to further discuss the premiere. We might talk festivals as some of the large ones want to host the premiere. We shall see. We entered SMOKE & MIRRORS into a few fun festivals to go enjoy the spooky season. I got my start as a monster hunter. I will have some exciting announcements on several of the CDI library titles including KNIGHT CHILLS.

I’m going to wrap this up. I’ve been enjoying soccer which has been indoor but outdoor starts next month. But the great news is my running is getting back on point. I’ve done some great clean up in the yard but still have some to go. The chickens have been kicking out the eggs. I’ve had to work with outdoor loving Luna (new doggie) who has a passion for squirrels. I’ve finally got her to stop jumping on the fence. I’m looking forward to warmer breezes so we can do more outdoor meetings. I hope you all have a wonderful day with your loved ones. I am going to recharge and tackle the week ahead with enthusiasm.

Happy Easter! Coffee Cheers!

DJ


‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA,’ Trailer and Feature Updates, BEST YEARS GONE, BESTSELLER and more…Happy April and I’m NOT Fooling!

HELLO APRIL. I want to welcome all the new readers from Bulgaria, New Zealand, UK and Pakistan. I’m sipping on some hazelnut coffee. I wonder what the morning drink is for all of you out there? I know I LOVED the South Indian coffee in Otty, India when filming there. Magnifico- DING! Was the main Philippine coffee I drank over there. It is that morning juice that gets everything going. We are still acclimating the dogs together so we have alternating outdoor potty and feeding in the morning. We had a dust of snow here and there but Spring is trying to hit. I did get some yard clean up done this week including sinking a new post for the guide rope that spans across the bridge. I’ve been wanting to do a new patio and a privacy fence but the wood costs have me paused. I’m watching Premiere League soccer as I’m typing. I have my next indoor soccer match Tuesday as we prepare for outdoor soccer. I also think the Sunday flea markets start next week. I love seeking props and wardrobe. Yesterday I found a great 70’s leather vest that just might make it into HOT ROD LOVE.

HOT ROD LOVE! Have you heard of it? It is the next CDI project we’ve pulling together. It is a great 70’s story that examines several relationships. It has many things to say but does so in a few comedic way. During all these turbulent times of Covid, war and such CDI has managed to keep telling their stories. It is like the band on the Titanic or the lone cello player in the streets of war torn Ukraine. ART gives hopes and peace in a trying situation. Where so many things that are normal were interrupted by the chaos of Covid, we were blessed enough to be able to film BEST YEARS GONE, now preparing for a July 5th home video kick off. It was previously June but they pushed it by a month which was just fine. I want to really hit some fun PR over the post-July 4th event – chill and watch BEST YEARS GONE. DVD and digital purchase is first followed by TV/broadcast and digital rental in Sept.

Before that film hits we’re really enjoying the push that the dark thriller BESTSELLER is getting. It releases on DVD and digital purchase on May 31st and TV/Broadcast and digital rental in Sept. This film highly deserves the push it is now getting and I think audiences worldwide will really enjoy it. We are releasing new stills and updates weekly on our Facebook Page #BESTSELLERMOVIE

A few festivals are being explored whereas BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS might just attend. SMOKE & MIRRORS? Also BEST YEARS GONE is up for ‘Best Comedy’ at the BareBones International Film & Music Festival. Festivals, aside from the major 4-5 don’t do anything major for buyers/licensors but they are a good way for a creative team to take a few beats and enjoy the moment together. I always have something in motion so even when we get good news on one endeavor I often move right to helping an underperforming endeavor. I have to stop and appreciate the moments of victory. I feel that I have some of the best, most creative people working with me at CDI. I would not trade the experience nor the final product, proud of both. My point was that we’re starting to engage in a few more fest/events for the fun of gathering to celebrate the hard work. Why do my producers only want to go to Island festivals in the tropics? This Friday we’ll be going to my home town’s film festival. We usually go support the fest by attending their kick off mixer. I only see some friends like international DJ, John Beltran at this event. I’ve known John since middle school. Look him up. He’s got some great music.

I’ve had several people ask if BEST YEARS GONE was playing the fest, it is not. A handful of years ago we closed the festival with a sold out 600 watching ASHES OF EDEN, same director as BEST YEARS GONE, Shane Hagedorn. But they want filmmakers to host a Michigan premiere at the festival but we already did in Owosso plus had theatrical play with NCG and Celebration Cinemas, so they disqualified us for. Honestly, I love for people to see the films, but it’s a heck of a lot easier when you aren’t concerned with a screening. My hardest decisions for that event will be what to sip wine or beer?

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – This amazing doc on the history of grappling has been signed to Deskpop Entertainment for a worldwide release. We’re now prepping to start moving materials over to them. We’re hard at work on our premiere that we want to do in Las Vegas. We are making some progress and we’ll have more to report on that very soon.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – So this exciting film should have a first cut coming over this week. Also we’re finalizing the first teaser trailer. It should go to music (Dennis Therrian) mid to end of the week. We’re all excited to see it come to life. I did get to see a few rough assembled scenes and it left me with a wide smile. I’m so proud of our artists. Like I said earlier, times have been trying and we managed to film this movie in Nov of last year still facing many issues in the world. So we’ll have work to pare down and audiences will get their first look. We’ve still be releasing stills so if you are following our Facebook page you will get those stills and the upcoming trailer. BREAKING NEWS: Yes the first rough cut for Anthony (Tony) Hornus to review will be done end of this week. From there the trimming, tightening and polishing of the story. We also hope to bring you a vignette of the VFX work being done. We also have a VFX insert of this boy who plays into our story via one of the German PWs. We’ve cast that individuals and these added pieces will be shot one day working with our VFX folks.

Other Updates –

KNIGHT CHILLS – CDI’s first feature film is getting some resurrection of sorts. A deal is almost done on a specialty “Blu Ray” deal. We’re also looking to bring the film into HD while reconfirming it for TV now days, or not on conforming. I need to have a few discussions. Lastly, the video game development is under way. It will first release as a phone app game and after to game systems and virtual. But I have seen images of the film’s iconic Sir Kallio, the revenge bringing knight, Patron Demi-god of nerds. I also have a great idea for a role playing game version but I’m getting ahead of myself.

We have many things in development from new films to older films getting a second blast into the market. Streaming hardly existed for some of them and so we’ll be working hard to get your old, current and new favorite CDI films to you. I’m going to post a few more stills so refill your coffee cup and join a few of these pages to follow along. My mind is also drifting to eggs and bacon so I will have to attend to that. I hope you all have a great week ahead and don’t forget to be kind. A simple gift you can give that can be passed on. Happy Sunday to you all!

DJ


Kung Fu, Respect and Loyalty. The Tribe Looks Ahead to 2022!

I’m sitting and sipping hazelnut coffee while admiring the Christmas tree from last week’s harvest. I just realized when cleaning out my email messages that I missed a Christmas event/party I had planned to attend. DOH! I’m finally well-rested and attacking my TO DO’s with strength. It took a good part of a week to get caught up on my rest. I got most of the production totes stored and everyday we work hard to tie up the production loose ends from our previous SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA) film shoot. This week will also be full but I hope to get some more winterizing done. Several things in the yard need to get put away for winter. One of the nice refreshing things from last week was spending an afternoon with my dad and meeting my cousin for lunch. We meet so that I can pick up venison which is one of the main meats I eat. I actually made some venison steak chili yesterday that turned out great. My cousin and his boys are avid hunters. I enjoy nature and have hunted but I don’t find enjoyment in it. It is a very lean meat and healthy, something that the midwest hunters have enjoyed forever. 

As we finish all the wrap up business on SNIA we’re prepping for post. One of the production drives have landed with the editor. We have established a production flow between editor and director. Our DP is doing a first batch of stills to help establish the color palette. He’ll be working with our director and editor in finding certain shots. Meanwhile a few VFX pick ups need to be looked at for a really cool sequence in the film. Dennis Therrian is being prepped on the film as he’ll be doing our sound design and composing our film’s score. Some VFX model work will begin soon in Canada with one of our amazing artists. Anyway the course for the film is being set and I’m excited for everyone to start looking at it. 

At CDI we’ve been looking ahead to the future. I’ve been working on the next script for ‘OF SMOKE & MIRRORS‘ my working title on the reworking of the feature script. A short film SMOKE & MIRRORS was finished just as we started filming SNIA. A wonderful commercial piece that we used to do a proof of concept short. I think it does just that- gives a great look at what the full feature will be like. Nathaniel Nose directed the short and he is who we’re eyeing for the feature. The script is the key to everything. This will be a late 2022 or early 2023 shoot from my best estimates. 

WILD FAITH: HASTINGS – For those who have seen the feature film “Wild Faith” you’ve been treated to a story for the whole family. Inspirational without preachy just good lessons from a more simple time. Now we have the first season (8 shows) ready to film. It will be part of several talks I will have in the coming weeks. The key with this is CREATIVE CONTROL. We are being selective at how we finance this property so we don’t have strings that will hamper the integrity of it. It will happen and our perfect timeline would be the second half of 2022. 

The Spring is always an exciting time coming out of winter. We’ll be doing a feature or two this first half of 2022. We’ve been doing a heavy evaluation of properties and some of these will be included in my distribution talks ahead. But I really think I’ve landed on the right property. It will showcase all your favorite CDI troupe in a great story. 

As a side note – this previous news made me think of a recent discussion. The story/script is the most important part of the process. For many filmmakers this is just an afterthought. We need a script and some actors and we’ll get to shoot all this cool stuff. CDI evolved in part because of how poor the scripts/stories were out there. I say this 100% from an actors perspective. That is why I’m always floored by the actors who will emotionally commit before reading a script/story. Anyone can be excited from a good pitch but having that translated to a tightly woven script is another thing. I know many actors who only read their parts and that too is having ‘blinders’ on. I also have told actor friends that you can glean information about their characters sometimes from what other characters say about them. EXAMPLE: You might find out your character has a wife, children or a pet from other character’s dialog. Perhaps gossip reveals that a character previously worked construction before their white collar job, all in the script. The whole story needs to be absorbed from the outside and the inside- internally and externally.

So perhaps a good rule of thumb is A) Evaluate content fully, quietly B) Don’t sign on to anything without reading the entire story and vet the production’s reputation C) Once attached learn the entire story before focusing on just your role’s world/words – important information might exist within the script.

Just my two cents from my experiences. There is a great word EXPERIENCE. 
The great GOOD, BAD and UGLY as I like to call it. The goal is to take this accumulated knowledge (Remember Bruce Lee’s – the best way to learn a technique is to get hit by it) EXPERIENCE and translate it and apply it to your situations allowing it to become WISDOM. Now I’ve had my fill over the recent years from some individuals severely lacking experience in certain areas. Yet that want to present from a point of assured confidence that dances in arrogance. Arrogance usually follows someone who has experienced and learned a little yet thinks it gives them license to talk down to someone. A teacher who forgets that he is also a student will be humbled.

From my associates in business I get many complaints about the youth in several areas. (never their use of technology) But I always point out that most of us who have found some success have done so with the assistance of good mentors. For some that starts with a father but not for everyone. It is those special people who come in your life and help shape you. I have had a handful of these people and I’m happy that I recognized by lack and their gain. I emptied my cup and showed patience, listening and learning. I am fond of the old KUNG FU (David Carradine classic) TV show where all the boys have gathered at the Shaolin Temple. They wait and are being watched. Each day they are asked to go home and as time advances and patience is lost – most leave. In the rain those few who remained seem to have the potential for sincere growth. They are invited into the hospitality chamber and served tea. The unmindful who gives into their urges and drinks immediately are asked to “please go home” – shocked the few get up to leave. One is stopped – “Not you, please sit.” When asked why he did not drink he responds that he was respecting the opportunity. He was waiting to drink- being mindful and appreciative of being there. My soccer player/coach, martial arts lifelong student and teacher and a camp counselor all influence how I live. To the frustrated elders know you can influence and guide the youth. To the youth, empty your cup of your perceived absolutes and learn. The journey is a two way street and the glue that binds it all together is RESPECT and LOYALTY. The latter cannot be taught save by example. Those few who observed loyalty and the benefits of the practice and decide to give in to this practice. It is hard for many to give up selfish ambitions mixed with a lack of patience – it often leads to isolation, frustration and hardship that lasts until mindsets change.

Getting deep, Shaolin Monks, kung fu and drinking cups…What? What?” – Gil Gilles

BEST YEARS GONE has recently finished a second run in Lansing, MI over the Thanksgiving week. We might explore a Detroit area and Grand Rapids showing. Also we’re exploring a few key festivals mainly based on places we would like to visit. I’m in hopes that after my next conversation with our distributor that I’ll have some updated info on our home video release. I’m glad that the films are being met with enjoyment and laughs. I loved one review that likened it to STEP BROTHERS and JOE DIRT which I love Step Brothers but Joe…okay I see it:)

THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer)- is now in season with the passing of Thanksgiving. Our distributor BMG wanted myself and Melissa Anschutz to do a promo inviting folks to subscribe to Encourage TV and watch. We were going to use a few places in Algona, Iowa as the back drop when filming but got too busy. We were going to shoot something at the office by the wood stove but decided we might save that for WILD FAITH promo. We shot in front of the Christmas tree, 3 takes- all funny and DONE. While doing some work last week I did play Forty Nights in the background. It was fun to watch and recall all the shooting we did in the deserts outside Yuma, AZ. Take a watch on all three and make it part of your holiday tradition.

I could rattle on about watching all the CDI films…but I’m sure you will get there in your own time as the nights grow longer and the outside colder. A good night to light a candle or fire and watch a good story unfold. I’ve got some yard clean up and some holiday shopping to do so I’m gonna wrap this up here. It was a pleasure to spend this time with you. Until next week. Be good to one another.

DJ  




Deceleration Into Life From Set Life –

Some of the amazing extras who helped tell our story “Silent Night in Algona”

I’m sitting in MY chair with a hot cup of hazelnut coffee. Outside is my first Michigan snow. For me if it’s going to be cloudy and overcast, give me snow. It’s pretty and brightens everything a tad. Now I know I have friends here from VERY warm places that don’t get snow. Now snow is quite magical and that first one always brings thoughts of those days as a kid and will various pets that made that so special. Catching snowflakes, snowball fights, snow angel and sledding. I have a few stories of drunken skiing with my cousin Jerry including one epic fence-destroying trip to one of the small ski mountains. The key to snow is being prepared. This means layers and layers and mind the gaps. -By that I mean where pant legs and boots meet. Where coat sleeves and gloves meet. Where neck might be exposed and of course a solid winter hat. We learn that as a young child from bus stop stays. This continued to elementary school recess that was always an outdoor adventure of ‘king of the mountain,’ snowball wars and snowy football games. In our secluded ‘Lord of the Flies’ neighborhood even more snow games were abound. Sledding was legendary that included a few ramps/jumps that would make Evel Knievel smiles with pride. The afterglow of our cold adventure was a round of hot chocolate, marshmallows optional. At night the even more fun and dangerous snow mobile pull of the sled around the plowed fields nearby. Kind of like being pulled on a tube behind a boat but the bumps and trees made for quite the challenge. I recall at least one time staying too long in the frigid and having to run my hands under warm water, the ache returning with feeling. I hope for my friends living in the no-snow zones I painted a little picture of living with frozen water.

One of the wonderful farms we filmed on – note the sky.

In Algona while filming “Silent Night in Algona” #SNIAthemovie we saw our actual first snowfall. Iowa and Michigan are alike in many ways but have their differences. We seem to have more variation in our landscapes where Iowa has lots of corn. To their credit I did see some hilly places and the sky there was just amazing. Maybe it is the less pollution or any number of factors but our location photos and our film itself captured these many awesome skies.

This project was ambitious as most of the #tribecdi projects are. I believe you have to reach to grow and so we often pick projects with various elements not easily obtained in independent films. Or with independent budgets might be a better term. Any project that takes us from our home state is more expensive. We found basic logistics to be a challenge and in hindsight a better battle plan can always be seen. The script could have been a touch shorter and we did tighten in a few places. The script was the final version that I had consulted heavily with my friend/co-star and mentor Rance Howard. He was a stickler on the farming techniques and perspective of 1940’s citizens. We went in with a battle plan and a tribe of artists. We spent months casting the “right” actors from around the country. This is a big part of directing and our producers work hard with our director and it showed in this production. But we had a large cast and with flying and lodging this is a major cost also. But the actors that signed on were there for the story. As a screenwriter I’ve never been more proud of all the feedback on the script. It was from 14 years earlier and is not perfect (is any?) and even in my own scene study I found a few ‘subtextual’ issues that I corrected. But we had the pleasure of knowing what was coming from the auditions. Now put those same amazing actors in proper wardrobe, locations and – MAGIC! MOVIE MAGIC!~

The actors were all on point and we captured some incredible cinematic magic. By capturing I mean our amazing crew. At CDI we work hard. Movies are hard. Bad movies are hard to make which is why I always give points for even bad films. Finishing deserves credit. Finishing with quality that passes worldwide QC (quality control) is worthy of kudos. But creating something handcrafted that has the story power to last decades is – a reward that you receive only after audiences have celebrated a story for many years. I think this film will be one of those. We at CDI are shooting for nothing short of a holiday classic. We made our go at that with THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) three biblical stories told together from a unique perspective. These films have been growing an audience for many years and are on their way to becoming a classic. You can watch the three films streaming on many platforms and in many countries.

One of our films that we produced with our former sister company Lionheart was WICKED SPRING. That film now managed by CDI is 20+ years old and is still entertaining audiences. It’s also getting a new release on HD/streaming and is a good example of a film that is a true classic. Unique in its perspective with roses and rocks thrown at it but a story that has kept audiences coming back from the earliest days on VHS and network TV. (I still have a VHS copy from TV with commercials)

WILD FAITH is another film on the way to classic status. We can cement that with the production of the WILD FAITH: Hastings tv series. We are adding the film to the title to help assure our tens of millions in fans can find the upcoming series. I’m looking at back half of the year to produce the 8 shows that make up season one. I will be getting on that business asap once I can get caught up on my SNIA (Silent Night in Algona) business. A few discussions were had but again the #1 thing is that the story is told proper. This project has suffered from bad studio/network notes in the past and has moved past those to become a film loved by many. So we will stay true to our story and find the right partners. If it isn’t broke don’t let others try and fix it. We will get this made and audiences will see some of their favorite 1800’s characters back in action. Giddy up!

LOST HEART versus BIGFOOT, UFO’S & JESUS – this film under both titles is doing really well with audiences. The film is such a charm that it has so many levels and layers of story that really should appeal to most audiences. It was kind of an experiment but so far I think it has been good one. It is another great holiday season watch. It also has some great music in the film from Roanoke and The Cash Collective (John Carter, Ann and their family). Worthy of a watch if you are trying to catch up with some of the CDI films. Melissa Anschutz shines as the lead and Josh Perry shows his dramatic and comedic mastery.

RETURN TO ALGONA-

Melissa Anschutz and Josh Perry are both back in SNIA. They both bring such fascinating characters that will once again inspire. Josh Perry left people in tears with his performance which isn’t a surprise at all. Josh doesn’t wave a “Down syndrome” flag ever but I’m just so damn proud of him. On two occasions I’ve observed individuals with Down syndrome observe Josh and you could see boundaries in their minds fall. Josh ‘The Ponceman’ Perry is a movie star make no mistake about that and these young people saw what they could achieve. Josh is an inspiration by his actions not his activism. Maybe there is a lesson in that.

I had a chance to meet more fans of MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND and I’m so pleased that the film sits so well with veterans. I hope that all of you will take a chance to watch this CDI story told by ‘SNIA‘ director Anthony Hornus. One of the hard drives is being sent to our editor Nathaniel Nose who is also supervising the VFX. Our director is upgrading his computer to allow better footage review. Our DP Dan Chipman is doing some rough assembly to seek out and identify some of the pieces of the story caught on the fly. Also the first batch of photo stills is being drawn out and color corrected to help become a color template for the films final look. We have been rolling out BTS stills captured by many of our cast and crew but the real GOLD is coming.

Also this week I’ll be taking a hard look at the feature projects in development. We plan to shoot a CDI feature this Spring before we roll into pre-production on the WILD FAITH TV series. I started to have some first talks about the next CDI feature which could become plural, features pending a few discussions. I have a few development meetings that will nudge things one way or another. But with both SNIA moving into post as BEST YEARS GONE continues its theatrical (last day today in Lansing at Celebration Cinema) before prepping for home video. Also FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is in final post mixing before we start a release schedule on this documentary. We will have a meeting over this property this coming week. We should be doing a final watch through in a few weeks. From there a premiere will also be discussed. But…not until it is done. And we just might be doing another documentary in 2022. As this year closes a new one lies right over the horizon. This week will be tying up more loose ends on SNIA, planning 2022 schedule, end of year dispersement and tax prep and writing. I love to write when it is cold and snowy and I know I have some days ahead of me. I have several properties/scripts I’ve been working on and a few possible work-for-hires so we’ll see with all of that. We have the Christmas tree up after I donned winter warrior Michigan gear and saw. Today we might add lights and another night the bells and whistles. I might go light a fire in the stove at the fort to finish settling back in. I have totes everywhere as I prepare to stow the gear until our next film adventure. Stay warm and be good to one another!

DJ


‘Best Years Gone’ Thanks you Owosso! Where Next? Other Updates on TribeCDI Projects!

The first sips of the hazelnut coffee taste so good on this chilly Michigan morning. Yesterday the sinus were a bit stuffed due to the weather changes but this morning I’m feeling good. We watched my alumni school Michigan State University put another win up for the season. If only our Lions could start doing the same. Either way, football, hot cider and the harvest has been a great welcome to Fall that is now officially here.

This past week was great for tying up loose ends on BEST YEARS GONE that played Owosso, MI NCG all week. I was able to sneak into a day show on the last day with my dad. It was nice to have no pressure or expectations to meet and greet. It was nice to just relax into the story and just enjoy. The story is well put together with such great comments on the camerawork (DP Travis Hayward) the creative editing (Nathaniel Nose) – the music (Dennis Therrian and all our great guest artists). We know all of this includes the entire crew and cast. I heard lots of compliments on how the film walks the line with strong drama and outrageous comedy. And big kudos to Shane Hagedorn our director who kept the vision and created the fine blend story. NOTE: A BTS of the premiere event is on our IMDB.com page and we’ll go up on our FB page soon. Great job Dan Chipman.

We started with a two show screening premiere and that went great! We’ve been dripping out pics from that night on the BYG Facebook site. What a wonderful night and it was great to see the story on the big screen. The film was granted an extension playing all last week in Owosso, Michigan. Now we are looking at other cities both with NCG and other theatrical chains. We hope to bring it to our home town of Lansing, Michigan. Possibly Grand Rapids and the Detroit area and even Nashville, TN is being considered. This week after the theatrical we made a few adjustments to our mix and we’ll do a final review Weds before uploading the master to our distributor. I’m excited for people around the world to enjoy this story.

Today we are having a meeting for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA to review our schedule and lock that so that cast agreements and flights can be booked. We’re working hard to get all our ducks in a row so that many things are done before our pre-production week on set. Algona is not a big city so we’re working with all the resources we have. The best resource is the people of Algona who are excited to have this story of theirs told, keeping it from being forgotten. This week I’ll do some PR about our product partners and we’ll announce a few more cast. I had a few great conversations with folks this week and that is what is nice about these adventures. I get to see some dear friends that I usually only see when filming. But today is a big day as we lock up the schedule and collectively look for problem/issues in advance. We have some of the best problem solvers working to tell this story so I feel very confident.

WILD FAITH is about to hit 5 million views on Encourage TV taking us even deeper into the tens of millions who have watched the film. I had a few more conversations with parties that could assist in getting the TV series launched. Creative Control has been the main goal for me as I’ve had a few projects derailed by “experts” on what a story needs or doesn’t need. We have several paths we could take to production and as I’ve always said it is not IF it is WHEN. Have you seen WILD FAITH? If not, please do.

MANS BEST FRIEND is playing new TV channels such as Charge TV which seems to be targeted at action and macho films by Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal and DJ Perry, what? I have continued to encounter many more folks who love that film. I’m very proud of the film and the action sequences which are modest. I’ve had several people ask about ‘Paul Landings’ outcome and could there ever be a sequel. You never know and yes, I’ve thought about it. I have a good story in my head but we’ll see about that some other time. I’ve got a full plate.

LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFOs and JESUS – I had the pleasure of hearing from many who saw CDI’s last release under two different titles. I love this film and it always leaves me feeling good. Feeling down or just needing a boost of ‘feel good’ take a watch. Melissa Anschutz commands the screen and folks like Josh Perry turn in performances that will have people talking for years. This is the perfect time of year to watch this film.

THE QUEST TRILOGY – Once we get past the beloved Halloween-fare it will be the holidays. I’m excited to continue the tradition of our trilogy. I again at the recent premiere got to hear from the fans of these films. Many are still learning about them and learning that there are three films in the series. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. See them in order. See them all.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the final polished cut is getting close. This weekend the audio narration was being done. A pre-mix and a final mix and we’ll be ready for a premiere. Maybe just before Christmas but after Thanksgiving for sure.

SMOKE AND MIRRORS – Our short concept film that sprung from a commercial endeavor is completed. We’re in discussions about the various possible premieres for this film using it to also help the historic Dodge Turner House. We are exploring a virtual premiere also but getting together and seeing this on a big screen would be fun. It is roughly 14 minutes so not a long film. A few festivals could be in the future for this short film story. I have been working on the feature script which I’m calling ‘OF SMOKE & MIRRORS’ to add a slight difference between the two.

ODDS & ENDS

This week I got to throw some of my dialog off Curran Jacobs who is playing the lead in our next WW2 film. I’ve been having such a great time emerging myself in the 1940’s and preparing to tell this great story. We also had a great meeting with our director and the VFX supervisor and we identified all the VFX shots or shots that would utilize CGI additions or subtractions.

I had an offer for a lead in a short which I don’t typically consider but offered to look at the script and the details which I asked for. I got a script with no details and had to pry any info out. But to be honest when I saw the email with just the script (poorly formatted) and no information – it was a polite pass. I had another call about engaging as a work-for-hire writer. On the other end of the spectrum from the no detail communication mentioned previously- this email came with a great pitch/breakdown. Success will follow the hard work. One person did the bare minimum and the other had spent some real time in organizing and preparing for their endeavor. I will likely enter negotiations this week for a wonderful writing endeavor that I’ll do over the holidays. I’ve had a handful of these opportunities approach me which is what led me to consider representation. In time I may explore the representation aspect but for now I’m happy to handle the details.

I’m going to bring this to a close. I have a few yard tasks to accomplish and I need to get ready for two groups of folks today. The ‘schedule’ meeting this afternoon and later my brother and few amigos will visit. I think the first fire might have to be lit today. I hope each of you have a wonderful day and good week ahead. I’m excited for all the developments happening and also happy to be enjoying the Fall with the family. This shoot will be the only extended leave I took this year. But it will put us into post-production on another beautiful story. This story is built on the real history of Algona and we’re proud to be telling it.

Be good to one another and coffee cheers!

DJ


Sept 18th ‘Best Years Gone’ Premiere, Pre-Production on ‘Silent Night in Algona’ and more…

I’m sipping my coffee and thinking about what a beautiful week it has been. It has been busy and will continue to be as we move towards the premiere of BEST YEARS GONE (Sept 18th tickets can be bought for that date 6pm and 8:15pm at the Owosso, MI NCG – Come Join the Fun!) and we also keep prepping on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. (Shooting in November) We will explore a few theatrical opportunities with the film but we’re looking at Q1 2022 likely Feb for the streaming/DVD home video release. We have all kinds of important work being done as we look to finish end of this new week. As huge amounts of data is being moved about for credits and thank you’s I also worry a touch. Because almost without fail we miss someone or have a name misspelled. It is the worst part of the final process. And changes are not easy and once delivered near impossible to change. Please know that on the rare occasions where this happens it has never been intentional. I know director Shane Hagedorn is excited as is our composer and sound designer Dennis Therrian. The daily updates are growing with excitement and enthusiasm. We want to bring this story to you. If you want to read the book that the film was adapted from you can google up and purchase “Hope from Heaven” by author Karl Manke.

Last night was special because I got to celebrate the wedding reception of Jackson Kennedy. He is the son of my business partner Jeff Kennedy, who directed several of the early CDI films. He was the young boy in KNIGHT CHILLS (CDI’s 1st feature film). Jackson was only like 3 but a bigger kid more the size of a 5 year old. Later it was discovered he was dealing with some hearing loss. Audiences even back in the day could be cruel with their words in reviews. He never asked for any of that so I’m so happy to see how well he has done in school and life by getting his Masters degree and working for a university and now married. Actually he and his wife Abby married a year ago during Covid and this was the anniversary. They had a wonderful reception for family and friends. For people who don’t know, my partner in CDI Jeff Kennedy, has dealt with severe back issues since before even his work on ‘Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town’ which would be his last CDI film he was directly involved with. It was good to see both he and Juanita so proud of their son Jack. I too was so proud of this young man and what he has become. Looking at him as a grown man illustrates again for me that indeed CDI has been storytelling for 25 years this year!

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA

Here is an interview piece from our scout trip to Algona, Iowa.

This week we’ll announce a few more of the German actors and we’ll also be announcing some of the amazing product partners and sponsors joining us in the telling of this powerful story based on true events. We are starting to put paperwork under our cast and crew. We will also start more intense work with various departments in the coming weeks. The 1st steps towards the production insurance is underway as of Friday. We will need it for locations, picture vehicles and more. Aside from all the business I’ve been working my lines and I’m excited to start reading off a few of my fellow actors.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – We had the pleasure of watching the 1st cut of the documentary on the history of wrestling. It was informative, entertaining and really educates anyone interested or curious about the history of the grappling arts. I’m very proud of the entire team and I think it could be the first of many. Director Curran Jacobs is also the lead actor in our upcoming WW2 film. He previously had roles in WILD FAITH and MBF but this will be his biggest challenge.

SMOKE & MIRROR – Our VFX artists had a few delays but this funny and hauntingly moody short film will be done mid month. I’ve also been working on re-tooling the feature film that were looking to have Nathaniel Nose direct. This will give audiences a good peek at the world we intend to create with the full feature.

WILD FAITH is a branding and I’m considering WILD FAITH: Hastings Season 1 as the more official title for the TV series. The interest is there now we just need to pull all the business together and look to a season 1 shoot likely 2022 if all goes smooth. I might get some artwork underway during this 4th Q of the year.

The window for THE QUEST TRILOGY will kick in after we get past Oct 31st – speaking of that spooky month – BESTSELLER the dark thriller by author Christopher Knight and starring Melissa Anschutz as literary agent Anne Harper will be getting a new campaign soon. I think most of the business has been delivered so I will keep you updated. Also an HD version of THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ is suppose to release in a new campaign. It was our first CDI associated animated film but will not be our last! The new special FX division is in the planning stages and I’m excited by where that can take us. LOST HEART aka BIGFOOT, UFO’S AND JESUS is growing a nice audience and WICKED SPRING HD version is about to get a new release. And we’re also looking at what films in the CDI library could also be introduced to a new larger audience.

I smell the bacon and eggs almost done so I’m going to wrap this up and get a fresh coffee. After breakfast I’m going to go put a mow on the lawn. We are having the mom’s over for a late lunch that will have me manning the grill. I’ve been grilling with hickory chunks vs charcoal and that has been a switch. It burns much faster and hotter it seems. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your extended holiday weekend. Our MSU football team started off the season with a great win Friday night. Now if only the Detroit LIONS can do the same.

Be good to one another and have a great week ahead!

DJ


Screenings, Schedules and Staying Focused!

Welcome to all our new readers from Germany, Uganda, China and several others from around the globe – coffee cheers! Watching the storm approach New Orleans and hoping for the best for whomever stayed behind. We all know of the tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan and Covid is continuing to be an issue in some areas of the country. This humidity has been brutal yet I got the lawn mowed up one day and even had our last soccer match for the season in this heat. I’m ready for wood stove, chili, Lions/MSU football and everything that comes with that. It has been a very active time here at CDI and with me personally but that means good things are happening. Lets look at a few of the top updates-

  1. BEST YEARS GONE – the film is being polished up with some color correction tweaks and a few music beds to be worked in. The tickets are open for anyone to buy for Sept 18th at the NCG Owosso theatre with shows at 6:00 pm and 8:15pm with an afterglow at ROMAS patio starting after the first show and will continue after the second showing. Get your tickets now as they are going fast! No charge for the afterglow/cash bar and we’ll be doing pictures and such so come on down and meet many of the cast and crew.
  2. Also a just finished shooting the music video for ‘Off to the Races‘ the song by Vertical Bridge that will appear in the film as winners of the ‘Battle of the Band’ – we plan to show the music video either before or after the film. It depends on what film footage is used/shown in the video but we’re excited to see this premiere also.
  3. SMOKE & MIRRORS our short concept film is almost done. We had a slight delay in the VFX but I hope to get the finished film so we can look at maybe a small premiere as a fund raiser for the Dodge Turner House we shot at. I’m excited to finish the retooled feature script that we plan to shoot in the near future with Nathaniel Nose directing.
  4. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film about the history of wrestling has a first full cut which we’ll review this week. Once BEST YEARS GONE has moved out of post we’ll move this film in once picture is locked to have an audio mix done on the project.
  5. WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – as the feature film keeps climbing in views via the numerous streaming sites that means good things for the TV spin off series. This coming week I have more meetings over this project. I’m excited about what this could mean for so many cast and crew in the Michigan area. CDI has been building a strong team for a while now and this project could mean some consistent work. Giddy up!
  6. New release campaigns will be underway for a newly up-rez’d THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ, which was CDI’s first animated feature collaboration but I will say it won’t be our last. Also Christopher Knight’s BEST SELLER based on the book of the same name has been delivered and will be rolling out in the near future. This R-rated (language and intense situations) feature is the closest to a Hitchcock like thriller that we’ve produced. I’ll be in talks this week on a few other projects from the CDI library.
  7. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has most of the cast and crew in place minus a few still being discussed. We will be getting ready to go to paperwork this Sept for cast, crew and vendors. Most of our crew is driving in so we can take more equipment and gear. Some flights for west coast folks will be needed so those will be arranged. Wardrobe is starting to gather sizes (don’t lie actors:) * A famous story with my dear departed actor costar Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty who might have fibbed on his waist size. This led to a frantic last minute adjustment on set. We’ll be having some round table discussions with art including guns with our armorer Mr. Robert Bradley. The town of Algona is so appreciative they don’t want CDI to be just coming to work in Algona they want the crew to be their guests. Once you meet the kind people of Iowa you realize why a story like ours actually happened. I’m excited and ready to tell what we hope will become a holiday staple along with your other favorite classics.
  8. We are having some great success with our product partners on our upcoming WW2 Christmas film mentioned above. We have another great brand joining us in our endeavor and their history/story plays into the script in a few places. Stay tune for some announcements and if you have a brand and want to align it with our story please do reach out. Smithfield Foods is our newest joining Lerma Transportation and The Candleberry Co. We are appreciative of all our product partners.
  9. I had a call last week about a film I was approached about a few years back and it seems they have momentum and wanted to resend the script and see if I was still interested in the role. I LOVE that they offered to send a paper script to me. Things always get read faster by me when they come to me in paper form.
  10. KNIGHT CHILLS – I’m just going to set this right here. This was CDI’s first film. It was both a test of ‘could we’ tell a story. We were too ambitious, under experienced, under funded but had a boatload of passion and enthusiasm. This story has stayed with audiences for many of the nostalgic reasons we love it. There is a world at play here and with the surge in fantasy role playing including new D&D movies, it might be the time for SIR KALLIO to arise. If you go and watch Part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY, The Christ Slayer…well watch all 3, imagine that world building applied to Knight Chills. The story exists in two places – the fictional here and now and the fictional inside fictional world of the imagination. This 2nd film is a transitional piece to get us into the world we always wanted to do but were unable to. This second film will be an EVIL DEAD 2 to Evil Dead 1 with the 3rd being the Knight Chills (Army of Darkness) – No. I’m not saying Knight Chills is on par with Evil Dead, I’m just pointing out the story arc. The second brings back some nods to the past and sets up for its future. We’ve had so many people interested in the story and this RESTART not REBOOT will draw some artists into our story on subject matter alone. Just something developing in the dark of the night as the cold wind starts to blow…

I’ve given a good run down of some of the happenings over here at CDI. I’ve been watching my hops which are close to harvest. The rhubarb needs another cut. The chickens are kicking the eggs out. Veggies are ripening weekly and we’ve been storing some tomatoes. The plants are doing well with water but the humid just has it feeling like Jurassic Park around here. And the mosquitos are the true beasts around here. Although the bats are trying to keep them in check there are just so many. I think the mosquito should become the new Michigan bird:) Okay. I hope everyone has a great week ahead. Keep focused on what you can control and don’t let static and noise steal your attention and time. In many endeavors you must believe first. Click on Owosso links BELOW to go to BEST YEARS GONE premiere ticket site or just google it up. See you there.

Coffee Cheers.

DJ


Happy 4th! Crazy 8 Updates (NEW Trailer)

(Gil Gilles and Sylvia say have a Happy 4th and don’t drink light beer!)

Good morning and Happy 4th to you all! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee as the morning started chilly but is suppose to get warm today. This day is about the Independence of the ole USA. A pretty incredible nation has been created but it was messy and not an easy task. The trials and tribulations continue but I will say having traveled many places in the world that we have it good. I didn’t say ‘perfect’ but good is something many of us have been able to build upon. This past week we had some storms bad enough with tornado sightings that many took to their basements. I’ve been studying WW2 for our upcoming Nov film and can’t imagine dealing with air raid warnings and yet many countries still do. The great thing is that anyone can grow up to make a change. That opportunity, not promised but it can be earned, found, imagined. I have to admit to liking the competitive space race amongst the private sectors. Add a dash of national space race and I really think I might get to enjoy space travel in my life time. Instead of just sitting on their earnings they are pioneering and that is exciting. The UFO report was released minus the national security aspects given to congress. That is also promoting much talk and speculation but I think the good thing is that the mystery objects could now provide recognition vs ridicule for scientist.

It has been good to be engaging in family and friend get togethers again. Catching up on missed birthdays and such gatherings. I hope all of you have enjoyed some of these gatherings and better appreciated the company of one another. Our own property has hosted a few gatherings and I enjoy keeping it rustically groomed and harvest the bounty of berries and such found on the property. But the other day after mowing 1/3 the yard the mower and I got caught in one of those downpours of rain. It just did not want to start after that and I tried all kinds of “online” tricks and such. I literally pulled the start cord 300 times trying to get it started. I got a little obsessed followed by #@!#^%$ which had my arm feeling like I had down super sets in the gym with one arm. That morning after a few sips of coffee the challenge set in again. I marched out and with my left arm (fresh and strong) but 50 increasing pulls yanking the rope out of the machine with a roar. Mechanics and technology are not my strong suit. Apparently wrecking shit is. The long short was a decommissioned mower whereas maybe the motor kept for a go-cart but a new mower was ordered. It is sitting here and I’ll be putting that together. It is an electric vs gas after going that direction with my weed whipper. The gas one always had be tinkering vs whipping weeds.

Let’s look at some of the top ten updates from the films here at CDI

  1. Plans might be soon underway to have ASHES OF EDEN joining BESTSELLER with a new BMG Global campaign. This was the first CDI collaboration with Shane Hagedorn who recently directed the upcoming BEST YEARS GONE. Did you see the trailer? Did it grab you? Make you laugh? Join us and follow us here at the FB site and watch the trailer. https://www.facebook.com/Bestyearsgone/videos/942523879863374
  2. More WW2 casting sand crewing choices and we will look to start putting agreements under folks end of July/start of Aug because we have an Aug scout trip to Algona coming together. We met over the agreements because film projects are really a web of interconnecting agreements. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA follow along on Facebook for all the new updates.
  3. BEST YEARS GONE premiere events are forming up and I have theatrical talks in the next couple weeks. We are going to do a badass spectator drag race and outdoor screening of the film SEPT 11th you are getting advanced notice. A theatrical premiere will also happen in Owosso, MI at the NCG and I will let you know on dates soon but it will also be in Sept maybe the 18th, 25th? Not sure yet. Stay tuned! We plan to film and broadcast this all out at a later date like we did with the LOST HEART premiere at the Double JJ Resort.
  4. BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS – A fun title for a fun film that also includes some serious drama. That said, it will leave you feeling uplifted by the time the credits roll. Take a look for yourself because seeing is believing:)
  5. MANS BEST FRIEND the surprise awards at the ICVM were talked about last week but yesterday at a family gathering I was sitting with a just retired motorcycle mechanic. Nearly 7 feet tall (really) and use to be with a biker club and is polite as you get. Often quiet and soft spoken he told me he saw my movie MBF. Now his best friend is his dog who hangs in his garage as he creates and fixes. He said it really got to him and that he thought I did a really excellent job as Paul. I told him while the law might often regard dogs as property, dog owners know better. They are family that make each and everyone of us better. To be frank, that one kind comment letting me know our story had touched his heart was better than any award. The awards do tell me that many have enjoyed our story and been touched enough to recognize it. We are thankful and for those unaware, the next WW2 film in Nov will be directed my MBF director Anthony Hornus. I know once again we will create something special with a small army of artists and supporters.
  6. SMOKE & MIRRORS VFX should be almost complete. I hope to see something final soon. I’ve also been finding some time to work on this feature. After doing the short I broke apart the feature script and I’m reworking it based on some things I saw while filming the short derivative.
  7. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – Some of you know my life long love and practice of the martial arts. Inspired by my education of Catch-Can by Curran Jacobs we set out to trace the origins of the art. And to showcase the branches of the art as it extended into college wrestling and professional wrestling. Also the doc showcases the colorful factions that are reviving the art because of their love of it. Today at 1:00 pm the 1st trailer will be released to the public. It will release on the ‘For the Love of Catch’ Facebook site and Curran Jacobs (our director) social media sites. It will go PUBLIC at 1:00pm is my understanding. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkISvIrv4hU&list=FLDu-wRzCwru4EOPLvW0HClg&index=2 I’m very proud of the work that our team has done on this documentary. So enjoy the sneak peek.
  8. WILD FAITH / HASTINGS – So I watched this film for the first time in a while as I polished up the coverages of the TV series. I was reminded of the beautiful camera work and music and the wonderful world we created with the Murphy family and friends at the heart of it. The TV series brings many of those beloved characters out more while introducing new ones. I’ve set up and had a few great conversations that has brought things closer. I have continued talks this week but I think my goal of having the series green light by the end of the year just might happen.

There you go – your Crazy Eight Updates! I have a new mower to assemble and I’m going to do a few yard things. Okay maybe nap in a hammock. I hope you all continue to have a good time with family and friends. Be thankful for being able to spend time with them again. Relax. Laugh. And after a good rest get back to your tasks with a renewed focus. Just keep walking your path and you just might surprise yourself with how far you travel.

Until next time.

DJ


‘Best Years Gone’ Moves Into Music & Sound – CDI Updates and Sunday Rocking Chair Ponderings

Good morning partners. Hazelnut coffee cheers! We had a good rain last night and everything is becoming lush and green. Later today will be our first flea market visit to see if I can find any treasures. I love to look for personal props for certain characters. I was looking pretty close to ole Ben Lily as we moved forward developing the WILD FAITH Tv series spin off. I have a string of biz calls to do about the 8 show spin off. With our WW2 film a full go we’ve decided that the series HASTINGS will go up after SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. So I’ve had a full shave and a hair cut as I prepare for the next role. We announced two more actors last week with Dean Teaster and Samual Peterson joining the cast.

This week we’ll announce more cast and crew as we move through pre-production. We’ve almost cast our Germans which is so exciting. Just incredible talent and I’m again happy to say that about all our castings. So many exciting announcements that will be forthcoming.

Our holiday window of Thanksgiving to Easter is now complete. It will be fun to see how THE QUEST TRILOGY did with audiences this year. We keep growing our audiences each year and I truly do love getting all the fan mail. CDI will eventually do another trilogy of biblical films. One of the scripts is being studied for future execution and we hope to return to the desert in the near future.

MANS BEST FRIEND is starting its general market roll out. I have to say I loved the previous poster art but this poster captures ‘Paul’ in the eyes. And what a noble pic of Paul’s MBF. I think this film that got caught up in the Covid breakout deserves that renewed push. For a beat everyone was holding on licensing as the whole world adjusted. I’m so happy that it is getting its second wind. I was already getting LOTS of fan mail (NOTE: My silly spell check tried to turn ‘mail’ into ‘tail’ and that reads totally different. I’m happy to say this coming June at NRB the 5 best finalist films under 250k will compete for gold, silver and bronze. Both MBF and LOST HEART are finalists. So having 2 of the 5 nominated films feels good. It makes me proud of our artists and I do take pride in having written those scripts.

‘WRITING’ is a love that I hid for a long time only because I wanted to be seen as an actor first. The actor ME became frustrated at the lack of deep, powerful films. I’m comfortable now being considered a screenwriter along with an actor and ultimately producer. I’ve enjoyed writing short stories as part of my book contributions to this wonderful book series by Callie Smith Grant. (Revell/Baker) Each book focuses on animal relationships and sometimes centers around a holiday. Cats and Christmas is up next and so I’ll polish up my story and see if it makes the grade. The fun fact here is I was approached after WILD FAITH was seen in the theaters. From there I’ve contributed to three books now. The one coming out later this year (09/21) is on dogs. I like dogs:)

This morning as the rain storm passed, our team on the documentary ‘For the Love of Catch‘ hit the road. This is for the last filming segment of the doc. We’re set up to start editing and dialog clean up immediately after. They have been getting some great interviews from the world of grappling to discuss what they love about it. We’ll be doing a PR release and talking more about this in the coming weeks. It is being directed by our own Catch-Can World Champion Curran Jacobs. Big congrats to Dan Chipman and his mobile production home for capturing some amazing interviews. Adam Towner has been signed on to edit and work post. Stay tuned!

LOST HEART has been just playing so well to the family/faith audiences but as pointed out by fans, the film is so much more. Hence the upcoming general market release, but we’ll wait until I have more to report. But let’s address that term? market? We are all storytellers.

At CDI we don’t make “faith” films – but create stories with strong character development. In ANY story character development is king. And knowing the ‘faith’ of the character is the seed. Some seek faith, lack faith or try to hold onto faith. Maybe they lost all faith in mankind, themselves or their path to God. All these characters come from a different place. Those carrying status in religion might struggle with their faith while the downtrodden might live in appreciative faith. I have many ask about religion which has helped to build great civilizations but unfortunately usually is tied to conflict and war. I also think that someone’s seeking to understand divinity is a personal and private relationship, unique to each person. In my opinion it also doesn’t require any fancy study, conversion, certification, validation etc…to me DIVINE is a constant like gravity. Only mankind’s understanding changes but anyone actively seeking DIVINE is getting closer and closer to THEIR truth of understanding the constant. Many of my deep pondering are reflected in ‘The Quest Trilogy,’ historical fiction examining overlooked events or perspectives to try and gain a new insight.

A nice example in Forty Nights is the showing ‘Jesus’ working to put the words of the heart on the tongue. Some watchers following along with their scripture wait to jump on the words and claim their superiority in finding supposed flaws. The purpose was to show human flaw in Jesus. That mighty things like LOVE are hard to put into the perfect words. The purpose was to show the journey to those final words. It still makes me chuckle when I see people upset about John and Jesus seemingly not knowing each other….the post baptism conversation and later flashbacks between John and Jesus obviously showing a pre-existing relationship. The baptism was a ritual passing of the torch but their casual talk away from the masses was meant to show they knew one another well.

Later in the desert, we see Jesus struggling to find the perfect way to teach what he knows. Some of the greatest minds in certain fields cannot teach what they know. Being a teacher is not easy because you have to paint a picture to enlightenment for another persons imagination and intelligence to grasp onto. Those three films are full of contemplative gems and many have discovered some personal truth by watching them. For some they just miss the point – I like the Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon I think) scene whereas Bruce tells a student not to just focus on the pointing finger alone or you’ll miss all that heavenly glory. I think the old saying of ‘the Devils in the details’ is another funny way to say this. Some people are so worried at hoping to increase their “religious” status by winning some ‘Bible Jeopardy’ that they miss the lesson of the parable all together.

And so scholars continue to debate and the facts alter and change as new “experts” appear. Science and Religion have more in common then they think and to me it’s fascinating that they don’t always co-exist well. Anyway, I think that the trilogy was my “Noah. I want you to build an ark.” moment. You want to know my feelings – watch the films. I tried to connect the dots in a way that made sense to people who cannot truthfully function on blind faith alone. You will find a deep sincere reverence that permeates all three stories. The trilogy conjures all the right emotions and feelings because in the medium of film it’s show me versus tell me where you can. It’s when the story rises beyond just show and tell to actually allow one to FEEL the story. It’s an art. I’ve gone on a while here. I could and have filled books with my thoughts on these matters. But your relationship with divine or choice to not interact or accept is deeply personal. I like to speak with the stories to those still seeking their personal truth and maybe help clarify aspects of things for those who feel to have found divinity yet still seek to fully understand it. I have a suspicion that only on our final walk will we fully understand.

Okay let’s shift gears!

BEST YEARS GONE – based upon the wonderful and quirky writing of Karl Manke in his book ” Hope from Heaven” (You can buy it:) comes the story of unconditional love, dreams gone awry and generational communication issues. We now have the film after a wonderful edit by Nathaniel Nose (Dir./Editor The Christ Slayer) and has now landed at Dennis Therrian’s studio. We’ve had two post sessions so far and what a lift to the spirits. While this film will have all the trademark emotional beats it truly marks what I feel to be a big step comedically. It is for me for certain. Now growing up I thought I was going to be a stand up comedian with strong observational humor like George Carlin. In my personal life I would say I have a healthy sense of humor maybe too much. (I have been known to pull a prank or two) I have to say I had such a wonderful time filming this. It was the adventure that unfolded in the Covid storm and we were appreciative to have all our precautions rewarded with a safe journey. Now we’re into talking music and the dialog is also popping better than ever due to innovative software, gear and the growing experience of our sound team. The deal with BMG is signed. Next week we’ll start feeding them marketing deliverables. Poster art will be underway as we deliver choice screen captures. Additionally the first official trailer is being cut and so maybe end of May we can rock that out.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS!!!! It is still underway and we are getting some KICK ASS music submissions. Keep them coming and you just might end up in this film. We’ve really enjoyed listening to all the great original music. Kudos to all of you. Keep on rocking!

I want to get back on path with my writing. I want to finish my new SMOKE & MIRRORS feature script. You’ll get to enjoy the short film likely this fall. I saw some of the VFX work and I’m smiling. My SciFi script is another goal to at least get my first draft. The 1st season of HASTINGS is being edited for missed commas and such. I think we had a nice chat and I gave you all a good update on the films. In short – it has been busy. But I’ve also been getting some great moments observing the new hens in our “chicken land” enclosure. Some major wood chopping against a few mighty logs that I swear were made of iron. I will soon bottle up some of the berry wine that has been aging. We recently toasted off Best Years Gone will some lilac wine aged several years. It was enjoyed by all. Amazing what the natural world has to offer. Until we speak next week. Be good to one another.

DJ