Happy Sunday! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and happy that we did not get hit by that huge east coast storm. It went under us meaning we got the cold and a few snow flakes but not 20+ inches of snow. This past week flew by with me attacking the gathering of info for our accounting firm. This coming week the 1099’s will go out and I’ve been prepping things for end of year taxes also. We had one day this week we chose as “Viking Thursday” to cut firewood. We actually damaged the axes breaking one handle and losing the head on another. That means I’m in Axe fix mode this week but we got the job done using sledge hammers, wedges and a splitting ring. A splitting ring is a device that you place the log inside resting on a blade and hammer it down to split it. That day we worked was bitter but we got enough split for the next week or two.
The next CDI feature film is looking to be HOT ROD LOVE. The script is getting some amazing feedback and this week I’ll be breaking down more of the business aspects. We are looking at trying to hit an April/May shoot in Michigan. We’ll be announcing more on this property as we go. Now wait, didn’t CDI just do a race theme film? Yes. But that was circle track racing and this is drag racing. The CDI Race Trilogy? Haha, not really, maybe. The film is a comedy with some nice life lessons attached but it could be our biggest comedy to date.
BREAKING NEWS! So BEST YEARS GONE is prepping for its home video premiere run in June-Sept and in the meantime we’ll keep playing some theaters and also a few select film events. I will say that I’m not a fan of virtual events but with all these festivals going remote one thing stands out to me. Often the filmmakers that show up at the event and smoke have a better chance of winning because the fest gets a good acceptance speech (sometimes). So to me the one positive is that the films are really being evaluated on the content vs the political ‘schmooze’ factor. Our director Shane Hagedorn submitted us to a few select festivals. We announced that we had our first official acceptance into –
We found our yesterday that we were nominated for the following categories and actually won a few award. I’m so proud of this film and the cast and crew involved. First the SCREENPLAY was Nominated as one of the best. I appreciate this nomination greatly as I love writing and believe it is the foundation of every great film. Without a good battle plan you don’t have a real chance. I also think that having such strong source material from Karl Manke (book Hope From Heaven) also helped.
I feel our entire cast could have been nominated for the rich roles they brought to the story but this organization nominated three actors for awards. Melissa Anschutz and Randy Spence for BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS and ACTOR. It is only due to all these supporting performances especially by my costar Erika Hoveland that allowed me to be nominated and actually win BEST ACTOR for my work as ‘Gil Gilles’. But that’s not all-
As we all know the technical people behind the scenes help create and capture the world/story. I again believe that many of the crew were nomination worthy but Mr. Travis Hayward was nominated and WON for BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY. And finally, my favorite nomination and WIN…
This award represents the TRIBE! We all made this picture what it is and again I’m just so proud of our cast and crew and excited for the world audience to see this film. Here is a great statement from our director Shane Hagedorn. But first a quote from a legend.
What we do come up with has no special right to call itself better. It’s just different. No, if there’s any excuse for us at all, it’s that we’re simply following the old American tradition of the maverick”.
And from our director-
“I am thrilled for our cast and crew on these major wins and nominations from Maverick Movie Awards. Although we filmed through the height of the pandemic of 2020, our tribe of artists and crafts folk banded together to create something unique and special–all the while overcoming many obstacles while doing so. Thanks to the team at Maverick for recognizing our art and best efforts”.
Our release dates can be found on our IMDB.com page and updates are flowing out to our FB page also. I also want to take a moment to give congrats to my fellow local filmmaker/actor Michael McCallum, who was also nominated in the shorts division for ‘Best Actor’ and I believe had a few other nominations between two (?) shorts they had represented. I’m not 100% sure on all the nominations but I wanted to tip my hat. Two filmmaker groups from Lansing, Michigan getting noticed in London, England, nice.
Let me see if I can do a bullet point of some of the weeks activities-
- More “Silent Night in Algona” stills are being released on FB and soon (Feb) we’ll release a BTS video. Editing is underway with a first cut expected by mid-March.
- “SMOKE & MIRRORS” the short proof of concept short cut from the feature script is uploaded to film freeway and a few choice festivals will be chosen for this steampunk, spooky short starring David Gries and Melissa Anschutz.
- We are moving closer to a deal on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, our doc on the history of grappling/wrestling directed by our own Curran Jacobs.
- A verbal agreement has been made on moving forward with an app video game based on CDI’s first feature film from the 90’s KNIGHT CHILLS. The film is a cautionary tale about bullying woven into the awesome realm of role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. Paperwork will follow this week.
- Look on Facebook ENCOURAGE TV for my buddy Josh “Ponceman” Perry promoting BIGFOOT, UFO’S & JESUS. If you haven’t seen the film you should. It is a fun romp and ‘Chip’ Josh Perry is a show stealer. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=4724060584352381&id=124174114296086&ref=sharing&_rdr
- In the wake of THE QUEST TRILOGY push that will continue through Easter has brought up discussions on a couple other possible films set in the time of sand and sandals. These films come from a unique perspective different from most biblical adventures. So even if organized religion is not your thing, you might enjoy these three films which purposely shoot in a ‘Star Wars‘ original trilogy style.
- WILD FAITH and the developing WILD FAITH: Hastings TV series are growing stronger. As millions view the feature each year, enjoy the storytelling, the eight show series is getting closer. Now as people are getting back to work I hope to move some major pieces on the chessboard with this TV series.
- BESTSELLER is finally getting the home video release it deserves. I cannot wait to see the new artwork and such. It goes to digital rental I believe same day as BEST YEARS GONE (Sept 1st, 2022) This script is adapted from the book of the same name written by Michigan’s own Christopher Wright.
- I hope to do a follow up meeting soon to see what the evaluation of some of the old CDI library films yields at BMG. Some would need to be uprezed and conformed but that would be cool to see! Are you hoping for any one film in particular to come to the market in HD?
- WICKED SPRING is being introduced to new audiences and old audiences are getting to stream the film in HD. I want to try and do some collectors merchandise on this film in 2022. I’m thinking about a collectors poster. If you enjoy merchandise we have several items up from various films at the http://www.cdiproductions.com site.
I’m going to wrap this up and get on some bacon and eggs. Our chickens are doing well even with the frigid cold they are still kicking out eggs. I might look into my axe situation. This week ahead will be productive. I’m doing some more writing and have two other potential script writing projects. I do enjoy that writing time especially when it is freezing outdoors. If I missed anything – forgive me. This week I wish you all well and remember to have patience and be good to one another.
A very good morning to all of you – hazelnut cheers to our new readers from Australia, Philippines, Ireland and more. I’m sitting and feeling – relief, joy, accomplishment…I’m still trying to capture that feeling. Last night was pretty crazy cool. Weds we went to the NCG and set levels for the film and the pre-showing videos which comprised of “For the Love of Catch” movie trailer and the music video for ‘Off to the Races’ featuring Vertical Bridge. In the past I’ve had some events that I primed up well for- one example that jumps into my mind is David Borowicz and I in Burbank, CA before WILD FAITH played the theater. He said let’s stop here and have ONE beer. It was the home of the 1 yard beers so that really started things off relaxed. I went into the premiere stone sober and first the first trailer started playing without the visual. They restarted it and it played great. The music video started way loud and then they turned it too low and finally brought volume back up. The aspect ratio on the feature was off slightly so bottom credits were being cut off. But they quickly readjusted. Visual, audio, aspect ratio- they had moved us to a larger theaters and the adjustments from Weds were not applied. My limited-tech self was wishing I had that yard sized beer in advance. The audience didn’t notice but we did and the second 8:15 show got the much better adjusted showing and this week the showings should be much more dialed in. But the interest and numbers for the showing resulted in us getting our run extended for the week! The kick off gremlins tried to mess with the showing but instead ended up having an amber ale with us after and they liked the film:)
I also enjoyed talking with Karl Manke the book author. The book is called HOPE FROM HEAVEN. It is an interesting feeling when you write a script and it is turned into a film passing by the director and the actors. It has to be another experience to have your book turned to a screenplay turned into a movie. Either way I think he enjoyed the experience but as a writer I know sometimes in your imagination you have it painted differently. But for me it is always a pleasure seeing the words brought to life. We will know this week if NCG is bringing it to other cities in Michigan. We have a few other chains we are in talks with and our goal is to get it to you. It is planned for roughly a Feb 2022 DVD/streaming release with our distributor. We are going out on the distributors general market main stream label. The film checks many of the boxes for a good inspirational story but the hardcore faith buyers seemingly don’t always like to see too ‘real’ of situations. The ‘Brady Bunch’ level crisis is usually what they like to focus on but that is slowly changing. Audiences loved the characters, the humor, the music (Dennis Therrian) and the edit (Nathaniel Nose) – I am going to sneak into a day show this week. Likely 2:45 show and home by dinner:)
This week we’ll be looking to see what could be done with SMOKE & MIRRORS the short we did off a commercial shoot for an audio software company Izotope. It is a precursor to a feature film we want to film from one of my scripts of the same name. We might do a steampunk happy hour fund raiser for the historic house or something online. We will have a few creative pow wows over this but however you see it will be entertaining.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is moving hard. The crew started getting agreements although our prep dates might fall back by a day. The office and AD staff are working on the set schedule which includes what we call a day-of-days that tells us actor start dates, work dates and final date so we can properly book flights and hotels. Transportation in will be a bit harder as all the close airports are small and limited flights. We are driving in with the prep team so we can bring more gear and such with us. The chill in the air this morning whispered “Wait until November.” – DOH! So this week we’re are back at it and with a more singular focus now that several projects have been concluded.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is a feature length documentary produced by CDI in association with the Red, White and Blue Project Inc. a military focused non-profit. We’ll be locking up picture soon and sweetening the sound before we premiere this fine piece of work.
I’m not going to go on much about development this week but we are always in the state of development. Several possible projects are building and growing closer to a production green light. More doors are opening weekly that we are evaluating and looking to see if they make sense and match with our schedule. So please do make the time to go see BEST YEARTS GONE on the big screen and take a friend or two. If you have seen it take a moment to share your thoughts with a review on IMDB.com
We are going to go hit the flea market down the road and look for a few WW2 era props for the November shoot. We might have to get a few pumpkins and maybe even apple cider. I finished the hop harvest and we’ve still been waiting on some of the veggies late maturing like eggplant and Brussel sprouts. Wood cutting with Viking Thursdays might start soon. The days are still getting warm but morning and nights are getting chilly. Good sleeping weather when the window is open.
I also will tell you that some great merchandise made its first appearance at the premiere and will be for sale soon online. Best Years Gone official handkerchief that people really loved featuring a few of the favorite tag-lines from the film. Also Gil Gilles approved lighters, papers, grinders and beverage cozies one with a built in opener. Fun stuff and the start of many as we start to develop the CDI merchandise line. Some ‘For the Love of Catch’ merchandise might also be on deck. Wicked Spring lunch box? maybe:) We also want to start featuring artists and carry their artwork on consignment. I LOVE seeing other artists succeed through hard work. Many expect things to just happen. I am part of a few social media filmmaker groups and I see so many unrealistic expectations. Also folks who wrote something and just think it will get funded if they just post a few messages. I called. Set meetings. Cold pitches in studio boardrooms. Many meetings where many turned up zero but eventually the right fit. But it never dropped in my lap. Do opportunities drop in my lap now? Yes. But that is after many years of struggle. So I just feel like I’m reaping the rewards of seeds planted long ago. So I’m saying even in this digital age you might have to get off your computer/phone, out of your comfort zone and go after it with a well thought out written out plan of attack. Or you can go back to social media funding where 95% of those endeavors fail to fund and if you want larger budgets that takes trust. So go build that trust and make your dreams happen. It also allows you to be pro-active versus passive which is where many like to dwell. But passive usually doesn’t prosper like pro-active.
Off to refill the coffee cup! Great job MSU! Have a great week and thank you to the full house who attended the premiere kick off last night. It was really nice to meet some of you and we’re all glad as the artists that we could give you an enjoyable night. The sign for me was that my face hurt from smiling and laughing and so I’m gonna take that as a good thing.
Good morning – hazelnut cheers!
I want to welcome our new readers from the Netherlands, Brazil and Austria! It was a busy yet productive week. I wanted to start with a cool giveaway on the new book that I’m a contributor on. I want to once again thank Callie Smith Grant for allowing me to participate. This book has a fun story dealing with our queen ‘Lulu’ and I hope you all will check out this and the many other stories.
RETAILERS carrying the book!
Barnes & Noble –
Baker Book House –
LOST HEART – We had several great meetings over this next CDI film. We have something unique planned. We’re excited that it got approved by our distributor BMG. Now the planning will start in earnest this week with a planned CAST & CREW premiere. This one will be different but such is the way and I think it will be fun for everyone. October will be a big month! We’re also exploring several drive-in’s and theaters to play the film.
We’ll be wrapping up the last few delivery pieces and the short BTS promo will be assembled this week perhaps to share next. We are also looking at a few merchandise options so fans can support the film.
BEST YEARS GONE – Our development here is full speed ahead with sponsors and camera tests on deck. We’re about to comb through the script and see what scenes can be pulled off the main schedule and shot. This includes a few VFX shots and sequences that might need or benefit from added attention. I will say that as my ‘Gil’ as a character, is coming along nicely. I cannot wait to share him. We are still looking at end of Oct pre-prod and shoot in November.
The cast of ‘Smoke & Mirrors’
SMOKE & MIRRORS – David Gries stars in this short film that is a precursor to the feature. We’ll have a locked picture this week and music discussions with Dennis Therrian have begun. We plan to develop this into a full feature. The short was shot by Jesse Aragon and he’ll be color correcting it. We also hope to have something to show in October.
Wild Faith has been seen by millions of viewers and the powerful story has created an interest to see this continue. The groundwork is being laid to shoot a season 1 (8 shows) all set in the Wild Faith world. The TV show is currently titled ‘Hastings’ and may shoot in 2021. If you have not seen the film please do. It is inspired by of course ‘Little House’ but also the old Disney movies like “The Apple Dumpling Gang” which is reflected in the humorous moments.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – After filming the trilogy I kept my full Jesus garb save the sandals which were borrowed. When I was looking at character shirts for our new film at the thrift shop I found the same make of sandals in my size. Heaven sent or good luck? But I think my Jesus days are done save if a film was ever done about a return. I think we have some other great biblical tales if we want to return top that genre. I’m excited to see the new trailer for the trilogy which will launch likely in October. Did I say Oct might be a busy month?
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Our event/theatrical/festival showing of this film was hampered by the virus. We will continue to seek a few events to play the film at even into 2021. But the response to the film has been great. We just need to get more visibility for it so if you watched it and enjoyed the story, share it. I was asked recently if I had any plans to play Paul Landings again and the answer is not right now but never say never.
We are about to go walk another flea market. I have grilling to do later today along with a few yard tasks. I’m happy to report that I got both the batch of AUTUMN ALE and the ROTHGA (Return of the Hoppy Grape Ape) started. They started fermenting yesterday and so the fall will have a nice harvest. I was sad that last week I posted a picture of the MSU Spartan helmet and later that day the BIG 10 cancelled their football season. That leaves the LIONS as our only hope. Come on LIONS!
The garden is growing now with fall cold weather plants in which include beets, carrots, beans and more. I’ve been doing some caulking in the office getting ready for winter and to help keep even more heat inside. Soon the wood stove will be kicking again. Viking Thursdays with wood cutting will also begin in a few weeks. I’m going to leave all this here. Time to fill the coffee cup and get some oatmeal. I hope you all have a great week ahead. Be kind to one another!
It is a chilly and wet morning here in Lansing, Michigan. It’s been a crazy balance of film and life as we move out of summer. I’ve had a string of fix-it projects with our roof, car brakes, wisdom teeth removal and my computer. Note: I did none of those things directly. The computer hard drive failed and had to be replaced. I was starting to reload files from external drives when luckily the company was able to retrieve the old data. I do have to reload my script writing software which was due for an upgrade. Add on the fact that we’re re-doing a bathroom and that adds up to a good deal of domestic work. We also added a pair of oak book shelves last week that up-ended everything in the house for two days but now looks wonderful.
We’re working on a small narrative book video next week and that will be fun. We stepped out this week and supported Shane Hagedorn in another acting role in the Detroit area. It’s nice to see filmmakers developing and growing in their art. We met some nice people and had an enjoyable time.
Speaking of premiere showings we have one coming on the 14th of Sept in Owosso, MI for MAN’S BEST FRIEND. Tickets go up for sale the 4th or 5th on the NCG Owosso website. Keep up with the MBF facebook page as we’ll be updating there. It is open to the public and we’ll be having my co-stars Don Most, Garry Nation, Tim Abell and David Reardon in attendance. So if you want to see a powerful film about our wounded vets and adoption dogs – come join us.
WILD FAITH is finding an audience out there. This past week I had several people come up and tell me how much they enjoyed Wild Faith with a few having watched the movie multiple times. Next up a group of us will be traveling to AZ to attend the Wild Bunch film festival. Once we are booked we are going to invite our Yuma, AZ family and see if any want to come visit.
My dentist this past week was all smiles after he and his daughter enjoyed watching part 3 of The Quest Trilogy – The Christ Slayer. He shared some of the insights she took from the film. She GOT IT! Because she watched all three films. The movies can be watched as a stand alone but they are meant to be watched all together. So one of our goals this holiday season will be to let people know that the films are all part of a trilogy. I’ve also decided that I will be writing another biblical era film. I have one on deck now but the cost has put it a step beyond my means. But that could change as we expand our circles.
We don’t USE people – We DEVELOP people. I go into every media relationship wanting the same long time relationship I share with several of our #TRIBECDI – Composer and sound designer Dennis Therrian is a good example, he and I go back to about 1997. In media now I hear about how ‘fluid’ people are and hardly keep a job beyond three years. Many are people who cannot deal with any conflict and need to be right all the time. Add to this that our industry is naturally fluid – in it’s flow…(Planning) few folks – (Shooting) army – (Post Work) few folks.
A freelancer has to make more good choices vs bad choices in a year or they will fail. This industry is based 100% on referrals if you’re amongst the wise. We as Indies have a small margin of error due to budget constraints. If you as cast or crew are doing what you love and YOU see the effort by production to give cast and crew a good ride while working to make a quality story. You should be supportive and loyal to the nth degree because it’s rare. For you under 25 folks you will realize. Many of you from your ‘Office Space’ cubical. Yeah… Don’t let your ego sink you. Before I sling arrows let me admit my biggest WEAKNESS. It has always been that I care about people. I truly do. I recognize that dreamer fire burning in some people. And I’ve seen people who’s willpower cannot match their dreams – let me translate LAZY.
I can see people’s success and fail potential. I see those battles of willpower when the dream becomes hard. Almost impossible until – it happens. I’ve bet on people that they could escape their self sabotage and live their better self. I’ve won more than I’ve lost but I’ve surely lost. The TRIBE works in a very tribal way thanks likely to my CDI partner Jeff Kennedy’s anthropology courses. If you aren’t pulling your weight your peers know. They see the lack of focus. They see the attitude and that person will find themselves pushed to the outer rim. I also will state that CDI is a tribe of artists that live on the alpha end of the spectrum. They are savage in their hunger for success as an artist.
I can tell you as an older lion that surviving in this industry long term is a badge to itself. That said, I love to develop appreciate, hungry and extremely talented artists. When you take away the environment for drama and BS, which is a trap for all groups of humans gathering, these artists potential shines even more. Making great art inside a shit-storm is a hard go. You have to control your artistic studio, workshop, world, set. Do this and watch your project get even stronger. The energy when a crew believes…when they see the world, is amazing.
I offered a script to one of our crew guys on ‘Lost Heart’…NOTE: I like my crew to know the story they are creating. Cast or crew I just would have to know what I’m selling hours of my life to. Okay…but he said he was enjoying piecing it together each day. This ‘interest’ in the art from the crew is what helps to elevates the final story.
If you prove yourself to be untrustworthy, undependable, unfocused, unprepared – you get my point. The crew will often work around you rather than with you. If your drama overly seeps into the set, they might ignore but they remember. See again as a martial artists, I see the hot set as a dojo. I mentally bow when I enter and I bow to my fellow cast and crew. We all stop our own time from ACTION to CUT and live those moments together that is the STORY. That is some intimate shit. And some artsy sounding shit at that. But it’s true.
Back to the topic, I’ve been doing this walk a good long time. I want this to keep creating and so I’m not looking for friends or social peeps, BFF’s or any of that. I’m looking for select artists whereas the Tribe see’s them as a good asset. I can say that of the cards that people have brought to the CDI table over the years to play, the best card was always loyalty. You work to create an inspiring place for artists to develop projects void of time-wasting, energy-stealing drama. That is the goal. How successful were we? We’ll let the projects tell that story as I believe the end product has a lot to do with that production energy. It absorbs into the story just like seasons when you shoot. An October movie always has a strong haunting and introspective vibe. Again that saying, Making great art within a shit-storm is a hard go.
I’ve been working hard to develop people because I think I knew where we were heading. I see the on-going slate of films peppered with a few TV series. That takes talent, dedication and organization. Again, praise to all the good stuff happening in our state. Back in the day there was Lynn Drzick (West Side) and Mike Kallio (East Side) and a shot gun smattering of filmmakers in Michigan. Working to TV stations at nights trying to complete films shot on FILM. Okay. I see movies on Vikings, Detroit Hustle, Firefighters, Sex Trafficking, Body Swappers…all in our state of Michigan. Very cool!
I’m going to slide out of here and get with my day. Be good to one another. Thank you for letting me ramble over coffee. I hope to see some of you Sept 14th in Owosso, MI at the MAN’S BEST FRIEND premiere showings. I’ve heard good things about the theater tests but I’m waiting to be surprised myself. Coffee cheers!
Have a great Labor Day weekend.
Welcome December! The hazelnut coffee is flowing as I reflect on my week. Of course we have been straightening the ship after our ASHES OF EDEN voyage. One last paycheck gone astray in the mail, photo releases and a few last signatures on paperwork. A few communications with distributors letting them know our status. This project is working its way into post-production and I expect a finished film around May 1st, 2013.
I’ve been unpacking and finishing the new office. My soccer buddy Brian was over to help with wiring and finishing some insulation. Maybe some work today – all that is very close to being complete. It will be a great place to plot and plan future endeavors.
Either last night or today (time zone) the film “Benjamin” that I co-starred and produced on will play in Egypt at Cairo’s International Film Festival following its sold out showing at the Big Apple Festival in NYC. I hope the audience connects with it. It has a beautiful message in it.
There are new trailers forthcoming for “Darkest Night,” “Locked in a Room,” and ” Donors” and the 1st two have distribution domestically and will be coming to audiences in 2013!
“Book of Ruth” is finding new Holiday outlets like Meijer stores and I believe Wal-Mart. We also are about set to roll into pre-prod on two more biblical era films. One that I likely will play a kind-hearted lead and the other a ruthless military general. Needless to say I’m excited about that.
Dean Teaster’s next film “Long Road Home” set for 2013 is also closing in on financing having already gotten a distribution deal.
TV deals on two of my films is about complete. We need to clone the masters. Stay tuned for the press release on this. The CDI Distribution Sales Team should be up and fully operational in 2013 here. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the library getting out there to even more audiences as our network becomes larger.
I had the immense joy of talking to a director on one of our CDI associated projects who was approving national artwork. He had such kind words basically saying that I saw a potential that he did not at the time. I wanted things ran professional because we would get distribution. And we did. And a good company as well.
Distribution is the path to success because it is a mass media but if the masses don’t see it – it fades away. That is the one thing we can assure with our products now and many cannot achieve that. I’m excited as audiences get to watch the collective work of the artists involved.
I’m proud to say “Deadly Renovations” will be coming to all my Viking friends via Eventity Entertainment on VOD so be on the look out and CHEERS!
Actually many talks underway on distribution and of course development. I’m working to wrap the year up into a nice little bow. Enjoy your new year ahead.