New readers from Canada, UK, Belgium and Hong Kong – welcome! I’m sitting here with my hazelnut coffee after a very busy week. It’s March 1st and that is bringing us closer to our next project BEST YEARS GONE. The big news last week is that Shane Hagedorn will be directing. His last collaboration with CDI with him in the director’s chair was ASHES OF EDEN. Take a watch on the film on Amazon Prime if you get a chance.
This week we’ll be locking in more cast and crew and announcing some of those on board. I will say once again that when I have a new project to cast one of the first things I do is look over every previous actor and crew member. Many assume that I don’t consider previous artists when a project is announced as I get many of the random catch up communications. If an artist wasn’t an issue to production they are considered. If they did cause any issues, they are considered and likely passed on. This is a good thing to remember when you are on set. When I’m a guest I always try to bring what I need to take care of myself and my needs. I might politely inquire about something but again be a sail never an anchor.
We are a group of producer actors which means that some of the Tribe CDI folks will be ‘becoming’ in front of the camera. We will also have some new talents joining us and I promise you a funny, moving and entertaining story. So this week we’ll be announcing a few new artists joining us on this journey. You can follow BEST YEARS GONE on –
LOST HEART –
The most exciting news with Lost Heart was the release of the 1st official trailer. The film is funny and touching and has topics and themes that we can all relate to. I think this film will be well received and I’m so proud of all the artists involved. Take a few watches on the trailer and pass it along. We deliver to our distributor on June 1st and we should have release dates soon thereafter. We are having it looked at for theatrical but also looking at some exclusive VOD licensing. We plan to have screenings it the Whitehall area, Nashville and LA. Stay tuned and follow our Facebook and IMDB page.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend
This powerful film is touching lives and impacting how people view TBI and other issues suffered by our military veterans. It also shows the positive effect that service dogs can have upon our wounded warriors. We’ll know more about events and festivals that we’ll present at. If you have not seen this film take a watch by purchasing a DVD or stream it from one of the many streaming sites. We might get some updated news this week! I am looking for any interviews or such regarding this film. I think it has very important issues at the heart of the story.
THE QUEST TRILOGY
Chasing the Star
The Christ Slayer
Please take a watch on all three films in our trilogy! On Amazon and other participating retailers and platforms.
I see there is talk of the tax credits again. I’m all for it but I hope this time they put the focus on long time residents of Michigan. Maybe a film fund that awards filmmakers X amount of money to make a film. (4) 250k films a year. I’ll be curious to see what they come up with. We participating in one film under the rebate and it was a cluster#@#%@ so I’m not a big fan of the pre-existing program. So if TAKE 2 comes about I hope they grow from within vs just draw to attract outside films.
I saw the cover of the new book I participated in with Revell publishing. It is a tale of one of our cats and the adventure she had. I’m about to submit another story about dogs and Christmas that will be about our old dog Luke who passed.
Business tax season is about over just have to pay it all off. I have my second 1099 to forward after someone had an old address on their agreement. All things that you keep doing in your trek to move ahead.
We have several new tasks ahead for the week and I’m excited to attack them. I might work a touch on that next book story for a few before getting some things done around the house. I hope you all have a great week full of productive work. March lets get it on!
Good morning everyone. I first want to start my wishing my mother a Happy Birthday! She has always been supportive of the journey I’m on with storytelling via film. She is spending time with her significant other and we’ll have a nice dinner when I return from filming LOST HEART. My brother and wife are overseas on a wonderful vacation to Ireland. Tomorrow is my father’s Birthday and we just had a nice dinner with him. I gifted him a 1 gal beer making set. I do beer and wine 5 gal at a time and often share it with family, friends and film amigos. He can get the experience of what I do but on a small scale. I’m lucky to still have both my parents with me on this life journey. A few close friends have lost their loved ones recently and my thoughts are with them.
My dad to my right and Johnny Demarco on my left
So I’ve been pre-packing all week so that I can travel north for a month producing and performing in LOST HEART, our next CDI film. We’ve been announcing new talent coming on board and still have a few to announce. Here is the amazingly talented singer/actress Taylor Dupuis and I guess I can say the same about Victoria Jackson. Many will remember her from her Saturday Night Live run and the slew of TV/films that followed. They both play wonderful parts in this comedy drama.
Once this is completed I will have a week of rest and to set post in motion before a week-long vacation up in the UP of Michigan. We will be taking the dogs so they can have a few adventures also. My young furry boy Finn has been my shadow, especially during the fireworks. I know he will do well as the little man of the house.
WILD FAITH is now out on all formats digital and DVD. I’m told that in the fall it looks like it will do an exclusive run on one of the Subscription VOD platforms. If you do watch the film and enjoy it please do leave a review at the site be it Amazon, Wal-Mart, BestBuy or wherever you purchased plus on http://www.imdb.com – All this is in hopes that we’ll be doing a sequel script or on-going TV series. Thank you to all of you that have reached out to tell me how much you enjoyed the story. Keep the word of mouth going as I think the film message is needed in this day and age.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Ahead of us in the first season whereas all three films are released and can be seen together. It is meant to be watched as FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. I’ve noted that some people who watched only part 2 where slightly confused because they had not seen part 1. It is a trilogy whereas the angels and devil create a story thread throughout the three films. Many films do not examine what the events do/did to the angelic folk. They are great adventure stories that can be enjoyed anytime of year. Treat yourself to the watch. I know Amazon has all three but can be found on many platforms.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – This powerful film will start rolling out into select theaters with myCinema in August. Home video in the fall. I know we’ve been very focused on the other CDI films but I think this movie might surprise and grab audiences. Wounded military vets and adoption dogs are the main themes. I will say that this role scared me at first. That doesn’t happen very often but when it does that is a good sign. I play a wounded Marine Paul Landings. While I’ve played other soldiers in films, many of them are from past wars like the Civil War. I know this film was made with a lot of help from military vets and I wanted to represent them well. I think I did and I’m so proud of the work all the artists did on this film. We will be planning a premiere in the town where we filmed. It will most likely be in late August or early September when we host the premiere. I should also start to have theater dates from around the country.
NEXT Sunday my blog update will be from up North as we prepare to capture the LOST HEART story. Thank you all for following along and I will be sharing some great pics in the coming weeks. You can follow the LOST HEART facebook page or http://www.cdiproductions.com landing page for LOST HEART.
Have a great week ahead and be good to one another.
Welcome Poland, France and Australia. They’ve been following the blog and even readers are now hailing from China. I’m excited that so many artistic individuals are finding a community around ‘Clawing my way to the Middle’ blog. I’ve just gotten back in from running around including visiting my mom which has been fighting a cold. Actually many around me have been sick from my sister-in-law, niece, nephew and the list goes on. A party for my step-sister who just became a doctor MD was shortened due to illness. I just try to keep moving past it all and so far (knock on wood) only slight sniffle or cough first thing in the morning and fine after that. No soccer today because of Mother’s Day. I’m going to get to see an old friend of mine who flew in today but only because his mom is sick. So I’m going to finish this up and I think go till the garden. This week we worked on finishing the flashing and chimney cap on the office/fort plus some wood trim in the bath. It has been somewhat cold and wet the last few weeks but sunshine is on the way this week. I hope those of you able to- shared a few moments with your mothers or took time out to think about them. Let’s look at some of the week updates.
The big news on this front was the winning of ‘Most Inspirational’ at the ICFF in Orlando, FL. This is a great nod to all the cast and crew and as storytellers we could not ask for more. If you’ve seen the film and it did indeed inspire you in some way please do go to http://www.imdb.com (40 Nights/Forty Nights) Vote and leave your own story. I do know that foreign sales lie ahead.
Chasing the Star
This film has just concluded the last run in Michigan (For now) at the Celebration Cinema in Grand Rapids, MI so thank you very much! We’ll be discussing taking the film out of state prior to the Sept 5th national release on DVD/streaming/VOD with Bridgestone. We’ll be announcing the new DVD artwork soon that BMG developed.
The Christ Slayer
Editing continues as we close in on a rough cut. As I’ve noted before we’ll be working on the poster and first trailer.
The sound design and dialog clean up continues. I hope to meet this week over the poster art.
Development – I’ve been writing and working hard on setting the slate for the upcoming CDI projects. I’ve also been pondering what acting role I might enjoy next. I’m also in talks on a few possible work-for-hire writing endeavors. I’m always open to discussions on writing, acting and such. Just please make sure you’re funded:) I feel like I had a topic I wanted to discuss but for some reason I can’t recall it. I’m remember it half way through tilling the garden up.
Be good to one another and have a great day and week ahead!
So one of those inspiring movies to me growing up was the original CONAN the barbarian. I also would love to do a fantasy movie – sword and sorcery at some point. But first, Arnold, I read his bio from his soccer playing teen years into body building – to America…pretty inspiring. Also the film had edge and lessons seemed to be buried in there. (The Riddle of Steel) Add one of my favorite musical scores of all time by Basil, and you have a classic film.
As young filmmakers we loved the barbaric wisdom spewed – CRUSH YOUR ENEMY, SEE THEM DRIVEN BEFORE YOU, HEAR THE LAMENTATIONS OF DA WOMAN.
Who was the enemy? Hollywood? The Man? Corporate Studio? The struggle is fun when you’re climbing. Many get stuck in the mud and frustration builds. As the middle age filmmaker to the young filmmakers out there – look within. See your enemy – YOU, your lack of confidence, your insecurities, your jealously, your frustration – DRIVE IT BEFORE YOU – do not let it rule you, blind you, corrupt you and bring out your worst traits. Now I’m not sure how the last part fits in:) If you rid yourself of your worst character flaws I don’t think anyone will lament that.
This week was full and I felt a touch behind all week despite paddling as hard as I could. Sometimes you have to let the current take you. Let me see if I can hit upon some of the weekly highlights.
KNIGHT CHILLS book/film deal is done. Also they are on board with the idea to participate in the sequel film. It is very close to having a first draft I’ve just been pulled in various directions.
AN ORDINARY KILLER – We’re about to do a high quality run of this film that has been newly remastered. I was prepping it for 2016 VOD release and likely BluRay. New ART WORK is done.
WICKED SPRING is also heading the same direction. I picked a different direction for the film which delayed our new release a bit.
FIGURE IN THE FOREST will be the Dec. 17th film showing at our artist mixer at Sanctuary Spirits in Grand Ledge, MI. We have an event page just opened today. We have a good time watching some of the older films and talking about the challenges we faced at that time.
Release dates nationally
DONORS (Feb 2nd)
ASHES OF EDEN (April 1st UplifTV, Parables TV) April 5th national)
BESTSELLER (May 3rd)
This week I’ve had a couple scripts to get through and another is on the way. I often have to use my writing time to read so my writing progress slows slightly.
40 NIGHTS – The film should have the VFX and intro in this week. We watched the entire film with the dialog and sound design work done. It was moving and I love how nature plays so strongly into the film. The music is underway and soon we’ll start color correction.
CHASING THE STAR – We’re organizing the business entity. We’ve got our first official script that will start to be sent around this week. Our revised schedule is done and this will help me finish what I need to do. Casting has been in full swing. We announced Logan and Anthony (Tony) as part of our cast this week. I’m excited to bring together this group of artists.
WASTELAND released Part 1 for FREE! WASTELAND: Tales from the Desert, Pt. 1 is now online and we’re giving away five official WASTELAND posters in honor of it! Just share this post and you’re automatically entered to win! https://vimeo.com/146707702
This work while only taking up a few lines of text has been a boatload. But when I see a finished project it always makes the climb worth it. We’ve got a final Thanksgiving like dinner with family up North. After that the early Christmas gatherings start. So in between the family gatherings it is work, work, work but soon…we will be toasting another finished film. It is time to get into some hot soup and prepare to watch MSU win their big game tonight. Go GREEN! Go WHITE! Spartans to WAR!
Hello my friends out there. I’m writing this on Friday night to release around midnight because tomorrow is busy. We’re having the 2nd of basically three Thanksgivings or family gatherings. I’m not a huge fan of the history of the day but that is neither here nor there – the day has become one to gather with loved ones and be thankful. I can get behind that and so I’ve been enjoying some family time. I’ve been sneaking business in on these off days. Let’s see what we’ve been up to…
The producers decided to make Part 1 of the story FREE. Wrap your face to protect from the harsh sands and enter the WASTELAND!
“Knight Chills” deal was signed and so book cover/film artwork will begin. I also got some time to write on the sequel. We’ve had some cool talks with a few keys involved in this sequel.
Once we get this going we will look at “From Venus” to see what can be done there. We just have so much more technology at ours hands now. Some of these earlier films did not have all the bells and whistles we wanted. It will be fun to revisit some of these worlds.
The national release dates we are hearing –
“Donors” – Feb 2nd, 2016
“Bestseller” – May 3rd, 2016
“Ashes of Eden” has a new street date pushed in light of a TV deal. That announcement I’m told will release from distributor on Tuesday.
A few development talks on our next project with Jesse Low. We’ll be announcing something on that maybe around Christmas. It will shoot in 2016.
The foundation of the “house” (film) “Chasing the Star” is about to be set. I had to get some paperwork around this past week. It is much easier to focus on paperwork when it is cold and wet outside. Coffee (David Hayes) and I just TCB’d. That is an Elvis saying that I take to heart. Taking Care of Business. I try.
Had good negotiations on a script that’s being re-optioned. I got half way through one script I was reading. I started the book I was sent to look over for a film role. Aside from reading others work I’m closing in fast on a first draft of “I can’t tell you yet” but the 3rd script in the QUEST trilogy.
The 1st film “40 Nights” is about to be all pulled together. The intro, VFX, sound, music – all the elements. The last two steps will be color correct and final mix to 5.1 surround. We released a teaser about a week ago. This was a small test snippet after already releasing the official trailer. Check it out on the “40 Nights” Facebook site and JOIN US:) Everyone is excited to see this film as a finished project.
We’ve also been digitizing the CDI library. Many of the films were stored on tapes of various types. One had to have some fixing. Thank you Scott! We have offers extended on more TV play so we’ll be presenting for 2016. Some of the films are getting a great repackaging – VOD did not exist when some of these films released. Also some have not had a BluRay release yet. So lots of fun stuff with the earlier films. We still have lots of people watching “Darkest Night,” “7 Stones” and many others. Thank you for reaching out.
“Bestseller” is getting ready to release early December in Grayling, Michigan. I’m working on Kalamazoo and Detroit area still. We’ll keep playing it leading up to the national release. The film plays great on the big screen. I also can say that “Bestseller” was the film that cemented the upcoming “C.U.J.O.” role. Is that a hint? I don’t think so. Maybe?
Lastly, in 2016 we’re going to try and launch an online store, theater and such. CDI will keep evolving and working on collective developments:)
Have a great weekend. I hope my alumni school MSU has another good week on the grid. Our Lions made us proud on Thanksgiving – great job!
Be good to one another out there.
The first snow of mention kissed the ground last night. It’s beautiful and welcome at least for a while. The harvest was finished yesterday with the pulling of the beets. A final mulch and mow and stowing the last of the yard items until spring. This morning has been all coffee (BREAKING update) I may have a new coffee sponsor – stay tuned. Speaking of sponsors, this morning has been wonderful with coffee and The Candleberry Candle Company! They have been a personal sponsor for a few years helping me find my mindspace to work on scripts. My zen to keep patience when dealing with accounting and BS technology issues. OK. Let’s be honest on that front. 98% of my technology issues are with my technological issues. From my earliest days of friends playing with the video camera – my buddy Darrel was always the camera guy. He could get the camera to roll back to the right VHS frame. We didn’t have editing back in the day. We shot one take in order. Boom box on set was our music. Those days were fun and free. Of course being young without the daily adult issues was more free. I cherish those days beyond words. I’ve worked hard to establish a worth in our business and I can’t just play. It reduces value and being part of something “bad” (maybe still fun) can make you go backwards. I’ve got management pushing me up into the larger films. I’ve got a few studios that have taken an interest in developing my branding. I still have fun when playing on set now – it just has to make sense business-wise.
I had a funny message a few weeks ago but I was too busy to really even address it. It was from a filmmaker whom I had heard all good things about. Previously they had expressed to a mutual associate that they wanted to get a script in my hands. It was in the thriller/horror genre as I recall. With good recommendations behind them I even thought a future collaboration might be possible. I have a few horror scripts with interested distribution and foreign sales waiting. It has to be the right director and the project just is not front and center right now in development. They were working on a script and we inquired about bringing to the table scripts that made business-sense because business was there. I recall the idea being just lukewarm. Lot’s of people have their own scripts to do but if distributors/retailers don’t want it why shoot it? So fast forward and coming from Yuma shooting “40 Nights” I recall getting a script and reading it at the airport. It wasn’t bad as I recall just not anything I was into doing. Maybe I needed time away from playing Jesus before heading into the dark side again? But whatever reason – it was a pass. Now under some odd screen name I got contacted and scolded for talking SHI$% about their script and making a Jesus film. OK. They wanted to twist a dagger with a “So and so also just made the same Jesus film…” 🙂 First, you have not seen our film. Second, that is like saying, “someone else made a film about a haunted house” – okay. I’ve had rocks thrown at me for years and I’m okay with that. It is a badge of honor and respect – some of my celebrity friends have all confirmed – when hate starts you’re getting success. Now, when I got around to reading this message I wasn’t mad. To me, I saw a frustrated artist who took my rejection of a role as a rejection of his art. Not true. I almost reached out because if he is a good artist this kind of negativity leads to career death. I can say that because I’ve seen it. That was the funny thing about our screening of “An Ordinary Killer” last week. A perfect movie? No. Art is subjective. It did sell out 12 of 13 theatricals, USA/Australia distribution and played on ABC. We made that film 13 years ago. WOW! And that was our 5th CDI feature and the library is much larger now. The point is I want people to succeed but by good business and hard work. No shortcuts and half-ass business. People who know me will say that I give you an honest opinion. I’ve had lots of experiences in our business and while I learn something new daily – I’ve gathered a good amount of knowledge.
RESPECT. I’ve given it and had several good advisors and mentors.
IF YOU GIVE IT – you too can learn, grow and thrive.
That one communication was just a good example of how not to build bridges. You get feedback and you get defensive – that shuts down any respectful communication. Do I practice what I preach?
CHASING THE STAR – On Friday Bret Miller, our director and I, concluded a three-hour plus script meeting. I’m happy to say we have draft 2 with the directors input. We moved a few scenes for pacing and flow and he had a few ideas that we put in there. Our distributors had purchased a suit and we were giving it a tailor. It is exciting and so that will start to go out next week.
On casting we’ve been looking at several reels – most on the west coast because we’re limited on flights. We also fly in several of our keys because that is just as important. They are stars on the other side of the camera. Funny. In Michigan I hear complaints when films come in and bring their keys. I will once again get back at them by bringing some of our Michigan keys. I can’t bring everyone and that is a hard balance. But once again some of us will depart Michigan in Feb for Arizona. Maybe that is why I can enjoy the snow.
40 Nights – This week my goal is to pull in the intro sequence and VFX. Sound design is closing up and our director loved the direction. The music score is also coming together. We released a teaser that used a snippet of music.
We’ve been re-mastered the CDI library in prep of some new VOD, foreign, TV deals and a possible CDI Online store. The book/DVD deal on “Knight Chills” is signed and some PR will release on that.
I thought some PR from our distributor was coming out on the “Ashes of Eden” TV deal. Something for next week! Closed caption deal on “Donors” releasing Feb 02. “Bestseller” is playing Grayling, MI Dec. 10th look for a new event page and updates. The national release date on “Bestseller” might be March 02 but we’re trying to confirm. I will confirm that artwork is being done and I’m looking forward to that.
Script, script, scripts… – I signed an NDA and had a book sent to me that will be followed by the script. A studio I’m working with sent me a script that they want me to star in. Also another couple of projects to consider/talk about – one is a TV show reboot and the other a major film on par with C.U.J.O.. That project is moving forward and looks to shoot in 2016. I will say more when I can.
Let’s wrap this up. I’m going to watch MSU and maybe read a script.
Enjoy your weekend!
I love this sandstorm picture. The last few weeks I’ve been working on the follow up film in our biblical series with Lightworx Entertainment. It will be announced in some official development PR soon. The script is called “Chasing the Star” (working title).
Casting has been on-going and I have to say I’ve seen some great talent from around the world. This film is gearing up for an early 2016 shoot.
Staying on the topic of development – it’s an exciting and challenging time. I know what follows the casting, financing, scheduling and development work – PRODUCTION. (Battle Drums) I really take these opportunities serious. A successful project brings continued prosperity for all those involved. It’s a team of people making their artistic mark within set business parameters. If you don’t agree our “tribe” is not for you.
We’ve had exploratory talks (J.M.) that yielded good financial news. This week we’ve had several productive talks with certain keys on some of our upcoming projects. These films have their worldwide distribution deals in place. It’s a new experience working with the distribution studios in advance but I like it. It means no shopping required after the fact which increases production flow. With a good deal that means less financing effort and with worldwide rights pre-assigned – it means moving into development on something new sooner.
I’ve had representation of many types from small local agents to Hollywood big 3. I’ve had managers from many different walks – all with their own ideas of how to promote. Many wanted to mold or change you – following some trend. I think most artists fight to be understood and respected in our business. RULE #1 for someone representing – that is they have to believe in what they are selling. You NEED someone who really GETS YOU. Are you a character actor? A lead? Do they understand why you say YES or NO to a gig? Many agencies are shotgunning talent aiming for anything and everything. I recall years ago when starting out, I asked Bruce Campbell at a sit down with director buddy Mike Kallio, “Any advice on finding a GOOD agent?” to which he responded “Good agent? Good luck with that one kid.” I think he meant finding a good agent was like finding Bigfoot. At another dinner I asked actress Lana Wood the same question. “I’m still looking honey” was her response. I’m saying, if you find that person who believes in you treat that like gold. How many actors would be lured by the grass being greener seduced by bigger agents or opportunities? Be loyal if it’s working. Col. Parker, Peter Grant and others played a large part in the overall success. Art and Business.
She recently had my work put before a well known director. I was presented exactly as I should be and without any BS spin. I think in our faced-paced world just getting someone to stop long enough to see your talent is half the battle.
I will be working to get the release dates on “Donors,” “Bestseller” and “The Terrorist” . “Ashes of Eden” is gearing up for the 13th of October US release. I think we might have a theatrical ASHES OF EDEN re-run just before the DVD/VOD release. Stay tuned.
“40 Nights” is now undergoing dialog polishing. VFX work is underway and sound design/music on deck.
I’m very proud of the last three CDI associated films cast and crew. The Michigan reputation has gotten better with west coast executives but the truth is we have been seen as backwoods. Hey, I love the outdoor association to backwoods. We have our pines, birches, oaks – Michigan is full of breathtaking nature. I’m told, We’re Southern Canadians in many ways. They believe that in Canada because it helps soften the blow when the Red Wings kick on them.
Back to the backwoods and how that relates to the former incentives – let’s be truthful, our cast and crew got fed mostly scraps. There exists exceptions and if you’re an exception – GREAT! Only love. But for most – the jobs offered were much below their true skill level.
The State of the State Now
I think we’ve got great talent in Michigan. We produce good players but often bad teams. I think the competitive in-state nature doesn’t always allow the best collaborations.
– To bring this full circle
Kudos to the crews from the previous three CDI features. But if I’m going to do that I can go all the way back to CDI film one. We’ve always taken filmmaking serious. I knew what Hollywood thought of us even then. We often get labeled as inferior but I know we’re NOT inferior. But to say that isn’t the best way. To show them now that’s the way. I’m pleased by what I’ve seen in the wake of the film incentive death. Some cried and left and others are finding their grit again. As the eye of TMZ moves away from Michigan, so does the vast amount of people wishing to be celebrities versus those working to have their art revealed.
I’ve been filled with compliments recently by “Hollywood” insiders on not only the final product but our dependability. That is something that is such a secret to success. If you cannot keep a timely/on-budget production or post a film within a timely turn around -you’ll likely NEVER make it in a studio system where production funds are granted. They are investing into dependability that a marketing team can work with in unison.
CDI – The Brand
We’ve built a BRAND (Collective Development) that represents diversity, quality and dependability. And we’ve been able to do that because we hire people who take great pride in their work. Hire people who are truly talented, accept accountability and maintains a professional respect amongst peers. I’m just very proud because all these films are built largely upon the Michigan talent pool.
DO IT. DO IT RIGHT.
WE WILL ALL WEAR THE FAME OR SHAME OF OUR UNITED ACTIONS
BE THE CHANGE YOU DESIRE
DARE TO BE FAIR
SAY NO VERSUS GO IF THE SHIP AIN’T TIGHT
ONE STATE TO RULE THEM ALL (Sounds Lord of the Rings)
A STATE OF WINNING (Okay this fun exchange just went Charlie Sheen on me – I’m out-E)
Have a great weekend everyone. HOPS are almost ripe. Maybe time for a warm up cup of coffee.
Another beautiful Michigan Saturday seems a great way to top off a productive week. The last couple days have been much cooler (Good for grilling/smoker) and brings to mind thoughts of fall football. Go MSU. Go Lions. That said, I will try to recap some of the past week updates.
“Ashes of Eden” may get a few more theatrical showings prior to the October 13th national release. I’m very proud of this film and the folks who participated in it. Shane Hagedorn and I have had many development talks as of late. I have a sit down with him this week and a new course may be plotted. Hold tight:)
“Bestseller” – we are in talks on some other theatrical locations but more importantly we signed a domestic US/Canada deal. These are the deals that get the film to your Wal-Mart brick and mortar retailers and to your Netflix and VOD rental sites. The movie will also be available through Mr. Chris Knight’s (Johnathan Rands) Michigan Chiller Thriller store. We will be looking at a few sales to foreign territories also as we more forward.
“40 Nights” has been a wonderful experience. We released our 1st official trailer which was exciting. Just to give people a first look and from all the feedback it has been well received. I know everyone worked very hard in the desert of Yuma, AZ to make that film happen. I’ve had communications of support start to come in from all over the world. I’ll say again, the film is so much more – versus what you see in the trailer. The talent involved on both sides of the camera really brought it and it shows. I was reviewing our most recent cut of the film which had also been sent to our distributor. I was waiting to see what they had thought about the naked film. (No music/sound) They had loved the trailer and so now we had to see if they also…AH! satisfaction! They loved it.
I’m excited by the growing buzz over the film. Having multiple watches of the film under me I can say, I’m very happy with our translation from script to the big screen. I was so inspired by the responses that my writing on our follow-up biblical film (“Chasing the Star”) is close to having a first draft.
We are working some FX/credits and this week we plan to finalize the edit. From there it move to full music and sound design. Other business surrounding this film is moving right ahead – like licensing. This is now moving forward with a deal- our distributor will manage these licensing rights. What would you like to see with 40 Nights branding? T-Shirt? Lunch Box? I can see this on a coffee cup.
So, I let you blog faithful in on my writing progress with my new “Chasing the Star” script. I will say that we’ve also been working development on a western film. First step – the schedule and budget, both are almost done. We’ve also done some location scouting. We’re getting ready to launch a few new CDI film projects and I’m ready. Are you?
“Donors” is working DVD artwork with the new distributor for the national release. I’m still waiting to hear something on “Dead Quiet” as I know the haunting season is approaching.
We are also finishing up a CDI Commercial project for use in Washington DC. We do take on select commercial projects so feel free to reach out if you have a budget and want professional work.
I also want to welcome CDI Associated directors Anthony Hornus (Standing Post/Outside the Wire) and Tom Norton (7 Stones) for recently joining the ranks of Jeff Kennedy (Figure in the Forest) and Kevin Hershberger (Wicked Spring) on the Parables Network.
This week I had some great in-depth conversations with several business associates. I love that many of the talks I have are also framed by discussions of life. The journey has to have meaning and the business needs to evolve. This week was a mix of highly focused computer work on the hot humid days and a smooth mix of yard work and business talks on the fall-like cool days. As I work all this business I have started to look ahead to characters and roles. Some projects are finishing and so new ones must begin.
I hope each of you are enjoying your summer. I hope you are spending time with some loved ones.
I’m on my TAKE 2 with hazelnut coffee. Went about this morning and one of the things I’m most happy with is that I bought an antique, cast-iron, wood burning stove for the office. It will not go in right away because I have a few other tasks to complete. Home improvements just seem to be an ongoing thing. We also ended up stopping by to visit my brother and niece. He referred us to a Vietnamese place to eat lunch. It was really good so, if you’re in the Lansing area. (Nola Bistro)
So in the extreme heat we have going on I decided I needed to BLOG all of you before carrying this wood stove out to the office. I might just ramble this week as I’ve got much to download. So Tuesday was the first day of our Lansing run of BESTSELLER. It was nice to have a few close family and friends see the film on the big screen. Each showing has had an audience that gets the opportunity to see it in this format. We will move the film to a few other venues but the more important development is the domestic US/Canada deal that we will likely accept. It will play great on home video/VOD for the masses but IF you can see it big screen you really should. It will play tonight at 6:45 and 10:45 in Lansing at the Celebration Cinema. Here is the promo video from our 1st public showing. It was put together by Dan Chipman who has worked with us on a few projects now.
DONORS film announced that it had signed for domestic US/Canada with Jax Distribution.
ASHES OF EDEN closed caption work is being finalized and I can’t wait for worldwide audiences to get their look after Oct. 13th, 2015.
40 NIGHTS – The 1st official trailer is DONE. The distributor is very excited to have this preview to introduce the project to worldwide buyers. All the people given a sneak peek really enjoyed the film. As a matter of fact financial commitments on the next couple films started to come in off just these sneak peeks. It is great to note that while I think the trailer is powerful the film itself is much greater. This is not one of those films that everything good was thrown into the trailer to lure people. This film trailer gives a taste of the journey ahead but the final film will be so worth the wait. PR will be done to introduce the trailer next week. Here is a screen grab from the trailer. ENJOY
Promotion of street dates (Ashes), theatrical release and domestic set up (Bestseller) and post-production work (40 Nights) – add a little commercial work and we’ve been busy.
Development has been full speed ahead. I’ve been planning between now and mid 2016. The script for a western is about ready and scheduling, casting, location scouting, budget refining and more has been underway. I will say that it is shooting in Michigan. No, we didn’t move to Georgia and the state can keep their incentive. (Yes. I know they killed it) I did an informal cast call (Two African-American actresses) last week in my blog. But that didn’t bring the acting reels out. Those casting duties will be addressed in good time.
The Winter/Spring 2016 film will be “Chasing the Star” and script work is moving right along. It is looking like it will also film in Yuma, AZ area. This is the 2nd film in the three picture deal that we have with Lightworx Entertainment.
I’ve had talks over a few films but unless the right role/project hits me – I have enough work to keep me very busy. KNIGHT CHILLS 2 is something that might also get done over the winter.
I could go on about more but I have a pair of apple trees to plant and a wood stove to haul. I’m very encouraged as I look from here and project five years into the future. The films we will make and the new audiences we will distribute to. I was so happy to have peers and mentors give such powerful reviews of both the “Bestseller” feature and the “40 Nights” trailer. I look forward to releasing the first official trailer to all of you. I also have the directors cut of the full “40 Nights” feature to review. I will be watching that very soon. (Thank you Jesse & Jon)
Have a great weekend!
HOT TOPICS – INSIGHTS
OK! I have my hazelnut coffee beside me as I work on a few business items. I think it’s good to first say thank you to all our military folks who allow us all the freedoms we enjoy. While we are far from perfect as a society here in the USA we do strive to better ourselves. I personally did not elect to be a politician and so my personal feelings on certain subjects are just opinions. I did choose to be a storyteller. Be you – Right wing, left-wing, wing nut, black, white, yellow, brown or purple – I want to entertain and enlighten you via motion pictures. I recall late last year getting fan mail from Egypt following one of our films playing the Cairo Film Fest. I got fan mail a few weeks ago from India over another film. I really love people’s cultures, traditions, foods and art. I think we are in a time whereas people are boldly putting mortal agendas onto divine heresy. Words are symbols combined to convey meaning. I see communication breakdowns passing a few instructions down the film production line. Imagine various levels of educations, multiple languages, lacking the right word to describe something, unable to describe something and the humanistic urge to put their own agenda and spin on something. Now multiple this by hundreds or thousands of years and things get very blurry.
I would say preach whatever religion or outlook you wish. Shall and Shall Nots. But nowhere does anyone mortal have the anointed position to make judgement spiritually. People flock together to feel more confident in their own choices and decisions. Numbers don’t make one right. And each person may be judged (if you want to subscribe there) individually. But not by anything or anyone here – not in matters of soul, spirit or divine essence. If people would let people live and stand accountable in the end for their own actions – all would be better. Concern yourself with yourself, I say. The Golden Rule is beautiful because you don’t know if you are right. You can tell yourself that. You can quote from text that may or may not be accurate. But in the end IF you believe in judgement – what if you are wrong? What if a half-dozen people different from you in their beliefs are brought forth and asked if they would vouch for you as worthy. Did you give kindness, compassion and love to these and other people? Or did you pass hate, intolerance and judgement upon people. That feels like a power best left to scales held on a much greater divine level. When I see those who stand in high judgement I see the coming of their fall. When I hear talk so crazy or hate-filled – I imagine what great displeasure of someone who puts words into others mouth. People may await the return of a savior but from what I see – people should not be so excited by this unless God is grading on a curve. And those who think they have the cheat sheet created by authors – edited a thousand times – and hand selected for digestion again by Wise? Men? Be careful!
THE CLOAK THAT COVERS THE SPARK
The color of our skin is but the traveling cloak. Perhaps our body itself just the bio-organic clothes we wear over our individual sparks. I see how a spark within us could be created in the image of a greater – more vast powerful divine spark. Stripped of EVERYTHING mortal how are our sparks different from one another? Ponder that. I’ve often thought that while so many sit and await some return of a savior perhaps the people themselves have the power over when that someone will return, reveal or make oneself known. Should mankind evolve to a higher state where they are truly ready – maybe someone will step forth. It could happen:)
SYMBOLS – GOOD, BAD & UGLY
I have also done a Civil War movie in Virginia (Wicked Spring) and spent much time in the beautiful South. I was also born in the North, in equally beautiful Michigan. While I will be the first to say I’ve seen shunning and disparaging talks about people wearing different traveling cloaks everywhere. I’ve always been quick to step up on these conversations if in earshot. Some Brits talking about Indians. (From India) Indians (From India) talking about darker skin Indians. Japanese talking about the Chinese. Whites about blacks. Canadians about the Detroit Red Wings. Seriously – all shaped by our experiences with one another. Be that good experience. I can say with all truth that in my travels IF people labeled me as an AMERICAN – I left them with a good impression of how we can be. FREEDOM TO BE. Just because we have the freedom to exercise something it is up to us to question should we. Where does the motivation lie? Pride, Shock, To Hurt, To Isolate, To Associate? Take a sensitive issue like FLAGS. What are flags? Symbols. These mean different things to different people. The cross. A dove. Crossbones with a skull. Symbols meant to rally, inspire, unify and identify. I keep hearing the comparison to the Nazi flag. The symbol on their flag was used first in Neolithic times. It has different meaning to the Chinese or the Indians. WW2 left dark meanings on a symbol that for thousands of years meant lucky. The beholder will see what they see. Today is a day that we celebrate the stars and stripes. I say it represents the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY. We as represented by that flag – have done remarkable, shameful and unthinkable things. But UNITED WE STAND. Our goal is to add more GOOD to our list of accomplishments. Can we ever erase the BAD or UGLY? No. But the ratio can be off set by adding additional GOOD deeds. We are also a country of freedom that purposely limits censorship. The need for “Censorship” to me often shows a lack of faith in select individuals to make good choices. AND while those groups may be partial correct – (We make bad choices as humans all the time) – to error allows one to grow. You will fall learning to walk. We allow much free will in America and constantly try to adjust our compass. Politics and special interest of those who hoard of shells and beads (currency which = symbols on paper or metals) this will make change slow but it will change. For better? For worse? Flags can mean PRIDE or HATE. Flags can get a reaction of PRIDE or HATE. The stars and stripes do not bring tears of pride to inhabitants of a far-away village accidentally bombed in some drone attack. The stars and stripes proudly flew on the moon. A flag can be the good, the bad and the ugly. It often is all three.
Finally! I know some of you are saying that. I usually take a step back on all those current issues but had many people ask my views. I had to ponder them for a while. Meanwhile in the film world GREAT things are happening.
We announced our new Parables TV licensing for “7 Stones,” “Outside the Wire,” and “Standing Post” – congrats to those cast and crews.
ASHES OF EDEN Oct. 13th worldwide release and how about that poster art! I love it.
BESTSELLER – We will know Monday about the July 21st show date at Studio C Celebration Cinema BUT we have our week run at the south Lansing location from the 24th-30th of July and I’m excited that some home town folks can come see the film. Audiences have really enjoyed it. I’m in talks with a handful of distributors for VOD, foreign and such. We are close to setting up some dates in the Detroit, MI area. We also have been working several others in hopes of getting it to all of you. We’ve gotten your communications and we’re working on it!
DONORS does look like it is signing a domestic deal with one of the distributors CDI Distribution has been in talks with. More on this is the coming weeks.
CDI Distribution is in talks with the Philippines and India on some licensing of films. China may be next via one of our associations.
40 NIGHTS – I’m very excited by this film. I got my final notes over to our director/editor and I think we will be closing up the edit in the next couple weeks. I would love to have the film move to music and sound around July 15th. The first official trailer is also almost done and I love it. The great part is that the trailer is powerful yet the film itself holds so, so much more! Not one of those trailers where all the best parts are thrown into the teaser. We do have a place on the http://www.40nightsthemovie.com website where churches and organizations can sign up if they want a screening. We will push this harder once we release the trailer.
UPCOMING PRODUCTIONS & CASTING
I’ve finally gotten to a point where development (always ongoing) is ready to take front and center. I’ve been writing on a handful of projects which will have their own PR forthcoming BUT those of you who come here to this blog get the 1st drop on some of these developments. Let me bullet point a few as my fingers are growing tired and eggs are calling me.
– We will be looking for (2) African-American Michigan-based talent. One is young girl 8-10 years of age and also a fine young lady of mid-late 20’s. We want to see dramatic resume reels and they can be sent directly to email@example.com and will be looked at by our development team. NO OTHERS AT THIS TIME PLEASE.
– I’ve been working on the “Knight Chills 2” script and that is moving along nicely. It will possibly go into production this year.
– I have started in on the next biblical feature to be shot as part of our Lightworx Entertainment deal. It is entitled “Chasing the Star” and we are looking to once again shoot in AZ come Jan/Feb 2016.
A couple other scripts are also being worked on as time and inspiration hit.
What is next acting-wise? I’ve gotten this question quite a bit as of late. We do have a few CDI projects as noted above that I will be participating in. Outside of that I’ve got a few projects my management has presented. It looks like I’m going to shoot a western trailer in August with an actor I truly admire. I’ve also been submitted directly to producers on a film to perhaps play a very famous person of history. Next week I’m also announcing my involvement in a studio project that has been coming together for a while. I had to get studio approval on everything but now that is all in place – SHAZAM! My HINT: The original source material is a Stephen King book.
I might have missed a few things but it is the 4th of July. I need to go relax and eat some good food with family and friends. Be safe everyone!
– Happy 2015 everyone! I was up early and had the coffee flowing so I could travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan to do a film commentary for the 15th anniversary release of IN THE WOODS. I awoke to a flurry of white that is supposed to change to freezing rain and back to snow. So we decided to reschedule the session. So you get my blog early and now we’ve got BBQ ribs in the crock pot and I’m going to get some office work and such done today. The holidays had me tired and some cold tried to get me but I beat it back. I don’t got the time to be sick! It was a great holiday filled with family and friends and I’m so ready to attack the new year.
We are close to announcing a couple of new film projects. Art work is underway on several films releasing and in development. Post production work keeps chugging along. We’ve been updating the http://www.cdiproductions.com website and I was stunned to see both the company site and this site had visitors/readers from over 70 countries. Let’s look at some updates in no real order.
– “Knight Chills II” script is underway and new artwork is underway. The book novelization to go with the re-release of the original will be underway this year also. I’m excited to re-visit this film. The 1st run moved 26,000 domestic units whereas much of that revenue did NOT come back home when the company went belly up. It was a major disappointment and set back at the time. This franchise is going to rise from the ashes.
– “In the Woods” 15th anniversary re-release is coming on Blu-Ray, PPV, VOD with the book by Nancy Gideon re-releasing also. There is some chatter about a sequel and a few ideas have been passed about but nothing solid.
– Assigned to Winters Film Group by CDI Distribution – 3 films. “Ashes of Eden” will lead the charge with an early release. “Donors” and the “Wicked Spring” re-release will follow. I’m told next week release dates will be set.
– CDI Releasing is also looking at directly releasing two of its earlier films “Figure in the Forest” playing multiple TV networks and “Heaven’s Neighbors” both directed by CDI’s Jeff Kennedy.
– CDI is looking at releasing more of the library into theaters in 2015.
– Foreign sales could really start picking up. We know the fans are out there and we want to get more of these stories out to them. Deals are underway and we hope to have some exciting announcements on this front.
– “Bestseller,” “Dead Quiet,” “The Terrorist” and “Wasteland Part 1” are all in post production and should all see releases in 2015.
I’ve had several projects approach me to consider acting in. One recently came from a studio head and is a pilot film that could spin-off into a series. The distribution is all set up and I’m looking forward to hearing more on this project. Also I might have a new work-for-hire script writing project which would be fun. I’m also working on a CDI commercial project which will shoot for a client this year. Overall I can say that 2015 will be a busy and productive year. I hope this holds true for each and every one of you that has put in the hard work. It doesn’t just happen but when you work smart and work hard the results will come.
The cold is creeping into Michigan and our bodies fight to adjust to the biting chill. The cold rain will soon become something else – snow. I’m sipping at the coffee trying to get the sinus pressure to let go of the vice grip on my head. It has been a very busy time for me as I try to wrap up business for the year and manage lots of new business that is emerging for the year ahead. I’ve been doing some heavy training prepping to play my role in December. I’m giving myself that physical edge that one would require to live and survive in a harsh alien world. WASTELAND shoots just before the week of Christmas and I’m looking forward to that change of pace. Let’s take a moment to look at some of the developments this past week. I’m glad many of you survived the ghosts and goblins of Halloween.
ASHES OF EDEN – I think our last festival play is over and I’m happy to be moving on to distribution. We announced our deal with the Winters Film Group to release the film nationally on DVD, VOD, PPV, TV. The distributor in our meeting this week praised the marketing as the buzz is out there. He already had a PPV (Pay Per View) faith company reach out to license the film. This film walks a great edge that will appeal to audiences who enjoy faith and non-faith films. We’ve got several more reviewers watching the film to release ahead of the film. I’ve also been in talks with several foreign territories and we will get this film out to all of you also.
BESTSELLER – This film has been in transition as we prepare to build the music and sound FX. We had a great meeting with much of the post team. We went through the entire film and plotted what and where each of these audio elements would go. We talked about the FX which has already begun. Some amazing work already created and next week we should have the opening credits done. What I love about this film so much ties into my watching of PSYCHO this past Halloween. The film has elements of the classic thrillers of days gone by. A true stylistic edge that will help the film stand apart from the same old, same old that can tend to be the norm. This film has some new team members working on it and so getting these folks up to speed and on the same page workflow wise can be an effort. But you are molding a team for future work. The key is to look at it less as an individual piece by piece and more like a group of runners passing the baton. The key is to be ultra focused as you pass the baton to the next person. The clean up and organizing of files can make it easier for the next runner who has to take the baton. That said, I think we are getting into a groove and communication is going good. That is the key to all of this. In this new age of technology text messages or emails do not or should not replace phone calls or face to face meetings. The baton is passed much smoother between the “runners” and so your run times get better. Communication is the key to good leadership and so if you are a key out there make sure to communicate well. You will become valuable and find much more success.
WASTELAND – Prop building is underway and also some key decisions on equipment. This coming week we are doing a read through with the director and key cast. I’m looking forward to it. A Sci-Fi western is going to be great fun. I’m awaiting some concept art on one of the space craft. Exciting stuff for sure.
DONORS another thriller of ours has an offer forthcoming. WICKED SPRING also has interest to get a Special Edition out this spring and so we will be discussing that this week. We actually have a few distributors taking interest in the CDI library.
Our legal team finally got our domestic rights back on a pair of CDI films that got stuck. Long story but now that we have them back one I can get those film back out to market. I also have wanted to release a collection of the early CDI films together. Now with this deal that is possible.
We also have some possible reboots, sequels, prequels and new films launching. I’m beyond excited about a few of them and once the ink dries we will be discussing. Of course, all of you who follow the blog here will get some early updates.
On the acting front – I was informed that two films I was slated to be in have been green lit and will be moving forward. Both are quite large projects and will be great fun to play. I think I will be back in action with Ray and some of the “Book of Ruth” team in 2015. There are lots of projects closing their deals that will allow them to shoot in 2015. I’m excited to participating in them. 2015 will see the release of several films while we film those that will come to you in 2016. That is the way of the business. Develop. Produce. Post. Release. – Repeat often:)
Enjoy your weekend and the coming holidays –
A week ago I was waking up early in Kalamazoo to return from our 15th anniversary showing and deal announcement on IN THE WOODS. I have a few more public events coming up soon. I do plan to attend the showing of STANDING POST that was done by one of my long time collaborators and features three actors I respect. I’m also happy that the crowd surrounding the East Lansing Film Festival will get a chance to see ASHES OF EDEN and also get some exciting news for the film. I am happy that this inspirational film will reach even more people. LOCKED IN A ROOM thrilled some folks in Canton last week and I got some great communications from fans watching stuff on VOD. On TV as I type is the making of John Carpenters HALLOWEEN. 21 days and 325,000 with Donald’s pay being 25k. I’m enjoying seeing how much fun those actors had making that little film that would be a king classic in the genre. It was also slammed hard when it first came out. John said much of it was from other artsy filmmakers unhappy they could not get the exposure and release they felt they deserved.
This past week had some of my people working hard to get things in order on BESTSELLER. We are planning time for the director and DP to come in and share ideas. I think we are growing close to a finished film on THE TERRORIST. We only have a few left in the pipeline. Which brings us to DEVELOPMENT.
I’ve got WASTELAND ahead of me this December and we launched the Facebook site where we will be featuring updates in cast, artwork and props. I’ve had some great meetings with a few people over the last couple weeks as CDI looks to increase the army. I look for smart, positive people with passion and willing to work hard. I’ve built everything in this industry I have brick by brick with few if any handouts. I found other like-minded people and together we faced battles – won some, lost some and moved forward.
As our sales team has been licensing films in the library we have been looking at franchising a few of the films. It is no secret that Lynn Drzick is interested in doing another IN THE WOODS. If the right script is agreed upon it may happen. Also VP of CDI, director Jeff Kennedy and I have had talks over KNIGHT CHILLS and we do have a rough idea of a follow-up. I may be paid to write a script that I’ve had in my head for many years for an associate this November. Discussions on several scripts that already have distributor interest and in some cases guarantees continues.
On some of these smaller scope projects I’m looking at upcoming filmmakers who have yet to reach an international level. I’m looking at people who don’t want to do this as a hobby but as a career path. Many of these people have personal ideas/scripts that can be enjoyable for a small pocket of fans but often does not lead to bigger things. While some are content with making films for fun many in the cast or crew have greater aspirations.
It’s a stairs step process to get to these levels of film success. By success I mean having a title that has sold tens of thousands plus units or is in rotation on TV networks or available in different countries. Once you start to take steps if others around you aren’t willing to do the same you sometimes have to distance yourself creatively for a while. Maybe just until they evolve to that next level. If you’ve done a string of quality projects and have started to frame yourself as a professional you cannot slip back. By you saying NO, you may be one of many that helps them evolve. This is hard when you know the people but if they are doing it for fun and you are building a career – conflict of interest. I’ve explained to a few friends in the field (not truly in the BIZ) I cannot just come play for fun. I spend that time on paid projects or developing paid projects. When you win as a producer you win for many artists. When a film breaks out into the international market the resume of all those artists increases. I don’t always feel that some artists, usually the young, fully appreciates this fact. The wages may be modest, the hours long but to have a credit on a film that really gets into the marketplace is so valuable. So take pride in your work and be happy that you are working on something that will help you. If you start out in our field just for the money you’re in the wrong field. There is good money to be made but it comes in time through hard, collaborative work.
For the last few years I’ve been gone on set shooting during October so this has been wonderful to be home. Like I said earlier, I would rather spend time developing and finishing projects of quality versus just doing to do projects that are just fun. I do things for fun (Reading, soccer, archery, guitar, brewing) and I often find filmmaking fun BUT since I am accountable and use investment versus donations – I take my work very serious. I’ve been in development talks with Shane Hagedorn (ASHES OF EDEN) and we plan to do a 2015 film. Add in the handful of other projects developing and the new year could be filled with exciting projects. I look forward to incorporating some new people into the tribe. I look forward to working with my tried and true. I look forward to sharing our stories with fans around the world. Right now, I’m looking forward to some more coffee, some breakfast and MSU putting a whoop on U of M.
Have a great weekend and be good to one another.
I’m sipping some strong coffee due to a slight malfunction in the back up coffee maker. It goes perfect with Fall which has arrived here in Michigan. The chilly air and leaves that are slowly starting to change signal this new push towards the harvest. I’ve had a few great sit down meetings this week with associates old and new. I’m a private person who really likes to focus on goals and stay far away from the drama or distractions. To isolate these elements from your life circle allows you to truly add as much creative into your business as possible. I’ve talked about people who tend to use the same variables and are surprised when they get the same results. If you are happy with your direction – great. But if you are not you have to look at your variables and see what is not working. Adjustments in attitude, time management or collaborations can greatly effect the outcome. I’m writing this week within the framework of this – 2 weddings and one funeral for a 18-year-old girl connected to our 4H yearly activity. To see someone who lived fully without any thoughts of a near end and two pair of individuals making a go of it in life can be rewarding. More so when you realize you still are alive and get to meet life’s challenges. It won’t always be so. One day be it tragic or peaceful – your journey here will end. Your children, your art, your words – what will you leave behind? Let’s move to our discussions on film and entertainment…
ASHES OF EDEN – I was proud when I saw the 42 new show dates for our film in Canton and Novi. (See pic for dates) I try not too let pride take hold to often but in this moment, I was. We are not 4 walling or renting the theater – we’re in a partnership much like the major studios. CDI sales team has a new head of theatrical which we will announce. This team will be pushing “Bestseller” and other films from the CDI library out to market. This is a new revenue flow that previously did not exist. A handful of showings were done in days past to avoid the label of DIRECT-TO-VIDEO but it is now a true avenue. Why? The technology and the quality of the product is at a studio level. (Distributor words not mine) Hiring professionals is not enough it’s the focusing of these artists efforts towards telling the best story possible. At the hobby level of filmmaking this is hard because some scenes stay in the film or aren’t cut because someone loved the scene performance, so and so would be mad, the camera shot is great BUT does it serve the story. I’ve seen much growth in this area and I’m humble enough to say I’m always learning both as a creative and as a businessman. You cannot walk around with a full cup or you cannot accept anything new.
I thought I would share some information that was presented recently to a rising filmmaker I sat down with. IF you have some backing and you want to showcase yourself stronger than you have you need good associations. Until you see a department run as it should it is hard to hold yourself to a certain level. We’ve opened ourself at CDI to associations but first it is with whom. Making films is a lengthy process and requires a lot of close collaboration. If your personality runs against this grain of respecting work flow, non-defensive discussions, openness to options – we will pass. I will not argue or deal with big egos. We PR films on a regular schedule but we also don’t attach any entitlement. It is marketing. If you have successfully done certain things you are entitled to an opinion but even that should be done with caution. I see many people not only marketing but believing their own fable. Now I believe that you must have faith in yourself but nothing says confidence like quiet at times. I had someone once ask me after conveying some negative comments about me – if I care? They were surprised that I wasn’t mad but sad for that person. All someone has to do is usually look at the accomplishments of the doer and the complainer and it quickly becomes apparent who is better at using their energy. The sad is for the wasted energy. That circle of negativity can envelop a person or a group. That old “birds of a feather flock together” saying. Seek something better. It doesn’t matter if you are a hobby artist or professional. Who would keep going to a scrapbook club that was plagued by negativity? Play for a team that is chaos and drama? Same in the workplace – people move on from bad work situations or there is a change in leadership. Decide if you want to be a flocking feather or soar with positive doers. Your choice always.
To circle around again to ASHES OF EDEN – we’ve also signed our National deal for home video and digital. We will be announcing more about that in the coming weeks. In the meantime Shane Hagedorn and I have been busy discussing what will be our next collaboration. If you don’t know Shane he is a salt-of-the-earth, hard-working man who I’ve taught and learned from. That is what a positive collaboration is all about. It was also brought up in a recent meeting (Not with Shane) about the divisions existing in Michigan. East-side, West-side blah blah…I say, we are Michigan. I’ve worked in all corners of Michigan with cast and crew from wherever. I’m looking at their art and attitude not their zip code. Lansing doesn’t usually doesn’t get involved in those film turf wars talks. I mean locally aside from CDI only Jeff Burton and maybe our Ahptic friends have worked at that international level. Still it doesn’t matter. It can be done. Our films can compete just like our cars, wines and other MI products. But to do so you have to make product people elsewhere want to see. You have to make it at a quality level that meets quality control. You have to have all legal aspects tied up so you don’t end up with a big home video for family and friends. This is the reality. If you tried to sell and market an unappealing (subjective) car that couldn’t meet safety codes and compliance – who would buy it? You could cobble together some off-road mud buggy for fun or a zippy little go-cart but you can’t expect it to be highlighted in the car industry. Some films are like Go-Carts and their makers think they can enter the Indy 500 and win. This is not a Pixar cartoon with nitro powered snails:) So be realistic. Set realistic goals. Execute with maximum pre-production so you can handle problems you can’t plan for. Don’t cut corners. Don’t allow your ego to trump the story. Keep modifying your process and watch the success start to grow. Good mentors and associations are also key to success – so if professional is your goal – take the realistic steps.
BESTSELLER – We had a great meeting over this thriller with the book creator Chris Wright/Knight aka Jonathan Rand. He is a self-made man like myself enjoys the journey to success. We made some solid decisions on our distribution flow that I’m quite excited about. If you don’t know him your children likely do may from his AMERICAN CHILLER, MICHIGAN CHILL, ADVENTURE CLUB books and much more. This film is now moving into the sound/music stage with Dennis Therrian and we will have a fun go at finishing this thriller. The 1st trailer has created huge buzz for us in the distribution circles thus far and so in 2015 we will see this film presented on the big screen, small screen and everything in-between. Great job Chad Ice on getting that final edit locked up. He had only done shorts when he approached me during our film shoot about the possibility of editing. I do know lots of editors but in this case having someone already invested in the material was a huge bonus. I think he discovered that a feature is very different animal from a short film. I’m proud that we were his first feature film and I think he gained some great experience and insight while we benefitted from his artistic talent. Much more information on this film will be flowing in the coming months.
THE TERRORIST is on a second pass of music and so they are very close. I really enjoyed this NYC based film and can’t wait to have this finished and in the collection. I think many people around the world will benefit from the messages within the story.
We are funding on a few films currently and with pre-set distribution and some great attachments we should be rolling camera again in the near future. If you have your own funding and want to be considered for an association reach out. If you are a new director without money chances are slim to none that we will slide you into a film that is financed on our end to direct. But if you have your $ support and want to create something that will help you move up the professional ladder feel free to reach out. We do say NO more than YES but it’s all case-by-case basis and much of the decision lies in how collaborative the person is. If you’re NOT a budget-minded/producer friendly director you will not work well in our camp. Same for aspiring actors – know your craft and be production friendly. Actors who have had or tried to produce tend to have a much better respect for the company and work flow. When PR was going around on ASHES OF EDEN announcing the new Canton/Novi screenings – one Detroit-based actor responded to one of our staff that he would support the film ONLY if the actors were paid.
NOTE: We’ve paid our actors since our second CDI film in 1999. It wasn’t much back in the day but it was a wage. It is like this actor was policing productions. The truth is we were likely paying our actors when this fellow was still playing a cloud in his middle school play:) But these jaded mentalities wouldn’t exist if not for shady production companies. We’ve all been there but don’t carry that negative with you from project to project or it will paint you in that negative light. To see what happens to “negative nellies” go back up and read the start of the blog. Okay I’ve enjoyed the chat with all of you. G’Day to our Aussie friends who have been tuned in to this blog. I hope you all have a great day and maybe a line or two of this word spewing can help you.
Keep clawing your way to the middle!
What a week with the friday morning/afternoon being a touch chaotic. The communication flow between people is one of the utmost important aspects of filmmaking. Let’s jump into some of this since I have running around this morning and I’m attending a wedding this afternoon.
BESTSELLER is a picture lock providing our director is happy with her small insert today but I think we’re onto the next phase. The materials are being moved about to their new destination and I’m excited for the scoring of the music to begin. We will be announcing that formerly this coming week but you heard it here first.
ASHES OF EDEN also has PR waiting to come out. We’ve been waiting for the theatrical link to go up at Emagine Entertainment so we can start heavy promoting our Sept 19th start dates. So if you are from the East side of the state of Michigan and want to see what all the hype is about – your chance is coming. Canton and Novi is where we will start the release and we’re also working towards setting up a showing in the Owosso, MI area. We had an amazing run with AN ORDINARY KILLER there and think people there would love the new film.
And speaking of AN ORDINARY KILLER it may be one of the films returning to theaters from the CDI library. I see GHOST TOWN also making a run in the coming months. If you have not seen either of these films on the big screen you are missing something.
AOE (ASHES OF EDEN) is also close to closing its 1st TV deal and we are in final stages of negotiations on the DVD, VOD National deal for 1st quarter 2015.
I have a new VOD multi national deal interested in several of the CDI library. We will do a test run with a few titles and see how that goes.
Thoughts from the week –
I still stand by the fact that many of the youth today don’t know how many more opportunities in our business exist now compared to a decade ago or so. I see more kids who have classroom experience but their real world experience is still playing catch up. Example – doing shorts, commercials, music videos and such do NOT fully prepare you for 3-5 weeks of feature filming shooting. It’s a self battle with endurance, focus and teamwork. I had to have a firm conversation or two this week with people over little issues. I think there can be a lack of appreciation of what it truly takes to produce a film properly. The UNSEXY parts of the business – the paperwork, accounting and on-going work opening up new opportunities to release. But this is what I do for a living and I love it. I’m extremely serious about my film work and the art we create because at one time even the idea of doing motion picture work was seen as a joke. Now our films get done with quality all while trying to create the best crew experience you can within a closed environment like a film set. I try to be fair and work with people and their issues or explain why I cannot. But if people start becoming too much of an issue – they just need to go work elsewhere. I know many people who found new respect for what we do once they had to go work on a less than organized film set. I’m not talking short films – where some say “I did this short and it ran perfect.” GREAT, it was 3 days! Come talk to me when you’re deep into week three and see how the ship is doing. Feature filmmaking is a long distant run not a sprint. Also being a pain in the you know what is an easy way not to get invited to sail next time around. I use to feel for the few bad apples but I try not to now. Some people do something silly and they just need to learn the hard way. When you have a lot of people doing the right thing you can’t waste too much time on that one person or so hurting themselves. It is often best to cut them loose and let them learn elsewhere. Knowing your craft is NOT enough. You having the right attitude is what is valuable.
SUCCESS CAN BREED RESENTMENT
This week I also had conversations with people who are not quite feeling the love in their new-found success from some around them. I explained that if you have not transitioned to FULL TIME filmmaking/acting and are working a day job – many may secretly resent you. Why? Because they wonder why you can’t just be happy being as they are. Why do you feel like you need to do something greater? How dare you think you are better than me? To others you can often be that “in your face” reminder of the dream that he/she let go. Did they really want to go to coach sports? Did they always dream of owning a coffee shop? It’s harder to strive for true happiness. Some people can truly be happy playing their part in a job while others see it as a stepping stone to their dreams. If you can be happy in a 9-5 job that is a blessing. For some, they feel compelled to create. It doesn’t make creators any better it’s just what they feel a need to do. Often it creates self suffering for the artist in the journey but can lead to great satisfaction. You just can’t expect everyone to support your journey. When I see people throwing negativity I feel bad for them because it they put that same energy into their own dreams they would be much better people. It would help them be better people for sure. Instead they are the negative ones always casting stones. Keep smiling and keep moving forward.
It was just one of those weeks but it ended with true progress and some very promising news. There may be times where you walk against the blowing wind trying to slow you down. I say don’t pee against the wind and just keep walking steady. That’s what the week felt like but now things seem quite at peace.
Enjoy the struggle. If it was easy everyone would do it.
So I’m back from running around this morning. We are doing some upgrades in the house bathrooms and so we’ve been looking at options. We had breakfast while out since our like new coffee maker is acting up. We’ve only had it since Christmas so I need to check into that. Now we’re back from our errands where one of the nicest surprise was seeing an old friend of mine while out. I had that kind of day yesterday where at a certain point I was done with the business calls and emails. I made a few calls and caught up with some old friends that I had not spoken to in a while. It was nice to just chat about life and not be talking just about film business. We actually talked about DIPPER GOURDS and the garden. Last week I had a good amount to say on a few topics like social crowd funding and I’m just realizing that people usually want the easiest path. In my experience those paths rarely lead to success but maybe best they just find out themselves. Let’s discuss a few projects underway now…
“Ashes of Eden” is about to release news today or tomorrow of our expanding theatrical release and also note that we are in negotiations on our domestic DVD/VOD release for 1st quarter 2015. In is interesting to note that director Shane Hagedorn and I have been having more development discussions on what we want to do next. Here is a great recent review of the film from Canada.
As I type we have editing going on with “Bestseller” our upcoming thriller. I actually need to type an email outlining some of the work flow ahead. The pieces are all in and creative re-working of edits are underway. This will be an exciting film and I think audiences will enjoy it. We have big plans for this film which will become known to others as we move ahead.
I’ve been enjoying splitting my time between post work/distribution and development. I’ve been doing a lot of this while recharging my batteries by strengthening my connection to nature. The gardening, berry picking and general organizing has been great for me. I’ve said before that picking veggies in the garden while taking a business call usually brings good energy to both. Beyond the haggle over shells and beads there are people, artists who embrace the storytelling tradition. But they must also embrace the business. Show Biz is a tradition itself and if you don’t learn that biz side you aren’t truly IN IT. You just aren’t and if you disagree it is because you don’t get it and I’m not going to waste valuable time trying to light a candle underwater.
On that same topic we are on the cusp of several projects moving ahead to production. That is another reason I feel bliss in having no lines in my head. I’m not sorting through the complex emotional layers of a role and becoming…THE ART OF BECOMING
Many have asked what school of taught method of acting do I follow. The art of Becoming is a good name for it. Or BE THE BALL DANNY as I like to call it. “Caddyshack” fans will understand. As a lifelong martial artists I agree with the idea that every person has a unique martial art that is best for them. We are all unique and so we all should take/leave what works for us but I think focus and commitment to character is the key. Some of my bests scenes I don’t recall being there as I was living it not playing it. I know some co-stars of mine would say I have strong method ties to my process. I will always remember Mark Lacy on “Wicked Spring” bruised from me carrying him through the forest. I have a strong grip and he had bruises. To physically save someone there is no middle ground. Ask a firefighter – there is no gentle life saving carry. It is you versus exhaustion with a goal at hand. TAKE 7 – ACTION! So I have a few roles ahead that will require powerful concentration. So I’m enjoying the warm breezes and the freedom of nothing in the places where these characters are developed and grown.
Well, speaking of – I want to get outside on this beautiful day. I could go on about other issues abound like petty jealously that some of the new partners are now having with their new success. I had hoped some of these new partners would be spared what I went through a decade plus ago but sadly they are experiencing some. I shared DVD units moved on one of our titles which was 250,000+ . I simply told them that the small sample of jealous people throwing stones at you or posting negativity is nothing more than spit in the ocean. Five films from now you will still have those who regret your success so just use hate to motivate. So it doesn’t matter what field you’re in just rise above that negativity. Some who speak negativity the loudest are just attention seeking. They can’t create so they hate. Pick your side as an artist.
Off to enjoy the day. Be good to one another!
I think I actually felt spring in the air if you can imagine that. Once the snow goes we have some tree cleaning to finish, fence fix and our gazebo took a hit under the snow and ice. I’m excited to do a few cosmetic things to the new office this year, which is looking great. It is truly the dream office and a great place to oversee the creation and on-going enterprises here at http://www.cdiproductions.com which has been kicking it strong since 1996. If you haven’t poked around the website do so as we’ve put several new updates on there. I also want to thank all our new blog fan adds from Australia. We are even now in talks to get more of our films released there and elsewhere. I’ve been asked to keep adding little tidbits of advice for aspiring filmmakers, actors and writers etc… I think people like the advice because it is brutally honest. No agendas here I just call it like I see it.
Let me see, filmmaker advice – best told by a story.
FILMMAKER CONFIDENCE – I had a good talk this week with a very talented artists on both sides of the camera. He was/is frustrated because of lack of progress and lack of control on moving a project forward. I like something he said – “I have confidence in the project but I lack confidence in myself.” That is a truthful statement but comes from a lack of experience. Imagine yourself a youngin’ standing on the edge of a swimming pool looking at the other side. Now we are talking width of the pool but you’ve never swam from one side to the other. Maybe you have your water wings on or maybe you don’t but you stare at that other side and you muster all the confidence you can. If you stand your ground and never dive in you will not reach your short-term goals. So finally with the right amount of encouragement – you DIVE in!
You swim, swim, swim and behold you make it to the other side. You turn around and you do it again. And again. Pretty soon you are looking at the length of the pool believing that you just might be able to swim the length.
You have to BUILD that confidence with small realistic goals. You build it by DOING. I will find out this coming week if this person jumped into the pool or is still standing on the edge. The point is that even in failure with an earnest attempt – that is success. So you took on some water and maybe you had to swim to the side before you reached the end goal- maybe next time. And next time you will have more confidence.
ACTORS – IF you are at that point where you want to be accepted as a professional – DON’T WORK FOR FREE! Let’s say that all together now. DON’T WORK FOR FREE! Work at a discount if you believe in developing these people but just say no. I see in our own state all these actors working the student films and free projects. That is where new upcoming actors get their experience and build their resume. So if you have experience and a resume that can compete professionally – GET OUT! Now if you are a hobbyist – sure do your community filmmaking deal, but don’t be surprised when professionals don’t take you serious. If you are in demand and you hold out – you force filmmakers to grow. It’s the whole, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Every time a professional actor does a free project – GO TO JAIL (Loss of name value) DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200. An experienced actor beating out a bunch of newbie’s trying to get their first projects under their belt impresses absolutely nobody. Dive into that larger pool.
Now onto some updates! You know I like to give Blog readers advanced updates. So here we go!
DONORS, the thriller I did with Niki Saletta (7th Heaven) is complete. They will screen the film for investors this Sunday and plans will be made to get this ready for presentation to distributors. It is a cool little film that has some serious tension to it.
BESTSELLER released a new teaser poster this week and the rough cut is under review. Our director is making notes for a second round of editing as we speak. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some great performances caught by a hard-working crew. We’ve got early interest on the film by distributors and I’m relatively happy with our work flow. The overall film will likely be done in August and premiere in Sept or Oct.
ASHES OF EDEN will also be releasing some new poster art. I’ve been bouncing some ideas with our director on a new opening of the film. We should be done with everything this month save maybe the final mix. It’s exciting because even as strong and enthusiastic as the test audiences were – the final product is so much better. We’re planning a premiere for cast/crew followed by a theatrical test run and that may lead to a wider release via one of our several distributors bidding for a first look. This will be one of the films to watch and it will help put Michigan once again on the map with international releasing.
And speaking of international releases – following last month’s release of the Michigan-Made “Locked in a Room” to Germany, Austria and Switzerland those same territories will be getting the Philippine darkness unleashed upon them. Yes. On March 28th, “Darkest Night” will release there. That makes three new films released in those territories in the last six months. So congrats to the CDI Sales Team for that. More territories are in the works and we will announce as it happens.
The CDI Associated doc film “Outside the Wire, Forgotten Children of Afghanistan” is also getting a VOD release soon thanks again to CDI Distribution. This is a powerful film by Anthony Hornus. It was filmed while embedded with the US military in Afghanistan. I encourage everyone to check out this powerful film when it releases.
Other random news of events still developing include – a new casting for a CDI film on IMDB which you can search out under “40 Nights”. We will be doing a full PR release on this film in the weeks ahead. It’s a very exciting pet project and I’m happy to see this developing so fast. Actually we have development work underway on a handful of projects including an “Anthony Hornus” feature “Race to Judgment,” the “Soul Eater” film, and a possible new association with Detroit’s AT RISK ENTERTAINMENT. There also might be a theatrical showcase of CDI films coming to the Detroit area so stay tuned for big updates in the weeks ahead. Additional studio talks, new rep from India joining CDI and the list goes on. Enough of all this – get out there and enjoy your weekend!
Hazelnut coffee is flowing as another bout of snow gently falls. I’m happy to be here with all of you recounting the events of the week. The traction on deal making is really picking up. I will take a moment to give some heart-felt advice that they don’t teach these kids in their film studies. PROFESSIONALISM IN COMMUNICATION – By this I mean if you are contacted by someone (especially if they have paid you prior) you need to respond in a timely fashion. I would bet that not one of these individuals I’m speaking about has the work load I do. Even if I am extremely busy I will respond back to say I’m extremely busy. From there a mutual good time to communicate can be set up. I’ve been disappointed because a few people who I saw as developing a foothold in our organization may not be. If I’m offering work I’m always amazed at how quickly some people respond and that same person can procrastinate over other call backs. This is a sure sign that this person will have a limited time in our industry and likely not a good investment of time. I want to develop people who really want to be in our industry because it is hard. opportunities are hard to come by and someone given one needs to make the best of it.
Okay onto updates!
“7 Stones” is getting some heat with its entry into VOD/DVD market. The doc film “Outside the Wire” is following behind that release with one of our new release partners.
More talks with companies on our “Supermodel Showdown” TV series. More companies are reviewing our 3 shows that are put together. This is a new area for me so things are a tad slower.
Great distribution and development talks this week with a few companies. We had an offer on our Civil War film but I think we may have to pass. I have some larger deals brewing and I think it will benefit better from one of those deals.
We are still waiting to see what product some new foreign film buyers like. I’m looking forward to expanding our alliance of companies to distribute with.
I had good sit downs with one of our new attorney’s and we will be doing some PR on this new team member. He is dealing with a small handful of issues that is pretty common in our business.
“Ashes of Eden” is closing in on the final scoring and after that a mix and we are done. “Bestseller” is in full editing now with our editor Chad Ice. Marketing will start to ramp up on these projects and we’ve started discussing premiere showings on “AOE”. It is great to note that both films have a lot of interest from distributors and we will find them a great home.
I’ve also been in talks on a few acting projects and I’ve got a secret project I’ve been writing on. It would shoot out-of-state in the spring because the story calls for it. I’ve had some talks on this project and will announce more later. It is a great role that I’m ready to sink my teeth into. I’m also putting some work into gathering investors on “Soul Eater” the prequel to “The 8th Plague”. I would love to film that this winter in Michigan so let’s see how that unfolds.
So my friends, stay warm and be productive. This time is great for buckling down and making stuff happen!
The year is underway and many business endeavors are moving. It has been a good week of organizing and prepping for new business. I’ve also been getting some good training in for the new year. That is mostly for the soccer field but doesn’t hurt for camera work either. I know many of you are putting your new year resolutions into play. Let’s look at some of the new actions in motion.
1) We are about to PR “7 Stones” now available on VOD.
2) Discussions are underway on a few new biblical films after it was reported that we have the highest grossing biblical film with our distributor. We had some good talks over this property.
3) Our director Shane Hagedorn is in studio doing a music check today on “Ashes of Eden” and we are excited as this film nears the finish line. Early distribution talks have started and many are just waiting to see our full story.
4) “Bestseller” is now officially in editing and we should have a rough cut in about a month. We are all excited to see this film moving to the next phase. I’ve had several good talks about what will follow “Bestseller” and soon we may have a sure direction. I am getting distributor input on all these ideas.
5) I’ve been having some literary agent talks after a recent option/purchase agreement on one of my script properties. I think that scripts that I do not see as an acting vehicle I may consider selling. There will be more PR on this as it develops.
6) We’ve had some interest in possible financing on “Soul Eater” my prequel to “The 8th Plague” so that was submitted last week and now we wait.
7) New foreign territory and TV Network talks started this week. We will see what develops from all of that.
8) I need to get new updates on “Donors” and “The Terrorist” but I know both are very close and will be coming to market this year.
Aside from all this I have been prepping some of the end of the year business work for taxes and such. It is the less exciting aspects of filmmaking but so very important. I hope you all are staying focused and enjoying your first month of 2014. It was a week of steady business and that always leads to something exciting.
It is the Holiday season and it really came on fast this year. I think with “Bestseller” being such a focus and picking up “Dead Quiet” at the year’s end time just moved. Luckily I am a prepared person (that producer in me) and so I stayed on top of shopping and wrapping and I’m right on schedule and budget. Does that surprise anyone? It was brought to my attention recently whereas someone wanted to know why I do my blog. It serves a few causes –
1st – Most artists are very self-absorbed into their own world and don’t realize that not everyone say outside the film business knows about or cares about what actually goes on. As I’ve said before many think it takes just a few days/weeks to do something. As a younger man I was able to take three steps back and realize that in part due to people’s interest I was always talking about what I was doing. Also, by choice I live in Michigan. When I was more actively going to industry events in Hollywood and even now I do meet/hang with stars, sports professionals and so on. To an outsider it can quickly sound like name dropping. I would get tired of repeating the same stories again and again to people. So it was first a journal of sorts on a fan site ran by an enthusiastic fan Pepper. From there I moved to the WordPress format. It is beautiful because family, friends or fans can read about my doings. At that point if people want to ask me pointed questions – cool. Otherwise I’m free to just relax and talk about life and other people and what THEY have going on. I do enjoy my trips to California or being on a film set or the office pow wow’s to talk business but my relationship with my non-industry friends has greatly improved. I also try to insert bits of advice and hard gained knowledge within the words. I try to be brutally honest and encouraging for those who MUST follow an artists path.
The week has been an interesting one in regards to many business deals closing and some moving closer to finalizing. I’ve had to oversee legal stuff on a few films. Communications with some foreign territories prepping for new 2014 licensing. “7 Stones” now on amazon DVD and soon VOD. “Darkest Night” PR as it gets ready to go to Hulu. Looking at finding a series home for ‘Supermodel Showdown” in 2014. Editing about to begin on “Bestseller” just as “Ashes of Eden” is about to be complete. “Donors” and “The Terrorist” are close to being done. A deal closing on a script/option to purchase which I will announce once the ink is dry. Updates on the HBO series development and new western project I’ve given my LOI on to star in. Additional films on a slate behind ‘Book of Ruth” look to be moving strongly forward. Some direct talks with a studio and also a few studio project discussions with my CA based agent. Overall I just have to say that I’ve got many things moving and after the holiday rest I will be ready to go full speed into 2014.
I’ll close this down with my last few thoughts on Christmas. My parents divorced many years ago and that alone has made scheduling Christmas hard. Now with my own house/family it has added another layer of scheduling difficulty and this year I’m breaking some tradition – which is very hard for me. But I’m making it a bit easier and enjoyable for myself. I’m a person who in my personal life really tries to make people happy. I like to keep an aura of good positive energy flowing around me. For years this time of year has been more rush, rush versus relax, relax but maybe this year will be more enjoyable. I had always made the sacrifice at home to help keep traditional things in place but now with my brother going to be a daddy in the spring that will be changing anyways. We are still having all our get together with the family I’m just making adjustments that give me a bit more peace.
On that note I will wish everyone peace and happiness during the holiday season.
It is a great Saturday after Thanksgiving and watching MSU play their final game of the season. We’ve also been putting up Christmas decorations outside and the tree may also happen today. Yesterday was a unique Thanksgiving as my girl Courtney and I went up North to a family dinner. Lansing was fine but as we drove North we entered into a good amount of snow. We had just turned onto the country road heading to our destination while listening to the Lions putting a final beat down when the car hit ice. I was the passenger and just stayed calm thinking – “Crap we might end up in the ditch”. The right side of the road was all tree’s including a down tree that had the broken back-end pointed at us like a lance. She calmly counter steered and we instead slid sideways to the left towards a ditch. The ditch ended up being a bigger drop off and next thing I know I’m rolling upside down. Glass breaking and food flying including 3 pies and two dishes of beets and cream spinach. We ended back upright and asked each other if we were okay. We were and realized that we had taken out a barbed wire fence and 3 or 4 wood posts. The engine was smoking some and we shut that down. Both driver doors crunched shut with her window gone. The roof and windshield all smashed in but still there. My door was against a small tree but opened. A few calls and we had tow truck, police and her family there. All good save one vehicle (likely totaled) and the food – so we consider ourselves lucky. More so because we usually take one of the dogs with us and did not and also we had no passengers on this day. So it was a first roll over for me and a Thanksgiving to remember for sure. It was the topper of an already interesting week.
So last week I did two radio shows to discuss our movie projects. One for Lansing Business and the other the Independent Corner. We’re now closing in on a finished “Ashes of Eden” and soon will begin actual editing on “Bestseller”. These films along with “Donors” (another thriller coming out of post) has made recent distribution talks interesting. Actually I’ve been discussing some studio production deals with CDI and I’ve had some additional interest in a few other scripts for possible production.
The drama “7 Stones” just released on Amazon last week on DVD and I think VOD also. “Wicked Spring” released last week in Germany and several of the CDI films will be moving out to these territories in 2014. New contacts are opening daily. Right now it is really making the time to vet out the people and explore the deals. From there it is seeing which projects fit and see how to proceed next.
I’m in negotiations to maybe do one more film this year only as an actor. I will let you all know if I sign onto the role. I’m waiting on dates to see if they work with my holiday commitments. I also signed a LOI to star in a western next year which I hope will have a full green light by Jan. 2014. I’ve had a few good opportunities present themselves but I will just take them as they come. It will be a productive 2014 both with releases and new projects. “The Terrorist” that I shot in NYC will also be an exciting release. I have much to feel thankful about on the career front.
This is always a time of planning, accessing and getting ready for the new year ahead. I also love the time spent with family, friends and close associates. I urge you all to do the same. Have a great day and for those braving the shopping chaos be kind and safe. I’m off to do a bit more decorating and prep some venison stew for my visiting brother and amigos tomorrow.
It is another Summer Saturday in the Michigan and I’m sipping the morning java and writing you a few of my thoughts of the past week. I will try to bring something forth that might help some of you others walking this path. I do have a few story’s from the week and I will perhaps pick one of them to try to teach a lesson.
The Oversell – I know in films about filmmaking you always see the slick Willie producer trying to tell everyone what they want to hear and keep their stories straight. This may be funny in the movies but those people aren’t real and once you burn bridges it rarely ends up happy ever after. Be honest and let it roll from there. I know various projects that worked in half-truths at best and I can’t stress enough that once you lose that credibility you are really in trouble. So don’t paint castles in thin air saying you have so and so on board if you don’t. I had a few situations where things were being said to try to appease someone and after a simple communication the jig was up. FALSE INFO. So someone comes across as either A) A liar or B) Clueless to the Truth. I don’t think either of these things play well into the perceptions of how someone runs their business. So if packaging something be honest and don’t oversell. Because that person may be able to pick up a phone and directly confirm your story and if it doesn’t vet out, you lose.
I also had a situation this week where someone claimed that my schedule was in conflict with a project that wanted me to work on it. Right now I speak for myself. I know my schedule and what conflicts or does not. To have someone put words in your mouth screams agenda. I’ve seen people in casting positions (not experienced ones) try to push one talent over another. In this case someone had someone in mind for a lead because they thought somehow it would better their standing. So other options to that same role were buried. It is just a sad disservice to whomever hired that individual but that was all exposed and now this individual has that little check next to their name. Checks against someone don’t erase easy because someone rarely changes who they are or how they operate. I honestly don’t put too much energy into such matters because if someone placed these unqualified people in power that usually means a series of bad choices will be made. Too many bad choices equals a bad movie. If I’m asked for materials and I take the time to send them all I expect is for them to be seen by the right people. I don’t mind being turned down if something was truly evaluated. I lost another role a while back because I just won’t pass for a gaunt lab assistant. Not without a large paycheck to just focus on that and I shudder to think of what it would do to my soccer game:) You might look like another character or be the wrong age or race, all acceptable. But I book off my reels all the time and to hear someone say, “they don’t want to see reels.” WRONG. I’ve produced many films and reels are the best sell. Like if you were looking at hiring a PRO player on a team. Try outs are great but game footage is golden! Agents with a stable of actors without reels shy away from sending reels.
OK. Onto the more positive. Serbia media was blowing up on inventor TESLA’s birthday and the film I’m attached to officially changed the name of the film from THE MAD SCIENTIST to TESLA. I think it was a great move and I’m excited to be part of the movie telling the story of my favorite inventor.
We saw the PR release this week on the German, Austria, Switzerland deal going down with WICKED SPRING, DARKEST NIGHT and LOCKED IN A ROOM.
DARKEST NIGHT is now on VOD (Amazon Instant) and releases on DVD on the 16th of July here. You can see a sneak peek and so take a watch and leave a review of your experience.
This month we also have WICKED SPRING and FIGURE IN THE FOREST playing on Parables TV!
ASHES OF EDEN marketing is firing up and in the weeks to come we will have new posters, trailer and other exciting updates. The film is in post and is just way beyond my expectations.
SUPERMODEL SHOWDOWN series has been in editing and is truly a fun watch. We are starting to look at marketing for this project as well. I think lovers of reality TV will enjoy this show.
Other than that it has been doing yard improvements – and attending the 4H auction, picking berry’s and working the new driveway. I’m also happy to report the garden is producing the 1st beans and tomatoes will soon follow. I’m greatly enjoying my summer as I finish these projects up and develop new ones. I know I will be back in front of the camera again when the time is right. But until that time I will keep on with the business work and enjoying my day-to-day. We also start the second half of the soccer season on Sunday and I’m excited for that. I get to put my new gear into action! I wish you all a great weekend!