This morning as I awoke and looked out the window I half expected to see a witch flying on her bike or a flying cow. Okay those are old references to the Wizard of Oz and Twister. I heard Iowa got a few bad tornadoes. The world watches on the Ukraine invasion by Russia. Battle on the soccer grid, at the Olympics or even the boardrooms of business, but why an invasion? This feels like more of Putin’s war versus a Russian war. But I do think that Putin did unite most of the world against him. It is nice to see our government born from a similar desire to have and maintain freedom, be reminded. You want to think our leader(s) would be in the trenches fighting any US invaders but would they? Or would they jet to one of the isolated US territories? I sincerely wish this conflict to be resolved quickly but I don’t know. But if a friendly country asked for help in protecting their airspace after a country has already declared themselves at war due to the sanctions, sounds reasonable. As for the rattling of sabres over nuclear weapons, not reasonable. Radioactivity goes into air, water, food and few creatures can survive in that toxic environment. I’m going to hope that the internal government in Russia finally has enough of Putin trying to capture some last glory and ends it. Let’s all hope peace comes soon.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA
Our WW2 Christmas drama is in post-production with a first cut of the film due this month. From there our director and editor will work to chisel out the best performances and scenes. In Canada model building is underway and soon we’ll have our story. But instead of just giving you an update I’m going to give it to you right from the – editor’s mouth. Nathaniel Nose had this to say about the footage being cut together.
“The raw footage always tells the story of not just the script, but also what happened on set. This set had a group of passionate people. Both the performers and the crew clearly cared a great deal about the film they were making. The most enjoyable projects to edit are the ones where passion, decency and goodness went into the production. It is evident in the footage that the people who made this film embraced those virtues.” – N. Nose
Many of you watched the BTS video and now we’re starting work on the first official teaser trailer. Still photos continue to roll out and showcasing the beautiful work but our camera, grip and electric team.
BEST YEARS GONE – Our next to market film is being presented this month to licensing platforms around the world. We’re awaiting word on a few festivals selected to possible showcase our fun film. I’m excited to see the film start appearing in advance marketing. June is when the DVD and digital purchase happens. Sept 1 will be digital streaming and broadcast TV. I hope that folks really enjoy this film we labored to make during the Covid crisis between the two Michigan lockdowns.
BESTSELLER – Some may recall that CDI stepped in to reboot/reshoot the thriller based on the book of the same name by Michigan author Christopher Knight. I’m happy that now the film is getting a full worldwide release with Deskpop Entertainment. This film will also do a digital release Sept 1st along with Best Years Gone.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, our feature length doc on the history of grappling is completing distribution paperwork and we’ll start delivery of it this week to Deskpop Entertainment, releasing it worldwide. We’re also exploring a Las Vegas World Premiere likely in July/August timeframe.
Staying with the topic of Deskpop Entertainment we’re looking at deals to release AN ORDINARY KILLER, a former Vietnam vet turned detective works to solver a small town murder. This film is based on the true story which was one of the longest cold case files solved by DNA. This film’s management is being transferred to the Red, White & Blue Project Inc. so that more veteran needs can be met. This amazing non-profit previously documented the plight of the Afghanistan children in OUTSIDE THE WIRE: The Forgotten Children of Afghanistan. We plan to remaster the doc and re-release it. Also it looks like KNIGHT CHILLS, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and GHOST TOWN will get converted to HD for re-release. We’ll take the steps one at a time. All of this takes work and it is very satisfying to see these titles get a second or in some cases third life.
For the Easter season I would ask all the fans to watch our three biblical adventures, Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer. Help make these three films part of your traditional family watch. I received word one of our fine actors passed away.
Also new promotion on WILD FAITH as we make a push to launch the 8 show season one of WILD FAITH: Hastings. LOST HEART and MAN’S BEST FRIEND are building their worldwide audiences and I am thankful for all the nice notes from fans.
I want to thank everyone for all the kind words on the passing of Daphne, our 14 year old doggie. Finn our little boy has always had his sister. He also has dealt with anxiety and fear issues (big trucks, fireworks) but has gotten steadily better. He was not doing great alone and was taking a few steps back. Well, we have a new loving member to our family pack Luna Mae. This beautiful girl had a few bad hands dealt in her life but now is settling in nicely. She had to learn some of Finn’s quirks but is helping to balance him out. She is very easy going and loves her new house and yard. She also loves hanging at the office with her new daddy.
We spent all yesterday putting outdoor Christmas stuff away and cleaning up the yard. We have a good ways to go with all that but we got a nice start on it. Last week we had some great meetings with several of the CDI Tribe. Much discussion in on our newly announced film HOT ROD LOVE. We’ve started investor and sponsor talks and are excited to pull this all together. This film will be 70’s summertime fun and already we’re getting some great attachments to the project. Reach out if you want to be involved on the business front. We’ve started to reach out to a few agencies on our Native American casting needs. A great piece of Michigan history plays into our story.
I also want to take a moment to recognize a very special father and son filmmaker team (Michael & William “Pops” McCallum, from my home town of Lansing, Michigan. Sadly, Michael lost his father. I’m not close with Michael, but I do admire his drive, tenacity and his past relationship with his dad. In our one sit-down years ago I stated that the films he made with his father will always be special. I think many of us artists who have locked horns with our parents admire/envy this relationship they had. So to my fellow Lansing artist Michael – my thoughts are with you. RIP to your Pops. And Michael, keep on being you with all your fire and passion. Your dad is surely very proud of you. From reading your story, your Pops had a heavenly reunion or two in the making with some very special people. He left you with all the tools you need to be the best you. With that I’m going to go make some eggs, bacon and refill the ye ole’ coffee cup. Have a great week ahead and be good to one another.
I’m sitting and sipping the hazelnut coffee with “Luna” beside me. She is the rescue that we’ve been working into our family mix. Right now she and Finn our co-existing nicely together yer still apart. Finn has had a few small issues but Luna is so laid back she just ignores him. She wants to go full into play and such with the handsome Finn but we’re taking it slow. We’ve been taking them on some good walks together which is helping them bond.
In other news, this entire deal with Russia and Urkraine is very disheartening to see. I don’t think the Russian people and soldiers are all about this conflict. But the Russian people are limited in how much they can protest. I think we as Americans are being reminded of what patriotism, bravery and unity looks like. Having just emerged from studying and immersing myself in WW2 it’s interesting the differences. Up to the moment broadcast media, social media and the closer communication of the world is showing a major difference. Now social media shaming isn’t going to stop a die-hard dictator bent on conquering. The Ukraine isn’t going to lie down and so winning a few battles versus holding captured ground is gonna be near impossible. I hope this resolves quickly and doesn’t spread. I’m not sure Putin planned to stop with taking Ukraine. The world isn’t going to stand by while this happens. Let’s hope world peace is restored soon.
While things are playing out on the world stage in our film family circles some are still fighting the last lingering Covid. Our own Greg Mason, who has been with CDI since film one “Knight Chills” has been fighting Covid in the hospital. He was in a serious bad way in ICU where they almost put him on a vent. But he improved and if it continues he might be downgraded to a room today. Also one of our hometown (Lansing, MI) artistic duos Michael and William McCallum need your well wishes as William is in the hospital. There is a tragedy torch that is passed around from person to person losing loved ones. We’ve all had our turns and we’ll all have several more. So be kind to people and challenge yourself daily to be grateful. I’m wishing the best for any that are facing such hardships. UPDATE: just got word Greg Mason has been moved to the step down unit and is sleeping and improving!
Let’s do a ‘TOP TEN updates’ from last week-
- The BTS promo for ‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA‘ was released this week. It was edited by Adam Towner who worked with our crew. It shows the hardworking CDI cast and crew working to tell our WW2 Holiday story based on true events. Watch here: https://youtu.be/KdcpzV9Ex5Y
- We have a new expended distribution deal offer on ‘Darkest Night,’ a found footage in association horror film that was produced in the Philippines. I will keep you all up to date on new releases. It is my only found footage film and I play the male lead in the film. It was such a great project to film and promote and I made lifelong friends on that set.
- HOT ROD LOVE has assigned the first investor units and we are in discussions with several others. Also we’re starting talks with sponsors that will align their brands with this upcoming film.
- With the business developments on HOT ROD LOVE, we’re moving along nicely and so we’ve started our initial development meetings with our director Shane Hagedorn on cast and crew. Part of this is evaluation of past performance. In this situation most all our crew are up to task and very talented in their roles. What we’ve looking for is overall positive attitude and those that “play well with others,” respectfully and with some gratitude of how hard our job is. CDI is not some faceless corporation but a multi-generational company of artists who have built everything with blood, sweat and tears.
- I can say that one of the upcoming castings for this film will be for Native American actors. We have two co-stars we’ll be seeking. We’ve already been looking at several Native American comedians also. Do we have any Michigan based Native American actors and comedians? We are going to find out.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is about to sign our worldwide distribution deal. This wonderful and educational documentary is being hailed as the best of its kind. Once signed this week we’ll be directing our attention at the official premiere. For our enthusiastic director Curran Jacobs this has been a slow process but things take time. And the wait will be worth it and I think this will be the go to watch for all wrestlers and enthusiasts for many years to come. Better yet, the non-profit that produced this with CDI’s guidance will be helping many veteran programs and wrestling programs all across the country for many years to come.
- Here is another great article on our friend Don Most and the movie LOST HEART. Read here – https://bestlifeonline.com/ralph-malph-happy-days-don-most-now-news/ If you have not seen this film please do on Amazon Prime, Encourage TV and more!
- CDI’s performance video for the rock band DEEPFALL came out great and the band loved it. It was shot by Carl Weyant and Travis Hayward and Carl served also as director/editor. I think this is the first in a series of videos. As soon as the video is released we will share the link.
- CDI Commercial Division is also ramping up. In the past I’ve let several commercial opportunities go by as we wanted to focus on feature film. We have several production units and can use our expertise to pick the right creative team for your commercial endeavor.
- I hear rumor that the new BESTSELLER artwork is forthcoming. Our distributor DESKPOP ENTERTAINMENT will start presenting to licensors in March. I think now that the film is getting a full home video release that it will find a great international audience.
I’m going to wrap this up and prepare to take the dogs on a walk as we work to get them use to one another. Again I hope all of you have a great week at whatever you are working upon. Think of those having some hardships and be kind to one another. I might have one more coffee before heading out into the cold. But spring is coming you can feel it!
I’m sitting here sipping some hazelnut coffee and pondering the great week we had. We celebrated our second week’s success with a bit of laughter, discussion, drink and music at our guest house. I will try to put a few of the recaps down here for everyone to enjoy but again I will have to keep it brief as we have a wonderful sponsored meal today on our day off by Smithfield Foods. Following that is a theatrical screening of BEST YEARS GONE (BYG) for our cast, crew and guests. While the films are very different in tone, style and content it shows the attention to quality our artists give while storytelling. BYG will always represent “that film” we did between Michigan’s two Covid lock downs. It was an added little thing we were able to gift our tribe of artists on their day off. In hindsight we did realize that the showing did create a lot of additional communication work for our office folks but we’re happy that we are able to share the story. It was directed by our own Shane Hagedorn and features some of the usual suspects in the CDI tribe. Several cast and crew here shooting now on ‘Silent Night in Algona,’ also worked on BYG and will get to see it for the first time. I love the cameo scenes with Jim Greulich and Victoria Jackson and also Lana Wood and Terence Knox. Jim and Terry are here on location so they will get to see it for the first time. The others get to see a CDI film on the big screen.
My random updates –
- A BMG promo starring Josh Perry promoting our ‘BIGFOOT, UFO’S and JESUS’ was filmed. It was so much fun to watch and get to be back with Josh again. Josh is such a natural but he has a very challenging dramatic role in this film.
- This week I’m suppose to film a BMG promo promoting THE QUEST TRILOGY that consists of our three biblical features FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER shot in a very ‘Star Wars’ looking way. Now that I’ve mentioned it you might be able to see the influence. This is the season for these films all the way up to Easter and I love the fan mail I get every year as families enjoy these stories on TV and streaming. We might do a theatrical marathon one Sunday in Michigan.
- Thank you to all the fans of MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND who took a watch on the film in honor of Veterans Day. I’m so happy that I’ve gotten to shake some of your hands. Our sponsored meal today is at the VFW which also provided us with the two locations used in our ‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA’ and so if military/veteran films are your thing you might enjoy a watch. I still find it fitting that when the RV broke down on the way here to film it was a Marine that went out of his way to help us. Semper Fi!
- With the large amount of extras and community helping us all the CDI films have been getting a good watch. WILD FAITH, LOST HEART (also known as BUJ), ASHES OF EDEN, WICKED SPRING all getting love. I enjoy the daily comments I get from new folks discovering our stories. Everyone has a personal favorite but I think they are really enjoying our overall style as storytellers. You can leave a review on our Amazon Prime page and/or the http://www.imdb.com movie page. On behalf of all the artists we thank you deeply.
- We do have a Facebook page for ‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA’ (SNIA) so please join us and follow along for more pictures and updates.
- This week we really got to see the German actors start to tell their part of the story. Our first week focused on our Tietz family story and introduced some of the town folks. But now we are moving into our camp scenes and the scenes have been beautiful, moving and even frightening at times. We examine the good, bad and ugly of the war, but also show how ultimately love, compassion and forgiveness can win the day. In this true event piece those attributes did outshine the darkness.
- We had to plan, pivot and work with a few spots of rain and even some snow but we did and created some amazing art. Some of the stills are so beautiful they look like a painting. That is kudos to the entire team.
- BEST YEARS GONE will be playing the Celebration Cinema in Lansing, MI over the Thanksgiving week. So another great opportunity for people visiting home to watch the film.
I’m wanting to expand upon the great scenes I saw unfolding this week but I have to get ready to shower up for this sponsored lunch. MSU plays again today and so I hope they get back on track. It would be great to see them play in a good holiday bowl. My next blog will be posted at the conclusion of our filming. Once back in Michigan and I go back to Sundays for releasing my blog and have more time to reflect and post more pics and we prep them. Until we sit for another coffee chat have a safe and productive week and be good to one another.
I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee while waiting for it to dry out a tad so we can go hit the flea market down the road. I love looking for props and character pieces. It has been warming here in the Michigan and I think we are finally past the morning frost. The newly planted blueberry bushes had to be protected but the apple trees seem to have done just fine. Our ‘Chicken Land’ has been producing a steady 4 eggs a day resulting in some wonderful breakfast sandwiches. I need to get stuff around for the second mow of the season.
The Covid lockdown did not control my mind. I did not fret, complain and concern myself to a point mental hinderance. I acknowledged and redirected to what I could control. Attacking things I had not had time to deal with. This last week we’ve had some good social interactions reminding us of what we’ve missed. I had a good visit with Pa Perry, several in-person meetings and even a social gathering. I do hope the mask mandate for our soccer league disappears. As I work to get the legs back in game shape the wearing of the mask has been cumbersome. This week I was less sore than week one and I hope next week will leave me better yet. Soccer is a game of stamina and endurance and the whole body moves in all different directions. But it feels good to be waging war again on the field.
So many updates so maybe we should get into them:) Several of our team will be present in FL this coming week to attend the ICFF which is a family/faith festival that recognizes artists. It is like the ‘Inspirational Oscars’ I’m told but its all subjective. But LOST HEART is up for several nominations from Best Film, Best Screenplay (I know that guy), Best Director, Best Supporting Actor/Actress and both Actor and Actress of the Year. But walking the red carpet will be several of our artists including Melissa Anschutz, Don Most, Sherryl Despres-maybe Victoria Jackson.
Also this wonderful film will be getting its general market release very soon. The film has two interwoven stories and the A story is LOST HEART and leads out front. The B story runs in the back ground and is greatly entertaining. Much of it follows the antics of Chip (Josh “Ponceman” Perry) and his hunt of the legendary Bigfoot. In addition to Dennis Therrian’s incredible score the general release is also highlighting the musical talents of The Cash Collective and Roanoke. Either way the same great film that everyone can enjoy. As a HUGE fan I feel this film is the most Spielberg of the CDI films. I could be delusional about that but it feels that way to me.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has been making great strides. Some of the updates were presented by our director in this newspaper release in Iowa. Read here-
Our casting of the Germans is about complete. We’ve been slowly working crewing with many adventurers yet to recruit. Tomorrow we’ll be announcing two more actors. One is yours truly and I’ll be playing the PW camp Commander. It is a really nice fit at this point in my career. Had I been charged with running a PW camp during WW2 I think my approach would have been the same as the character. More of the character study is truly getting into the mind set of that era. What did they read daily in the newspaper? What was spoken about at the coffee shop? What fears did people have? Radio shows. Music. I am enjoying the re-educating myself on my grandfather’s era. I do wish Rance Howard was alive to be in the cast. He was really excited to be in this story. We’ll do him proud as well. The other talent is an amazingly unique actor named Michael Wayne Walton. He was in CDI’s first feature which was ________? 🙂 (Trivia) …and he also appeared in a few other CDI films (Can you name them?) He has been making his unique path in this hard industry and I’m extremely grateful to have Michael coming on board to play a great MP guard who creates ‘bridges’ with the German men he is assigned to detain.
The PR release will go out tomorrow but you got the early scoop here. More casting and crewing and now with the more relaxed Covid rules we can get back to our weekly in-person meetings.
BEST YEARS GONE is in full out post-production push with July/Aug being our finish date. We made good steps on setting up our premiere. We will likely have a meeting this week to look at dates and make sure the location works. I have it on good source that the 1st official trailer is not far away. At the same time – color, music and sound design are all underway.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – The feature keeps growing its fan base with 4.5 mil at Encourage TV alone. I reached out on a few new fronts working to build our licensing so we can shoot the 8 show TV series next year.
CDI Associated film BESTSELLER has been signed to BMG’s new General Market label. They will build a wonderful campaign for that film and my guess would be a fall pre-Halloween release. WICKED SPRING is the test run in our up-rezing of older SD films to HD. As of Friday it sounds like they might have been successful. I will know this week for sure. If all is good FIGURE IN THE FOREST might be up next. I also got to see the first edit of FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and boy is it good. So proud of our little team. We’ll final mix for delivery with Dennis Therrian but we have a few months of post I’m guessing.
Funny how the fan mail from MAN’S BEST FRIEND have been asking recently about me participating in other action roles. I think I made note of “sure if the right story came along” and…I did have a script submitted to me. It’s written by a screenwriter who has lots of film and TV series credits of note. The director is also got a wonderful resume of TV and film work. Well, I read the script and gave my interest in a couple of characters. From there it seems we might have landed on one. The film is more action orientated with mafia/western vibe. It would have me playing a pretty kick ass role. Not sure on dates. It will be fine unless it steps on the upcoming WW2 film but I will cross that bridge when and if I need to. I gave my interest and I want to thank them for offering me to come on board. It is good to see so many projects start to move.
I’m going to cut it short here and take a nice walk around the flea market. I hope you all have a great week in your own personal endeavors. Until next week.
The Horse of My Dreams out now!
Good morning! I’ve got my hazelnut coffee here beside me as I sit down to update everyone on our artistic endeavors and to chat about the state of things. Every day I’ve been spending the time organizing and catching up on personal and business calls. Many of the personal calls also reflect upcoming business. I’ve been using every one of these days to get organized. I had totes full of old paperwork some were 20 year old receipts that had faded into unreadable. Some were projects that had died or scripts that were submitted for acting roles and never launched. Either way I’ve kept the office wood stove burning. I’ve also found little bits of CDI history. A forgotten set picture or a lost story treatment – gems. What I did notice is that in the early days the efforts were more spread out and now they are more focused. Also so much paper – which I still remain a fan of in some ways. That said, every cash move was reported on Cash Distribution Forms sent to the office to be recorded to our software. That aspect has gone digital as many things have. I had 6 boxes of 35mm film for one of the movies and so I’ve been rearranging.
Out in Sept 2020 – more contributed writing
Also I’ve been just enjoying all the great music I’m exploring and re-exploring. I watch news 2 maybe 3 times a day. Morning, maybe lunch and dinner and every night I end with a book. I’m always reading about a dozen titles at once but get that phone away and out of your hands. The phone is YOUR tool. It works for YOU. You do not work for IT. Work with it on YOUR time. I’ve helped a few people break this mindset and I think they are living healthier.
This time in our history has the obvious viral and economical set backs but I’ve seen many positive results also. I’ve seen fathers take time to dance with their daughters. I’ve seen family take time to craft up birthday signs for a drive way wishing. I’ve seen people revalue, reprioritize, reexamine their wants, needs, time management, appreciate relationships or lack of, their beliefs, their habits, their forgotten goals and dreams. Many are taking a deep breath and feeling thankful if they can still pull in unhindered air. They are looking behind them and seeing where they’ve been and what they’ve been through. What were the rewards? What were the sacrifice? Wisdom is in the pondering of the past reflection and applying that to decisions and direction moving forward.
Honestly I’ve never been so proud to be a storyteller. In the best of times our stories are just one of many distractions. Occasionally seen and embraced and acknowledged for the experience given. I always have said that if we make a bad scenes or have a moment of disconnect nobody dies on a table. But the power of a story is mighty. Whoever wrote the pen is mightier then the sword was right. Storytelling at its best offers you a near religious experience. People were losing their ability to listen. To really listen to a story – not mental armchair how you could one up some filmmaker. I had a major breakthrough in my thinking a while ago. I always felt this and acted on this but I really understood it once I spoke it.
Should I be more advanced in a medium like motion picture – it doesn’t make me anymore an artist than anyone else. We could love a medium we are not particularly skilled at. By experience that skill can and will improve. But I never see anything less than an artist. We both will have mediums we currently excel at and other mediums we’re passionately working hard to hone. I will judge, as we all do by display of character, actions especially when done quietly and… can’t give all my secrets:)
I look forward to meeting and working with more artists. In the past I’ve observed a lot of ‘flim flam’ artists building paper walls of ego, craving attention more than art. The same ego that drives many to lose their financial integrity versus perceiving the investment to be seen as a war chest used to get this story to the world. I know many projects started and never finished. Sad. But true.
But like the emerging butterfly you can come out of artistic hibernation as a more organized, more self aware, goal defined you. No email boxes should be littered with junk. Folders on the computer. Streamline. Many fail because they truly are not ready when opportunity presents itself. Some love to work tirelessly, looking for that opportunity but once they actually find it they are afraid. We all get scared inside with new situations and I always go back to John Wayne, Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. Something like that, but I think it’s accurate.
This is a time where life has slowed and children are at home. We’ve been excited because many family, friends and fans of past work have been meaning to watch this or that CDI film. The great part is that people have been taking the time. Hundreds of thousands of new viewers and growing on ad sites like TUBI and PLUTO TV that pay us via advertisers so that you may watch for free. Other like Amazon Prime are showing the films. So if you are at home take the time to watch the collection. The Quest Trilogy might be getting some Easter promo with a new trailer and some cool promo gifs. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER – I’ve had some great fan mail from these films. Thank you. It’s a fresh not overly sanitized look at these little known biblical moments and told in a cinematic heroic style epic involving angels and mankind. We’re talking about setting WATCH PARTIES and having our actors and crew do Q&A after. We’re looking into that and we hope to announce a few sessions.
Here is one of the CDI collaborations with Thunder Toad Animation. If you love the OZ stories this is for you. Beloved characters animated from original sketches and voiced by some talented actor folks including yours truly as…can you listen and guess? From children to grandmothers who doesn’t love OZ. This is the first animated venture by CDI but I will state here now that CDI is exploring the animated division now. THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ also has an incredible music score. One of my favorites – please take a watch and enjoy…
LOST HEART – So everyone is working in their solitary and communications continue. I had talks with our distributor and so we’ll be announcing new updates as we get closer. We deliver the film in June so music, sound, VFX and color correction is all underway. Tally HO!
BEST YEARS GONE – I’m excited to announce that our WASTELAND DP Travis Hayward will be serving as director of photography. Travis has worked several times inside the CDI Tribe and has been developing his reputation for capturing amazing images worldwide. This is an exciting thing for me as an actor having enjoyed my previous working experience with him. He has a good feel for kinetic action and that will play nicely into this story. The ship is continuing to pull everything together. I cannot say when we will sail but we plan to be one of the first sailing once the storm has passed.
I have to say that with all the downtime at home for people I’ve been having productive and enjoyable conversations on all kinds of business. Become the change my friends.
New York Time Square – I’ve had success and setbacks. But taking a group of sailors/artists out to sea is always an adventure. Every great thing ever done started as an idea. I’ll tell you something that I see around me that I really like. And this kudos centers on my state of Michigan but extends beyond that. I see DOERS. I see people finishing. I see people reaching. I’m not a better artist. We’re all artists who either create or derive some pleasure from the art of others. Active is always more conditioned than observer. The football player will always be in more condition versus the watcher of football. The artists who stretches his imagination, cooperation and does will always be more conditioned than he/she that watches.
It is hard to make any movie. A bad movie requires lots of work. Try organizing four of your family or friends to go bowling. Scheduling. This happens because of passion and compensation. Being compensated for something you would do for free is golden as a goal. When someone is required for a lengthy stretch of time/days/weeks compensation with agreement is better than free even when you can get it. Bad cold. Flu. Fever. I’ve had it on sets before. But everyone of those artists is working towards the common goal. You take a vitamin C packet. Rest, best you can and wait to be called to set. People not fully committed can and do flake. But I carry a zero tolerance for that. Too much benefitting too many artists at stake. I’ve missed a grandma’s funeral being on set. She encouraged me all through my career, she can and did understand. It is a total commitment to process. I hear horror stories of crew attitudes and walk off’s. I’ve only dealt with those issues in the easiest of days where the rigor of “war/filming” can test everyone’s limits. We at CDI try to be a fertile creative ground to grow within. Not perfect but we strive individually and collectively. Negative folks can allow the positive flow to align them or they are removed from the circuit of energy.
I’ve recently seen a few debates between film producers I know and commercial crew members who dog his hiring practices. Both tried to argue their points while the negative slings and arrows flew. Producing commercials (production service) is very different than film production (investment). Again with said producers, I disagree with his model of business creatively and otherwise BUT he might also disagree with mine. I’m okay with that. I think that producers who produce for profit – narrative story in a VERY competitive field, are entitled to set an offer however they wish. I think compensating will draw more experience to the project. That in turn effects the timeliness, quality or both. But getting that experience is the catch 22 for crew and talent. Who is going to trust a 500k film on the back on a first time actor? How hard is it to land in the director or DP chair of a financier feature film? Sometimes these smaller projects help develop people for the path ahead. You can star in a story without the stress. You get to shoot a film versus being the clap board 2nd AC.
Some productions are in that middle ground because of budget. Yes. I’ve done 4 min automotive commercials with larger budgets than a feature film. Meetings, notes, tweaks…not as exciting as a narrative story. When you mix experience level the goal is to raise people up and not have it brought down. This requires the right leadership in the right place. All this? Maybe bowling would have been easier:) So if you’re making good money in commercial production don’t try to apply that to narrative filmmaking. LOYALTY is what brings crew into the bigger game. It is a two way street. They work to help tell a beautiful story with audience changing power. Those few filmmakers that grow are smart to take their team with them. Some producers do sell out and take this composer who did this or that…this designer is more…they worked on…TRUST ME on this one. Stay with the team that got you there. Now they might need to keep growing with the collective. Soldiers all gotta march. But if someone likes what you’ve built they should respect the builders.
I’ve had a strong week of film business mixed with good times with the new puppy Finn and family. I made beef jerky for the studio and worked on dehydrated apples now. This week I’m going to rack the GRAPE APE wine to the secondary. I put a deer worth of venison into the freezer. Wood cutting for the office stove will continue this week. Let’s do some bullet point film updates.
- The Christ Slayer artwork is just truly beautiful. We’ll be announcing Feb streaming purchase, March DVD, April EVENT SHOWINGS on the big screen across the country. Post work is full steam ahead for the next couple weeks.
- Wild Faith artwork for the theatrical and DVD has begun. Wild Faith will be hitting theaters across the US in 3/1/19, TV cable 4/1/19, digital purchase 5/6/19, DVD 5/27/19
- MBF is now re-focused on the film edit and we’re working to have a first cut by end of the year. The trailer has been getting a great response. Please follow our Facebook site and watch the trailer. https://www.facebook.com/pg/MBFthemovie/videos/
- Tis the season and feel free to take a watch on our other films. FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR are the two previous films in The Quest Trilogy.
- LOST HEART is slowly moving down the tracks and will start to pick up steam 1st of the year. Stay tune for more opportunities. Also follow http://www.cdiproductions.com
Okay. It’s time to cap off the hot hazelnut coffee. Make some breakfast and get ready for a good day. Yesterday we went up North for a belated Thanksgiving fest and today is a family bday party. Go Lions!
The chilly fall has settled into Michigan making sipping coffee or hot cider even more enjoyable. Now is when I have to start thinking of the winter ahead. The stuff that will have to be put away and stored. The firewood for the coming snow. Even the change of clothes to heavier layers, is a normal process in Michigan. I think last week we discussed something which was the delay in shooting our next feature by a quarter. The funds are there and so many would want to rush to production, the fun part. But, we’re putting the icing on the cake for a wonderful distribution deal on WILD FAITH. It has been a touch slower since I’ve had the joy of working with the Hollywood agent system. But, in the end it will be worth it and will directly have an effect on the TV series. Upcoming 2019 will see the major organizing of the release and push on the series. We are planning to shoot in Michigan. Likely a series of shows shot in a tight production block. It’s new waters for me so I’m learning something new every day.
Tomorrow we’ll announce via PR our recent Crown Award and the Burbank International Film Fest win for ‘Best Faith Film’ and while I would have loved to have it gone against all the films – they work by genres. But WILD FAITH is just an accurate look at 1870’s life. As the screenwriter I did not add any overdue FAITH. People we’re just more living in tune with their faith during that time period. Life was more wooly and I think people had more life and death encounters be it disease, drought, famine, bear attacks – you get the point. I love the faith and inspirational themes. ROCKY being one of my favorite illustrations of that. On his way to the fight – the father priest throws down and few blessings. Yes. ROCKY could be a faith film and it would have surely won ‘Best Inspirational’ as I’ve seen it inspire masses and I’ve been inspired by that film. My point is, I’ve never set out to make a ‘Faith Film’ and I’ve never set out to not make a ‘Faith Film” – I’ve told a story. Characters in almost all stories are confronted by a situation that tests their faith thus the relatable conflict.
Dorothy in The Wizard of OZ must find her faith. Indiana Jones fights to keep his faith versus his scientific reasoning, Men vs shark in JAWS, puts faith out there to be chewed upon as a topic. I think every film made about mankind has faith woven into it. So, is it that the content must have X amount ‘faith’ in it? Judges in chairs that spin around and hit a button if your film has the required ‘faith’? I appreciate it mostly, the acceptance to our films. But because the story, characters, situations, lessons were all something that were touched upon. That shed a bit of light on our faults projected onto a screen, so we can better understand ourselves. Deep. I know. Occasionally, I feel quite grand with my profession, pride like a good woodworker, or any other artist. Mostly, I still feel like that kid, make believing with my neighborhood friends living out our own STRANGER THINGS life.
I’ve changed some in my screenwriting, I’ve noted. My earlier self was darker, heavier and nihilistic. My mom often questioning, why I kept dying in my films. Now, I’ve always had a funny, lighter side to my personality, ask anyone who really knows me. But, most of my writing came in my moments of solitary. Also writers in Michigan benefit from our long winters but the end result is often PSYCHO or THE SHINING writing in nature. Those previously mentioned films are two of my favorite for the season. Another side note: I do want to do another horror film but it has to be good. By good I mean story. Creating horror films in the handful of story formulas is like a rite of passage. The lovers of that genre cannibalize the artists with dastardly reviews. But meet them in person and they’ve always been very nice. Maybe because they saw you on camera foaming at the mouth and swinging an axe. Anyway, I was saying that I enjoy the laughter and smiles. I recall many showings of WICKED SPRING whereas people wept in the theater. We did that with our story. But I see so much negativity and anxiety with people not coping to our new world. A world where we’re more communication-connected than ever before BUT we’re not. FRIENDS have a new definition thanks to FACEBOOK but my definition stays the same. I want to be part of making people think, smile, laugh and still occasionally cry, if that comes with an enlightenment.
The ‘Faith Film’ anti-goodhousekeeping seal of quality is being shattered as more storytellers (without labels) are returning to tell stories that their grandmother, mothers and fathers would enjoy. Ben Hur (The Original) and Ten Commandments (The Classics) were always on TV when we had our family Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter gatherings. There are great organizations that are rising to recognize and award this kind of content. I always worry about censorship, we can choose to watch what we want. But if a demand is there, look at the rise in METV, Heroes & Icons, and the rise of the faith market. People are casting their votes with their rentals and purchases. I feel most honored by the online communications from viewers having powerful emotions invoked from our stories. It is a dream to have holidays where the films play and families bond over a watch. My goal is to make a few classics. All of them might not make it but we’ll give our ‘best effort’ every time.
I was reminded yesterday when inquiring about a director whom a close associate had worked with – their last film isn’t done. It hasn’t been completed in a matter of several years. As an actor, I’ve got two films shot in recent years, one a co-starring role, not finished. I’ve got a call, meeting, catch up with a director friend who’s trying to finish one of two projects we did together in the very distant past. It bothers me occasionally talking someone’s new project(s) when those people have loose strings to tie up. There are many films about that don’t interest me as a viewer, but I always tip my hat to finishing. Finishing is a skill needed in this industry, without it, suffering. But it sounds like my old friend is trying to finish, so that’s a good thing.
This week I finished my first solid draft on our next script with BMG entitled LOST HEART. In meetings with our distributor, they really liked a concept made easier that I had written something in the same vein. But I wanted to apply some of the growth I had made mentioned above. Same log line but different script. I had a wonderful time creating this story and it became so alive with characters and a world, other’s will long to visit. Jeff Kennedy and I, my partner in CDI, semi-retired – always had that as a goal. To create a world and invite people inside it. The CDI first five – really helped hone this craft. You have to BELIEVE in the world. Another 2019 goal is to get Jeff Kennedy back into a director’s chair. I have a few good ideas but they will require a good pow wow or two.
MBF has been in editing. They shot a few pick up establishing shots and transitions this week. Always good to do this once you get into the edit and really see what could be added. This film I’m so proud of. It showcases and pleads for better treatment of our war vets and dogs, that can heal us. We continue to release official stills from this film. For now the spotlight is given to…
THE CHRIST SLAYER!
Find our social media site on Facebook – lots of updates.
Part 3 has a bold name. But the title has a meaning that audiences will discover, maybe not what they thought. I’m excited to say that Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy is coming all together. I watched a recent 5k work flow version with 98% VFX. Color Correction and conforming still lie ahead. ADR, music and sound design are steadily under construction. I’ve been working with the distributor and their marketing team as we prepare for release in early 2019. I was really happy with the story, smiling throughout. I love watching artists friends give moving performances. That’s what we want deep down. To captivate and transfer that emotion via story. This will be an exciting watch and so again, catch up – parts 1 (FORTY NIGHTS) & 2 (CHASING THE STAR) on Pureflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Christian Cinema, Parables TV….and so on. To our cast and crew, it will be worth the wait.
Okay, time for a pumpkin spice english muffin and another coffee.
Have a great Sunday!
First I want to start out by raising a cup of coffee and toasting to all the father’s out there. I know my father was and continues to be a strong influence in my life. I laugh at my younger self who boldly told my father “I just want to be an artist, not a businessman like you!” – Well, that turned out different. This morning I was trying to organize my business TO DO for the week ahead. It’s always one foot in front of the other – steady as she goes.
My furry children get a lot of parental type love from me and I can only guess how complex it can get when you add in daycare, school, relationships, work…the worry of it all. I think my father can at least relax in the knowing that I’m doing something I truly love. When he can go to the cinema or turn on the TV and watch one of our films I think it gives him comfort. I still have strong memories of him at the kitchen table with his checkbook and all the bills laid out on the table. I do enjoy staying on top of my business. That gives me a good peace of mind. I look forward to a visit with dad later today. I get almost a weekly visit with him and that’s enjoyable. I can still get little nuggets of wisdom.
As many of you know we just wrapped MBF and I’m almost all caught up on that paperwork. We’re about to assemble a small skeleton crew for a one day pick up of flashback war footage. It is a different ‘Paul’ I’ll be playing. My wounded Paul was a great challenge as I’ve discussed prior. This is before all that – I recall actual wounded vet Bobby Henline telling me of the day he was injured only remembering having coffee that morning. Imagine waking up months later to gruesome injuries, unbearable pain and a lifetime of living vastly different. We all have those sudden changes in life we’re never quite ready for. One of our crew members lost her brother unexpectedly after our shoot. You cannot imagine such drastic changes in life. It is why you need to appreciate each and every day.
My furry child Luke has his last two radiation treatments this week. I do have to say it has made a big difference. We’ve also been using CBD dog treats from CA and alkaline water thanks to my buddy Nate. He has been enjoying life and aside from a few extra hours sleeping and some spotty times dealing with his med “high” he’s doing good. You hate to see anyone dealing with these kind of life issues but we all have them. Keep that in mind as you interact with people throughout your day. That caller on the frustrating phone tree could be also dealing with a dying parent or loss of a child. A touch more compassion never hurt anyone.
Back to films- I’ve had many of our new friends and associates ask about our other films. Please watch and leave a review if you feel entitled to.
- THE ACTOR – https://www.amazon.com/Actor-James-Russo/dp/B07D6Z6BCB/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1529241258&sr=8-4&keywords=The+actor – A struggle of LOVE by director Jon Osman – shot in NYC and starts our upcoming lead in THE CHRIST SLAYER. You will see me in there supporting as a funny FBI agent.
- ASHES OF EDEN – https://www.amazon.com/Ashes-Eden-Steven-Sutherland/dp/B07BLLJ6FN/ref=sr_1_1?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1529241414&sr=1-1&keywords=ashes+of+eden – Directed by our own Shane Hagedorn it stars Melissa Anschutz and Steven Sutherland and yours truly plays an ex-military drug dealer.
- WICKED SPRING – https://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Spring-Brian-Merrick/dp/B079HN718V/ref=sr_1_1?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1529241553&sr=1-1&keywords=Wicked+Spring – This classic film helped define my early career. I star with Brian Merrick in this Civil War tale that has been growing an audience since early 2000’s on TV and home video.
- FORTY NIGHTS – https://www.amazon.com/Forty-Nights-DJ-Perry/dp/B07555FR6R/ref=sr_1_1?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1529241671&sr=1-1&keywords=Forty+Nights – I would say one of my biggest challenges playing a figure so shrouded in mystery. I give my everything in playing Jesus during this little understood time of his life. I co-star with my mentor and friend Rance Howard. It was also one of his favorites where he got to play THE bad guy.
- CHASING THE STAR – https://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Star-Yancy-Butler/dp/B074PWBBYP/ref=sr_1_1?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1529241791&sr=1-1&keywords=Chasing+the+Star – I’m not acting in this second installment of THE QUEST TRILOGY but it sprang from my imagination and research. We’ve seen the statues of the wisemen every Christmas for many years but what is their story?
I thought these five films would give a nice start to people wanting to get to know Collective Development Inc.’s work.
WILD FAITH has a few more theatrical runs in it before it preps for home video. There are a few exciting things being worked on with this film but I will save that for another day.
THE CHRIST SLAYER – Part 3 in THE QUEST TRILOGY is in music and sound design. I got to watch the final cut with temp sound/music and I was blown away. Now that Dennis Therrian is adding yet another powerful score the film will truly soar. I am waiting on the final color corrected trailer to come over this weekend from our DP Jesse Aragon. Once that is ready we’ll prepare the PR and release the theatrical trailer. We plan to have it play select theaters in Oct-Jan and home video on the Easter 2019 lead up. This film will bring all three together and audiences can truly enjoy the weaving of the tale throughout three films. I’m excited for people to see the beautiful dynamic between Carl Weyant and Josh Ponceman Perry. Soon:)
I have started to look at development for the next CDI film in association with BMG. But for now… I’m going to get some breakfast and we’re going to go walk the flea market down the road. This afternoon will be some time spent with my dad followed by a soccer game in this heat. Daphne (our girl) got a new pool and so more swimming lies ahead for her. We also had a day of working on the office/fort and added some additional beams to help stabilize the second floor. I have quite a bit of stuff up there so it was a good call. I have ‘Dan the Druid’ to thank for that fine wood work along with his “Druid Jr.” helper. My brother Adam also came over and restructured the wood arch in the yard. The yard is back to its zen self with beans growing and berries ripening. I think more wine making lies ahead. With the amount of apples even a batch of hard cider could happen.
The other day I was cleaning up the yard burning sticks and such in a bon-fire. The day was beautiful just like a Spring day – And today SNOW! Tis Michigan – but my hazelnut coffee makes it all charming. I’m looking back on the week and my mind takes me back to the personal mythos creed I follow. I look back at all the places I’ve gone and the stories I’ve helped to tell. They all started as ideas in someone’s head. They evolved into a story crusade as more people rallied to the raised flag. The story gets told and the teller walks on down the road.
Let’s talk about actors a moment. First I think that ALL actors should work to help produce something even just once. I can recall working in pre-production on seven tasks at once and having calls about wardrobe concerns from an actor buddy. On one hand it is like readying a ship to launch and someone is worried about what color to paint the dining galley. I too – myself have had wardrobe concerns when every other crew person is working hard at their tasks. I took care of my brother in this case with a few reassuring words and sure enough it all worked out. He was passionate about his art and that is why he was hired.
Now from the director/producer side of the coin I’ve also met directors that do not really given a crap about their talent. To them they were just set pieces that happen to talk. They saw the talent as someone you just pull a string on their back and they speak their lines. They don’t take into consideration the mental prep and emotional drain a role can have. Remember the feeling next time you have a killer disagreement with someone. Now imagine doing that several times for a master, medium and close up shots. That doesn’t take into account any physical action that might take place. I also believe the actor should do his work without dramatically distracting folks.
RESPECT. It is a balance between all parties and both sides of the camera are equally important. So if you are a director – respect the process and the fact that your talent are human beings not robots. Talent I ask that you do your job without off camera drama – everyone is working hard.
Now onto a few updates – this week had many
“Deadly Renovations” is being prepped for the Hong Kong film market in 6 weeks and the DVD extras are being gathered for delivery. We’re almost hands off on that film save marketing. http://www.deadlyrenovations.com
We just completed a block of filming last week on the new thriller CDI is working on with Charles Pisaeno. It is entitled “Donors”. We were so blessed to have Niki Saletta star in the very demanding film. Audiences will also see her soon in “Benjamin” the NYC romantic comedy I filmed with her a while back. In “Donors” I’ve nearly completed my part in that film. I’ve just got one last little scene to do. Yes. Doctor Savior lives!
I’m being told that late 2nd quarter will be the national release of “Figure in the Forest,” “Heaven’s Neighbors” and Blu-Ray of “Judges,” “Blood Ties,” and “An Ordinary Killer” so if you have not watched any of these please do. There is something for everyone despite what your taste might be.
I’m told that the “Henry Ford” film should start pre-production in 3 weeks or so. June looks to be a possible start date so I will start signing onto Spring projects in the coming weeks. This is the same company doing “In Our Time” and the Madame CJ Walker film and needless to say I’m excited to work on these projects.
Post work continues on the theatrical cut of “Darkest Night” and it is slated to be done by the end of March. I miss my Philippine friends and I’m excited to showcase our work.
“7 Stones” is being polished up on the CGI/audio and will be ready to start theatrical and festival play soon.
I have to meet with Jeff Kennedy over “Mythos” this coming week. Great development stuff happening on “Long Road Home,” “Secondary Heroes,” “Soul Eater” and “A State of Hate” has been renamed “Race to Judgment” and is almost done with rewrites.
Some meetings on “Wicked Spring” will start concerning the re-issue. Also some talks with TV networks have started. Curtis Hall and I are spearheading this effort after we traded our holdings in Lionheart Filmworks for control on the film. We want to do something really nice for all the fans we have out there.
I’m waiting on another script to be sent over today so I can see if it is something I want to participate it talent wise. I also am being courted for a role in a Texas film that is a powerful and violent thriller. That is looking good as I like the script and the character they are discussing with me. So on this snowy day some good reading may take place.
I hope everyone out there has a great weekend. Keep working it hard and I’ll chat with you all again next week.