The hazelnut coffee is flowing and the sun shines- but the chill remains outside. We chopped up some more wood to feed to wood stove in the office this week. I’m pretty good with the ole axe which is not only a great work out but helps develop your focus. I have several items we can chat about. This week I’ve had good meetings, location scouts and several business insights. Let’s start with…
“Wild Faith” – after our string of sold out shows in Lansing and strong sales at Grand Rapids (which was just picking up speed) -we’ve now started our run at Emagine Theaters in Novi, MI and will play until the 12th. We might extend our week run if our weekend sales are strong enough. We did also just complete a ‘closed caption’ file which our distributor usually handles but having this pre-home video file will now allow our hearing impaired to also enjoy it in theaters. It will be added to our showings.
It will be playing in Florida at the ICFF next month and we’re working with several of you individually to try to get the film showing in your area. Hastings, MI where we filmed – please know we’re trying to set up at the theater. We might have to do weekday runs vs weekend as the main theater is under construction and they have studio obligations. So if you’re in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area and want to see this film get over to Novi where it will play until the 12th of April. Four shows daily should provide several opportunities. If you want it to play around you we need contact info for the theater/manager/owner and for all of you to reach out and ask for the film. Thank you for all of you who have come out to enjoy this film.
While we’ve been pushing this film out we’ve been working post-production on part 3 of The Quest Trilogy – The Christ Slayer. We’ve had a surge of “Forty Nights” watchers because of the Easter season. And if watching that on Amazon Prime you might as well watch part 2 “Chasing the Star” – enjoy. Part 3 trailer is being color corrected and music composed. It will release in the coming weeks to start building hype for the pre-Christmas theatrical release and the wide home video release Easter 2019.
Joining these biblical adventure films on Amazon Prime is our Civil War classic “Wicked Spring” and now “Ashes of Eden” joins it. The latter was directed by Shane Hagedorn and is a cool cautionary tale. I play an ex-military guy who tried to walk the straight and narrow but life did not quite allow that. It has many of the CDI tribe playing great dramatic characters. Check it out!
“Ashes of Eden”
MBF (Man’s Best Friend) is now in pre-production with dates to start filming in late May into June. We’ve been targeting our crew for the next film and locking locations. We had a tech scout last week. I ended up getting more emotionally affected by both the prisoners at the jail and even more so at the animal shelter. After touring the shelter and having my heart poked by several of the stares begging to be taken and given a loving home – I fought to keep composed. The idea is to use shelter dogs and we plan to do an adoption event for our picture dogs. Once the film is ready to play theaters I also want to do adoption events in every city we play to. When I was pitching our plan to the shelter workers I almost lost it. I was there as a producer but my emotions surged. I was embarrassed that I had to fight to keep it all together. I had initial worries about getting to the right emotional places with my character. Now I worry about too much emotion and audiences not being able to understand me. I really did a doozy to myself writing something that is so wide open with vulnerable emotion and plays to my weakness. But it all felt truthful and honest and so I know that will only help the performance. All this is before even factoring in fully the heartache of the military vets. But I saw lines drawn between vets, prisoners, adoption dogs – broken souls wanting to be whole. The film also has a cautionary tale woven within. I think most of my scripts do. I’m very excited to tell another story with our wonderful CDI artists. I just found myself missing the carefree, humorous nature of ole Ben Lily in our past “Wild Faith” tale.
Aside from all this I’ve been writing daily and getting some of the future content in line. I’ve been researching for the next biblical trilogy and working on some other exciting scripts. The new CDI website at http://www.cdiproductions.com is almost complete with phase one. Next phases include merchandise and streaming which is on deck. Please check out the website. This is where many of our castings and updates will be posted. The battle plans for the next couple years are underway.
I’m going to bring this to an end. I’ve enjoyed you all stopping by – next Saturday (April 14th) will also be the release of the music video I participated in. Trey Connor is the artist and the song is called “My Ghosts” – soon.
Be good to one another. Get out to Novi Imagine and travel back to 1875 with “Wild Faith” on the big screen. If you want to see more of our storytelling get onto Amazon Prime and take a watch.
I want to welcome the 1st time readers from S. Korea and Jordan. The lead singer of a band (Shinedown) was talking about the unifying power of music. I think that is true for most art as a whole. I’m proud that this little coffee-powered blog is read by so many around the world. It has been an exciting Summer so far and I’m finally feeling ready for the next journey. By journey I mean a group of films. I’ve been doing this a while now and sometimes I need that break. More from the business versus the art creation but that too can be exhausting. I’m excited because beyond the small pockets of audiences – the nation and beyond will get to see “Chasing the Star” in September (5th) with our distributor releasing to Amazon, iTunes and a few Faith sites focusing first on DVD sales. They are allowing a premium window before moving to streaming services in 2018 after Christmas. This will be a cool Christmas because you will be able to watch Part 1 “Forty Nights” and Part 2 “Chasing the Star” of The Quest Trilogy. There are many small crossover moments in all three films which will be fun to connect for people. Part 3 “The Christ Slayer” is moving along. We were putting paperwork under our VFX team and a PR release will be forthcoming this week. I also have a meeting with the director Nathaniel Nose to discuss the 1st teaser trailer and poster. I’m really proud of all three of these films and I will look forward to the day all three are in a box set or playing TV together. You have to dream it first.
A few of the team – (L top R) Hagedorn, Perry, Bradley, Mason, Therrian, Hornus)
“Wild Faith” – I LOVE this film. I think many of you – fans of “Wicked Spring,” “Ghost Town” and such will really be taken with this movie. A great cast united in telling a very timely story despite the 1800’s setting. Follow this film on FB or the website and get ready for a ride.
Wild Faith FB
Wild Faith website
We’ve been going back and forth over movie posters the last few weeks. We’ve had something really good first drafts but not that one great poster that brings all the elements together. Now this is only the theatrical poster not the distributors poster but it is the one we will run with for a while. A new trailer is also in the works that will be our theatrical trailer. We saw a first cut of the Behind the Scenes video and that will be refined before release. You can just see how much fun everyone had making this film.
Okay, I think some of you are good with updates on films in post and want to discuss new endeavors. Well, I’ve had a story in my head for a few years now that involves a few very important themes. Those themes are military vets and dogs. It took some time to ponder what role to tackle after my last go playing Jesus. My conclusion was what fires up your passion? Does it have a strong business backing? The conclusion was to focus and finish this script lingering in me. The script is the most important thing I have found over the years. It is the blue print that all the departments work off of. It is what encapsulates the world and unites all these performances into a story. That first official draft was completed and I had my two CDI co-producers take a read and give feedback. I also sent the first draft to a few outside people to get another viewpoint. The response was strong and so we’re taking the next steps. This week will include a polish thus creating version 2. I’ve reached out to distribution on the subject matter and I’m doing some breakdowns. It will be filmed in Michigan and at the year’s end late Oct and early Nov is the goal. Early informal casting talks have begun – I’ve said this before, if you’ve worked with us before and fit a breakdown and you weren’t an issue, you’re being looked at. We might request a few reads at some point from some of you out there. We do have a handful of teen roles which we don’t have as many options. Those damn kids keep growing up:) So if you’re 12-19 years old male and female we will want to see your game footage. By that we mean you demo reel. We may go to cold reads if we haven’t found what we want but we like to use reels. So get those ready to go because in a week or two official calls will go out. I look forward to storytelling with you.
I’m going to leave all this right here as I’ve got a string of things to get done today ending in a soccer match. We got the upper siding done on the office/fort and the shake front and back (very top) are next on the list. The garden is giving us our first harvests. The berries have been in full boom and my brother, an artist himself – created this as a birthday present for me. It is a wrought-iron arch with our former elm tree adding the beauty.
Have a great Sunday!
This morning we slept in and woke to a gentle rain, which the garden surely appreciates. We had a weekend of wedding activities as my step-sister tied the knot yesterday. It was an outside affair at a farm with a beautiful barn. We had a few Moscow Mules, few as I have a soccer match today – plus very good Brisket, grilled chicken, veggies and potatoes. My niece and nephew were the flower girl and ring bearer and after a less than perfect rehearsal I was sure chaos would ensue. But the niece who is a tad older was offered M&M’s if she could get herself and her brother to walk the aisle. Lesson – don’t underestimate the power of M&M’s – they did perfect. I lost a bet:) Let’s talk about the great week we had and what lies ahead.
Chasing the Star – Let’s go with that film first. The DVD poster is shown above for the Sept 5th release. I think people will know immediately what the film is about – the adventure of the magi crossing King Herod’s lands seeking the Messiah. This is the follow-up film to “Forty Nights” and I’m so proud of the endeavor. We’re still looking at other theatrical showings leading up to September. The theatrical poster has been a place holder, so look for the cover above, but you can pre-ORDER now.
Forty Nights – This first film in our biblical trilogy is continuing to roll out and find audiences. I’m excited to see the films expand out to other foreign territories. I have friends in many countries and I would love for them to see more of our films. I’ve had many asking where they can buy the DVD and really you just have to google “Forty Nights” and NOTE this is the remastered version. “40 Nights” is the rushed version we created for Wal-Mart, still beautiful but “Forty Nights” goes to 11. Where do you go from there?:)
The Christ Slayer – I had a great meeting with our director Nathaniel Nose. He’s polishing up his cut for review this week. We’re also putting VFX in motion and we’ve got a few exciting things happening there. I also know that a trailer and poster are on the way. I’m excited we’re working on the third part of the trilogy. I’m so proud of the cast and crew from all three films.
Wild Faith – Friday we got to watch the film with smoothed out dialogue and sound design. It was like watching a movie as is and once they start adding music it just amps up the action onscreen. We did get to hear a few music sketches that are being done. Also the VFX first steps are now underway. I have some meetings in the coming weeks – working on putting the TV series in motion. It really would make a beautiful show and the trailer is gathering some good attention. Take a watch and see for yourself.
In other business – we’ve been working on “The Quest Trilogy” website that will absorb the three films in time. Also the new CDI site will have many great new features and I look forward to launching that in the coming months. Soundtracks, books, new films will be launching. We’ve been working hard to get our organizational structure ready to move forward into the future. I’ve been doing some good writing and putting pieces in place for upcoming productions. If any of you readers have questions on our business or business in general feel free to send any questions. The rain here has stopped and we’re going to get a few things done around the homestead before I have to battle on the soccer field.
Be good to one another. Create don’t Hate:)
Happy Holidays 2014 – Keep Clawing Your Way to the Middle!
Ah………I feel like a traveler just returned from a foreign and distant planet. First, Christmas time in Las Vegas isn’t the same as in Michigan. My hotel room absolutely lacked the Christmas spirit that I’m once again dwelling in. Don’t get me wrong – I had a great experience shooting “Wasteland Tales of the Desert Part 1” in the Valley of Fire. The place was once the location of a prehistoric sea now long gone and leaving the rugged terrain of the Valley behind. The ground was hard and rocky covered with petrified wood, brush and various sedimentary rocks – many with fossils and hints of the once watery condition. We had a tight crew that everyday woke at 5:30 am and got about, shared breakfast and departed for the Valley. We shot everyday until about 4:30 when the magic hour struck the majestic location. We returned banged, bruised, worn and happy. Everyday we got great footage! Everyday had powerful performances. At days end it was back to the hotel for bath/showers. Now I haven’t taken a bath versus a shower in a long time but with my sore bones it became a daily ritual. All day included walking, climbing and laying on anything but flat surfaces. Once clean it was off to dinner with our cast and crew. Ribs, blackened Mahi Mahi, super burgers – let’s just say that food is not lacking in Las Vegas. After eating my night was spent either running lines for the next day save one day where I went to bed at 9:30. That early in Las Vegas is from beat up tired. 200% always! But by the next day I was rested, recharged and ready to rock and roll. The footage, the stills -amazing – the film is gonna be really cool. We had so much fun shooting it and that fun seeps into the footage. An official website will be going up and more pics will soon fill the Facebook albums. The first teaser will begin immediately and the film should be assembled by Feb. 2015. I think once people see this film we’ll have many people interested in being involved in the others “Tales from the Desert” – so we’ll see who the desert beckons next. This is just a great CDI association and I’m proud to be part of it. Our team was awesome and we really got what we needed. My fellow cast members Nicholas X Parsons, David Gries and Damian Maffei were all a pleasure to work with. They take their craft serious and they brought their passion to the show every day. I also want to thank my former co-star Jaime Lynch for giving our cast and crew the VIP treatment at her new show she stars in at the Luxor called FANTASY. If you are over 18 and want to see a great show this is one not to miss. She has an amazing voice!
On other fronts –
THE TERRORIST – I talked with director Jon Osman over our progress on the film. The graphics and color grading are looking great! He is continuing to work the sound design getting the film ready for a final mix.
BESTSELLER – I think we are in the final steps of FX and sound and music are moving along as well. We are driving towards the finish line.
ASHES OF EDEN and DONORS are prepping for their initial national release in early 2015.
IN THE WOODS and WICKED SPRING are prepping for new national re-releases.
I’m anxious to regroup, recharge and get ready for the new year ahead. I’ve got a few script projects to return to writing on and a few other projects that we may be announcing details on very soon. I’m fresh out of the desert and the facial scruff is gone for the moment. I’m happy to be back home with family and friends and I once again feel blessed. Blessed that I got to go off to another state – to a great location – with some great artists – and do some great storytelling. And now I’m happy that I see stockings hung with care. A Christmas tree lighting up the room and my pack of pups sleeping peacefully. I smell ham cooking and classic Christmas music plays softly. So with that I’m going to say goodnight. I think it’s time for a late night snack OR dinner if I were still in Las Vegas.
I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Be good to one another and enjoy the season.
I appreciate you all taking the time to stop by.
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!