Hazelnut cheers on a nippy Michigan morning. I’ve got the fire going by my chair as I sit and reflect on a very busy week of life and work. Last night we gathered at the NCG theaters in Lansing to debut our new CDI film BEST YEARS GONE, directed by Shane Hagedorn. We had a strong crowd for the 1st show which they moved into the bigger screen to handle our sales. Also they extended the theatrical run until Oct 21st, so have day out going to see a movie. It really did play great there and I was happy to see so many family, friends and fans of the films. I love that every day more folks will get to see the story we told. The feedback has been strong ands I know the ‘haters’ always find their way but so do those who appreciate the stories. And at a kick off event I get to shake hands, take pictures and meet some of these fine people.
(Shane Hagedorn and DJ Perry greeted and chatted with many folks at the Lansing premiere)
My dad still wonders how I’m able to weave the story and all the dialogue into a script. I told him all those times of being assured of not paying attention or having my head in the clouds – THAT – whatever it is – IMAGINATION – it allows me to get lost in the story and manifest it. I’m awaiting word on another deal that would have me writing a script this winter and produce it next year with CDI. Add in the TV series of HASTINGS that is gaining momentum and 2022 could be a fun year of storytelling. Here are the Lansing showtimes- https://www.showtimes.com/movie-times/best-years-gone-156830/lansing-mi/
But before we get to 2022 we have a very exciting and important story to be told – SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA! I cannot believe that the pre-production caravan will depart next Saturday. Producers, director, art, AD, office and transportation will be doing final prep for the shoot that kicks off on Halloween. I had a wardrobe fitting last week and between the scene study which is feeling on point and the dapper WW2 uniform – game on.
We have some additional sponsor support from the Iowa State Bank so we want to thank them. This past week we filled several of the few cast and crew spots remaining. Just one or two cast/crew to go and that will work itself out. We had a few changes from illness or unexpected commits but our team will go and end the year with one great story. This week I need to pull together final props and production stuff traveling with me. I have to finish packing my clothes which needs to include cold weather gear. The nice part is this film I have like one uniform and a few hats unlike the multiple wardrobe pieces worn as Gil in BEST YEARS GONE. I am going to enjoy this final week of prepping things. There are several friends I only get to see while filming so again I’m excited to tell this story with our artists.
I know that this is the perfect season to release BESTSELLER, our thriller getting a campaign reboot but I do not have dates yet. My favorite film of the season is the animated ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and Hitchcock’s PSYCHO, which I’ll be watching to this week. WICKED SPRING HD is heading out to streaming and might be playing on certain platforms. I need to circle up with our distributor on a few projects but I’ve been quite busy with one film releasing and one going into production in under two weeks. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH feature-length doc is in the post-mixing phase and I was thinking of premiering SMOKE & MIRRORS with it at the same time. Like the cartoons you use to get before a show.
I’m putting the coffee away this morning because of the chill. I just poured the last cup and I’m going to finish this up. My next update will be from Algona, Iowa! Today we might hit the flea market seeking prop items and a stop at Tractor Supply to get some food for the chickens. They are putting on winter weight and still giving the eggs out. It is nice to always have that abundance of eggs and you do taste a difference. My alumni MSU had another good game yesterday but our Lions still struggle. I want to again thank each and everyone of you who attended our showings. If you want to leave a review you can go to our BEST YEARS GONE page on http://www.imdb.com and vote and leave your thoughts. I hope you all have a productive week ahead. Be good to one another.
A very good morning to all of you – hazelnut cheers to our new readers from Australia, Philippines, Ireland and more. I’m sitting and feeling – relief, joy, accomplishment…I’m still trying to capture that feeling. Last night was pretty crazy cool. Weds we went to the NCG and set levels for the film and the pre-showing videos which comprised of “For the Love of Catch” movie trailer and the music video for ‘Off to the Races’ featuring Vertical Bridge. In the past I’ve had some events that I primed up well for- one example that jumps into my mind is David Borowicz and I in Burbank, CA before WILD FAITH played the theater. He said let’s stop here and have ONE beer. It was the home of the 1 yard beers so that really started things off relaxed. I went into the premiere stone sober and first the first trailer started playing without the visual. They restarted it and it played great. The music video started way loud and then they turned it too low and finally brought volume back up. The aspect ratio on the feature was off slightly so bottom credits were being cut off. But they quickly readjusted. Visual, audio, aspect ratio- they had moved us to a larger theaters and the adjustments from Weds were not applied. My limited-tech self was wishing I had that yard sized beer in advance. The audience didn’t notice but we did and the second 8:15 show got the much better adjusted showing and this week the showings should be much more dialed in. But the interest and numbers for the showing resulted in us getting our run extended for the week! The kick off gremlins tried to mess with the showing but instead ended up having an amber ale with us after and they liked the film:)
I also enjoyed talking with Karl Manke the book author. The book is called HOPE FROM HEAVEN. It is an interesting feeling when you write a script and it is turned into a film passing by the director and the actors. It has to be another experience to have your book turned to a screenplay turned into a movie. Either way I think he enjoyed the experience but as a writer I know sometimes in your imagination you have it painted differently. But for me it is always a pleasure seeing the words brought to life. We will know this week if NCG is bringing it to other cities in Michigan. We have a few other chains we are in talks with and our goal is to get it to you. It is planned for roughly a Feb 2022 DVD/streaming release with our distributor. We are going out on the distributors general market main stream label. The film checks many of the boxes for a good inspirational story but the hardcore faith buyers seemingly don’t always like to see too ‘real’ of situations. The ‘Brady Bunch’ level crisis is usually what they like to focus on but that is slowly changing. Audiences loved the characters, the humor, the music (Dennis Therrian) and the edit (Nathaniel Nose) – I am going to sneak into a day show this week. Likely 2:45 show and home by dinner:)
This week we’ll be looking to see what could be done with SMOKE & MIRRORS the short we did off a commercial shoot for an audio software company Izotope. It is a precursor to a feature film we want to film from one of my scripts of the same name. We might do a steampunk happy hour fund raiser for the historic house or something online. We will have a few creative pow wows over this but however you see it will be entertaining.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is moving hard. The crew started getting agreements although our prep dates might fall back by a day. The office and AD staff are working on the set schedule which includes what we call a day-of-days that tells us actor start dates, work dates and final date so we can properly book flights and hotels. Transportation in will be a bit harder as all the close airports are small and limited flights. We are driving in with the prep team so we can bring more gear and such with us. The chill in the air this morning whispered “Wait until November.” – DOH! So this week we’re are back at it and with a more singular focus now that several projects have been concluded.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is a feature length documentary produced by CDI in association with the Red, White and Blue Project Inc. a military focused non-profit. We’ll be locking up picture soon and sweetening the sound before we premiere this fine piece of work.
I’m not going to go on much about development this week but we are always in the state of development. Several possible projects are building and growing closer to a production green light. More doors are opening weekly that we are evaluating and looking to see if they make sense and match with our schedule. So please do make the time to go see BEST YEARTS GONE on the big screen and take a friend or two. If you have seen it take a moment to share your thoughts with a review on IMDB.com
We are going to go hit the flea market down the road and look for a few WW2 era props for the November shoot. We might have to get a few pumpkins and maybe even apple cider. I finished the hop harvest and we’ve still been waiting on some of the veggies late maturing like eggplant and Brussel sprouts. Wood cutting with Viking Thursdays might start soon. The days are still getting warm but morning and nights are getting chilly. Good sleeping weather when the window is open.
I also will tell you that some great merchandise made its first appearance at the premiere and will be for sale soon online. Best Years Gone official handkerchief that people really loved featuring a few of the favorite tag-lines from the film. Also Gil Gilles approved lighters, papers, grinders and beverage cozies one with a built in opener. Fun stuff and the start of many as we start to develop the CDI merchandise line. Some ‘For the Love of Catch’ merchandise might also be on deck. Wicked Spring lunch box? maybe:) We also want to start featuring artists and carry their artwork on consignment. I LOVE seeing other artists succeed through hard work. Many expect things to just happen. I am part of a few social media filmmaker groups and I see so many unrealistic expectations. Also folks who wrote something and just think it will get funded if they just post a few messages. I called. Set meetings. Cold pitches in studio boardrooms. Many meetings where many turned up zero but eventually the right fit. But it never dropped in my lap. Do opportunities drop in my lap now? Yes. But that is after many years of struggle. So I just feel like I’m reaping the rewards of seeds planted long ago. So I’m saying even in this digital age you might have to get off your computer/phone, out of your comfort zone and go after it with a well thought out written out plan of attack. Or you can go back to social media funding where 95% of those endeavors fail to fund and if you want larger budgets that takes trust. So go build that trust and make your dreams happen. It also allows you to be pro-active versus passive which is where many like to dwell. But passive usually doesn’t prosper like pro-active.
Off to refill the coffee cup! Great job MSU! Have a great week and thank you to the full house who attended the premiere kick off last night. It was really nice to meet some of you and we’re all glad as the artists that we could give you an enjoyable night. The sign for me was that my face hurt from smiling and laughing and so I’m gonna take that as a good thing.
Good morning from Algona, Iowa! I’m sitting looking over a small private lake with an abundance of wildlife. This state on the other side of the big lake is not so different from Michigan save being more flatland and corn. Our director and main producer team from our upcoming SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA film has been here on a scout. Our trip in was hampered by delays and a few mishaps that are almost worthy of a comedy film. But once we arrived our stay has been incredible with so much support from the community. Tonight we are having a special BBQ by an award winning chef with the mayor and area dignitaries. We have been also getting incredible support from the area businesses all excited to have us here. Smithfield Foods is one of our international sponsors and our host on this trip. I’ve learned a few new pork grilling techniques that I’m excited to try when I get back home.
We were curious as to the availability of props in the area and we were happily surprised that almost all the props required- right down to WW2 wheelchairs and more will be available to us.
Even the period vehicles are all falling into place. I’m going to keep this short as we are about to go scout more locations today.
BEST YEARS GONE is racing around the track and heading for the checkered flag and finish line. Here is your advanced notice that if you go to NCG Owosso website and your buy a ticket for one of the two shows. Tickets are just standard pricing. The afterglow party will be free for every ticket holder. We’ll be doing PR on all this when we return this coming week but I wanted to give you all the first announcement. We’ll be doing a producer watch soon and after will be the final mix.
As noted we’ve been all over this area of Iowa and meeting so many people that either have seen our films or after meeting us are excited to watch our films.
WICKED SPRING – the HD campaign is about to roll out. I saw an early draft of the thumbnail poster art and had some comments on it including incorrect rifles and clothes that appeared a touch modern. Some alternations were made but they rolled with the wrong rifles and such and I told them the re-enactor/living historian crowd would hammer that poster and they are. To the casual Civil War enthusiasts it might fly but to my friends that live and breath the era – not. So my apologies for the inaccurate guns but that distributor marketing is not all under my control. But I do hope that you watch and enjoy the HD enhanced film. It is still a favorite of mine to this day.
Next week I should also be seeing a first cut of our documentary ‘FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH‘ and our short concept film ‘SMOKE & MIRRORS‘ and I’m excited to see these both drive towards a finished film.
I might be missing a few updates but I’m going to wrap it up. I need to eat something quickly before hitting the road. But this is an exciting time and we’re very happy with the progress we’ve made every day preparing to give our artists the support needed to tell this amazing WW2 story.
Have a great week and we’ll chat next week.
Good morning and welcome to all our past readers and new readers from Italy, China, France and more. I’ve not gotten into the coffee just yet but might have to take a pause to do that. It has been a whirlwind of activity as we work to finish a few projects and start a few new ones. I have had much to ponder the last week some positive and some negative (for others). Much of it stems from communication and professionalism and timeliness. If you get an email as part of a work flow process you should confirm that the communication was received. If you receive an offer and you are busy you should touch back and let the sending party know that you are busy but can address their communication shortly or at a certain date. If anyone is offering you work even if it (schedule or rate) doesn’t meet your current expectations, politely pass. Adding attitude or commentary that is negative is also foolish as a person could ruin any future opportunities and in several circles. It’s again why we at CDI are all about development of good attitude people. Feature film isn’t for everyone and some work better in short format. Anyway we are almost all crewed up. The cast is also getting down to our last few actors. We’ve started rolling out announcements on the German actors and we’re about to go scout in Algona with our main producer team and director. Let’s do a TOP TEN updates this week.
- As noted cast and crew on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is close to being a full boat. Also scout trip ahead next week and it will be exciting to start locking some of this in.
- We had a first day of filming on the ‘Off to the Races’ music video for VERTICAL BRIDGE getting racetrack and B roll of the smoking fast cars at the track but still need to shoot the performance of the band. That is set up for later this month.
- The premiere for BEST YEARS GONE is set for Sept 18th at the NCG with two shows 6pm and 8:15pm with an after party at ROMAS patio right after the first show and past the second. It will be a fun night and we’re excited to show the film that is getting closer every day to being done. We have a FB event page to keep people updated and tickets will go on sale in about a week I’m told. A premiere poster is also being worked on so that will be forthcoming for the theater.
- SMOKE & MIRRORS should be complete. I’m reaching out to get an update as the final VFX was being added. Our director recently became a daddy again so their household is adjusting.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH documentary should have a 1st edit next week and I’m excited to see it. I’ve been in a few discussions over this amazing piece and it will find a great home. Anyone will interest in grappling will enjoy this history lesson right from the mouth’s of some of the greatest in the art.
- WICKED SPRING which was a film we shot back in 2000 is getting a new campaign release now that the distributor has converted it to HD for streaming. It is all done by cloning pixels, pretty amazing. But this film is over two decades old and still finding audiences. I will let everyone know where the HD film is streaming once I’m informed.
- I had another great meeting over the WILD FAITH TV spin off HASTINGS and our next steps is to have a 3rd party discussion with the studio. The plan is 2022 filming so we will see!
- MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This past week or so I’ve had no less than a dozen people in conversation tell me how much they enjoyed MBF. It is a touching and emotional film and I’ve also been surprised that many of the comments are from burly, tough guys. Dogs are a man’s best friend. Girls can keep their diamonds. I jest as several of the people saying how much they loved the film were also women.
- These week we spent some time working to get BESTSELLER materials to the distributor with author Christoper Knight. I’m excited to see this film move out into the market – beware it is a bit scary.
- LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFO’S and JESUS and our biblical trilogy THE QUEST TRILOGY keep gaining new audiences. If you’ve seen any of the films and enjoyed the story consider leaving us your thoughts at the film’s IMDB and Amazon pages.
This week also included a great soccer match, some yard zen, hops are almost ready to harvest. The garden has been putting forth veggies and the egg laying ladies are keeping at it. We had a Perry reunion this weekend and it’s nice to touch base with folks and we had some great food. This cooler weather is so much nicer than the humid heat. I know what lies around the corner. Today we’re going to the flea market and see if I can take a few items off the ‘Algona’ prop list.
This week will be a short pack for the ‘Algona’ scout trip and also resume talks with sponsors, vendors and final castings. End of the month I want to see paperwork start to go under cast and crew. We are almost ready to begin doing that. Once we get back on the 23rd from scouting we’ll start that process in earnest. I’m going to tag this up and upload it – I hope:)
Until next week when I update you all from Algona, Iowa – be safe and work hard.
Ah…those first sips of the hazelnut coffee taste so good. I stayed up a tad past my bedtime watching the final Olympic Games on TV. Yesterday was a trip up North to deliver some of the 4H pork to some family. We stopped at a few produce stands and got carrots, cabbage, green beans and more. Also stopped and got a cherry cider slushy and it was good. So Saturday was a fun productive day.
BEST YEARS GONE – We’ve been working hard on the finish line with final music and sound design being laid in. The color correction is done and will be replaced as the master this week. Speaking of music lets talk video – music video with our Battle of the Bands winner VERTICAL BRIDGE. So Friday we were over to Onondaga Dragway to capture some B roll along with a few picture cars captured screaming down the track. Later this month we will get the band rocking out. We had to do a two part shoot thanks to the unpredictable nature of Michigan’s weather but that is how it rolls. It can go from nineties and balmy to snow, you just never know.
We were trying hard to set up a racing premiere event at Springport whereas we provided the ‘purse/prize’ and get to name the race, ‘Gilles Cup’ a 200 car spectator drag followed by an outdoor drive in like screening. But final concerns over insurance led to a postponement. I think we would all like to return and try something but in our tight timelines we had to fall back to more traditional. So Sept 18th at the Owosso, MI in NCG we’ll be doing a one night, two show premiere at 6:00 and 8:15 I believe. Also this week we’ll be setting up a premiere afterglow at ROMAS like we’ve done in the past. Owosso is also the home of the book writer Karl Manke, who penned ‘Hope from Heaven’ and I adapted it into a screenplay. We are excited to show everyone this next tribeCDI story! From there we might do a few more theatrical and a few select festivals. But we’re going to keep working hard to lay in the final pieces and mix it up nicely. Once all that is done we’ll be OFF TO THE RACES! (The name of the winning song)
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is ON DECK and preparing for a scouting mission to Algona, Iowa mid month to put in play lodging, catering and location options. We had Lerma Transportation come on board this past week as a sponsor. We’re in talks with some other great brands from that region and several that we’re in operation during WW2. I’m excited because we’re only a few crew and cast short from being fully locked and loaded. This week we’ll be announcing more crew and cast. Our agreements have come over from legal and so soon we can start putting paper underneath the crew and start looking at transportation. It is all very exciting! On deck here soon is the gathering of props, personal wardrobe and gun wrangling that will again be handled by Robert Bradley working as armorer under art department. We’ll also be starting to look at vendors for gear and such that we might need. Aside from the producing aspects I’ve been working on my character development. The hair cut has really helped me turn the page and work my lines while seeing the character more in the mirror. I plan to go visit several of the flea markets this month including one today. Happy prop picking:)
LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFO’s & JESUS has been increasing in sales along with the others that are also expanding audiences. We’ll wait another quarter and do another disperse. WILD FAITH, THE QUEST TRILOGY, MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND I’ve appreciated the fan/emails and the kind works and handshakes mainly from military friends over MBF. Our goal is to create some classics that will be playing for years.
Speaking of classics – WICKED SPRING has a newly uprez’ed HD stream that will be making its way to steaming platforms. The new art they are using makes it look a bit more like YELLOWSTONE TV show in my opinion but I hope everyone will enjoy seeing this more brilliant version of this film that has been showing to Civil War and history fans for 20 years. I need to circle back and check into some things (Art & DVD Menu) for the second CDI Classic Collection Double Feature with KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS. A new HD version of THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ the 1st CDI associated animated feature is getting a new campaign. BESTSELLER, also a CDI associated project is getting a campaign. We need to finish getting all the deliverables to BMG. Several of the others are being pitched to prep for a new campaign release. A few of the associated films had opportunities previously but could not pull all the deliverables together. I have to focus on what I can control and not what I cannot. But it is exciting to see some of the classic films get new life!
Things I’ve seen this week that would make good conversation. I did see whereas a crew person was announcing some new series project they were working on but they were complaining as they announced. Now even big studios and networks are ran by people who care about the product and they do monitor social media. To see people complaining before working day 1 would have me seriously reconsidering that hire. You want positive people who take pride in their work and in the story they have signed onto help telling. First, few of these crew people and cast for that matter have ever gone through the painful trials and tribulations of raising funds to tell a story. I’m not talking about the donation based projects but investors or funding studios whereas you have accountability. I’ve stated several times that I’ve never been able to pay an artist what I think they are worth. But we do create stories that most are happy to put their name on. I just find it such a different place from where I started to be gifted an opportunity yet you are going to flaw find. Just politely pass and move on if it doesn’t meet your standards. Again not our project but it still made me take a second look. Burn enough bridges and your opportunities will dry up and that is the way of things. I’m happy to say I think we’ll have several opportunities for years to come. I’m already excited about what 2022 could bring. Stay positive, stay focused and keep moving forward. I will talk with you all next week!
I’m going to have to build a boat if it keeps raining like it has in Michigan. We actually had 3 tornado warnings yesterday. The yard is now a jungle and once the rain lets up a mow will be badly needed. The only damage is I had to put log supports under the raised garden beds. Between the weight of the beds and the wet ground we had a sinking issue that threatened to topple one of the beds. Our house is on high ground with a good amount of sandy soil so no ponds forming. I’m happy that we’ve had no water in the house issues. I feel for the many that are having such issues – water damage is not fun.
I’ve had a busy week and used the rain as a reason to chain myself to my desk. I had nearly 100 checks to write on several projects for investor dispersement. Next week I will check addresses with folks and start to send those around. I really love being hands on and it really keeps me in touch with the projects. We have MANY film updates but I’ll start with a discussion on a common issue in all areas of business.
Negativity – Accountability – Best Efforts
Bad Mouthing, Shade, Hate – known by many names it is all powered by the same toxic traits. I don’t engage in the back and forth. I’ve seen many online arguments that have just gone on and on and on and on and on…I’m always thinking that a novel, screenplay, business plan or pitch could have been written using the same time and energy. I think because I will not waste time that is one of the reasons I just outwork people. While during the Covid and political divide spilling out everywhere with everyone having opinions and willing to share them – I wrote the first season of the ‘Wild Faith’ tv series. Eight shows each 44 min long. OR I could have just shouted my opinions into the wind.
So success will breed envy, jealousy and more. But many of these barbs don’t have any real power when something is gathering steam, momentum and more. I said once, like throwing rocks at a train. Never has a train stopped to confront rock throwers. Why? Places to go, people to see and things to do. I’ve give two examples.
I participated on a project whereas I was not supervising or in control. That usually means they brought the $ and they want to be accountable for it. So my words become suggestions, consulting versus orders. A project I was on encountered several issues as I had predicted and warned against. I received a call from a friend/associate who was in a meeting with the accountable person and a distribution company. Confronted with the issues and wanting desperately to look good to these folks, I was told that he tried to throw me under the bus. I laughed which was not the response they expected. I explained that first if he is in the room representing the project – he is accountable. And in this case the slightest due diligence reveals a VAST difference in production experience. I said, that anyone looking at our team will immediately know where the lack of experience was. The sad part is when someone refuses to take accountability that says something to people. Especially when the 3rd party knows who is accountable. Failing. Learning. Growing. All part of the process and successful people know it starts with accountability. Many will never learn that lesson. One thing after another goes wrong in their life and yet it is never their fault. Yet they are the common denominator is each equation.
I don’t throw anyone under a bus. I’m accountable all the way down the line. My expectations have been let down by the bad occasional hire, etc…but it’s still my accountability. I truly care about my crew and value the journey as much as the destination. I recently heard from a crew person whom we’ve worked with on a few projects now. Apparently they had a conversation with someone in the local film community whom I don’t value and would not work with. They know this because I let this person know my feelings directly many years ago. Now I could make a list of reasons why anyone approached by this person would just pass but I don’t go out of my way to voice this. I’ve been around long enough to know the bad apples soon get realized and discarded in our industry. I was told this person really disliked me and started saying ? I didn’t ask and don’t care. I’ve always tried to be fair and my life is invested in storytelling. I live by a creed of ‘Best Efforts’ and I like to let the work speak versus run at the mouth. Our former crew person simply stated their experience had always been positive and furthermore they didn’t think their company was a good fit to collaborate. This is smart vetting and is often harder when people are trying to say all the right things. This person just tried to “throw rocks at a train” – like how I brought that back:)
I know another local storyteller has had “shade” issues and sometimes our words or actions can accidentally trigger someone’s toxic traits. Sometimes just a person doing what they love while others took an easy road and are not unhappy – that can also set people off. My advice was to just carry on and don’t let it occupy your time, mind and efforts. Write that next great story. Some people get angry at on-going posts that advertise. For me, PR is a scheduled thing. Every project has phases and it all serves a business purpose not tied to any ego. I recall on a high school alumni site people unhappy about a local bar restaurant doing on-going postings of food and drink specials. Ads are everywhere and if it doesn’t apply – move on. My advice is control your own environment and stop trying to control everyones environment. Anyway, I shared because I thought maybe a lesson could be found within. Be good to others and you never have to worry about what is being said. Those that know you – KNOW. It also brought a smile to know that this person receiving such toxins stood up with their own truth and likely avoided a bad journey with very questionable individual. How many people do you wish you had not gotten involved with business wise?
Tally-Ho Onto the MOVIE updates!
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – We’ve started to bring more crew members onto the new project. We had a few more castings which will be announced in time. Most of the departments are getting up and running. I’m excited that the German actors will be announced starting in July! A good amount of work has also been put towards bringing some national sponsors on board. Many had brands thriving in the 1940’s during WW2 and our story.
LOST HEART aka BIGFOOT UFO’S AND JESUS – The general market release is underway and the film in both incarnations is doing really well. I’ll get a better report this week when I have my meeting with our distributor. Have you seen the film? You should:)
MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This film had an amazing premiere and after it ran afoul of the Covid crisis. Several of the theatrical and event showings were cancelled and never regained their footing. The film quietly was nominated at the NBR Convention in Dallas, Texas for a Crown award in ‘Best Narrative’ and overall ‘Best Picture’ at the convention. The film WON the Gold Crown for ‘Best Narrative’ and took SILVER (2nd) overall at the festival. I hope this gives the film an added boost because it deserves it. Directed by Anthony Hornus who is prepping for his next directorial ‘Silent Night in Algona’.
WILD FAITH and HASTINGS TV series – The film is growing by leaps and bounds approaching 5 million on Encourage TV and playing worldwide. The TV series was the subject of two meetings at the NRB and I will find out this week how that played out. The hope is to roll into production next year with the TV series.
BEST YEARS GONE – The music and sound design with Dennis Therrian is almost complete on the feature film. We will be having a race and outdoor showing on Sept 11th at Springport Raceway. We will promote this more as we move forward. Another theatrical premiere is being planned in Owosso, MI where the book author Karl Manke lives. On my birthday this week we released the first official trailer.
THE QUEST TRILOGY keeps growing as my fan mail keeps coming from people who enjoy the perspective of these three films. BESTSELLER has a new campaign coming. Same with WICKED SPRING now that we have an HD file. We’ll discuss what others from the CDI library to move ahead with. SMOKE & MIRRORS is almost complete. Our documentary FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is in editing and we’ll be releasing the first official trailer on July 4th! Our soccer match this week was rained out which my recovering knees are happy about. I’m going to go make a few eggs from chicken land here. I hope you all have a great week. Save your time and sanity and try to associate daily with positive, polite and productive individuals. Don’t sweat the negative folks as their actions have likely eroded any worth from their words.
Have a great Sunday and week ahead!
I’m sipping the coffee but in the early eve of the 19th. I have another busy day tomorrow with some family activities and such but I wanted to give you a few thoughts. I just read something about Chadwick the Black Panther actor not getting the part of Drax in a Guardians of the Galaxy film but it exposed him and opened the ‘Marvel’ doors for the future casting. We are getting down to the last few castings in SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. This is hard because you are trying to build the right chemistry. We’ve had some requested reads that just didn’t make the grade. Sometimes it is nerves. Sometimes it is too much confidence, perhaps they don’t fully commit or make interesting, unique choices. I recall when we were casting WILD FAITH we were reading many actresses as Hester the half Native American tracker. Some good attempts but the mark kept being missed. Melissa Anschutz who is an amazing actress, could have played any of the roles because of her commitment level. She is the only one who found the bullseye. But convincing her to take a role where she says a dozen or so phrases was…interesting:) But the pay off was most excellent. You can get tired when casting but the focused work will show in the end product.
WILD FAITH (Free with Ads)
Almost 5 million viewers on Encourage TV. We are in a few conversations about the HASTINGS TV series. So if you have not watched the film please do. If you’ve enjoyed it before show your support for this film. If you would love a TV show based on this film let your voices be heard.
WICKED SPRING – We got some great practice at reproducing the Civil War era with our 2000 film. This was done when CDI has a sister company Lionheart Filmworks. The feature is now managed by CDI and Lionheart went to the films director Kevin Hershberger. I’ve been proud of all the TV work he has done. He LOVES history and it shows. Anyway, for streaming we now have an HD version of the film. The distributor did a high res version and from what I’ve seen it looks really good. It is just amazing what new technology is allowing us to do. This success could give new life to some of the pre-HD films.
Speaking of pre-HD much like last year when we released the CDI Classic Collection Double Feature #1 Heaven’s Neighbors and Figure in the Forest. This year my goal is to do Knight Chills and From Venus. Also I might explore a full HD campaign with Knight Chills. We have had two great companies approach about a special BluRay release and so I will be circling back to those discussions.
BESTSELLER is not from as far back as the classic collection but a few moons ago. It will be rolling out with a full campaign this fall.
NEXT week we have two of the films, MANS BEST FRIEND and LOST HEART, of 5 finalists in the Crown Awards in Dallas, Texas next week. They announce on my Bday (June 23rd) the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners. I love both films like children. I just hope whatever attention the films garnish pushes more audiences at these two powerful and heartfelt stories. This month also saw the beginning of the ‘Lost Heart’ roll out under the name ‘Bigfoot, UFOs and Jesus’ for the General Audience. I love the enthusiastic response that I received from so many of you. So it doesn’t matter what title you watch the film as – just enjoy it. Both of these films can be watched. Which is your favorite?
BEST YEARS GONE team has been putting the final touches on the first official trailer. The plan is to drop the trailer on Tuesday or perhaps Weds, perhaps. We are going to start having Travis Hayward start planning the music video once the trailer color correction is done. We are in the process of setting up a couple of premiere events for September. The films sound and music is roughly half done. I will be meeting with Dennis Therrian this week and get a better update.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – This awesome doc film will be releasing its official teaser July 4th and I’m proud of all the hard work that has been going on with this project.
I’ve been doing some script work on a few projects that I’ve been meaning to get back to. Even just a little creative writing a day can be really refreshing. We discussed HASTINGS previously and there is some development happening with the post work on SMOKE & MIRRORS. I’ve been doing a lot of scene work on this feature script. We have several great things developing but they are not ready to be spoken about. Somethings are left best for when the deal is done.
WRAP UP –
Tomorrow is Father’s Day and I’m so thankful to still have both my parents here to love and guide me. I know my father worked very hard and that is where I must get some of that tenacity. I got to see my dad yesterday and I hope to see him tomorrow. If I don’t it is because he has a funeral for a classmate. Unfortunately, even at our age we are starting to see the occasional alumni obituary. This can only get harder as you travel down the path and lose more friends. It pains me to even think of that so I’m just appreciate them all. Even now I still owe a few calls. I do try to stay up and check on people. I look forward to a few nice sit downs and catch ups this week around my bday. For those asking I will likely pick a patio on Tuesday for a few hours in the afternoon/early eve and on Weds celebrate more chill with family.
Aside from this the chickens are producing eggs although we’ve had two Finn escapes whereas he chased the chickens. He seems to have shown restraint having caught two but not bit them. I’ve been harvesting some herbs and rhubarb and the berries also are ripening. So I need to bottle up the aging ‘berry’ wine into bottles and prepare to put another 5 gal in motion.
(Chilling at the new post studio – in the pines)
I’m sipping the coffee on this beautiful Sunday. The last couple days have been partially used to start the yard clean up. Some more wood logs got chopped up ready for the next cold day. The garden is going to become the new ‘chicken land’ along with some raised bed veggies and new blueberry plants to join the others we have. Every year different new yard endeavors are put into play. The zip line has not yet been installed.
In the office I started moving pictures and paintings around after I acquired a new painting of an ancient soldier. Once I started moving things around it became an afternoon of trying to get it just right. The nice part is all this can happen while taking business calls. I had one day where I was on the phone 10:30 to 2:30 straight – but lots of good business was done. This is also festival and awards season for us. We’re very selective about our festival selections. You can spend a lot of time and money pushing out to all these tests. Let’s start with the fest updates-
International Christian Film & Music Festival – Lost Heart is up for overall BEST PICTURE, BEST DIRECTOR (Jesse Low), BEST SCREENPLAY (DJ Perry), BEST LEAD ACTRESS (Melissa Anschutz), BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (Don Most), BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (Victoria Jackson) and the PEOPLE’s CHOICE nomination for ACTRESS OF THE YEAR (Melissa Anschutz) and ACTOR OF THE YEAR (DJ Perry)
I’m so happy for the film and the growing response to the film’s story as it makes it way out into the world. A big kudos to Melissa Anschutz who took lead on this film with a career defining performance.
ICVM Crown Awards this year happening at NRB in Dallas Texas in June both “MBF: Man’s Best Friend” and “Lost Heart” have been nominated as one of the 5 finalist in BEST FILM UNDER 250k plus they might result in some personal nominations in the 18 categories.
Again we’re appreciative of the recognition. Many of these festival submissions are done by our distributor but we sometimes do a few select submissions. All the monthly and small online festivals are just revenue gathering models. I’m not against these just not something we chase. If more people become aware and watch the film I guess that is the goal.
BEST YEARS GONE the last set of notes is being sent over this week and those will be implemented and the film will travel to our post studio. The last inserts of footage and such will happen there before music and sound begins. I’m going to try and make the studio hang once a week to review and enjoy this process. The BATTLE OF THE BANDS has been getting some great submissions on the FB page contest. We are announcing another celebrity judge in Mr. Joe Pullin who has worked on all levels of the music industry. His full bio will be posted this week! Merchandise is starting to creep out with a cool auto sticker set and soon iron on Tee shirt logos! Go to http://www.cdiproductions.com and go to the merchandise section. We plan to also start an artist showcase and sell other artists goods for a commission. That is in thew works also!
(Mr. Joe Pullin – our next celebrity JUDGE)
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Tis the Easter season and so we’ll ask that you put your sandals on and travel with us to the desert. Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer can all be watched on various platforms Amazon Prime, Encourage TV, Tubi, Pureflix just to name a few.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS is doing great and now that funding on another project is complete we can pour more effort in the direction of the TV series. We have planned to put the series in the Spring 2022 slot as we’re still getting past Covid and I’m needing more time to put this TV deal together. With eight 44 min shows this is a larger endeavor but one that I think will be coming soon. I have several follow up communications.
IN OTHER NEWS:
A CDI co-production “Locked in a Room” has gotten a new re-issue as AMERICAN LIAR now available on Amazon Prime. It is an R rated thriller with greed being at the heart of it. Shot in Detroit by writer/direction Larry Simmons – congrats to all the artists involved! Take a watch but watch out for “Mr. Creepy” 🙂
Discussions are underway for BESTSELLER to finally get out to a wider market. Knight Chills has multiple opportunities for a new release. WICKED SPRING is being worked on to release in HD.
WRAP UP: Many people are trying to navigate the storms of isolation, financial insecurity, stress, parenting and more. My goal is to work hard to create something stable. People feel “behind” as if a year has been stolen from them and in many ways it was. Now I’ve focused and worked very hard to keep my balance and in turn provide balance to the other artists struggling. I stated this week that I push forward with my “best efforts” daily, always. I try and not put any expectations beyond as it just adds stress because it is out of my control. Everyone is feeling the urge to RUN after the world Covid lockdown and that is creating a ME and NOW vibe rippling through society. Again I feel we make the greatest gains working together but everyone needs to pay attention to their own fire from time to time. You are no good to a circle of people if your own personal fire isn’t burning bright. I’ve tried to change as little as possible save what we had to for safety to give people an experience. In 2020 BEST YEARS GONE was that. This year is getting better Covid-wise but it still shadows over endeavors and people’s moods. But we will again do what we do and that is all we can do. Please be kind to yourself. Don’t hold your progress up to the same non-Covid standards. Don’t lean into what you do not do but what you were able to do. And be good to one another. This has been hard on everyone with some having it better and some worse. Help someone out this week in some way, shape or form and you will feel the joy of it. I’m going to carry on and we have lots of exciting announcements coming in the weeks ahead. Starting with more cast and crew will be announced for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. Also business sponsorships will start this April and that is no joke!
Have a great week ahead.
Hazelnut coffee cheers! I want to welcome all our new readers from South Africa, Saudi Arabia and more. I’m surprised every week by the new countries joining us. In Michigan we had a big rain and all the ice and snow left us. A few more days and the mud dried as the ground unfroze and now Spring is upon us. Matter of fact in our state we just jumped ahead an hour. We’ve been cleaning up the yard from falling sticks. I’m prepping some logs to be split into firewood soon. The garden is going to be turned into ‘chicken land’ and we’ll move gardening to raised beds and pots. Blueberries will be added to the berry selection this year but like the rhubarb it will take a season or two for the fruit to come.
So tomorrow I will be getting the first of two vaccine applications. My parents and many of my loved ones have already been vaccinated and now they’re getting to my age group. Also tomorrow will be some banking as we prepare more film disbursements and I plan to open the new film account for our new WW2 drama. Our PR announcement below:
We are getting some amazing actor reads and we’ll be announcing more of the talent joining us. Location scouting will be next along with crew conversations. We did get an affirmative from Jesse Aragon, a great camera artist who brought the great images in The Quest Trilogy, Wild Faith and Lost Heart. We welcome him aboard the next journey. Dennis Therrian will be composing and doing our sound design on this powerful story but first he has BEST YEARS GONE.
BEST YEARS GONE has a new cut that is close to a lock. Our director and editor are working the final nuances. I think we’ll have a producing showing at some point here. From there it is onto music and sound design at the new studio. For those that don’t know our composer lost his house and studio in a fire. The house and studio have been rebuilt and we are about to take the studio on its maiden voyage. Also a trailer will be coming soon!
Additionally we’ve had some great artists submitting songs to the FB page for BEST YEARS GONE in our Battle of the Bands. Please do keep submitting your songs and stop by and take a listen to the ones that have landed.
This week we’ll be announcing another of our celebrity judges. Again the plan is to have the winning band actually perform at the premiere or the music video that will be created for our winner.
LOST HEART and MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND ate both getting a new campaign. Lost Heart is a cool and complex film whereas I had many fans reach out and say that they really enjoyed the film. They had no idea that UFO’s, BigFoot and the Devil’s Crossroads and humor play into the story. We felt that we had to pick a direction with the first campaign and so the drama, music and atonement were our pushed themes. The film is doing great and climbing charts at Tubi and other major outlets but we’re not getting male audiences unless by accident or association. (Watching with a wife or girlfriend) BUT when the men have watched it they have really enjoyed it. So a second campaign will be going after that male demographic that loves mysteries of the unexplained. So that will be an exciting campaign to get the audience that wasn’t going to bite. In the meantime we await to see if the International Christian Film Festival has any nominations for LOST HEART. So many deserving performances and the music…but we will see.
THE QUEST TRILOGY is getting to the end of its holiday run with Easter right around the corner. I truly do love this trilogy as it puts the stories in an easy to follow manner. It also approaches the events from a unique perspective. One such thing is in Forty Nights we examine Jesus when he “vision quests” into the desert where he is working on putting the words of the heart on the tongue. It shows him working some of it out yet people watching cry out, “that is not what he said.” EXACTLY he is shown developing his teaching. CHASING THE STAR some have said, “But the magi aren’t Christian.” BINGO as that did not develop for decades later and people should learn the history of the order of the magi. This films are not regurgitated same old, same old but sheds some light upon these events that connects the dots for many people. Everyone’s experience is different and so watch the three films and let me know your thoughts.
BESTSELLER could be getting a new major release which is an exciting proposal. KNIGHT CHILLS might be getting a special Blu Ray release. Also fans of WICKED SPRING, a new letterbox/HD version is in the works with BMG. We also have some new items making their way to our new merchandise section on the http://www.cdiproductions.com site. You can also watch most of the films w/ ads from Encourage TV also assessable from the CDI site.
Other development is underway including HASTINGS the Wild Faith TV spin off. We might have a few other scripts in development and that will assure the next few years are quite full. I’m going to get on with my day and I’m looking forward to our warmer days including the start soccer season. Last year’s season was cancelled but I hope everything rolls out just fine in 2021. I’m ready to get back out there! Until we chat again next week, be productive and be good to one another.
The sun has come through the clouds and I’ve got my coffee here with me. Welcome new readers from New Zealand, China, Philippines and more. As we ride out this event as one many things have changed. For the first time in the world we’re dealing with something as WE versus ME. I think it’s the first time in my lifetime and maybe everyone’s lifetime where this unified perspective prevails. These next couple weeks are suppose to be hard on the population. It is interesting how as this ramped up everyone was asking each other if anyone knew an infected person. In a matter of days the answer became, “I know someone who knows something and a day later we all knew people. This event will effect everyone either by loss of family or friend.
With the virus attacking my concern goes to the more venerable. I have been making a few calls a day to catch up and check on friends. I’ve been meaning to circle back with a friend and associate Ray Nikolaison whom I produced ‘Book of Ruth’ with a handful of years ago. He has been having health challenges but steadily getting better and we last talked of a few film projects in development. I was planning to check with him this weekend when I was sadly informed he passed away. I’ve not confirmed that the virus did this but was told it was a possibility.
Ray and I talked for years before ‘Book of Ruth’ came together exploring all kinds of funding options. Ray was a deep voiced, dry humor man who worked slow and steady towards a goal. He would call and always ask if he was talking to THE DJ Perry. We shared many mutual friends like Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty who passed a few years ago. We had some lengthy conversations over scripts, distribution and acting. He joins a growing group of artists who have left the game. No more struggles to tell a story. RIP Ray and thank you for creating with me over all these years.
I’ve been blessed to receive such great fan mail from all the people out there watching our films with their families and solo while in isolation. WILD FAITH is getting known as a story that plays equally well for kids and adults. MAN’S BEST FRIEND is bringing the plight of wounded veterans and dogs to the masses. THE QUEST TRILOGY (FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER) is a perfect watch/re-watch for the Easter season. The films are all on Amazon, Tubi and many TV networks and platforms. I know UPTV just included THE CHRIST SLAYER amongst the Easter classics, must see’s for Easter. That was our goal to create some new watch traditions for families for many years to come. WICKED SPRING, 7 STONES…feel free to explore the entire collection.
I’ve been doing some watching myself and on SHAMELESS I’m seeing many old friends like Charlene Amoia from TANGY GUACAMOLE. Sammy Peebles whom I worked with on MAN’S BEST FRIEND. I hear rumor that Josh and Scott Perry from THE CHRIST SLAYER are on that show. A commercial comes on and there is Denny Doyle, Bob Shepherd…fun. I’ve been sorting through all my paperwork from 20+ years. My emails and folders are slowly being sorted also. This is the time to catch up on everything that has piled up over the last few years. I’ve also found all kinds of interesting PR news stories, pics and tidbits from this crazy journey.
We’ve been working post-production on LOST HEART and prep work on upcoming BEST YEARS GONE. We’ll be announcing more of our cast and crew this week. Our schedule is being tweaked and we’ll be ready when the storm passes. I’ve been having lots of fun developing this new character of Gil.
We’ve also been looking at several other possible projects to follow. HASTINGS the Wild Faith TV series has lots of good things starting to line up. I had another network exec watch WILD FAITH and comment on what a great series it will make. It will. We will. It is all about visualize and taking steps every day.
Aside from all that I’m getting the office and yard in order. I might be adding a nice outside gazebo for outside meetings as well as inside. The garden is being prepped for a new season. I saw the first growth of rhubarb and the popping of violets. Soon the mushrooms will be popping followed by mulberries, raspberries and strawberries. I have to trim the apple and mulberry trees. Maybe strawberry wine? Maybe. I might also do a run of beer also. I just need one final thing to brew that up.
I’m not going to wax on and on but the point is this storm will pass. Will you be right where you left off or way ahead due to organization, planning and implementing? I plan to be the latter. One of the secrets to success is self starting and time management. Reels. Bios updated. Use this time wisely, don’t give in to worry and waste. Be kind to one another and stay safe. I hope we all appreciate one another after this. I also hope that other world issues that affect all of us – ocean/water clean up, air clean up and wiser use of natural resources. Cures for other diseases such as cancer if the entire world focuses and shares. I see lots of good acts being born of this crisis. Be the change you want to see.
FOR WHATEVER REASON THE PIC ATTACHMENT IS NOT WORKING
OK. Pre-Star Wars I was SPEED RACER, MR. ROGERS and SCOOBY DOO.
I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee from a ornate Star Wars mug with various scenes upon it. Like many in the storytelling business around my age some inspirational credit can go to George Lucas and the original Star Wars film in 1977. In anticipation for the last in the Skywalker story, yes we have tickets, we’ve been watching them all in story order. IF I was 7 years old and Part 1 of the Prequels was the first film I might have still liked the ships, lasers, etc…but ‘A NEW HOPE’ was just gritty and did not dumb things down for kids. We could take it George including Han firing first. When we went from the three prequels to SOLO, such a difference in the world and story telling. The prequels felt like video games with planned segments that really felt like watching your friend play a video game. But SOLO is like taking the best parts of James Bond and Mad Max put into a gritty ‘New Hope’ like world. ROGUE ONE again just better character development in a world that felt more grounded in reality.
I actually can speak into this having done a trilogy of films. It was important to try and keep the world cohesive despite the changes in style from director to director. Also because I have been looking at promo material personally and as a company, I’ve been playing The Quest Trilogy behind my accounting work. It’s very satisfying to have the linking storyline. It was always my goal to see if I could take some “obscure” stories from the Bible and tell them in a ‘Star Wars’ type fashion. The stories actually adapt over quite well and when you add what I call the “Chuck Heston – bible film effect”, you have our style.
I will say that it is a pretty sure bet that we’ll return to this genre again. One script is complete and the other two outlined stories are forming up. I’m not sure when all this may happen but we will see.
I also put my first SciFi script to pause while I finish writing the script for “Hope for Heaven” which is my working title. We are working with a few different titles but I need something when I write. It has many of the great qualities that ‘Lost Heart’ had by way of characters and story. I’m a good many pages into the story and how it starts can sometimes be the hardest. But it’s flowing and when I did do my first test read with one of our development people, it was strong. This film will shoot in late summer/early fall in Michigan. The nice part is via a few agent talks we might have a good lead on a very important casting aspect. I’m looking forward to continuing the writing this week.
LOST HEART rough cut by Scott Magie working with our director Jesse Low is looking good. I talked about the view last week. This week we’re prepping some things for the music and sound design to follow. I know that poster/DVD artwork is starting and that will be exciting to see. Again just proud to have this be part of the Tribe CDI films.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – Following our premiere we saw a “best film” and “best actor” nods at the Hollywoodivine Film Festival and won ‘Best Film’ at the Equus Film & Art Festival. 2020 will have many more events and showings as the film moves out deeper into the world market. I’ve had several people reach out this week about how this film touched them. I’m so proud that it is becoming a voice for veterans and dogs. Two groups that truly understand loyalty and service. Watch it yourself on Amazon and other platforms and if you enjoy it add it to your DVD library.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Help us start a family holiday tradition with the telling of FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. (All on Amazon and many platforms)
It has been a true joy to receive an abundance of fan mail on these films from around the world. I saw the breakdowns and the films are making their way to you. Some all our friends in other countries be patient, the CDI films are coming. Many of you already know that because you can watch the films on TV and DVD. If you have watched them feel free to vote and leave your thoughts on http://www.imdb.com and remember these are films.
WILD FAITH – This film also continues to be enjoyed and shared by new audiences. I had some fans from this movie also communicate this past week. They were Civil War era fans and so I had them seek WICKED SPRING. It was a Civil War film we produced back in 2000. It can be watched also on Amazon.
I’ve been taking meetings and looking at filming the balance of our production slate for the next 2 years. We have many scripts and it just depends on several factors as to which gets moved into active development or pre-production. We’ve had a few wonderful meetings and with the new management involvement in 2020 I’m excited to see where it leads. I’ve been working on a few ‘Character Reels’ and a new 2020 sizzle reel along with what will be a CDI showreel.
Next weekend our first family Christmas starts and so I have a bit more shopping to do and we’ve been enjoying the season. I hope you all have a holly, jolly holiday season with your family and friends.
The hazelnut coffee is flowing and I’m finally landed back in the Michigan and catching up. We had a wonderful whirlwind trip to AZ whereas we were met at the airport by ‘Doc’ our AZ transportation Captain in a new RV. We went to Wilcox and had a few days of great friends old and new including Darby Hinton * who beat me for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ in the very entertaining film ‘Bill Tillman and the OutLaws’ who also had my dear friend Lana Wood in a great cigar chomping role that reminded me of the mother in “Goonies” – just great.
I also had just bought a $2 Johnny Cash album at the flea market ‘Live from Folsom Prison’ and lo and behold we spent time visiting with John Carter Cash, his wife Ann and son Joe who had a short film “Dragon Song” at the festival and promoting a new documentary “The Gift” about Johnny. Just wonderful people and abound and so thank you to Rock and Brenda who put the Wild Bunch Film Festival on. We took home 7 awards of the 13 nominations.
BEST DIRECTOR, BEST ACTOR and ACTRESS, BEST CHILD ACTORS, BEST FAITH FILM and I’m forgetting one. Come on coffee! It will come to me.
That same weekend we had Lauren LaStrada win ‘Best Actress’ again in Wild Faith at the Hollywoodivine International Film Festival in PA. The film took Honorable Mention for ‘Best Faith Film’ and won ‘Best Film’ overall. Josh Perry was there representing THE CHRIST SLAYER and WON for his role of Albus. We were all so proud of him.
The weekend prior we were honored to have WON the Justice Award at Content 19 for WILD FAITH that was also recognized for SET DESIGN. Next week at the Green Mountain Christian Film Festival I’ve been nominated again for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ as Ben Lily. I’m proud of all the attention the films are getting.
So if you have not stayed current these are some of the CDI films you can watch on TV or get the DVD.
ASHES OF EDEN
FORTY NIGHTS – The Quest Trilogy Part 1
CHASING THE STAR – The Quest Trilogy Part 2
THE CHRIST SLAYER – The Quest Trilogy Part 3
MBF: Man’s Best Friend
- Also if you want to see some old school – my 1st starring film with monsters in it is called IN THE WOODS and can be found on Amazon.
- Also WICKED SPRING now released by CDI but an older Civil War drama.
- R Rated – Halloween fare could include DARKEST NIGHT, DEADLY RENOVATIONS and THE 8th PLAGUE if you dare:)
The office has the wood burning stove going. This week I will harvest the apples for a crisp. We have been enjoying the HOPPY GRAPE APE wine at our meetings. We missed a family wedding yesterday to attend a memorial for my Uncle on the other side of the family. A unique, funny storyteller who will be greatly missed. He would have enjoyed LOST HEART.
LOST HEART is past the 30 min mark in the edit and I’m looking to move it to sound design and music towards the end ofd the year. The distribution is set and this will be another enjoyable CDI film.
This week we’re prepping for a short narrative film that is actually a demo for a software company. It is a Victorian age film short taken from a feature film script of mine entitled SMOKE & MIRRORS. It will be a fun project for sure.
We also will be pushing hard with the new momentum for the WILD FAITH TV series. Plus we have a few features we are developing foe 2020 and 2021. With that I’m going to close this blog up and enjoy the morning.
Peace to you all!
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.
Hello friends. It has been a whirlwind week of negotiations and talks on the home video deal for WILD FAITH. The film will be playing in three cities this week – Grand Haven, Holland and Florida. (See below)
This is also the last of the off location pre-production on MBF. Our prep team starts in on Thursday and a week from that date cameras roll. We’re incorporating many new elements into this shoot. Some by way of new crew, new location (somewhat) and new cast in certain roles. We have a few exciting announcements coming this week. One is the addition of a co-star that will be well-known to some. He was a co-star on one of prime time TV’s biggest hits. We had a nice character talk yesterday and I’m beyond excited because he’s the right talent for the right role.
Becoming a character is serious business especially when representing…
Our schedule has caused a few switches in our casting but that always happens. By the time you get to the premiere you could never imagine anyone else in those roles. I’m trying to keep my TO DO list updated. I’ve been very happy with the time I’ve spent with ‘Paul’ my new character in MBF. To say he has been a challenge would be an understatement. My study of wounded warriors both physical and mental has been extensive. My appreciation and respect elevated as one fully recognizes the sacrifices made. I’m excited to see this story told and I hope that it changes minds and hearts.
Home video sales continue on “Forty Nights,” “Chasing the Star,” “Wicked Spring,” and “Ashes of Eden” which can all be watched on Amazon Prime. I’m touched by the beautiful emails that I’ve received from viewers of these films. If you have not watched any of them please do take a watch. You can recommend it to others on the Amazon site. DVD’s can also be purchased from the Amazon site. All our artists deeply appreciate your support.
Aside from these distribution, pre-production and actor work – we’ve been in development for our fall film. I think working with our distributor we might have landed on the right property. But I don’t want to go too far off on this direction.
If the WILD FAITH home video deal can get settled here in the upcoming weeks the distributor might get involved with expanded and marketing our theatrical a bit more. If the home video release is strong we will get a sequel or TV series moving behind it. There are a lot of moving parts with this deal and I’m doing my best to stay on top of it. I think everyone will be very happy with the final results.
I want to take these last few lines to celebrate my Mother and all those who give as mother’s do. I got to spend the morning with my beloved momma. She has always been supportive even when my dreams seemed unrealistic and far-fetched. I know many out there have been through this phase. Some have that support and others do not. But that is one of the reasons this blog exists. It is proof that you can follow your own path and create. It is not easy and if you can be happy and do something other than be an artist – I recommend it. But for the others – keep at it. Work smarter. Learn daily. Value your character in your dealings. Defend the artistic process and muster the courage to keep walking. One step after another – steady as you go and after a while – turn around and see how far you’ve come. My mother nurtured me to believe in my imagination and motivation – to achieve when you believe. Thank you momma. I love you.
I’m going to finish up here because I have some additional MBF work to finish. So far I’ve packed sock and underwear so I’ve got that going on. A busy but exciting week as we head towards onset pre-production. I’ll give you another update soon. You can also follow https://www.facebook.com/MBFthemovie/
I hope you all have a wonderful week. Be good to one another.
I see that several new readers have joined us from India. Namaste my friends. A handful of years ago I co-starred in a great spooky thriller in India entitled “Karma: Crime, Passion, Reincarnation” – what fun. It played in theaters but did not make it here. When we get the streaming part of CDI up I want to try to get that film on our platform. It stars Carl Weyant that others will see this Christmas in our third film in THE QUEST TRILOGY, “The Christ Slayer”. Speaking on this film, I’ve seen the first music draft of the trailer and now color corrections and final tweaks are underway. It is exciting to have this film preparing to meet the world around Christmas with a large targeted release next Easter. We also just had a bday for my co-star Josh ‘Ponceman’ Perry! (Fist Bump)
GREEN LIGHT. I’m also proud to announce all funds are committed and MBF (Man’s Best Friend) was announced in Official Pre-Production. It will film in May/June in Michigan with an amazing team gathered around Anthony Hornus as director. I’m playing a title role in this film and I’m EXCITED about being able to watch the performances. We have a tech scout this coming week and I’ll be reaching out to possible crew.
In a matter of days the music video I participated in entitled ‘My Ghost’ by musician Trey Connor will release around the 14th. I am trying to see if I can arrange it to play before “Wild Faith” on one of these special screenings. I’m very happy with their work and the story put forth in those few minutes is really powerful.
Let’s talk about “Wild Faith” for a moment. I always knew if this film could ever be made it would be powerful. I’m so glad I stuck to my guns all those years ago. I feel bad for the dishonest folks in CA who almost killed this project. I’m so very happy that the power of the story would not die. It’s a different movie from the original screenplay which you can read via the novelization. In many ways things in the story changed but the heart of the story survived the transplant. Budget is the #1 reason why we had to go from page one through the script. Names were also changed to fit the new players of our story. I’m so proud that the story made it into existence. The response is more than I could have asked for. Sold out shows. Listening to people laugh and cry in the theater has been touching. I love that people are now understanding it is a FAMILY movie. A history class full of middle school children set up a special screening at Celebration Cinemas. How amazing is that.
If you want the film in your area you need to 1) Contact your local theater and request “Wild Faith” and 2) Get an email/name of the manager of that theater. 3) Get us that contact info. The film is now moving to Novi, Michigan near Detroit thanks to our friends at Emagine Theaters. It starts playing on April 6-12th and if that first weekend is good we’ll likely get another week added. We’re in talks to try to bring it to Hastings area where we shot. Also we’re in talks with theaters in West Virginia and South and North Carolina. I can see Texas and maybe GA in our future. We’ll bring the film wherever the demand is and the business makes sense. I do know that it will be traveling to Florida to play for audiences at the Christian International Film Festival. We’ve been nominated for several awards and many of our nominees will be present.
One of the main films “Wild Faith” is up against is part 2 of THE QUEST TRILOGY – “Chasing the Star” which also has Dennis Therrian up for Best Score, myself for Best Screenplay and the overall ‘Most Inspirational’ which “Forty Nights” took last year. If you have not seen these two films both can be found on Amazon Prime, Christian Cinema and many other platforms. With this being Easter weekend both these films are a wonderful watch. “Chasing the Star” is more adventure and can be watched at anytime. There was no snow, jingles bells or Christmas carols. I know “Forty Nights” is playing Parables TV tonight I believe at 8:30pm not sure if that is EST or what so check your listing.
“Wicked Spring” is a beautiful Civil War era drama that our team produced many years ago. It can now be watched on Amazon Prime or the DVD has a great 44 min making of for those aspiring filmmakers. Joining this classic is “Ashes of Eden” which is now also on Amazon Prime. I really do appreciate all the fans that are now enjoying our past library.
I could go on about development and such but I will leave that to next week. I’m just going to again talk about collective compromise. Every great endeavor is usually the result of mixed collaboration. Led Zeppelin 12 years of compromise and collaboration. Individually or paired Page and Plant are still not the same as Zeppelin. I think too many people want/need to win so absolutely that it comes at the expense of the whole. Same side of the table negotiation. Whereas both parties walk away with some degree of satisfaction. These same ideas can be applied in all areas of life personal and professional.
Poor communication usually leaves both parties unable/unwilling to look for that common ground. Good communication starts with respectful communication EVEN if the opinions differ. Most people fail right out the gate with condescending communication which just says that they never entered with an attempt to collaborate. Many want to be heard but don’t care if they’re understood. That is failure. When I see people shouting at one another or vicious text communications – I just see venting. Good maybe for the person unable to cope but it does little to advance any understanding.
So now I try to see with compassion that people are so under their own self-inflicted negative rage. High blood pressure, anxiety attacks – people build their own prisons emotionally. So to bring this full circle – take yourself out of crisis-mode. Empty your cup of opinions and learn the art of good communication. Learn to collaborate with others and you’ll see amazing things happen. Life is too short to be angry all the time and for many this is just a phase in their lives. Whomever you are – be that someone in your actions and words that inspires others to be like you. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Try treating and speaking to others in the respectful manner you would like to be addressed. Before letting that “Conservative POS” or “Snowflake” comment fly from your irrational angered mouth or key board – STOP. Take a deep breath and be open to communicate, collaborate and yes, compromise.
Be good to one another. Happy Easter.
The sun is out and the hazelnut coffee is flowing. WHAT A WEEK! First I want to welcome our new readers from Romania. Our international group of artists is expanding with each week. For a few weeks now I’ve managed to stay a step or two ahead of the sick bugs striking people down. Family and friends with children and those working around large groups have been fallen ill. I’ve managed to stay the course and not get full-blown sick but my energy level has been tapped. Add the amount of business and the ‘Wild Faith‘ premiere kick off events and…walking a thin line.
Family and friends make the day extra special.
Our cast and crew premiere at Studio C was a wonderful event. I had one of those days I could not get warm all day. Body aches wanted to set in but I managed to pull it all together. Warmth was my fashion and so a nice warm sweater was just what the doctor ordered. It was this showing that meant the most because it was for everyone you see in the end credits. It was our investors, sponsors, cast and crew and I wanted them to be as proud of the work as I am. To say we had a positive reaction is a modest statement. This industry is hard with many projects that implode before take off or never get finished. The ones that do get completed often suffer from not being able to consistently keep the quality on-screen. That could be said about our earliest work but we always did the best we could with what we had. So many came in for the event which made it extra special.
We have a great CDI producer team and we would be unable to achieve what we have without these three – post supervisor Dennis Therrian and co-producers Melissa Anschutz and Anthony Hornus helping lead the charge.
The very next day was our public premiere with showings kicking off in Lansing and Grand Rapids. That was also just incredible and these are not the biased artists these are the paying public. The feedback from people I knew and did not know was overwhelming. I was happy I felt a touch better on Friday but Saturday was spent chilling and recovering. I even got to do some yard work which after our cold winter was enjoyable. “Wild Faith” will play twice a day 4:30 and 7:00 in both Grand Rapids (Woodland) and Lansing until Thursday unless they hold it over. It has been selling out the nighttime performance so we’ll see. We have even been getting members of the Living History community coming out in full period garb. How cool! Here is one of my favorite quotes from a Owosso Community reporter “The acting, location, and music causes a person watching this movie, made on a tight budget, to have the same experience as if they were watching an $80 Million-dollar movie.” – we try is all I can say on that.
Developing new directors is something I enjoy and this makes #2 with Mr. Jesse Low
As noted last week “Wild Faith” is up for 4 awards at the International Christian Film Festival in FL. Best Film, Lead Actor/Actress and Director. Right beside it is Part 2 of ‘The Quest Trilogy’ “Chasing the Star” with 5 nominations – Best Film, Most Inspirational, Best Actor, Best Score and Best Screenplay. This film and Part 1 “Forty Nights” is a great holiday watch for the Easter season. The screenplay nod is nice as I’m working to take on a few work-for-hire and also sell off a few screenplays I don’t plan to produce. If you’re looking to buy a script or hire a writer – let’s talk.
Music Video ‘My Ghost‘ Directed by Tomaki Boaz
The day before the cast/crew premiere I was given an opportunity to play a part in a music video for artist Trey Connor with a song entitled “My Ghost” that will release mid-April. I had a great time working with everyone. With this music video and the recent promotional before Christmas I’m opening myself to hiring out on things that interest me. My feature film work keeps me quite busy but always will work to try to make a schedule work if the art entices.
Like a sleeping giant “The Christ Slayer” part 3 of the trilogy is moving ahead. Work on the next trailer and the film itself are underway. Just know something special is in the works and will be heading to theaters 4th quarter this year.
MBF (Man’s Best Friend) is CDI’s next film and we’re so very close to closing up business on this powerful story. More “fuel” came in and more next week. The ship is getting close to launch and we’ll work hard to bring audiences again, a very special story. Many ways to get involved with your businesses too. Our partners at the Red, White and Blue Project are taking donations into their non-profit for their educational side of the film. I’m working hard with our team to complete funding by month’s end and move into official pre-production. This will be another great film in the CDI fleet.
For those who want more 1800’s please do watch our “Wicked Spring” playing Amazon Prime now. Also if you’ve seen “Wild Faith” or any of the films take a few moments on Amazon or IMDB to vote and leave a review. I’m going to leave all this right here. I want to thank the huge outpouring of support for these films. I loved each and every conversation I had with people after watching “Wild Faith” – thank you again. We had general audience members come in from other states to see this film. Also people driving in and making it an event. The story is greatly needed in this day and age and we hope that we entertain and bring a little fresh air into the conversations. Love over hate.
Meeting supporter Kim Harris at the public premiere
I was proud to have my family and friends join me in the send off for this newest film. As film artists we don’t always get to see all our fans. To cite an example one title has sold over 300,000 DVD’s and I likely don’t know 298,000 of them. So I’m excited for all the people I do not know who will enjoy the film(s). But it also makes it that much more special to shake a hand and hear about your favorite character/scene/part of a film. Know that each and every one of you we don’t know are appreciated. To our fans around the world – thank you.
So again this morning I enjoyed watching our squirrel friends eating the strawberry tops and some aged bread. My desk now looks out over the favorite feeding spot for our furry friends. Our yard is already a haven for wildlife with our acorns, mulberries, edible mushrooms and our garden full of abundance in the season. This winter we had a few cold days coupled with a heavy snow here or there but overall not too bad. This week I might bottle up the next batch of wine “Frankenberry” which was a use up of fruit taking up freezer space. We have a lot to celebrate as of late and I foresee more toasting in the near future.
This weekend started with a nice surprise bday gathering at a local place called DUSTY’S CELLAR. I had a great blond ale that tasted a lot like the last beer I made. Also had some aged ribeye that was wonderful. The full moon also allowed me a few indulgences. I eat junk food (donut, cake, candy bar, ice cream) only during 24 hours of each month. It makes those things a little more special and keeps my sugar/junk intake very low. To anyone who might try – it was only hard the first month or two. Sugar addiction is real and while I seldom partake I know it can be a real challenge. My funniest moment that night was walking into the wrong private room. “Someone order a stripper?” Just kidding – it was funny for sure.
This Sat I had a chance to see BLACK PANTHER and it was cool to see an exotic take on the superhero genre. We always see the NYC-type big city so it was great to see a story based in Afrika. My brother got to join us and that is always fun. A good movie in my opinion. I did re-watch “Raiders of the Lost Ark” this week while doing some desk work. That is truly a great film in my book. Okay, we’ve come around to talking about movies. I guess we can discuss our movies.
This week saw “Wicked Spring” premiere to digital streaming and remastered DVD this past week. It is on various platforms but Amazon Prime is the big one. Read about it here – https://www.prlog.org/12695043-digitally-remastered-cdi-civil-war-epic-wicked-spring-hits-amazon-prime.html
The Amazon link is here – https://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Spring-Brian-Merrick/dp/B079HWQQKC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1519913275&sr=8-3&keywords=Wicked+Spring
This film is the one we cut our teeth on as producers. This is a wonderful primer as we’re about to premiere our new 1800’s action/drama “Wild Faith” this month. We did a great Showbiz Weekly radio show and we have more PR leading up to the March 16-22 run at Celebration Cinemas in Lansing and Grand Rapids, MI. Tickets can be purchased now online –
You can also read an earlier version of the film here – I would appreciate any reviews-
Book your tickets here –
This past week and the week ahead will be important meetings for the film and possible TV series. I’m just excited to have family, friends and fans watch this film. Those that have gotten the advanced look have raved about the balanced blend and pacing which is a hard thing to achieve. On the indie level I see that people often become close friends with all the talent and there exists pressure not to cut certain scenes. This can be because of an insistent writer. Or not wanting to hurt feelings – but the overall film needs to be a deciding factor. I think those involved will be very happy. I’m also excited to have friends from out-of-town coming in to see the film.
THE QUEST TRILOGY
As the 3rd film “THE CHRIST SLAYER” is being worked on we’re about to put the Easter push on the first two films “Forty Nights” and “Chasing the Star” which are great adventures to watch at any time. But families gather at the holidays and these films are built to be enjoyed by the whole family. Have you watched these films? They can be found on Amazon Prime and several major platforms or on DVD.
MBF – We made some good advances on Man’s Best Friend, and we’re so very close to moving into pre-production. We’re into a slight push from our ideal time and so the sport theme in the film may change but it does nothing to our story. We’ve had some great strides made by the Red, White and Blue Project non-profit that is sponsoring some of the military vets so they can do some educational events as well as filming. If you want to see how your company or you can get involved feel free to reach out to me direct.
Aside from all these endeavors I’ve been looking at future acting possibilities and preparing to cut some checks back to investors. A few new deals underway and I’m just flowing with 2018. I had updates on a few projects I thought had faded out but apparently not. One could mean a script sale this year so we’ll see how that works out. Always good to have a few irons in the fire. But a few of those irons are RED HOT. Soccer season is also soon upon us and so I’m going to be increasing my conditioning. I had a good winter of healing last year’s battle wounds and I’m ready to go at it again. With our few nice days I was able to get a lot of yard work done. I’m excited for Spring.
Have a wonderful day. If you feel like supporting feel free to watch some of the films at your leisure at home or experience them on the grand screen. We will be announcing other play dates throughout the Spring/Summer for “Wild Faith” – have a great day!
I’m sipping on the hazelnut coffee and enjoying the sunshine this morning. Welcome readers from Finland – happy to have you here with us. So I returned on Thursday from my trip to LA. I had been wanting to return to LA to see one of my dear friends who now has a little one and wife. Several times I had debated taking the time to go visit but I’ve been in production or post-production for a few years now. Busy does not stop it just keeps going. Well I received an invite to a private family memorial for my friend, mentor and co-star Rance Howard. Rance has always been that voice of truth in an industry that often moves on lies and half-truths. He was a mentor/friend that often felt like a grandfather. He was a script consultant on a WW2 Christmas film I wrote. He was my co-star on several films including THE CHRIST SLAYER that will release to theaters on the run up to Christmas this year. I know that EVERYONE who met Rance loved him. I did not plan on any invite and knew nothing of the planning. I felt fulfilled and secure in the memories of the beautiful relationship we had shared. When working on a role Rance and I were like two ten-year olds playing. His wisdom was always a guiding force and I was content with my quiet prayers to a friend who passed. Weeks later I was surprised to get an invite from his sons to attend a private service. I did not want any stress/expectations around this event as the purpose was to celebrate a friend passing not business. So I quietly left in the middle of a massive snowstorm to say goodbye to an old friend and to visit another friend with new child. Circle of life.
To say that is was a nice tribute would be an understatement. It was a true look back at a farmer’s son who had an undeniable urge to be storyteller. The odds of this small town young man finding success in the industry were very small. I was his friend for a dozen years but I met many who had that gentle guidance for a lifetime. I realized just how blessed I was to have Rance in my life. One after another – family and friends stood up to speak of the qualities of this great man. To hear sons, grandchildren, directors and fellow actors tell their stories of how Rance touched them was beyond moving.
Tony Becker, myself (Slightly Beat up) and Rance Howard on “Ghost Town”
To have an opportunity to speak with his family and friends and share my stories of Rance and our relationship was beautiful. I know that Ron posted some pics and video of the tribute on his official Facebook so you can visit there. That’s what the family felt like sharing. It was interesting to hear the “family story” behind stories I heard from Rance and Judy directly. Johnny Depp retold the story Judy Howard had told us of her trying to convince Rance not to jump from a train at 80+ years old. She tried to get Johnny to talk with Rance but the long/short is Rance did it anyways. To be able to tell the family directly what their father meant to me was powerful. That day remembering Rance is one I will remember for the rest of my life. I got to hear some wonderful comments on our art. The family all knew about our films because Rance had grown a beard, which they lovingly teased him according to Judy. He kept that beard until the end of his life telling me he hadn’t had one in many years but he was enjoying the freedom of it. I was pushing him to go play a Jedi Master. I’m sure his family was also aware of the management/rep craziness when Rance told the X Files producers that a certain shoot date would not work because of Forty Nights. Knowing agents like I have – I bet that was one giant rant of “What the @$#@#% is Forty Nights and who in the hell is DJ Perry?” – He ended up doing both because he stuck to his commitment with us (never in question) and that was that. A free lesson for all of you out there. Don’t have someone’s back only until something better comes along. The “trade up” mentality is a common thing to starving talent who will climb at all cost. But as Rance once said, “if the cost is your integrity – you can’t afford it.” Free advice from one of my great teachers. I will miss my friend and I’ll be always grateful for the stories we told together.
Dean Teaster and Shane Hagedorn in “Wild Faith”
Now two days prior to my travels, our final film of WILD FAITH had been completed. Over the past year I depleted energy like everyone else in this hard industry. Often taking three steps forward and getting knocked back two. Raising money is always hard and executing with ever-growing expectations is even harder. But at that memorial I took stock of my own path and journey. I turned around and looked at where I started and where I’ve been. Who I’ve worked with and what we created together. And the most exciting revelation is looking ahead visualizing what I will work to create in the next dozen years. I spent the balance of the trip visiting with friends laughing, recharging and reflecting. I came back home ready to do what I do. Create. So I’m working hard to widen our investor base so we can create more often. The demand is there for our content and so we’ll work hard to fill that demand.
We’ve signed our first theatrical deal on “Wild Faith” at Celebration Cinema and we’ll release the show dates in the next few days. I’m very excited to see this play in the theaters and I’m just so damn proud of all the artists. The talks on home video and TV series are in full swing. I would love to have the TV show move ahead because many Michigan talent would get to be part of this beautiful world.
“Forty Nights” and “Chasing the Star” enjoyed a great Christmas season and I’ve been working with BMG on paperwork for additional foreign sales. BMG entered “Chasing the Star” into a few select festivals. I’m a person who likes to just target a few festivals. They take time and energy and often I just choose to direct that energy towards deal making.
So our distributor plans to make part 3 of Collective Development Inc.’s THE QUEST TRILOGY “The Christ Slayer” their flagship release at the upcoming markets. They got the sneak peek at the soon-to-release theatrical trailer and poster art. Additionally the hype over Mel Gibson‘s development of a sequel to The Passion of the Christ has been encouraging. That proposed film focuses on passover and the days that follow Jesus rising from the tomb. That is exactly the time period and event we focused on with THE CHRIST SLAYER. A final story filled with incredible performances by everyone including Rance Howard shining in one of his last feature films. So I agree this “piece” of the Jesus story is unique and audiences will be able to see our take a good year plus before the other film is set to release. I will be excited to see their take on the story as Jim does an awesome job as Jesus and Mel is one of my favorite directors. Audiences will be able to enjoy our film in theaters leading to this Christmas and home video leading up top Easter 2019. I’m going to let all of you see the theatrical poster HERE before the PR release this week.
Judy and Rance Howard, Anthony Hornus and myself on set “Forty Nights”
I want to also wish a happy birthday to Shane Hagedorn and Anthony (Tony) Hornus – two tribal amigos who share a special day. I’ve created much with both of them and look forward to many more. MBF is growing with more support and I’ve got a few talent I want to approach once all funding is locked. I’ll be back to that this week. We’re getting close but do not start anything you cannot finish. Exert patience and get everything proper with your ship before taking it out to deep waters. So to proposed cast and crew know we’re working hard to allow us to tell another great story.
Myself and Shane Hagedorn in “The Christ Slayer”
I also want to take this moment to thank Shane Hagedorn. I’ve been very busy the last few years. And you filmmakers know the films are like your children. So the films have gotten strong marketing but I have not really pushed my own acting. I’ve had no time to cut any character reels. Shane was kind enough to Christmas gift me with a ‘Jesus’ reel cut from “Forty Nights”. Now when you’re in 70+ min of an 88 min film picking the best 2-3 min can be hard. I’m appreciative that he did that for me. Now if you have not yet watched “Forty Nights” DON’T WATCH the reel. Go to Amazon and watch the film first. But I will use this reel to discuss future work on other projects.
DJ Perry as ‘Jesus’ in “Forty Nights”
I’ve recently had a few west coast projects in my orbit picking up speed. I had a few new updates on C.U.J.O and the western RIFLE development. I cannot speak on these publicly but I hope they both launch. They will be great fun. A few other projects with Reel Frog (Book of Ruth) are advancing on the development board also. An animated venture is coming together piece by piece. Overall 2018, the Year of the Dog (My sign) is upon us. I will keep my tail wagging and trotting along.
OTHER MISC RE-RELEASES
WICKED SPRING should appear for streaming on 3/1/18 like VUDU, Amazon Prime, Hoopla and more. Please do check out this powerful film that we produced 18 years ago.
THE ACTOR – I’m hearing April release.
PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ (Animated for Children) – On Vimeo On Demand and coming to Amazon.
ASHES OF EDEN – has a new market push with a new distributor. INFO SOON
I’m going to sign off and go pour a last cup of coffee. It feels great to be back in my home state and I’m ready to show audiences our new films this year. I’m ready to work hard as usual to make new content. I tip my hat to all of you out there working hard. Do good business. Make an environment to create great art.
ENJOY THE FIRST RELEASE OF THE THEATRICAL “THE CHRIST SLAYER” POSTER
Be good to one another.