Thursday, September 15, 2011


To lead by public opinion poll may be fine for Bill Clinton, but in the church the result (from James 1) is a double-minded man unstable in what he does.  A Disciple leads according to the Word.  (John 8:31-- Jesus says if you continue in my Word, then you really are my Disciples).

A church leader who is swayed by the more vocal gossip in the congregation, and not by any convictions he has from the Word, is that double-minded man.  If you want a large church, sure, you might need to lead by opinion polls.  Leading by the Word, will at times, make you unpopular.  So for the popular-minded-- you'll need to pick and choose which verses are suitable for your personal goals.

Years ago when I was in college, we were working on an evangelistic drama piece.  A church leader didn't like one of the actors.  He said he needed to be more "Christ-like."  Because he believed inaccurate gossip not handled scripturally (Matt 18).  Makes me wonder if he means Christ-like holding a cute little lamb?  Christ-like leaving footprints on the beach?  Christ-like running after the rich young ruler saying "just kidding, you can be my disciple just as you are, no need to change!"

Or could he mean Christ-like where Jesus insulted the gentile woman calling her a dog, or Christ-like looking in the chief disciple eyes and speaking to Satan?  Or Christ-like taking a whip to the money people in the temple? Or Christ-like where he told the rich young ruler what he needs to give up in order to follow Him, and then watched him walk away?

There's a huge disconnect here.  I hope my image of who Jesus is is based on scripture and not on church culture.  Of course, that would mean I'd have to actually read the Bible.

I'm just saying.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Been Away

For a period of time, I wrote this blog fairly regularly-- averaging every other day.  Sometimes as a blogwriter, I wonder what's the point?  Does anyone read them?  I wish I could write with humor and maybe not be so intense.  But that's not who I am.

What has been encouraging is all the emails I've gotten this year from people who have been going back through the archives and reading different entries.  I'm glad for that.  Not sure I'll write with the regularity of the past, but I might not quit cold turkey like I did last December.

I've been working.  Corporate and Commercial work has kicked up.  And suddenly a script I wrote 7 years ago has drawn some new interest.  Perhaps this fall we'll be shooting that movie.

In the meantime, the DSLR craze has renewed my own interest in shooting.  As a Director, more and more over the last decade I've been getting away from actual hands-on shooting.  This season has been one of falling back in love with cinematography.  I've really had a lot of fun going out and shooting the different projects-- be they corporate communications, a commercial spot, or even a music video or two.

I'm in the process of redoing the SFilms website and will probably post more often there on filmmaking techniques, leaving this blog more for the faith-based articles.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I have taken a nice vacation from the blog.  With the holidays and work, focus has been elsewhere.  Business has picked up-- been doing more commercial work.  And we're hoping to keep moving forward on the next feature film.  Here's to 2011.

We're in the midst of moving our offices as well.  We're in the Studios121 building in Fort Worth, and are moving our suite to #211.  If you have us in your address book, might be a good time to change our suite number.

In addition to Deadmen's Red and 5D, SFilms has just gotten a 7D DSLR.  Right now, we're doing a corporate film documentary style and enjoying shooting two cameras for it (the 5D along with the 7D).  Perfect for giving edit points on interviews.

We'll probably schedule some more workshops and seminars for February and March.  We have gotten a lot of buzz for the screenfighting and will probably break it down by day-- one day for firearms, one for fighting, etc.  We'll limit the class size to make sure good hands-on time can be had.  More info soon on that.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Screenfighting Details

We're getting closer to this Saturday's Workshop.  It's actually turning out to be one of our most popular ever.  I try to pick subjects that can be of value to actors that will help them get and keep roles.  As I've directed my movies, I've found that many actor's can't throw or receive a punch.  Or they hold a gun goofy.  Or they're afraid of a squib hit and it shows.

So "ta-da."  Screenfighting & SFX for Actors.  We've only got a couple seats remaining as of this posting.  Im going to pull down the registration pretty soon.  If you still see the button, it means you can still register.  It's all at .  Scroll down for the workshop.

Here's our agenda:

The Agenda looks something like this (subject to change):
9:00        Intros and Screenfighting (We will do a quiz early to determine first person to be squibbed)
10:30     Break (2nd Squibber is picked)
10:45     Screenfighting continues
12:00     Break for lunch – There are fast food places around—specifically a few miles south on 121, exit Beach Street.  Some people in the past have tried for a sit down at one of the restaurants back at the mall (820/183/121 convergence to the north), but everytime, they end up getting back late.
1:00        Start promptly—talk about Weapons with Doug Williams
2:30        Break
2:45        SFX with Steve Krieger (Last person is picked to be a Squibber)
4:30        Squib the lucky three participants
5:00        We’re done

I think it's going to be a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to working with Steve Krieger, Scott Roland and Doug Williams.  I'm sending out an email to all those with confirmed seats.  If you think you are and don't get an email by tomorrow morning, you'd better contact me.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I had to laugh.  When I read a recent comment on a site about "The Imposter," I had to just shake my head and chuckle.

I do get asked about how negative reviews and comments make me feel-- or how they affect me.  In the beginning, it was harder-- being a little more unsure (let's call it insecure) of myself as a filmmaker, negative comments found a fertile target.  Some of the more negative and out there were actually easier to ignore and dismiss-- when they attacked me personally, I knew that it had nothing to do with me, but something stirred up the water in their own life.

The ones that picked apart mistakes I was already aware of were of no consequence either.  I knew what they were and I agreed with it.  The hardest comments and reviews were the ones that found mistakes I didn't want to admit.  These I had to chew on for awhile until I realized they were right.

So consequently, reviews/comments don't have as much effect on me today.  I find myself laughing at more of them.  Like the one in question above.

The comment went something like this-- this movie didn't even end, so it doesn't minister.  Like the viral episodic "Jesus People," there are different types of Christians out there.  And when I read that comment, I picture it being written by the uptight, hypocritical pharisee character in that show.  It's funny. 

The person writing this comment is waiting for God to zap people (for good or for punishment).  God to him is a logitician-- If you do A and B, then God will do C.  (Check out Larry Crabbe's book on people who walk out the law of linearity).  But God laughs at us.  I believe He's more interested in the process than the result... the journey rather than the destination.

Now I write reviews for fellow filmmakers and I attempt to be accurate, not cruel, pointing out the nice things as well as the things that can be improved.  As my mentor recently said-- I welcome examination, for if I'm correct, then I'm that much more resolute, and if I'm incorrect, it's a great opportunity to improve.  There is no bad with examination... only good.

Friday, November 19, 2010

TeaCupping is Wrong

And so is pointing the gun at the ceiling.  Throughout the seventies and eighties, television and film were totally unconcerned about any kind of weapons realism in cinema.  But that has been changing.  Dramatically.  Shows like "The Unit" spend painstaking amount of time and training to make sure the actors are holding and handling the weapons accurately.

The move is on towards accuracy.  And if you, an actor, go into an audition or on the set and grab the pistol and teacup it, don't be surprised if they laugh at you.  Or roll their eyes.  If you insist on a shoulder holster, I hope you're character is extremely old school.  They just don't do that today.  And when you're about to turn the corner, why are you pointing at the sky with that handgun?  The police and the military do not train that way-- only fake actors do it that way.  And they do it because they saw it on television in the seventies.

At the Screenfighting & SFX for Actors Workshop on Dec 4, Weapons Master and Specialist Doug Williams will be joining Stunt Coordinator Scott Roland and SFX Coordinator Steve Krieger and will show you the right way to hold a gun and handle it like a professional.  Doug has been trained at FBI courses as well as some of the best military training ranges in the country.  And he's been weapons master on several feature films.  He knows guns.

Doug and I took some actors to Frontsight in Las Vegas for some training a couple years ago.  It was great stuff.  I myself have done some extensive firearm training and now insist on realism in my movies.

Want to know what TeaCupping is?  Come to the Seminar to avoid this embarrassing on-set mistake!  Register for the Saturday, Dec 4 Workshop at .

Thursday, November 18, 2010

True Revolt

In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.
- George Orwell

I know of a self-proclaimed poet/revolutionary type.  His pretentiousness is astounding... his narcissism severe.  Yet his gift is without repentance from the Giver of all things and the double-minded (James 1) are pulled into his trap.

In my ownself, I have discovered that evil isn't a destination, but a direction.  It's not something that's far off, and I have to work to get there.  It's a simple choice made every day.

Jeremiah writes that the heart is deceitful above all else, who can know it...  So in my own life, deceit is universal.  In yours too.  You see, since the fall, deceit has ruled from the heart of all men.  Opposite of the Humanist, I believe that we are all narcissists underneath-- lions feeding on whoever's next to us so that we can survive and thrive.

So for the person who discovers the Truth?  He is a revolutionary.  And most people, even many of those proclaiming to be "christians" will consider this person to be "revolting."  (Double entendre intended).  As an individual pursues Truth (Jesus says He is the Truth), he will become lonelier.  Although being a revolutionary is hip and cool in many pretentious circles, few have the guts to actually be one.  You see, they revolt against truth in favor of deceit.

The poet mentioned above is a great example of this.  He considers himself a revolutionary-- railing against the church and the establishment.  All the while embracing different costumes and masquerades that enable him to pursue his own selfish agenda.

So I end with another quote-- this one by Brennan Manning.
"When I was eight," confesses Brennan Manning, "the impostor, or false self, was born as a defense against pain. The impostor within whispered, 'Brennan, don't ever be your real self anymore because nobody likes you as you are. Invent a new self that everybody will admire and nobody will know.'" Notice the key phrase: "as a defense against pain," as a way of saving himself. The impostor is our plan for salvation…