Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Don't Read the Bible

Instead, study it. It's not a great giant merit badge that you can wear around, saying that you've read the Bible. It's something to be dived into, to be devoured, to be studied.

I remember in 1981, I read the Bible through in a year. Had that torn and tattered chart as a book mark that told me what to read. Basically about four chapters a day. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. It's just that it's even more beneficial to study the book of Romans for three months. Sure, you don't get the satisfaction of pure page-achievement. But the benefits are eternal.

I'm all for supporting literature, commentaries, and what-not. But nothing replaces studying the actual text itself. Don't only take other people's word for it.

Study the Bible.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Chicken Love

In an earlier post, we defined "love"-- seeking the others highest good. With that as love, a whole bunch of activities that might not appear "loving" are in fact the essence of love. Maybe it's confronting a friend. Maybe it's slapping someone hysterical because they need to get a grip. Maybe it's being really uncomfortable.

Another kind of love that's prevalent (I know it has in my life) is what I call "Chicken Love." That's not love that's too afraid to happen. Not that kind of chicken. Actually the real thing. The real chicken.

See I "love" chicken. I love pizza. I love a good root beer float. So how can we use the same exact words to describe these feelings that we use to say I "love" my wife, or a "love" my child? What do I *really* mean when I say I "love" chicken? Am I saying I'm seeking chicken's highest good? I don't think the chicken sees it that way. No what I'm really saying is that I "love" the way chicken taste to me-- how it makes me feel.

It's the kind of love that's all centered around... me.

So next time when you say I "love" you to your spouse or kids or family member, do you mean real love (seeking the others highest good) or do you mean "chicken love?"

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wearing a Mask to Write about Not Wearing Masks

Yeah there we go. So I'm trying to finish up the artwork for the CD Soundtrack and it's time for liner notes. I got Josh Goode's (the Composer for the movie) and needed to write my own. So I write a brilliant five or six sentences and send them to my wife who is a great writer. Well she nailed me pretty good (specifically my ego).

What I had done was to slip on my "Keith Green" mask and write about how important it is to not wear masks or be Imposters. Who-hoo. She's watching my back to call me on that. So... back to the drawing board for liner notes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Putting on a Show

It's a lot of work to put on a show. For some reason I see Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland talking about putting on a show and I don't even remember which movie. ("Babes on Broadway"?).

We are going to have a special screening of "The Imposter" at the home stadium-- Bethesda Community Church in north Fort Worth. It's where I attend and we used the facilities in the making of the movie. The staff has been incredibly helpful then and now. What I want to do is return the favor. Bethesda has been very supportive of Fort Worth Teen Challenge and I had the pleasure of making a video for them last fall. It is a wonderful organization with a powerful mission.

I know in this day and age, giving is down and Teen Challenge is no exception. So this special home field advantage screening-- ALL proceeds from tickets will go straight to Teen Challenge. We suggesting $10, which is about the price of a movie ticket anywhere else in the metroplex on a Friday night. So instead of giving it to Hollywood, why not enjoy the movie and give the whole cost of the ticket to such a worthy cause?

Friday, April 24, 7pm
Bethesda, 4700 North Beach Street
You can get your tickets by clicking the link at the main website.

I'll be there. Larry, the director of FW Teen Challenge will be there. Hopefully see you there!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Up to 19

We've added one more track to the soundtrack. Up to 19 songs. We're about to have the master made, so soon it will be locked in stone. I'm just about finished with the artwork. Here is what the face label on the disc will look like.

It's exciting to do a soundtrack. After four movies, this is the first time we're doing this. Of course, none of the other movies had this much music. We had portions of 16 songs used in the movie in addition to the score.

For those that pre-ordered, we'll ship these out a little earlier than the street date (April 22). I can tell you that Jeff Rodgers and I are very excited about this.

Monday, March 23, 2009

To Confront or not?

Confrontation versus Conflict. Smackdown. The two "C's" lining up against each other, only one will emerge victorious. (This all sounds better if you imagine the deep announcer voice associated with Monster Truck rallies).

So in one corner we have Confrontation. This is where one party brings truth to the other party (truth based on the Word of God)... usually leaving a choice. Confrontation is CREATIVE. It builds. It is healthy.

In the other corner, the raging beast, Conflict. This is where two parties attempt to settle differences by the destruction of the other. So yes, where one is creative,Conflict is destructive, tearing down, killing.

Here is a truisms:
* The lack of Confrontation will ALWAYS lead to Conflict.

So when you think that you'll just let that thing slide, remember, to deal with it now will be creative. Life is created in confrontation. Let it sit, it will come out in an unholy war down the road.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I made a Playlist of all the tracks for the upcoming CD Soundtrack releases. It's almost time to finalize the order. Listening to the tracks move into the next has been great. I like how Josh's score cues mesh with the songs. And, even thought the songs vary greatly in style, it's amazing how much the keys all work together.

18 songs right now. And I might add one more score cue. We'll see. The cover art is almost done, the CD will be mastered soon. Then the actual duplication, which doesn't take that long. I'm so excited about this. I love listening to the Playlist. Hopefully you will too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The only thing to Fear...

Fear is a sure sign Ego (flesh) is in play. Is it wrong to fear? I do know that to indulge in fear is sin. What is fear? Fear can be defined as projecting a negative course of action or result on the future. SO basically when I indulge fear, I am saying "I don't trust you God."

Now I'm not talking about "Fear" - the respect of God. Also, I'm not talking about being afraid. I'm talking about indulging, wallowing in, staying in a spirit of Fear.

For me, it's one more arena of Ego to kill.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How Clay is Arrogant (and Bronze and even Silver)

Have a friend named Clay who has a big head? Well good, but I'm not talking about him.

My mentor once asked me, while I was wallowing in the original sin (comparison) talking about other filmmakers and their accomplishments, whether I thought I was gold, silver, bronze, clay, what? So I pondered for a moment. I answered "Bronze." He said "Then I'm done with you."

After scraping myself off the floor, I mumbled a "Gold", not truly believing it in my whole heart. I have gone on to understand a little about this principle. My parents didn't make me, God made me. Psalm 139 says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God only makes Gold. So to take what he made and call it anything less is false humilty at best, and probably more flat out arrogance.

How is that arrogant? Well, what is something worth? Answer-- what someone is willing to pay. What are you worth? How about the price of God's own Son. And you want to tell God, "well, actually, I'm bronze (or clay), so what You did isn't quite enough for me." That's so special, isn't it?

Now my Ego is refuse. It cannot be improved. It can't be trained or educated. It can be killed. But who I *really* am, who God made me, is GOLD.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


So what's going on right now with the movies? Some people ask me what I've got cooking for next. The answer is-- I don't know. I've got several scripts I've written. I do have an idea for a followup to Imposter. And I've got a possible job writing a movie from someone. So we'll see how it all plays out. We have stuff ready.

We've been working on marketing the Imposter. I've felt very strongly that it's time to get into distribution-- not just making movies, but on getting them out. It's no secret that Hollywood is very, very good and turning a buck on the indie filmmaker's efforts. That's why is more common to see first time filmmaker after first timer. I know of some movies that have made millions and millions, yet the filmmakers walk away with pennies and a promise-- "next time, we'll pay you BIG."

So I've been learning tons about distribution. Getting the DVD's made... to advertising (currently on Facebook and thinking about radio)... to publicity. You can have a great movie, but people have to talk about it and get it out.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's "The Imposter" about anyway?

Paul writes about the two of me-- the Flesh (Ego) and the Spirit me. There is nothing good or redeemable for the Flesh. But it's a daily battle to die to it. When I let the Flesh live, it's not the real me-- it's an imposter. If the Apostle Paul had to die daily to his flesh, chances are we all do. So yes, *I* am the Imposter. So are you by the way. Unless you're dead. I mean, like, for real. Literally, not figuratively.

So unmasking the Imposter is to kill the Ego and live life in the spirit. Live for God's purpose, not my own selfish, carnal desires. At the essence, that's the message of this movie. It's not as easy as pushing a button, or walking down an aisle. It takes a daily vigilance. An everyday decision to die and to live. Die to the flesh, live for His purpose.

So this movie is about Pretenders. Not just the lead character Johnny C. I believe that God wants us to walk in Truth... It's not always pretty. Not always comfortable.

Maybe you got some other things out of the movie. If so, I'd love to hear what The Imposter said to you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Review of "The Imposter"

From Lesley Hurst, Program Director at WAFG 90.3 Grace FM:

I appreciated the strong message in "The Imposter" about how easy it is slip into a life and ministry that is so disconnected from an authentic, transformed, and obedient follower of Christ. Kevin Max was very believable as a Christian music artist who lost his way, or maybe never knew the way. His vocals and talent were on full display and compelled me to watch and listen.

Jeff Deyo warmly portrayed the conflicted friend and band mate who struggled with tough love. Kerry Livgren as the "Prof" exuded credibility as a calm influence who subtlety gave convincing advice. We get a glimpse of his own ability on the guitar, and get to hear a new version of "Wayward Son" from his Kansas days.

Even with the heaviness of the film's message, it's humor and comic relief enhanced the story, with the very likeable homeless man (Tom Wright), who was outstanding and realistic in his portrayal. It was also refreshing that Kevin Max's character, Johnny C, would have a journey back to wholeness that may take a period of time. Thank you for an entertaining film with a message that made me want to examine myself for any area in my life where I may be an "imposter".

The soundtrack is amazing, can't wait to get the CD.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hitting the Links

Here are some links:
The Imposter Facebook Group
My Facebook Page
The Imposter Movie website (where you can buy the CD and order the Church version DVD). You can also join the Yahoo Group and get updates.

Please help us spread the word! A couple more churches have ordered the movie recently, it's really getting out there. Thanks for your help.

Love is... defining terms

I had someone talk about the movie "The Imposter" and mention how the character of Tara just "loved too much" her wayward husband Johnny C. You see, Johnny C uses her like a doormat and she just keeps taking it because she "loves him too much."

Well, that's just evil. First, let's define "Love." How about, "seeking the others highest good and purpose?" So if she enables him, how is she loving him? Is it even possible to "love too much?" No. The biggest stink here is trying to cover up this selfishness with a noblility. "Oh, I'm enabling him because it's just too hard to do the right thing, but I'll call it love because it makes me feel better about myself." Yeah, that's refuse.

You can have true love as defined above. And you can have "Chicken Love." That's the kind of love where you get a great piece of chicken in front of you, grilled to perfection and you say "I love chicken." What are you really saying? "I love the way chicken makes me feel."

So the Imposter is Tara in this instance at the beginning of our story. She stays in a dysfunctional relationship because there's a payoff for her. Please don't confuse it with "loving too much." She's selfish and living for her own flesh, her own Ego. Not until she does the hard things to give Johnny C a chance to choose his highest good and purpose, does she finally love him.

You see, can a Narcissist even truly love? No, of course not.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tait replaces Furler?

If that's true, pretty incredible news rocking the Newsboys. Apparently, at a Texas concert last night, something happened. Very interesting since the Newsboys, with Furler's lead vocals, are releasing their first album in several years first week of May. Both Newsboys and dcTalk fans have a lot to discuss now.

Killing My Children

Before you go call 911 or CPS, this is a term used in filmmaking. Most seasoned distribution professionals cringe when they here about a "slash"-- a writer/director/editor/producer. Most of the time, what this means is a movie that needs significant cutting and tightening, but alas, it won't happen because the Slash won't kill any of his children (the cherished little scenes).

For me personally, being a Slash, I guard against this by running edits by a select group of individuals who I know will tell me straight up, the good, the bad and the ugly.

So my team has felt (along with myself) that "The Imposter" is a bit long. But not many had any specific cut suggestions. Some felt I should cut back Popeye-- great character and all, but does it move the story? Others recommended I cut back some of the music... but more said they really like the music scenes. (Pictured are Tim Grace, Russ Pond, Courtney Price. Not pictured are myself and Jeff Rodgers.

Then we started sending it out. Most people like the movie, but the only comment I heard repeated more than once, was that it's a bit long. So since December, I've been thinking about where I can cut and tighten and over the last week, I've trimmed the movie of 10 minutes of poundage. I think it's much more svelte now.

Some have already asked about what they'll be missing, so chances are, I will include either deleted scenes, or even a "director's cut" that will be the original 113 minute version.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Film 102 - The Idea Phase

Okay, so a few days ago I covered a brief overview of the six phases of filmmaking. This little article will go more into depth on phase 1, The Idea.

I do get asked where/how I get my ideas for the movies. Ideas come from a variety of sources and experiences. Usually, I will write the idea down. Then I start chewing on it mentally. Usually for a movie, I'll merge several ideas. I might chew on an idea for years before scripting begins. Usually ideas are generated by the "What if..." question to something I read, or see, or experience.

For example, for my second movie "A Promise Kept," five years before the script, I had a client who's eight year old daughter was abducted from a soccer field and murdered. We did some stranger danger videos back then. But I always asked myself, "what if it happened to me? What would I do?" Also, a few years before, while doing jury duty, I remember taking a lunch and thinking about how they paraded Ted Kaczinski down the steps of their courthouse with a bulletproof vest. I was thinking a head shot and it's over. I combined those two ideas and you'll see them in the movie.

Another example was the first movie "The Keyman." I did something stupid... a mental lapse that ended up being okay. But I asked myself "what if it hadn't turned out okay? What would happen?" That thought process became the script.

A rare, very rare example of a totally different source- one night I had a dream in three acts. I wrote it down. Combined it with another idea I had. Then wrote the script. Right now, that script is being shopped to a studio. You never know.

So now the idea is there, what do I do? When I was first starting to write, I liked the program Dramatica by Screenply Systems. It made me look at structure, plot, character and arcs. Inside and out. Then I like to outline. For me, this step is crucial and I do it on every script. I love Screenplay System's StoryView, but any outline will do-- even Word. In Storyview, I start with roman numerals I, II and III for the Acts. I write a sentence that describes what happens in each act. Then I go to sequences... Here I write out action for what would happen in a sequence or series of scenes. Then I get to scenes inside the sequences. What's great here is that I can use script formatting that will convert over to my scriptwriting software.

When it's all outlined, I export to Movie Magic or Final Draft and begin the actual script. I'm somewhat ADD and need lots of white noise-- so I write best at a restaurant. For a morning writing session, I get there at breakfast and plug in and write until 11 or so. For a afternoon session, I get lunch, plug in and write till four or five. A great day is as many as 20 pages. A normal day might be four or five pages. This is a fast pace-- mainly because it's already been exhaustively outlined. A first draft takes two or three weeks (after a couple weeks of outlining).

But the real writing is in the rewriting. But that ends the Idea phase. Next up is Phase 2: The Development.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


We need your help... and this isn't a telethon. We have several things going on and we could really use all the help we can get. Please support us! Here's what we got:

The Imposter is available for church exhibition at the website. The pricing depends on the size of your church. Some people are buying it and gifting the church. And then we have pastors and associate pastors buying it. Also, some people are making big events. If you need help, let me know. I need to start working with some of the people who have contacted me from UK and Australia as well.

The Keyman is our first movie. It's only $10 at our website ($20 at Amazon). I'm running a special to try and get it out there. The movie stars Adam Baldwin who is in the hit tv series "Chuck" right now and is also the first time the beloved character "Popeye" (played by Tom Wright) makes his appearance. Read the reviews at IMDB, but we've had great response on this film.

In the next few days, we'll have a link for pre-ordering The Imposter soundtrack. There will be a discount for pre-ordering, but I'm expecting to have it in in March.

I appreciate your help!

Believe (is an Act)

Since we hit it hard in "The Imposter", here are some things I've learned about "Believe" from my mentor Dr. Mike Riggins (notes compiled by Kirby):

* If I have to understand something to believe it, I would believe almost nothing. I believe a computer computes. I have no idea of how the ones and zero's make that happen.

* Trust is a major component of Believe. I don't have to understand God to Believe Him.

* When I say "I believe", it means a total commitment of my entire person and to live that which I believe.

* If you say you believe but do not have behavior testifying to that belief, you are a liar.

* If I say "I'd die for that", it isn't such a big sacrifice. Dying for something is easy. Living for it is harder.

Here is the "Believe (is an Act)" music video.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Filmmaker 101

The Six Phases of Filmmaking

1. THE IDEA -- This phase is where the idea is born. The roots of the story start to take hold. Usually the idea holder chews on it like a cow chews on a cud.

2. DEVELOPMENT -- First real hurdle for most filmmakers. And Development is something most just don't know too much about. Sure, the scriptwriting is here and that's covered a million different ways. But the hard part of development? Raising money. I do see more and more seminars on how to raise money for your movie. I've even thought of doing the same. I've got a feeling a lot of the seminars are really more appropo for documentaries-- how to get grants and such. Grants in the feature wordls are extremely rare, unless you have a film that pushes a unique agenda, and pushes it hard. No, at the end of the day, raising money is going to be leg work and phone calls, and putting yourself out there.

3. PRE PRODUCTION -- The movie's quality will be determined here. For low budget, do you get outstanding locations? Do you get talented actors? Do you polish the script to a fine hue? Do you pull together the right team with the right attitude?

4. PRODUCTION -- This is where the indie filmmaker knows a lot. There's tons of books out there. Still doesn't mean anything though. A friend of mine is right now out there working a movie where the director is clueless. But basically, Production phases is where you go out and execute the game plan you devised in Pre-prod. If your game plan wasn't well thought out, your execution will be suspect.

5. POST PRODUCTION -- This is the editing, sound, music and lab portion. At this point, the indie filmmaker is traditionally out of money and begging everyone for time on the FCP or ProTools system. Good coloring makes a huge difference. Great sound design makes a huge difference.

6. DISTRIBUTION -- The other area most filmmakers know nothing about. This is the phase where if you had a name talent in your movie, Sales Agents offer you a teeny bit of money so that they can go get rich off selling your film. If you don't have name talent, this is where you beg, plead and pray for a teeny bit of money so that they can go earn a teeny bit for themselves too.