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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

FAQ's about "The Imposter"

Here are some of the most common questions I get asked:

* I want to buy the movie for home DVD, can I do that?

ANSWER: Right now, we are in the period known in the biz, as our "theatrical" window. In other words, churches are or theater. We are planning late 2009 to release the home DVD. What some people are doing, and I encourage this, is to contact your pastor and tell him about the movie and see if he'll bring it to the church.

* I'm not the pastor, how can I get the movie to my church?
ANSWER: There are several things you can do. First, email you pastors and tell them about the movie and forward them the link. (Thank you for several who have recently done this). Secondly, some people have purchased the license for their church and gifted it.

* Can we sell tickets or are we not allowed to charge?
ANSWER: You can definitely sell tickets. Or take up a Love Offering. Or show it for free. Several churches recently have used it for fundraising. One church in Tennessee a couple of weeks ago raised $2300 for their youth department's summer missions trip with just one screening. My church raised $2200 at one screening for Teen Challenge.

* How does the "size of the church" work and why do you license the movie that way?
ANSWER: We feel that it's not right for a small church of 100 people have to pay huge exhibition cost to license the movie. So we decided to break the license fee down by size. So how do we determine size? In our license, size is the average attendance of your congregation on a Sunday morning.

* Our church has a CVLI license, so we don't have to pay for a license for "The Imposter", do we?
ANSWER: The CVLI only covers certain films, and "The Imposter" (along with Facing the GIants, Fireproof and many others) is not covered by the CVLI.

* I'm a pastor, and I want to see the movie before I order it. Is that possible?

ANSWER: There are churches all over the country who have now gotten the movie and are showing it, so there are chances one might be showing nearby. However, if that's not available, we offer a complete money-back guarantee-- if you order the movie and watch it and decide it's not appropriate for your congregation, send it back and we'll give a complete refund.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

CD Soundtrack Update


Well, we are getting very close. The tracks have all been sent to the mastering company. Then we'll go to the duplicator who has all the art and is ready to go.

Maybe we can have them in hand within a couple of weeks. These will be the extended version, with just about every song represented in the movie, along with the best of Josh's music cues from the score. Kerry Livgren remixed "Carry On Wayward Son" last week, so that will be a new version for everyone as well. I think he's like me-- as long as I can keep editing, I'll keep editing. They say a director never finishes a movie-- he just stops working on it. I'm sure Kerry is that way with his music.

We've got the new Jeff Deyo song "Chance to Choose" as well as Kevin Max singing "Believe (is an Act)" for our movie band Grand_design. And a bunch of other really good songs.

We will keep the $5 pre-order discount active until we have them in hand next week, so if you've been putting it off, now's the time to order at the website. All the pre-orders will go out first.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Identity Theft

A common question I'm asked when doing interviews about the movie "The Imposter" is what is the message in a sentence? Well, here it is:

As I move closer to Jesus in my walk with Him, the closer I move to discovering my true identity (PS 139) and remove the masks and masquerades that my Flesh wears to cover my own insecurities and feelings of inferiority.

That's a bit deep for a Monday morning. Psalms 139 is one of the best chapters in the Bible for understanding who I really am, who God created me to be. I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My Ego wants to say "Wait a minute, I'm not that wonderfully made. I'm inferior. I'm messed up." And in light of that verse and that chapter, isn't that response a pretty arrogant one to God?

My mentor, a pyschologist/pastor, says that when you peel the layers of the onion back on most of the dysfunction in people, you get to the root: Insecurity and feelings of inferiority. And God is not the author of that.

If you've had your true identity stolen by the prince of lies, I encourage you to seek the truth and read Psalms 139. And remember, humility is confidence, and confidence is understanding who you really are.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Getting Ready

Today has been all about getting ready for Friday night's show. What goes on behind the scenes to show the movie at a church? Especially as a fundraiser? Well I know Cornerstone Church in Nashville just had a very successful screening for their youth missions with over 550 tickets sold.

Here's what's going in to the Teen Challenge screening here in Fort Worth at Bethesda Community church. First, we've been plugging the movie in the bulletins, during announcements (twice showed the trailer) and the Teen Challenge ladies have been manning the booths to sell the tickets.

We've worked on contacting all the churches in the area that support Teen Challenge. We've been giving away tickets on PowerFM 89.7 (thanks Dawn!). We sent out press releases to the newspapers and Christian radio stations.

So we've got a good foundation for attendance in pre-sold tickets and have raised some extra money for Teen Challenge that will come in very handy. Now we'll find out how much more the night of-- all the people who have decided to buy tickets at the door.

Today I typed up an agenda of the night's activities. I printed a flyer for the Royal Rangers, to get volunteers to help usher. I checked the actual movie DVD and ran the entire thing in the DVD player while I worked... so I know the disc is good to go.

Now, it's just about show time. We'll send a few more emails out and reminders to the Imposter groups. But we're looking forward to it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

PSA


I had the fortune to shoot a national commercial, really a PSA (Public Service Announcement) for KidsAndCars.org. They are an organization dedicated to educating the public on the dangers of leaving children in and around cars unattended. I first met up with them back when I made my first feature film "The Keyman." (For those who saw it, you know why).

So this new spot is about the dangers of power windows. Through the years, power windows have led to many children's deaths and even now, with some safety features in place, still results in over two thousand emergency room visits every year.
The big push is to have automatic reverse windows like garage doors and elevator doors. A few automobiles have this feature. While shooting, Kevin Deen, the general manager of North Hills Lincoln-Mercury was kind enough to provide us with a car that has this important safety feature.

Here is the 30 second version. Travis Petty DP, camera is the Red, provided by 12Forward in Dallas. Grip and Lighting by MPS Studios. video

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter

Yeah I know I'm a few days late, but I heard an interesting Easter sermon and I wanted to mention the topic here. The preacher said that in our "me centered" Gospel, Easter Sunday is a celebration of Jesus celebrating me.

Hmmm. I have to think about that and let it set in. Do I come to celebrate Jesus, or is it all about me? "He did it all for me." Look at my cool new Easter outfit. Aren't my children adorable? Don't they make me look like great parents? See, mine didn't just push that other urchin reaching for the big fat candy-filled Easter egg.

Yes, that is the Gospel of the Narcissist. Narcissist has other names. Ego. Flesh. It's that thing Paul talks about having to kill in Romans.

Monday, April 13, 2009

CVLI

Here's another common question asked-- if my church is licensed with CVLI, why would I need to buy a license to show "The Imposter?"

First, let's look at some history. In the mid-80's, contemporary worship music began to take off. Hosanna Integrity's cassette of the month was hot. Churches starving for contemporary worship were finally finding great music and songs to satiate their worship services. Well, we could argue the issue of using Twila's latest in your church service without sending her any money... but in the US, this violated copyright law. And sure enough, some artists (not Twila) did in fact sue some churches. Besides, as ChristianCinema.com puts it: "The Gospel is free, but delivering it often requires finances."

What happened was the creation of the CCLI... a group that churches can pay money to and then they can distribute that money to the artists who's songs are being used by those churches. With music, it's fairly cut and dry. Most songs are roughly the same length.

Then recently, video started happening. Short videos to spice up a sermon. Voila, same problem. So CCLI created it's sister, CVLI. Now, churches can send money to CVLI and be protected by copyright to exhibit all sorts of videos and movies.

But that's kind of misleading. Both on music and video. A license with CCLI or CVLI covers usage of music and videos of artists that are signed up with them on the other side. If the guys at Sherwood Baptist with Facing The Giants aren't going through CVLI, then a church with a CVLI license only cannot legally exhibit their movie. Now the church can sit back and say "we pay, so we get to play." But zero, nada, nothing is paid to FTG from CVLI.

Then you might wonder, well why don't all these video and movie guys just sign up with CVLI? Here's where the difference with CCLI is-- whereas a song is 3.5 minutes, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, chorus, bridge, chorus. A video is as long as a piece of string. One minute. One hundred minutes. Licensing becomes a redtape nightmare. How much does CVLI diesignate in royalties to somebody's one minute video compared to someone 100 minute video? What if you only played one minute of a 100 minute video? It's messy.

So what about "The Imposter?" Well, for one thing, the whole CVLI discussion is moot. You see, CVLI licensing covers the use of a HOME DVD for a public exhibition. "The Imposter" does not have a HOME DVD out yet. So regardless, "The Imposter" is not covered under a CVLI license. The only way is to get a license at www.theimpostermovie.com . And when you do, you're supporting Christian filmmakers.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What to do when I'm Johnny C

Even as I wrote the movie "The IMposter", Johnny C was this other guy. He was a guy I heard of in the nineties. He was a guy who I read about a couple years ago. He was Mark Wahlberg's character in Rock Star... and of course I would admit, parts of me. Very small.

But what happens when I'm confronted with some very harsh truth-- that I am flat out Johnny C. I wake up and slapped with the realization that my ego, which I thought I had in control, has actually been raging out of control for years and years. And that the ego's best con job was the one it did on me. Told me I was the smartedt. Told me that where bad role models had failed, I could exceed because they didn't do their badness good enough. They got caught. I could be a better con than that.

So one fruit of this movie is to realize I have had a deep rooted mask hiding a rotting Imposter. What do I do Doc?

First realize that this is going to hurt. There's a deep cancer here that is going to take time. I have to commit to God that no matter how hard it gets, I'm going to follow through. I confess this evil... by confession I can start to free. However, just like Johnny C there are consequences.

For a time, as the failures of my ego, which cannot be easily fixed, and will be hanging around for awhile, are thrown back at me and all I can do is raise my arms as the baseball hits my gut time and time again. I don't sleep. Food is unappealing. I lose weight. I cry out to God. And cry out. I read His word. Especially Romans. And though trust is destroyed with my moved ones, I begin to take every little step down that road.

When I defend, it is the ego (flesh) inside me defending. There is nothing to defend. Evil is evil. What, is it important that the evil you're accusing me of isn't that bad? Of that hey, I've gotten so better! What, instead of killing ten people like I used to, now only five? Is that better? None of this is worth defending.

The opposite of defense, contrary to popular competitive sports, is not a good offense. The opposite of defend is to surrender. A lof time on my knees is spent surrendering.

And I change my expectations. Why should they respect me or trust me? How long have I been conning them? In the movie, Tara tells Johnny C to his question of what he has to do, she says "a long track record of keeping your word."

Always off to the side is a wide road that I can take at any moment that this gets too hard. But I won't take it. I won't. Whatever it takes, however painful I will walk where God has me to walk. I now know I cannot fix anything. He will be the fixer. I will be the obedient slave.

This is what to do if you find yourself a Johnny C. And you'll have another mask pulled down and a step closer to understanding your true identity (TRUTH).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Seder dinner


There are some very, very cool traditions concerning Passover that we in the Christian Church have largely forgotten. Communion, the Lords Supper, whatever you call it, was actually done that night before the arrest as Seder, during the Pesah or Passover. Jesus and his disciples would have gone through some pretty cool things that I didn't know about until recently, after a life lived inside the church.

Here are some cool things:
* All leaven and leavened bread must be out of the house. (Jesus refers to leaven as sin).
* A special plate has a lamb's bone, bitter herbs (usually horseradish) is tasted as a reminder of the bitter life of slavery.
* A bowl of salt water, representing the tears of slavery, into which the herbs are dipped and eaten.
* There's a breaking of the matzo into three pieces, the middle one set aside (actually hidden) for later. The children are given a moment after dinner to find the matzo and are rewarded with coins (say 30?).
* 4 Cups of Wine are drank ceremoniously throughout the dinner. The first at the beginning, the second when the Four Questions are asked and the recounting of the Exodus. The third cup is after the meal. The fourth and last cup is special (Hallel). As I mentally walk through this reading the Gospels, what a thought to see Jesus lift that fourth cup... This is my blood.
* Of course, the middle matzos, that was hidden and now found, is the bread that He broke, saying "This is my body..."

The imagery and symbolism of Jesus and the Seder is incredible.

What's in a name?

I had written the first draft of the script long before meeting with Kevin Max. I wrote the character of Johnny C as a conglomeration of several people, real and imagined. But I knew the lead character's name was Johnny C and the leader of the band was James. James and JOhnny C. James and John. Sons of Thunder. Since we were dealing with just one of them "Son of Thunder." Yeah I know, everybody from producer Jeff Rodgers on down made fun of that one.

So I worked on coming up with something different. The theme of the movie is "Believe." As in what does "Believe look like". So then for a short period of time, the movie title was "Believe." But that sounded like a perfume product.

I sat down with Kevin to talk about the project and as it looked like he was coming aboard, I asked him about using "The Imposter" and was cool to that.

Much better title.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Identity Crises


My mentor, who is a psychologist (and pastor) and has been counseling for well over twenty years, has stated that everyone's problems boil down to two core issues, once you peel away the onion.

Feelings of Inferiority
Insecurity

These speak to the issue of Identity. After wearing masks so long, the layers of being an Imposter run deep. Some of the masks are easy to let go. Others, as I found this past fall, are deep rooted and painful in pulling off. But the fruit...

So who am I? Psalms 139 is a great place to start if you're asking yourself that question. Read it through. Often. Over and over. I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... God has made you. God doesn't make mistakes. In the hard place I am at, He has a plan and a purpose-- He knows who I am. It is not by accident I've been placed here. God is a God of Order, not Chaos.

Here's a great definition of Humility-- Confidence in understanding who I really am.

Anyway, hope this helps.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Movie Night-- pass the popcorn


With the success of Fireproof exhibiting in the local churches, more are looking for movies to show. It's going to be interesting to see how this goes. I was driving in my hometown of Bedford and saw another church marquee announcing a Fireproof series. This is great.

I think churches are looking for followups. Movies can serve several different purposes in the church. Play it on a Friday or Saturday and then preach on the subject Sunday. Do it for free as an outreach to the surrounding community. Use it as the new bake sale and take up an offering or charge for tickets.

I know for The Imposter, one church is going to use it for the youth and young adults. Another church is making a big event of it. And another is showing it on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

I think this is going to increase. As the Box Office continues to break records in a downturned economy, it's obvious people are looking for an escape. The church can be a refuge, offering stories that offer hope and Truth.

Here at SFilms, we're putting together as much information as we can to help churches put on their movie night with The Imposter. From creating tickets, issuing press releases, playing trailers in your powerpoint, there's a lot that can be done to assist the church. So if your church is going to have a movie night, let me know if I can help. And pass the popcorn.