Sunday, December 27, 2009

On the Set of Imposter

I often get asked when working with famous people "what are they like?" So let me talk about some of the people on the set of "The Imposter," (soon to be released in early 2010).

Kevin Max-- I first met KMax at a hip LA restaurant, where you paid big bucks to have green things mixed into your beef burger. Kevin was interesting to talk to and extremely approachable. Later, when he got to the set, he got hammered with the flu while shooting, so I pretty much tried to leave him alone. Didn't spend much time with Kevin.

Kerry Livgren-- I was so excited about having Kerry agree to do this movie. And it wasn't as hard a task as I thought it might be. We had talked to several other "founding fathers of Christian Rock" but this one I was really excited about. To get in touch with Kerry began with a simple google search for Kerry's manager, which came up with Dutch Dehnert.

I sent off a hasty email of introduction and he responded pretty quick. Though he didn't think Kerry would end up doing it, he was intrigued and passed the project along. Long story short, Kerry liked the script, the message and the role he was to play is not too terribly far from who he is in real life.

I first met Kerry late one night right before we started shooting. He and his wife Vicci drove down from Kansas and got a little turned around in the metroplex. So Jeff Rodgers and I went out and found them, then we had dinner at Fuddruckers talking about all sorts of things. I will always remember this dinner-- a very special night. I asked him about covers of Carry On Wayward Son that he actually liked through the years, and he mentioned, of all tings, the Oakridge Boys. I still haven't heard that one. I need to check it out.

Kerry was a great rpesence ont he set. A quiet gentleman. I recall there were a few times, while shooting at Bethesda Church, the piano would come alive. I peeked inside the sanctuary, and it was Kerry. Very cool.

Then, I remember the first time through shooting his guitar playing for the COWS music video. My then 6 year old daughter, upon completion of take one, said in a loud voice... "Hey, you're pretty good!"

Jeff Deyo was a surprise. I had heard of Sonicflood but didn't know much else before Jeff Rodgers brought him to the table. Jeff turned out to be another great find. He is a man who definitely loves God and it shows. I know in our first face to face on the set, I overloaded on him, about the backstory of his character, the philosophy of the movie and about a billion other things. He must have thought me pretty intense and strange.

I also remember when on the set, I got a phone call that my wife and son had been in a traffic accident (that they were okay but going to the hospital in case), it was Jeff asking if he could pray that really touched me.

Tom Wright, who plays the crazy homeless guy is also great to have around on a set. Tom has been around for and his movie and tv show credit list is extremely long. I hired Tom to act in my first movie and out of my first four movies, he's in four. Tom challenges me to be a better director and I feel like I've improved with each movie. I knew when about to do his scenes, I'd better have done my homework, because Tom was going to ask great and tough questions.

So that's what it's like on the set with some of these people. If you've had some experience with one, tell us about it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Few Writer Pitflalls

There are some pitfalls to avoid when screenwriting. Some are obvious and others maybe not so. Some pitfalls deal with mechanics while others deal with the creative. Here are a couple that stick out to me, because I either commit the atrocities myself or see them often.

I read very few scripts from other people (just don't have the time), but here are some easy to spot amateur mistakes:
* Over 120 pages (some are told this is a good goal-- but really, unless writing "2012" or "Lord of the Rings", 90 is a better target.
* Flipping through the script, there are pages and pages of dialogue and very little action. Hitchcock says to resort to dialogue when all else fails. A script with tons of dialogue therefore would mean a script that has a lot of failure. Sure there are exceptions, but the funny thing is that everyone thinks there is the exception.
* Characters having same voice. A lot of beginner writers tend to write the same person for each character, just with different names, gender, occupations etc.
* Passive tense in the action. This is one of my biggie mistakes. Lots of gerunds and "ing" words. This weakens the script. "Ron is running to the car" is not as strong as "Ron runs to the car."
* Anti Three Act. Many new writers say "I'm against all the structure and bondage the system puts on writers, so I'm not going to put my writing in a box." You know, after you've written and understand structure, then you're qualified to write anti-structure. Picasso painted remarkable realism early before he went modern.

Gotta run for now.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Letter From Kerry Livgren

Thanks Kerry for sharing this. For the rest of us, here's a letter Kerry has sent out to friends, fans and family.

It was a typical Monday morning in late summer. I had started the day with the barn chores and followed by a few hours in the recording studio. The lazy afternoon was so pleasant that I decided to give up the rest of the workday and fly one of my radio-controlled planes in the pasture.

I had enjoyed good health for all of my life, except for an occasional bout with a cold. After reaching 50, I was more vigilant, but never a need to see a doctor. My cholesterol and blood pressure were at modest levels, and I got plenty of exercise here at the farm. I thought I had nothing to worry about, but that was about to change.

I went to bed about ten-thirty, read a little bit and went shortly to sleep. From this point on, I remember little, which must have been God's mercy.

It was about 3:30 in the morning. I rose and headed for the bathroom.
Vicci said she remembered me splashing water on my face, and then dropping to the floor. I didn't know it, but a massive blood clot had just entered my carotid artery, working it's way to my brain. Vicci called 911, thinking perhaps this was a heart attack. I have vague recollections of struggling unsuccessfully to get to my feet – and a strange bewilderment as to why my right side would not function. I lost consciousness. After lying on the floor for a indeterminate amount of time, the paramedics arrived and took me to the hospital.

I was taken to the emergency room, and from there to surgery at seven o'clock. The surgeons strove to keep my arteries open, with some success. Two stents were placed in the blood vessel. Eventually I was to find out that, for a time, my life hung in the balance, but there on the operating table the balance swung in my favor. Despite the successful surgery however, later tests showed that a second blood clot had again blocked the carotid artery. There was not an attempt to remove this one - there was just too much mass of coagulation. It remains blocked. For the next three and a half days, I knew nothing. I was in a black vacuous void, lacking sound, sight and feeling.

I began waking up, as if in a fog. I could see shadowy figures moving.
My right side was dead, and I couldn't speak. There had been dozens of friends and well-wishers in the emergency recovery room, but I hardly remember their presence. Many of my friends were there praying for me, and they had notified many others I'm not acquainted with, who joined them in prayer.

I still didn't know what had happened to me. Unfortunately, in the days to follow, it did begin to dawn on me. My wife had been with me throughout the ordeal, and she began trying to tell me what had happened to me. I had suffered a stoke, and a very serious one.
Initially I couldn't move my arm or hand, but over the next several days I began to show some improvements such as wiggling my fingers and toes. My right leg was recovering more rapidly, and eventually I stood upright.

I don't know what the Doctors expected regarding recuperation, especially with that artery still blocked. I knew little of strokes - just what I had heard from friends and family. I knew they were serious, even life threatening. I suppose, giving the nature of strokes, that anything was possible. Some recovery could take place, or none at all, but that was now in God's hands.

Still, the improvements came. Though it was tremendously frustrating, I began to be able to say a few understandable words, and I could now, with assistance, stand and walk some cautious steps. Therapists were now visiting me regularly and helping with speech and physical therapy. My thought processes and memory were coming back. I remember so desperately wanting to get better, and be able to go home, but that was not yet to be.

After eleven days in the hospital, the decision was made to move me to a Rehab facility. Several different places were discussed, but it was decided that I would be moved to a very highly thought-of clinic in Lincoln, Nebraska. I wanted to stay in Topeka, but I certainly was in no position to protest. Vicci wanted me to have the best care. After one more, and rather lengthy blood test, they loaded me in an ambulance and off I went. The scenery on the way up to Lincoln was very refreshing to me – the first I had seen in a long while.

The clinic was very nice. I arrived late in the afternoon and was checked into a very elegant room, right next to the dining room. At the call to dinner, I got up and walked to the table, though a nurse tried to assist me. The first thing I noticed was that I was the only one walking. The rest of the people were in wheelchairs. Most were considerably older than I, and many were obviously fellow stroke victims. I remember thinking that most of these people were hurting much worse than I. There wasn't much conversation at the table, presumably because of their vocal problems, and mine. The meal was very good, but I noticed, really for the first time, that I had great difficulty holding the fork. (I had previously been fed.)

The therapists began early, with a series of tests. From morning til'
late afternoon, this was to be my schedule for the next three weeks – speech, occupational, and physical therapies. The staff were all very nice. I even began to enjoy the therapy a little, as long as it got my mind off of the real implications of my situation. Everyone said I was making great progress.

After the first week, we drove home for my first brief visit home. My home seemed welcoming, but unfamiliar and strange in the way that places do when you've been gone. Still, I relished the time. When we returned to Nebraska, one of the more bizarre events of my ordeal took place. Since I was now on out-patient status, we were staying in a local hotel. I was about to go to sleep when suddenly I thought of the Bible. I realized that I could not think of a single verse. I could think of none of the names of the books, no names of Bible characters, none of the stories, nothing! I was slowly panicking when I asked Vicci to grab the Gideon Bible and read me something – anything. With a puzzled look, she opened the Bible and began to read from John Chapter 6, the story of Jesus feeding the 5000. After thirty years of personal Bible study, I was hearing it for the first time! I was such a strange sensation. There was a faint air of familiarity about it, and yet it was all new. What a peculiar thing, that a stroke can destroy a portion of the brain, and be that selective. Though I had panicked, because I instinctively knew how important it was, this Jesus I was hearing about was soothing, and I was able to go to sleep.
(fortunately as of this writing, my Bible knowledge has returned).

I returned to the clinic for two more weeks, and continued to improve and grow stronger. One day I discovered that there was a piano in an open room on the second floor. I had not been thinking much about one of my greatest fears – not being able to make music. I sat down at the piano, my right arm in my lap, and played a few figures with my left hand. Then came the great test. I lifted my right arm and played a simple scale, although somewhat haltingly. I was surprised that I was even able to press the keys. However the real surprise happened when I tried to play with both hands. I found that I could play with right or left hand independently, but not with both hands. I just could not do it. It was actually quite a peculiar sensation. Initially I felt tremendously frustrated, and then panic, but the Lord gave me a peace about it.. I decided it would do no good to worry about it, and it would be best to leave my future in His hands. I did not visit that piano again.

After three weeks it was time to come home, and transfer to another Re-Hab Hospital in Topeka. I left Nebraska on a Friday, and was to enroll in the outpatient clinic in Topeka on the following Monday. I would be staying at home! The first night at home, I was awakened by a loud crashing, followed shortly by someone moaning. Startled awake, I lay there thinking I was dreaming. I got up and went to the bathroom, the same one in which I had the stroke, and I found Vicci lying in our sunken bathtub. I stared at her for a moment thinking “what are you doing?” before I managed, with some difficulty, to get her back to bed. I knew she was hurt, but I thought it was just bruises.

The morning told a different story. Vicci was completely unable to move, and in great pain. My daughter Kate, who was staying with us, called 911. Here was I, partially disabled and unable to drive, and now my wife was facing a trial. I began to feel a bit like Job. The ambulance took her to the same hospital that I had been taken to, where we found out it was not bruises, but a fractured spine. After a painful night, she was scheduled for surgery the next day – with the same doctor who had operated on me. Everyone was stunned that we were back in the hospital again, and this time with my wife. We sent out prayer requests – this time for Vicci.

They performed the surgery, a relatively new procedure using a balloon and a type of cement, to rebuild her vertebrae. There was no incision.
After one more night, she was already home, and feeling nearly normal.
I couldn't believe she was back home after breaking her back. The doctor said that were it not for this type of surgery, she would have been months recovering. I thanked him work his work on her, and myself. I felt that we had narrowly escaped a calamity.

Vicci's incident had fallen right on the day that I had an appointment to enroll in the Re-Hab program, so it was delayed, but I started it the following week. The clinic was similar to the one in Nebraska.
They tested my hand for numbness, as well as a full battery of other tests.

The various therapies continued – as did the improvements. I was basically aware that I was slowly getting better, but I really didn't grasp how much I was improving. People that I spoke to on an occasional basis always remarked about how much better I was speaking.
The change was so gradual, that I could scarcely notice it. Over time, the feeling was coming back to my hand. I finally sat down at my piano, and suddenly I could play with both hands. It was nowhere near my former ability, but now I had hope. As the days have passed, my playing improves slowly – I can even pick a few notes on the guitar.

I am now, as of this writing, four months from the date of my stroke.
I still have some speech problems, and some trouble with my right arm.
It has been a long and hard struggle, and there is still a ways to go.
I did not know it at first, but this stroke was serious. I just now am finding out how serious. My Doctor, after conferring with several other physicians including a hematologist, told me that what had caused the stroke was a blood disorder called “antiphospholipid syndrome.” He said that it was unlikely that a physical exam would have revealed it. It is a type of auto-immune disorder, and he informed me that I must be on blood-thinner drugs, presumably for the rest of my life. I was not pleased about having to take Coumadin, but I left his office resolved.

More significant is what one of my other doctors told me. (a
Neurologist) I went to see him just a few days ago. He had not see me in many weeks, in fact since the days in the emergency room in the Hospital. When he walked into the room, I jumped to my feet, held out my hand, and said “Hi, Doc!”. It would be hard to miss the look of astonishment on his face. He was clearly pleased with my progress, but then he told me “Mr. Livgren, you had as bad a stroke as a man can have.” He said “Once in a while, a Doctor gets to see someone like you.”

I had been getting comments like this all along, but I was just now starting to get it. Clearly, something was going on. I should, by all rights, be either deceased, or one of the people in a wheelchair, yet I am not disabled. The comment was made that I was “like Job”, yet Job received back all that he lost and more besides. I have come to believe that my Father in Heaven has once again shown us His kind mercies. I have may times been the recipient of His mercies before, ( He saved Vicci from her head injury in 1998). Now, He has saved me. He exists, and he hears the prayers of His people. I know I am nothing special. I know that sometimes there are good, prayerful people whose prayers are not answered, and I have no explanation. He is the Lord God and mercy is His to give, and He gave it.

Throughout this whole ordeal, I somehow knew that it was going to be alright. I felt a kind of calming presence, the presence of Christ, telling me that I need not fear. I pray that I be fully recovered but if not, then whatever the Lord gives me is enough.

Kerry Livgren
Christmas Eve, 2009

The Apocalypse (or "go get your own oil")

So tonight, being Christmas Eve, my twelve year old and I naturally saw "2010." A very special holiday movie. Not quite the classic of "A Christmas Story" but it was great. The wife and daughter went to "Princess and the Frog." I think they didn't make it through much before hopping over to Alvin's Squeekuel (is that how you spell it?)

But back to "2012." I thought it interesting that the good guys, when discovering the world was ending, prepared for the impending doom by building, what is essentially, the big lifeboat. So who to include? Oh here goes the controversy. But actually, let's sidestep that one and go to a bigger controversy in scripture.

The "Christian" thing to do is to be inclusive. Our hero scientist in 2012 wanted to open the gate and let everyone on board even though they only provided for a set number. Wasn't that nice? Surely, if we prepared for the upcoming end-of-the-world, God would want us to share with everyone. Why, He'd probably even drop bread from heaven.

Then let me ask, O Biblical scholars, after the heavy-dutiness of Jesus's prediction of the end of the world in Matthew 24, he goes right into the parable of the Five Wise and Five Foolish virgins at the top of chapter 25. And here's the very "un-Christian" thing Jesus says-- when the five foolish came up to the five wise begging for oil because they were running out, the five wise ones said "no way, we won't have enough for all of us." Very "un-Christian." Where's the sharing? The self sacrifice? The love?

What's up with that?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why Stories?

Why did Jesus use a bunch of stories to get his points across? Wouldn't pulpit lectures be more effective? Besides, stories leave a lot to interpretation. What if the listener interprets it wrong?

I believe stories are more powerful than simply espousing rules and laws. You can establish a rule or directive that says "God wants you." But to hear the story of the Prodigal Son gives so much more than the text. There's all the sub text. It's rich in all the meaning that you can apply.

I think this is why the constitution is a vague or general document. So that the spirit can be used to interpret law. I know my sinful nature is to put on lawyer clothes and obviate the rules to gain my own personal advantage. Scripture is no different.

So that's why stories. It gets to the motives, the intent. Not just the letter. The sub text, not just the text.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Culture War

Here are the attacks, obstacles and hindrances that this American (and Church) culture throws at someone wishing to be a Disciple of Jesus:

* The goal is to be lazy- -work hard so that you can goof off.
* It's cute for men to be child-like. Go ahead-- be your wife's oldest child.
* It's all about sex.
* It's all about numbers.
* It's all about number one-- me. In church, He did it all for me (the Narcissists Gospel).
* Go ahead, compare yourself to other "christians" around you. All you have to do is be better than most of them (and that won't be hard).
* Actually, competing and comparing will lead to you winning the rat race and become Number One (when you win the rat race, you become number one rat).
* Come as you are and stay as you are. So what if you've got a favorite sin, c'mon in. We're inclusive (i.e. we need the numbers/want the money). Maybe you'll deal with your fav sin down the road, maybe not. (If this is true, reconcile this with Jesus asking for the one thing the rich young ruler lacked).
* Success is defined by numbers (what about faithfulness?).

The Finish Line

In making a movie, there are several faux finish lines-- the wrap at the end of shooting, the locking of the edit, and event he one we're approaching now, the final picture.

We are busy recording ADR of the actors, working on the opening titles and the few CGI shots, the coloring of the picture, the music and so forth. In a few weeks, this will be completed and it brought back together in one form to be "the movie."

But that still isn't the end. It may feel like it. In fact, all these "finish lines" feel like the real thing which is why filmmakers, especially first timers, lose heart and steam as they progress through these false finish lines. C'mon already, it's done with. Only to find, there's more mountain to climb (sorry, mixing metaphors again).

When the picture is ready, screeners will be made for potential distributors. We might even do private screenings for distributors. Anyway, when a distributor has been decided on, then the final finish line stretch begins. It's called "deliverables" and I'll maybe write about that in the near future. But the short of it is the paper and elements delivery of the movie to the distributor. It's a tough grueling stretch that many filmmakers stumble on.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Letter

I've been traveling a lot lately, so it hasn't been easy to blog. If I were to do a Christmas Letter for my friends, this is what it might look like. A big difference is it's seemingly all about me (especially on a "Kill the Narcisist that's me blog"). The reason is very simple and also applies to Facebook info and pictures as well. As far as my family, my children, I don't publish publicly anything about them. I avoid photos (except the family card here) of them. I don't mention their names. I don't talk about my son's soccer team or my daughters activities. So that doesn't leave much as far as family stories or info to share.

2009 has been a roller coaster year. I started the year with this blog and surprisingly have stayed fairly faithful in posting, averaging more than one every two days. I was in a desert at the beginning of the year, but doesn't seem so hot, dry and dusty now. But I want to remember the desert. It serves as a reminder to not make some destructive choices I seem to make on a daily basis.

In 2009, I shot another movie. It's my fifth and came about fairly quickly. We got the greenlight in May and shot in August. And it's almost done here in December. In movie time, that's lightning quick.

So half of 2009 was devoted to "Rising Stars." When writing/directing.editing a feature, little else is done.

My children are growing up. As I fellowship with other friends and family that have small children, I thought I might wax nostalgic-- but so far, I haven't. I enjoy my family and would now rather be with them than do any business travel alone. When I do travel, instead of spreading a two day trip into three or four, I now work to make it one. Because I want to. Used to not be that way.

So 2010? I hope the sixth movie is shot in 2010. I'm working on a script (titled "72") that would be a strong story and easy to produce for the faith-based market. With Imposter coming out in late February, maybe I can get some traction and quickly raise the money to do this one.

And it will be interesting to see what happens with "Rising Stars." We'll be showing it to distribs in early February. This one has a big chance and I'm very excited about it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Feeling Loopy

We are in the Post Phase of filmmaking on Rising Stars. Omar, our colorist is doing a fantastic job with the footage making it come alive with excellent production value. Music has been cooking. I love some of our new cues (which include remixes of a couple of the performance songs).

One thing that happens at this time is "ADR" or additional dialogue recording, also known as "looping." Practically every movie has looping-- this is where the actor comes into the sound studio and re-records their voice while watching their picture. In ye olden days, they'd take the film, make a print that would loop in the projector and the actor would watch and do it over and over again.

Today, everything's digitized. Pro Tools will display the Quicktime and they even have some programs that will have a "follow the bouncing ball" trick so that the actor can stay on cue. We usually do one sentence at a time or even part of the sentence, get it a few times then move on.

It takes a lot of skill to be able to loop. And a lot of actors, understandably so, hate looping. You've got some heavy dramatic scene, and now you have to match the magic of the moment and recreate it in this sterile, artificial environment of the sound studio? Tough stuff.

I did shoot some scenes around and in some pretty noisy environments, so we knew that we'd be looping some. Regardless, it will be good to see all the actors again.

Proper Follow Through

In golf (once upon a time, I used to play... a lot...), a proper follow through is critical to hitting the ball correctly to maximize the clubhead speed, thus the distance. Also, correct follow through will give you the right clubhead path, enabling spin, thus you can "draw" the ball (where it starts to go slightly left for the right hand player). Drawing is top spin which gives you more distance than the fade.

Anyway, this post is not about golf. It's about the word "disciple." I've written about the word before. It's the most common word to describe followers of Jesus in the New Testament (as opposed to "Christian" which is only used 3 times).

So how do I define "disciple?" Well, obviously the word comes from the root "discipline." But I want to make it even simpler. Let's define the word "disciple" by saying "follow through." A Disciple is someone who follows through.

A Disciple reads the scripture, then follows through. A Disciple reads about loving his wife, and he follows through. A Disciple sees that character gain will be painful and difficult, but he takes one step at a time and follows through. His child needs a firm hand? He follows through. He needs to walk in integrity on the job? He follows through.

If all the people who called themselves "Christians" actually followed through what the scriptures say, this world would be a totally different place. No doubt.

Friday, December 4, 2009

How I Got Started

I'm spending today preparing for the "Greenlight Yourself" filmmaking seminar tomorrow. Combing through all sorts of old business plans, stripboards, budgets and so forth. I'm going to create a workbook which I hope will help the attendees.

This is how I got started. I attended film festivals back when I was working for a corporate video company. I remember learning a ton at my first SXSW fest. I sat in on ever panel and workshop I could. I found out what a Producer's Rep was, what the term "P&A" meant, listened to distributors from New Line and Miramax.

Then, I attended a film workshop taught by Micahel Weise. This was huge for me and extremely practical. I learned how to make a decent Business Plan (the central tool in fundraising) and how to pitch and present.

So I'm tailoring this seminar to give filmmakers a chance at getting their dream made and up on the screen. If you'd like to come, there's still room, but you would need to register today. Go to .

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christian -- Another Derogatory Term

I wrote this almost a year ago, and the issue came up today. Thought I'd re-post.

There are only three places in the Bible where the word "Christian" (Gr. Christos) is used. It means "little christs" and was a derogatory term.

However the word "disciple" has over 250 mentions in the Bible. But that word has a root that sounds like "discipline." Who wants that? Easier to just say Christian. Besides, it's a lot more comfortable to say "I'm a Christian" than to say "I'm a disciple of Jesus." (And a lot more comfortable to say "Christ" than to say "Jesus.")

And in today's semantics, what has the definition of "Christian" come to? Just my personal opinion here, but I wonder if all Christians will make it through the bema seat. I bet a greater number of disciples of Jesus will.

We touch on this in the movie "The Imposter." Our wise sage archtype "Proff" played by Kerry Livgren, doesn't use the word Christian. He uses the word disciple of Jesus, or Believer. We use Believer a lot because of theme "Believe is an Act."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Planning the Business

Last week, I covered briefly the second hardest part of filmmaking-- fundraising. Want to know the most important tool in this endeavor?

The Business Plan.

At the seminar on Saturday, we are going to go through this very important document, step by step. At the time I raised money for my first movie, I got my hands on a couple of different film business plans, and they were courier, one paragraph filling a page-- very difficult to read.

I went to a seminar that said it needs to be colorful and easier to read. I went this route. We work in a visual field, we can make visually stunning tools.

If you'd like to know more about the movie Business Plan, there's still time to register for the seminar at (or click here). I'm going to give you detailed, hands-on information.

Government Motors

Maybe I'm misreading the whole thing, but I just don't think I can buy GM. I heard an ad on the radio driving in this morning for new GM cars. Yes, the CEO of GM was probably corrupt, but does the president have the right to fire him?

Yes he does in a socialistic state. And I know that's a hot topic right now. Personally, I don't want to live in a socialist state. I prefer a sparse government. Socialism nurtures and grows "entitlement" which we discussed in an earlier blog.

And as I look around me, I see lots of my fellow church people getting up in arms politically and going Hannady on someone's posterior. Here's the twist in today's blog-- though I personally prefer a democratic government, God's not a democratic God. I think if you look at what he set up in the Old Testament, he's definitely a dictator (though a benevolent one). You might even call it a monarchy, but decidedly not democratic.

A little controversial this morning, but it's cold and rainy. Seems fitting to stir the air up a bit. And buy Ford.