Sunday, July 31, 2011
Hollywood insider Karen Covell discusses the difference between secular and sacred from Media Missionary School on Vimeo.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Cheryl is well positioned to be a host and producer of this new, exciting and innovative video podcast. She is an award-winning producer and media personality. She recently produced the feature film, Flag of My Father, starring William Devane. Cheryl tells me Christian Movie Connect will feature interviews with filmmakers, actors, screenwriters and other newsmakers in the Christian film industry both nationally and internationally.
christianmovieconnect.com and will be posted weekly on Wednesdays. Cheryl has quite a lineup of film and media personalities in future episodes. It’s quite a who’s who list in Christian entertainment, including Bobby Downs (Like Dandelion Dust), Ken Wales (Amazing Grace), Dave Christiano (The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry), Jerry Jameson (Murder She Wrote), Michael Flaherty from Waldon Media, Simon Swart from 20th Century Fox, and Jenn Gotzen (Nixon) just to name a few.
She wants to support and encourage Christian filmmakers by using Christian Movie Connect to get the word out. We are all looking for an audience, and I’m convinced Cheryl is on to something. This is a worthy effort that has a tremendous, positive upside. Cheryl also has assembled a highly-skilled, professional team of editors, videographers, and technicians, who will bring the type of production values to Christian Movie Connect that are essential in today’s media world.
Visit christianmovieconnect.com for more information about CNC (Christian Movie Connect). For more about the work of Cheryl Wicker( host/producer), visit cherylwicker.com.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Now comes along a new one from the world of marketing and media. The new buzzword that is sweeping Hollywood and the entertainment industry is transmedia. Just like all other buzz words, sometimes its meaning gets lost in the translation. Some people within the entertainment industry, especially at the studio level, are calling transmedia the last great idea. It would seem that the industry is betting the future on this new and emerging concept.
Transmedia storytelling is about creating multiple platforms and formats. The goal is to use mass media to develop a media franchise. It’s more than just merchandise. That’s been around since the days of Star Wars. The goal is to create an open source where the fans actually take ownership and help create content. You become the artist, and you add content to the original story. Or you enhance the original story.
Transmedia storytelling involves the concept of creating multiple platforms such as video games, books, websites, and spinoffs. But it goes beyond that to include social apps, messaging, phone apps, media plug-ins, and social networks which help create a sense of community. These days, the average Hollywood film costs about $103 million to produce and market. For that kind of money, the industry expects big returns. Although there is a danger in promoting an open source concept, such as transmedia, Hollywood believes it’s a necessity in our current business environment. They are convinced they can create an overreaching narrative structure by implementing the principles of multimedia storytelling.
For better or for worse, transmedia storytelling is not only today’s reality but the future. The days of stand-alone movies without the prospects of a sequel or franchise may very well be a fading memory or a distant view in our rear view mirror.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
The 2011 Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival, set for August 6th – 11th at LifeWay Conference Center in Ridgecrest, NC, once again will give Christian media professionals an opportunity to learn and share talents, knowledge and expertise with each other. Whether new or well established in the area of Christian media, Gideon is for anyone interested in honing their skills in entertainment, whether it be film, television, music, theater, radio, or writing.
Several movies are scheduled to show at Gideon’s Film Festival, including the acclaimed film “The Grace Card” starring Michael Joiner. A Q&A with Joiner follows the August 9 film showing. “Pitching Hope” director Tony Mendoza is the sponsor of Gideon’s opening night. Other films screening are “Cutback,” “Courage New Hampshire,” “Jamaa,” “Decision,” “The Lamp,” “The Shunning,” “Beware of Christians,” “All For Liberty,” “Pendulum Swings,” and “My Finish Line.”
This year’s conference will also feature a short film contest. Prizes are awarded for categories such as best short film, best actor/actress, best cinematography, and best sound.
Continue reading on Examiner.com Christian media professionals gather for the 2011 Gideon Media Arts Conference - National Christian Movies
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
By SARAH PULLIAM BAILEY
After praising the "Harry Potter" books in 2001, author Connie Neal said that she opened her inbox to see death threats scattered among the reactions from fellow Christians. The one time the California-based writer found her book, "What's a Christian Got to Do with Harry Potter?," at a Christian bookstore, it was on the occult/New Age shelf.
In its early years, "Harry Potter" was a litmus test of orthodoxy for some conservative Christians, who expressed concern over its portrayal of witchcraft. A Christian lawyer sued a public library for encouraging young readers to check out the series. Texas Pastor John Hagee called the books a "precursor to witchcraft." In 2005 a Canadian website published a letter opposing the books written by Pope Benedict XVI when he was Cardinal Ratzinger. (In 2009, the Vatican's newspaper L'Osservatore Romano published a favorable review, seeming to reverse course on the series.)
Christians today are certainly not universally enchanted by the series. Over time, however, more readers have begun to express praise for its honest depiction of fear, loneliness and sacrifice as Harry faces the evil wizard Lord Voldemort. Many Christians have cheered the portrayals of loyalty, courage and love, as the main character repeatedly risks his life.
"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, a member of the Church of Scotland that has Presbyterian roots, initially avoided talking explicitly about her faith. "To me, the religious parallels have always been obvious," Ms. Rowling said in 2007. "But I never wanted to talk too openly about it, because I thought it might show people who just wanted the story where we were going."
Ms. Rowling is hardly the first author to face misunderstanding from a religious audience. Before C.S. Lewis became well known as a Christian, he noted that most British reviewers missed the underlying theology in his science fiction "Space" trilogy. Christian writer Madeleine L'Engle was criticized by some for the magic elements in "A Wrinkle in Time." On the other hand, J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" appeared to escape similar scrutiny despite his characters' use of magic.
The author put a little damper on some enthusiasm when she said that she always thought of one of her main characters, Albus Dumbledore, as gay (after which Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network called for a ban on the books.) And she did distance herself somewhat from C.S. Lewis when she told Time magazine in 2007 that "I did not set out to convert anyone to Christianity."
Many cite biblical passages, such as Deuteronomy 18:10-11, that warn against witchcraft and sorcery. "But the literary witchcraft of the Harry Potter series has almost no resemblance to the I-am-God mumbo jumbo of Wiccan circles," Christianity Today said in a 2000 editorial.
Mr. Waliszewski suggests that Christian families whose children express interest in the books use them as a teachable moment. "When you see self-sacrifice, heroism, the strong power of friendship, applaud it," he said. "I am more concerned about non-Christians reading the books because I do think it puts witchcraft in a light that is more favorable and positive than it deserves biblically."
Ms. Neal, for her part, is not worried about anyone reading the books. Rather than being a means for corrupting the youth with witchcraft and the like, she says, "The Harry Potter phenomenon was the greatest evangelistic opportunity that the church has missed."
Ms. Bailey is online editor for Christianity Today
Monday, July 25, 2011
Marketed as a romantic thriller, The Adjustment Bureau stars Matt Damon as David Morris, a rising political star, who is running for a Senate seat from the state of New York. After a breaking story about a past unflattering incident in his life, Morris’ political career is put on hold. On the night of the election, he meets a mysterious woman who will forever change his life. After a romantic kiss from Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), he is inspired to give a compelling and honest concession speech that will position him as the front runner in the next election.
After a quick chase, David is apprehended by the men in hats. Here’s where things get to get even stranger if that’s possible. They inform David they are from the Adjustment Bureau and warn him to speak to no one about what he has seen. If he does, they will reset his memory, and it will be erased. Furthermore, they will not allow him to have any further contact with his potential love interest Elise. Apparently, David saw what is behind the black curtain. His fate is not in his hands but is controlled by the men in hats. They talk about The Plan, which has been written by the chairman, whom we never meet.
By the director’s own account, he has left that up to the viewers to determine how they will interpret this film. In a rather broad sweeping manner, The Adjustment Bureau deals with rather complex theological issues, such as free will and predestination. Is the chairman omnipotent and involved with the affairs of men?
The real question in the film is will David and Elise find a way to be together? What about David’s political career? And why is the Adjustment Bureau so determined to keep them apart.
This is an exceptional film, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Everything is totally believable and plausible. One thing for sure, The Adjustment Bureau will give you plenty to think about. Are we as much in control as we think we are? However, you are in control to make the decision to see this movie. So exercise your free will.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Encounter 11: Bobette Buster on the Commons of Storytelling from International Arts Movement on Vimeo.
Bobette Buster provides a background to the Hollywood Screen Guild's approach to film marketing. Using examples from Star Wars and Toy Story, Bobette draws upon some of the most memorable characters from film and explains the means by which Hollywood insures that its viewing audience cannot forget them.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
The 2011 International Christian Visual Media (ICVM) Catalyst Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia, from July 6-9, ended with a bang with the announcement of winners at its culminating event, The Crown Awards.
Among the Gold Award recipients are “Torchlighters: The Amy Carmichael Story" for Best Children’s Film; “Clancy” for Drama Under $250,000; “The Frontier Boys” for Best Youth Film and Best Drama Over $250,000; and “Finding Hope Now” and “The Lost Medallion” tying for Best Picture.
With this year's theme of "For Such a Time," the 2011 ICVM has, indeed, encouraged Christian film professionals to use their talents and resources to impact the world with a Christian world view in a day and time when the culture suffers from a lack of values and spirituality. Speakers throughout the conference re-iterated the importance of reaching the world through media.
Continue reading on Examiner.com 2011 ICVM Catalyst Conference honors Christian filmmakers at the Crown Awards - National Christian Movies
Friday, July 22, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
J. J. Abrams, who directed the film, knows how to tell a good story, especially when it involves mystery and intrigue. If you were a fan of Lost, you probably know he was the creative genius behind one of television’s most successful TV series. Although Super 8 might be billed as an action/adventure movie, it essentially is more of a character-driven film. That is a refreshing change considering the usual fair of material that is released during the summer.
Joe’s main job is to recruit Alice, played by Ellie Fanning, for the movie. Charles realized that he needed more than just special effects to make his film, and Alice will provide the dramatic affect necessary to tell a good story.
Soon the kids are converged upon by military units. They grab the camera and make a hasty escape. Over the next few days strange phenomena starts to occur throughout the town. All of the dogs from the town for no good reason are found miles away in neighboring towns. Kitchen appliances, car engines and power lines start to disappear.
As I said, Super 8 is a superior film. I felt I was in a time warp and transported back to the 1970s. It was like I was watching Close Encounters of a Third Kind and ET all over again. One of the reasons why this film works is certainly the nostalgic angle. The man behind this film is none other then producer Stephen Spielberg doing what he does best.
Spielberg loves to do movies about ordinary people in ordinary places facing extraordinary circumstances. Super 8 meets all of that criteria with Weirton, West Virginia, my wife’s hometown, filling in for the fictional Lillian, Ohio. Another trait of Spielberg are films told with a childlike, naive sense of wonder and faith. I think Joe, Charles and Alice are classic examples. Spielberg also loves themes that express coming-of-age. Super 8 also offers an innocent love story between young Joe and Alice.
Sure, there are plenty of other movies that might offer more action, special effects and CGI. But if you are looking for a real story with strong themes of forgiveness and reconciliation, then Super 8 is for you.
This is one you will want to purchase when it becomes available that you will play again and again. It is currently playing at your local megaplex.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Media Missionary School Film Camp 2011 Short Film. Created by Chelsea Carter, Josh Helbling, Chris Kuhne, Sean Montgmery, and Grant Stiles.
The team was supervised by Thomas Green.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Media Missionary School Film Camp 2011 Short Film. Created by Edie Alexander, Madeline Burke, Jesse Cupp, Marcus King, Griffin Roberts, and Daniel Timko.
The team was supervised by Kyle Hamilton.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Media Missionary School Film Camp 2011 Short Film. Created by Jarett Engeseth, Hannah Goodwin, Will Haussler, Elise Knuckels, Caleb Smiley.
The team was supervised by Ron Calhoun and Travis Thompson.
Ballooniverse from Media Missionary School on Vimeo.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
One team started the day with an 8 and a half minute rough cut. They will have to get it down to 3 minutes. Not an easy thing to accomplish. There are sound tracts, sound effects, dissolves, and cuts, which will all have to be taken into account. Some teams haven’t even decided on a title for their movie. And don’t forget, your project requires end titles and credits. So many choices and so little time.
It seems like the next five hours takes place in a blink of an eye. Everybody has a job to do, and the clock become our opponent. Is the DVD cover finished? What about the poster? Who’s doing the pitch? At 3:00 p.m. the world premier will take place. There will soon be a room full of people waiting to see your movie. That’s what makes this final day so exciting.
By 3:00 p.m., the house was full, and my partner, Isaac, was back in the edit bay finalizing the DVD to be used for the screening. Our students are learning firsthand about the importance of schedules and deadlines. Luckily, the DVD finally arrives at 3:10. p.m.
The first film reviewed was The Ballooniverse, a story about a young girl named Susan who discovers her precious balloon is missing. She finds three heroes to help her on her journey through the park. They soon uncover a disturbing truth that maybe the balloon is not as it seems to be.
And the last film reviewed was The Antagonist. This is a story about a man infamous for a life of crime. Dismissed from his prestigious brotherhood of evil, he sets out to design a plan more dastardly than ever before.
The critics are in. All three films were a rousing success. After talking to several friends and parents afterwards, this year’s camp was clearly a very satisfying experience. In our final session, we shared ten tips on what you can do now to prepare for a career in film, television and media. We talked about film schools, how to break into the industry, and other future projects.
Sean, Josh, Grant, Chelsea, Chris and Thomas
Elise, Jarrett, Caleb, Travis, Hannah and Will
Kyle, Daniel, Griffin, Madeline, Edie, Jesse and Marcus
Madeline and Edie working on final edit
Jarrett at work
Friday, July 15, 2011
We started the day off with a workshop that I lead. Media literacy is a subject that is dear to my heart. I believe it should be taught in every school in America. None of us could imagine trying to function in our society without the ability to read and write. But in this day and age, it’s just as equally important to understand how media functions and influences us on a daily basis. Media has a language of its own with it’s unique subtext, structure and design.
After lunch, it was time to get down to business as each team started the process of editing. There was a lot to accomplish in a short span of time. The editors had a ton of material to go through and many choices to make. The goal was to complete a rough cut by the end of the day. A rough cut is a version of your project with all of the edits you want in the right places. It doesn’t include music, titles or color correction nor does it correct audio issues.
Each team also designated a writer who was responsible to come up with a pitch and synopsis for tomorrow’s screening. As you can see, this kept everybody busy throughout the remainder of the day.