Nov 12, 2009

Joy at Hand

A brief blog. I'm still working on the storyboards. It's amazing how this simple exercise profoundly impacts your script and forces you to really think through what you will put on the screen.

This morning as I was waking and praying a bit, my outstretched hand reached toward the ceiling and this is what I saw:

Oct 9, 2009

Chemistry 101

"The Challenge: Make an overview of chemistry that is visually rich, captivating and honoring to the Creator. The Result: Chemistry 101."

I realize I haven't posted in several months. I have been so focused on getting the script done for the new film. After nearly 15 months of working on this, I finally finished the script of Chemistry 101-the second in the 101 Series. Chemistry is a challenging subject and the film contains a lot of interesting stories of amazing people on the path to discovering the Periodic Table of the Elements. This is going to be a very fun film to edit and watch!

How Does It Work?

  • Preproduction

First you get your idea. In this case-Chemistry 101!

write write write write. Research research. write write write write write.

Develop your script into a screenplay. A screenplay is your story rewritten so it can be filmed and made into a movie. I also make my shooting script at the same time so I can actually film it.

Make a story board of the screenplay. This is essentially comic book of your movie so you can previsualize how the film will work.

Make a schedule that says exactly where you will be on what day and exactly what scene you will be shooting.

  • Production

"lights, camera, action!"

  • Post-production

Edit all your material, select the shots, graphics, pacing, music...all the stuff that makes the film a film!

proof proof proof. Publish.

Write the Guidebook and Accreditation booklet. Publish.

Get a cup of tea and relax.

Get a coffee mocha and start Physics 101!

Apr 4, 2009

God Rolls the Dice


God and Wes are sitting at the bench with a large oak tree shading them. They are playing another game of Yahtzee©. Wes is right in the middle of his roll. He hesitates.


(somewhat exasperated)

I, uh…I think I’m done.


(looks up)

But I like playing games—this game especially.


Yeah, but it just occurred to me that playing a dice game with you seems pretty pointless. And besides, how can you enjoy playing when you already know the ending?”


Yes…that is a good question. Hmmmm. Well here, let’s try something. Take the dice cup. I think you will roll two 6’s, a 4, a 2 and a 1.

Wes rolls the dice and it rolls those numbers.


Hey, big surprise.


Yes…here let’s try again. Roll again, but this time, not even a suggestion of randomness. You will roll a 5, a 4, a 3, a 2 and a 1.

Reluctantly, Wes rolls the dice. It’s a Straight. Raises his eyebrows… unmoved.


So you see, not only did I predict what would happen in the first rolls, I actually made it happen exactly as I wish on the last roll.


And thus, no fun to play with.


Perhaps you’re right. Here, maybe this will engage you—or disturb you. Try again BUT before you roll, I have a question for you. Have I ever lied to you?


(taken aback by the odd question)

Lied? Well… no, of course not. I mean sometimes you say some of the most bizarre, unpredictable…


(interrupting him)

Do you think I’ve ever will lie to you?




Excellent! Okay. Roll again because this time, I have absolutely no idea what the dice will say.


Wes’ head jerks up in astonishment.

What?! How can you say that? That…That’s impossible! You…



Do I lie?

Staring at God for a moment, Wes slowly picks up the dice cup and puts the dice inside. He slowly shakes the cup while looking at God -simultaneously shakes his head in disbelief. He rolls the dice. Three 6’s and two 5’s. He lifts his hands in a state of not knowing where to go next.


Okay, well, there it is. Three 6’s and two 5’s—and this is news to you? You, didn’t know what that was going to be?


Hmmm. Yes, I see this is a little disturbing. Let’s try one more time but here’s a little twist.

God writes something on a piece of paper, folds it and hands it to Wes


Now what? Now what are you doing? This is really too much.


Take this but don’t look at it yet. Roll and once again, I have absolutely no idea what the dice will say.

Wes rolls a Yahtzee in 6’s! Five 6’s. He sort of jumps back, looking at the dice. Looking at God his eyes narrow in confusion. Then he reaches for the paper… the paper says ‘Yahtzee in 6’s.’ Wes actually starts scooting away a little like maybe something has just gone very, very wrong.


There is something totally wrong with this. How could you not know? You just wrote it? You must know! That’s one of the very definitions of who you are!


You are disturbed because you have a construct in your mind about who We are. Your think I can only know everything, must know everything and cannot do otherwise. But I will tell you a secret.

Looks around as if making sure no one else is listening



I know a God so sovereign, He can not only predict what the dice say, but will cause the dice to say it. And I know a God so in control, He can even choose to not know what the dice will say—or choose not to know what the man will name his animals, because He chooses not to know.

Pointing to the Yahtzee paper.

And I know a God so enchanting, He can grant you the freedom to roll as you wish yet still accomplish His own will. And I know a God with a mercy so wide, He can choose to forget, and when He forgets, it is utterly forgotten. Forever. As far as the East is from the West. By chance, do you know a God like that?

Thoughtful, Wes slowly nods. His eyes looking at the dice, he glances up.


Yes. Yes I do. I do know a God like that.


(Smiling and taking the Dice cup)

Yes, I think you do. Now then, I believe it’s your roll.


Feb 6, 2009

The Heroic Minute

I often find I don’t have enough time in my day to get everything done I think I need to get done. Tons of little stuff eats away. Plus I have a full time job. Plus I have a wonderful full time family.
I have discovered a secret.

I haven’t mastered it yet, mind you…still working on it.

Here it is.


The secret…is getting up early.

Yep, that’s the secret. If I get up at 5:00 am just 5 days each week, I will actually add 1 whole work day to my week…for free! Imagine if someone said to you, “I know you’re real busy. Tell you what we're gonna do, just for you. Every Saturday, we’re going to stop time for 8 hours just for you. That’s right, we will actually stop the clock 8 whole extra hours for you to get done whatever you want to get done!”

All you have to do is get up early. And it’s not easy…which is the real problem in this whole scenario. In fact, it is such a problem and takes such effort and is often so difficult, that spiritual writers in the past actually called this “The Heroic Minute” referring to the sacrifice this habit entails! One writer described it this way:

"'The heroic minute'. It is the time fixed for getting up. Without hesitation: a supernatural reflection and... up! The heroic minute: here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does no harm to your body." He said that virtue is an orderly thing and that waking up at a fixed time enables a person to fulfill a Christian plan of life involving prayers, study and work.

Feeling heroic?

Drawing by Jeff Appel

Jan 6, 2009

Way, Way in Debt.

Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.

This, by the way, is an unbelievable amount of money for one person to owe. A denarii is about $60. A talent is 6,000 denarii. 10,000 talents equals 60 million denarii. This man owed about $3.5 billion dollars! Way, way in debt.

But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.
The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, “Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.” Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt!

“But… that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.

Which, by-the-way, is a lot of money but not too extreme. For a servant, a denarius is a day’s wage or about $60. So 100 denarii is about 3 months wage or about $6,000.

And he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, “Pay me what you owe!” So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.” And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, “You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me! Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?!’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”