In April I led a 3-hour seminar entitled PRODUCING YOUR FIRST LOW BUDGET FEATURE, sponsored by The Greenhouse. I drew upon my A Leading Man producing experience to teach the class.
Attendees walked away having learned how to 1) Properly set-up and protect your production entity during pre-production, 2) Read and interpret vital production documents and reports, and 3) Oversee an efficient post-production campaign.
Here’s the full course description:
Boy! LAFSC must think I really love conflict! Had fun making a second appearance on their RESOLVING CONFLICT ON SET panel. This time the panelists included: producer Christina Lee Storm, writer/director Michelle Steffes, instructor Jeremy Casper, and actor Windell D. Middlebrooks (that’s right, the Miller High Life guy!).
I was privileged to speak with LAFSC students on RESOLVING CONFLICT ON SET. Had fun sharing some dramatic stories from being on set!
Act One colleague Terence Berry taught a week long seminar at Regent called THE BUSINESS OF THE BUSINESS. I joined him for three of the days, helping B.A. and MFA level students understand the basic business practices in the world of entertainment. Topics included: film finance, business plans, talent agreements, optioning and purchasing material, developing a strong production schedule and budget, and more!
Had a blast guest lecturing at my alma mater, in a class session focusing on the integration of theology and art. I took the time to highlight 10 lies that I tell myself as a filmmaker in Hollywood, in the hopes that the specificity had some universal resonance for the other artists of faith in the room. In my experience, we artists are subject to a lot of “self talk” – and it is helpful to be able to identify and name the lies we tell ourselves. The lecture was lighthearted in tone. Here are a few examples of the lies:
Lie #1: My calling entitles me to success.
Lie #2: I only need one good idea.
Lie #3: I need permission to create.
As a follow up to the 3rd annual Story Conference, Act One offered a one-day seminar called GETTING MOVIES MADE: FROM SHORTS TO INDIES TO BLOCKBUSTERS. Academy Award-winning producer Ed Saxon presented on HOW HOLLYWOOD REALLY WORKS, and producer Terence Berry and I teamed up to teach: LAUNCHING YOUR INDEPENDENT FILM PROJECT and A PROFILE OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY IN HOLLYWOOD. Sundance Film Festival winner Michelle Steffes led a discussion on WRITING, DIRECTING, AND PRODUCING A GREAT SHORT FILM. It was a fantastic turn out (!), and an exciting and engaging day for screenwriters, directors, producers, actors, and cultural investors in the Chicago area!
Thanks to the wonder of Skype, I video conferenced with Dr. Lance Clark’s Film and Technology class for 45 minutes. I completely ignored the question of the use of technology in cinema, and instead fielded questions on the role of the creative producer and how young people can get started in entertainment. My #1 advice? Don’t try to repeat what others have done! Everybody’s journey is different, so embrace what’s unique about you and just roll with it. Be persistent, put in the hard work, take risks (while understanding the costs) and opportunities will come your way if you are patient. Does that sound cheesy? Doesn’t matter, because I think it is true. Next I will tell you how I live in a van down by the river!
On Dec. 5, I preached at The Bridge Los Angeles, a new church in the heart of the city. I really enjoyed getting to know The Bridge community through this experience!
The holiday season is filled with waiting — waiting in line at Best Buy, at the grocery store, to see Santa at the mall. People wait for things that are valuable to them. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? In this message, I discussed the value of waiting on God, and what Scripture has to say about expectant waiting.
This summer, I had a ball contributing to the Act One Program as the associate director of the Producing & Entertainment Executive Program. I helped coordinate a two-week film seminar, as well as a 10-week summer workshop. We booked something like 85 speakers over the course of the summer. I stepped in to teach and co-teach a few classes, and hosted many of the discussions with Hollywood filmmakers. Talk about a free education! I think I learned more than our 40 students! Special highlights for me were interviewing director Scott Derrickson about The Exorcism of Emily Rose, hosting a discussion with producers Dan Lin and Howard Kazanjian, and team teaching an introduction to the Hollywood landscape with my friend (and Act One executive director) Terence Berry. Thanks Act One for a wonderful summer experience!
Dr. Carolyn Gordon, who chairs the Preaching & Communications department at Fuller Seminary, invited me to guest lecture a class on the use (and abuse) of media in worship. I spoke about viewing and evaluating media through Four Theological Lenses – 1) Worship Zero (i.e. clarifying your definition of worship), 2) Structure (attaching content to a specific liturgical action), 3) Style & Form (how packaging affects the meaning of your media) and 4) Execution (quality, excellence, and the material’s relationship to wider culture).
My film buddy, Matt Arden (and a UVA grad), invited me to be an industry guest at this year’s Virginia Student Film Festival. I was privileged to spend two days with UVA’s emerging filmmakers in Charlottesville. What an intelligent and talented group of students! They were incredibly gracious hosts. I really enjoyed watching their films, giving feedback, hanging out, and speaking on starting a Hollywood career. Dan Mirvish, co-founder of the Slamdance Film Festival, was the other festival guest. What a treat to get to know him!
As part of the 2010 City of the Angels Film Festival, I hosted a screening of That Evening Sun at the Directors Guild of America. The film’s producers, Laura Smith and Terence Berry, were present for a post-screening discussion and Q & A. The award-winning picture was warmly received!