Today is a combined blog of the two last days since I’m planning to sleep in the car on the way home, not write blogs. I’ve always been true to my personal rule: Don’t blog and drive!(ha ha!) Wednesday was the last full day of the 2011 Gideon Media Conference and Film Festival with a half day session on Thursday. Oh, so sad to see it wrap and see all my friends walking away trailing luggage behind them, knowing I may not see some of them for another year!
On Wednesday, I led the devotion at 8:30 a.m. amid early morning jitters. For a brief moment, I wondered how I got the job. The experience was a bit humbling and I hoped I had something to share that would have an impact. Despite the doubts, many approached me later telling me they could relate to various aspects of my story, which is why I am willing to share such personal details about my life to a roomful of people! With the hardest part of my day behind me I was ready to take in some more workshops. It was difficult deciding on which workshops to go to as both morning and afternoon workshops – all 20 of them! – were all interesting. Apart from film production and marketing, workshop topics included songwriting, music videos, makeup basics, graphic novels, screenwriting, visual effects, and cinematic storytelling, among others.
Actors teamed up with writers to read screenplays for three days of the conference. Today was my day to participate! I read the narrator role in a screenplay by Kathy Lonsinger and the lead role in a screenplay by Francine Locke. Brian Bird critiqued the screenplays at the end of the read.
One of the many highlights of my day was a private meeting with Angela Walker of ChristianCinema.com over lunch. They offered to use my content on their website and in their newsletters. This will include my Examiner.com articles and Christian Movie Connect podcasts. I am very excited about this opportunity because ChristianCinema.com is the BEST!!! Another highlight of lunch was a drop in visit by Muse Watson, known for his role as Mike Franks in the hit TV series “NCIS” as well as “Christmas Snow” and “The Lamp,” by director Tracy Trost.
I also sat in on Callan White-Hinman’s acting class. The star of “Loving,” Callan is also a theater professor and acts on stage. After sharing an enjoyable lunch with her and actor Josh Murray, I split my time between the marketing workshop panel with Angela Walker, Josiah Williams and Gary Zelasko, and a producing/distribution workshop by Chris Weatherhead. Chris presented a great workshop with lots of individual consultation with each class member. What a beautiful spirit she and her husband Clarence Felder have! I absolutely fell in love with them both! Chris and Clarence screened their “All For Liberty” movie and participated in an interview with Christian Movie Connect. Chris has 14 years of experience theater acting and starring in daytime and primetime TV series, and is also a highly respected screenwriter and acting coach. Clarence, meanwhile, is a veteran actor in film and television, as well as on Broadway, with more than 160 leading roles in plays shown in the country’s regional theaters. I had a nice visit with Clarence and Chris following the interview. Two people I definitely plan to stay in touch with following Gideon!
The last screening of the night was “Pendulum Swings,” with director and executive producer Bill Rahn present for the Q&A session. This starred my good friend Vanessa Ore, a beautiful and talented actress. I met Bill the following morning on Thursday getting a cup of Starbucks. I didn’t know who he was since I missed the screening doing interviews, but his effervescent personality was captivating that I went up to him to know more. After a few minutes of chit chat, I literally flipped over his name badge and said, “So, who are you?” Glad I introduced myself because I enjoyed discussing the movie with him. “Pendulum Swings” is based on Bill’s life. It’s getting a limited theatrical release so look for it in your area. Later it will release on DVD.
Thank you so much for being with me all through the duration of Gideon. It’s been such a fulfilling time for me filled with pleasant surprises and new learning experiences. I would like to say a HUGE thank you to the Christian Movie Connect interns – Abigail Taylor, Jeb Bennett, and Mason Taylor, who are all studying film at Western Carolina University. And a special thanks to my assistant Donna Botts who helped schedule appointments and filled in all the gaps. I highly recommend her as a PA on any movie set! We seriously could not have done this without this fantastic team. And special kudos to cinematographer Arledge Armenaki who shot all the interviews. What an honor to work with this seasoned Hollywood professional.
On a final note, actor Michael Joiner will be our last podcast guest for Gideon. Be sure to check it out. Do tune in here at Christian Movie Connectfor the latest and inspiring news about the Christian film and media industry!
Workshop scenes: (From left) Gary Voelker teaches visual effects; Kyle Saylors teaching music video; and Brian Bird teaching screenwriting.