Watch my First Movie!

The movie is down below, but read the background, it’s long but worth your time.

I’m busy.  Like all the time busy.

I’ve been criticized for it.

Been told that I shouldn’t be this busy but I’m learning to ignore the noise.

Currently I have a

  • Full time job
  • Started a hot and innovative startup (www.chirpsaw.com)
  • Coach three youth basketball teams at the YMCA
  • Completing my first solo rock album
  • Conceptualizing a new music project with Christina called Once & Again
  • Volunteer in the Media department at Cedar Park Church

So what else could I possibly add to my plate?

Movies.

Yes, movies.  Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be in the movies.  As a teenager I wanted to be a movie star.  At the age of 20 I quickly realized that the story telling portion of movies interested me more so as the stories came to me I put them deep within my mind for future release.

Some story ideas I couldn’t contain so I started writing my own lyrics to music from popular songs on accompaniment tapes.

In 1991 Met John O’Malley and he became my music outlet.  We created beautiful music together all based on story concepts in my head involving deep emotion.

In my late 20’s my demanding schedule had pretty much wore out my musical partners so I bought my first guitar and guitar song book.  My girlfriend at the time told me I wasn’t wise with my money and I should accept the fact that I’m just a singer/writer not a guitarist or true ‘song writer.’  She was right on one account.

In the fall of 1997 I spent hours upon hours teaching myself how to play the guitar.  The Stephen’s family put up with at least 4-5 hours a day of crappy guitar playing.  I would look at a song book and place my fingers in the shape it showed me.  G was a pain.  But thank the Lord for the Em chord.

I wasn’t that good, shoot, I’m still not that good but I needed to get these stories out of my head and I couldn’t expect my friends to be at my beckon call with each new story idea to lay down the music to the melody in my head.

The guitar could not contain my passion, the emotions that I wrote with, I broke string after string strumming in a way that released my expressive style.  The hole on my guitar splintered from my heavy strumming patterns.

Other, more accomplished, musicians would talk behind my back, “good gear, but sucks as a player.”  I didn’t care.  Even though they were church folk, I used their hate to fuel my practice sessions. I had stories in my head that had to come out.

Peter Blue came up to me one day and asked me to lead worship at the Cedar Park Junior High retreat.  I asked him why for we both knew I wasn’t ready musically.  He was so gracious, especially with his amazing musical giftings.  He put his hand on my shoulder and said, you are ready as a worship “leader.”  There are a lot of talented musicians and singers out there that don’t ‘lead’ worship.  This greatly impacted my life.

In 2004 after financing much of my music attempts on credit cards I had to declare bankruptcy.  My wife who entered our marriage with a large savings amount was brought to nothing.  Music had failed me.  Not really, it was my poor decisions that failed me but still; the stories; the stories in my head that dealt with forgiving the unforgivable would not leave.

The songs I had written would have to be on hold, Lindsay was pregnant with Taya and I needed to focus all my energies on family life.

All throughout my 30’s I tried different avenues for providing for my family.  We were heading towards four children (five, if you count the miscarriage) and  it seemed like my vision of being a film maker would never happen so I gave myself a deadline:  Make a movie by the time you are 45 or be done with this silly notion of making movies.   One night I went to bed angry with God asking “when, when would my destiny begin?”

At 4am the next morning I was awaken with an audible sound.  “52 Months” the voice said.

52 months???? What did that mean?  I knew it was God speaking but what did it mean.  I found a calendar and tracked it to January 2013.

Happy New Year 2013!  Well, obviously I wouldn’t be dying that month since my life was still in shambles, I had waited for 52 months and nothing had happened, I had not reached my destiny.  Maybe it would happen later that month.  It didn’t but in February 2013 my dad had a heart attack.  I thought he was a goner for sure and perhaps the 52 months had something to due with the death of a parent.

In the spring of 2013, Joe Nicholson read a post that I had done a concert.  He wanted to record me so we started a project with all the songs that were shelved from 2003/2004.

My stories.  The dust was being brushed away on my stories.

In the summer of 2013 I was diagnosed with ADD and prescribed Ritilan.  Focus.  Holy cow do I know what that means now.  Doctor said that it would affect my creativity, make me less creative.  Not so.  It fueled my passion for story telling in film more than ever.  The dreams and ideas were much more vivid and clear.

In 2014 I wrote a promotional power point slide for a movie concept, Dead for 45.  The true story of my dad’s life after death experience.  I emailed several people so we could get started on filming.  No response.

Happy New Year 2015!  My career was taking off and I became the VP of Sales with TailoredMail in March but still no movie.  I had been volunteering with Cedar Park Media team for a few years and learned a bit about directing but it wasn’t the same, it wasn’t telling a story as a movie.

In August 2015 I knew that time was ticking for me to make a movie so I reached out to several people to help me.  All of them said yes and all of them backed out.  It was just like a had a song to write but no one to put music to it.  What would I do?

In October 2015 my brother in law was getting married in St. John.  Lindsay had a mac book and I had recorded some videos for my album For We Wrestle kick starter campaign with the iPhone 6s.  It was fun, but I’ve never edited a video, what if it was hard?

While at St. John my wife helped the wedding party and did some sight seeing around the island. Me?  I was in the house working with iMovie, editing the video for the Kickstarter campaign. Hours and hours went by and I was heads down editing.  Lindsay would come in at midnight and I was still working eventually going to bed at 2, 3am some nights.  It was like I was learning how to play the guitar all over again.

SIDE NOTE FOR MEN NOT MARRIED:   My wife Lindsay did not complain ONE BIT.  Make sure you carefully choose your mate.  Don’t be handcuffed by a woman that doesn’t allow you to be the MAN that God intended you to be.  We are MEN, we are DIFFERENT, we are driven by our talents, our giftings, and our passion.  To have that sucked from you because of a high maintenance mate will have long lasting effects in a negative way.  In other words, I MARRIED THE RIGHT WOMAN, a Proverbs 31 type of WOMAN, you should do the same.

Now back to this short bio.  Once back from St. John I had finally completed the mockumentary of being interviewed by Boat Rocker Records.  It was fun but it still wasn’t a movie and I was less than 30 days from my 45th birthday.   I had the idea of Dead for 45 a year ago how easy/hard could that be to record and edit?

Taya, my youngest daughter, wasn’t at the house when my dad died, what if I told her the story and involved all the kids. They could be my film crew!!!

We started shooting that Saturday, Lindsay was photographing a wedding so it was perfect timing.  The kids were my camera operators.  They helped me by acting and being interviewed.  Did they want to do it?  Heck no, they were embarrassed and had never done anything like that but we are a family and they did it anyway without complaining.

SIDE NOTE FOR PARENTS:  Don’t always give  your kids choices to make.  If you have a vision of something that you need their help in, and know the role they will play, make them do it.  It’s hard work but what comes after hard work?  The satisfaction of a job well done.  LEAD your CHILDREN for if you let them lead you it will have long lasting effects in a negative way.  In other words, I AM RAISING MY CHILDREN IN A BIBLICAL FASHION you should do the same.

Originally, the movie was to be 5 minutes.  It ended up being 24 minutes.

The movie was done and I was still 44!  Barely.  Now the editing.  All throughout Thanksgiving and Christmas I slaved away at editing my iPhone 6s video with iMovie.  Is it the best out there? Nope.  I used songs from Salt the Band and TJR: because it’s royalty free.  Just. In. Case. The movie gains momentum.  My deadline was to get the movie done by New Year’s Eve.

Happy New Year 2016!  New Year’s Eve we have people over and this year we did our talent show for the kids, and sometimes parents.  My talent was the screening of my first movie.  What would people think?  Would they like it?  Would they make fun of the music?  These thought never, ever, entered my mind.  That’s the beauty of doing what God has gifted you to do.  It’s about doing it.

God is the master creator and created us all differently with our own talents.  I did was I was created to do.  I made a movie.  How it’s measured is irrelevant.  This is my first movie with sub-par equipment and hearing negative talk will add zero value to my future as a film maker. It’s just noise.

I started the movie without a lot of introduction and sat in the back.  During the movie an eight year old leaned over and asked Taya if he was still alive.  Taya laughed and pointed at her Papa, “yeah, he’s right there.” She said.

A good friend of mine said after the movie, “I had to keep looking back to remind myself that your dad was standing right there and he wasn’t still dead.  You sucked me in.”

Others were crying as they watched.

The movie is titled Dead for 45.  Aside from the coolness of the title we really thought he was dead for 45 minutes.  We later did the math and he wasn’t.  He was dead for 48 minutes on the medical report and at least 10 minutes prior to the arrival of the medical staff.

I’m not changing the title though for if you think about it there is a double meaning.  I was dead for 45 years and now alive as a film maker.

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