Monday, May 03, 2010

Lighting up Hollywood

Just returned from a great time in SoCal: Studio City at CBS Studios. Four of us spent the day with hundreds of other Hollywood types at Biola's 15th annual conference for Christians in Media and entertainment.

In between workshops on Film Making (one of my faves by Stan Williams), new technology, and good story-telling we were seizing any opportunity we could to pose in front of CBS logos while checking out sets , sound stages, and the scenery lots.

Here I am with my pal Gabe. He directs the PeaPod group (a media/arts academy at the Redwood City Boys and Girls' club) .

Here's me below (looking like Shark boy. I blame the wind for my "hair-fin."), with Paul Skidmore: up and coming film-maker extraordinaire who tweets regularly and gave a crazy good workshop on the future of technology and film-making. (His last film he just used his iPhone pretty much to direct, location scout, produce, etc).

One of the moments that stands out is when I was escorted- like a criminal-out of the conference, while I was sitting in the front row in front of everyone. They thought I was bootlegging some of the never before screened footage in a new trailer for the third installment of the Narnia films: C.S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader. No joke. They warned the whole audience that they had to be super tight on security and asked us to have integrity not to leak it out. So I put my phone down and didn't even want to touch it during the three minute clip. After the trailer finished and every one applauded for Walden Media president, Michael Flaherty ... I grabbed my phone to tweet my response and check others who were posting under the twitter hashtag #bmc10. Just then, about 5-10 minutes after the trailer in the middle of the guest speaker Q&A-- a security guard crawled out the front middle row and said, "Sir, I need you to come with me..and bring your phone, too." So funny..I was paralyzed. "Excuse me?"
Here's the pic I took of Ralph Winter and Dick Cooke, minutes before I almost got tazed.

Just kidding, they didn't taze me but I felt like yelling that out. "I'm innocent, don't taze me bro!" I was taken to the back stage area where I was surrounded by an entourage of some tough guys types :) and Biola Media officials: Peggy Rupple and Kathy Cooke. Both women were very kind apologized repeatedly saying it was just protocol and they just needed to take every precaution. Peggy even bear hugged me to smooth it over. Good thing cause I almost wet myself. It was definitely awkward but now makes a great story. I shared it Sunday Night with my Church and they cracked up. (I totally understand they had to crackdown). They made me go through my phone's pics and videos and then set me free. Even though I was completely innocent--it was a weird feeling. My heart was beating fast, I was sweating, and trying not to think of what this could do to my illustrious career but know what they say in Hollywood-any publicity is good publicity right?Some one later commented--"Now you now how Jesus feels." Well, Jesus was falsely accused for calling himself God, whipped and beaten innocently for the sins of the world, not falsely accused of bootlegging--not quite an equal comparison, but worth a little chuckle. If anything, I'd say after my experience I now have more sympathy for Hollywood rebels like Lyndsay Lohan.

Besides my almost arrest, another highlight was how Twitter was used incessantly during the day. I must have tweeted a quote every ten minutes or more. Then-found a group of people to have dinner with via a "Tweet-up!" Gotta love it! Shout out to the Daily Grill crew!

We topped of our night with in a cool little private CBS screening room watching the film: "Like Dandelion Dust." Quite the emotional roller coaster-see behind the scenes here. Cool story about two families who are intersected and torn apart by the love of one little boy and his adoption, one is his biological family and one is his adopted family. It comes out in September. Bring Kleenex. Here we are with Director Jon Gunn and one of the lead actresses Kate Levering.Overall I loved the conference. Besides some of the cheesy music that played (a Jazz version of "Here I am to Worship,") and a few "oversaved" (in the words of comedian Michael Jr.) vendors tabling their merchandise at the conference, this event was well worth it. And I hope I get to go again. Maybe I'll get a free ticket for suffering the Christ-like humiliation of being forsaken and accused of bootlegging..hmmm...:)

I heart Hollywood. I love the creativity, potential, the stories and most definitely the people! God God! Go Biola! Way to go.
I pray God continues to do great work through his people to tell amazing stories that changethe world and impact those in the theaters, on set, and behind the scenes.

See a review from Christianity today here.

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