I'm currently in LA, sitting in a Cafe off of Hollywood Blvd. I'm spending my last few hours of submersion into filmmaking, movie watching, and the entertainment industry. It's truly been an inspiring time where I can actually say I've "grown." I've changed a bit. I saw about twelve films last week, cried, laughed, discussed and argued over storytelling, good acting, thematic elements on about five-six hours sleep a night. Which is less than I usually get at home with three kids, five and under, yet, of course, it was filled with so many encouraging conversations that leave me overwhelmingly inspired creatively. I'm ready to see some things happen!
Here are some thoughts arranged in no particular order:
2-A strange and sometimes uncomfortable thing that I often took advantage of this week was: FREE STUFF! It seemed everywhere I went there was free food, free lattes (yes, I had two a day), and free make-up (of which my wife will benefit). This is called SWAG. Free stuff ,usually for people who can afford to pay for it, anyway. Weird, but yes, I enjoyed it. Funny enough--the one day I was enjoying a free Morning Star Vege Burger, (of which I ate daily at Sundance), I was also reading a book that had a section entitled, "No Free Food." I had to disagree with his thoughts at that moment as I enjoyed my pro-bono lunch. (See it to the right in the picture here).
3-They say, whoever "they" are, that so much of the entertainment industry is "who you know." And there is a LOT of truth in that. I got invited to a table read of a screenplay entitled, "The Scoundrels Club." What a fun experience. Jeff York, was the winner of a contest that flew him out to Park City, UT, to have his script read by professional actors (which I fooled them into thinking I was). The only reason I was sitting at that table was because I knew someone. I thank my buddy, Christian Anderson, who let me ride his coattails. It pays to make good friendships in this industry.
I also got to be a part of the 19th Annual SAG Awards in LA. I was basically a do-anything production gopher who did things like prepare paint sharpies for Celebs and shuttle the actual actor trophies across the auditorium and red carpet. It was quite fun and surreal seeing all the people I normally see on the big and small screens. Yes, like Hugh Jackman, and the casts of the Office, Downtown Abbey, and Glee. All because of a family connection. The only reason I was eating Wolfgang Puck gourmet food, schmoozing with actors, and wearing a suit was because I knew someone. And want to know how I was reminded of the values of the kingdom? In the bathroom, this guy, Oscar from the office, smiled and handed me a paper towel. Which caused me to pay it forward. I got a lot more stories like that!
5-This leads me to my next thought. I spend a lot of my time preparing and planning for something that happens within a building regularly during the week. I teach, craft, brainstorm, and plan ways to help others experience truth, life, and love--(much like I said above: includes trying to encourage healthy relationships, good management of life's resources, and impacting the world for good and justice). That being said, we can learn a lot from movies and how they impact culture. Thankful to the Windrider Film Forum for helping to shape this for many of us at Sundance last week. Maybe now, more than ever, I see this medium of story-telling through film and media as one of the greatest ways to reach people and move people's hearts to action. I have to continue to chew on this, but as I looked at how interactive the filmmaking events were, (and so well organized) and how many great conversations were had, I can safely say that everyone who participated in these events was moved in some way. I hope to see some of this impacting what I do in Redwood City. (Below filmmakers from one of my week's favorite films, "Toy's House.").
6-We are created to have relationships. We are created to engage with others. Full theaters of film loving people resulted in lots of new friendships and inspired dreams.This is a simple truth of humanity. When you make time to do the things you love with others who share that love, you can't help but experience beauty, connect, grow close, share life, etc.(Below a crowd gives a standing ovation to the winning film, "Fruitvale," and a sign reflecting a space where workshops and panel discussions were held.).
So, overall I am excited to return and share my experiences, but especially to be with my family. In closing, It was
This video below encapsulates the good, the crazy, and the downright superficial nature of this industry, this beast that I love. This beast that I am called to fight with, conquer, tame, and speak into my life and the lives of those around me. I love navigating through it and I love that I get to be a part of it because it both challenges me to grow and allows me to be used in the lives others.
So, although it's easy to forget, I will be intentional. I will not seek fame, nor fortune, but find my fortune in the ONE who is already famous, and who's name will be lifted up among the nations.
And that's a wrap.