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Mar 21

if you love film or if you are a Christian, you’ve got to read this post by Blue Like Jazz filmmaker — musician-turned-director Steve Taylor:

The Christian Movie Establishment vs. Blue Like Jazz

“One of the most consistent criticisms I got as a recording artist came from fellow Christians saying, “Why do you do these songs criticizing the church? Why would you go airing our dirty laundry for the public to see?” And, of course, that same criticism had been leveled at Blue Like Jazz.

This perspective has always amused me, as if the public thinks we’ve got our act together perfectly, as if they don’t already see the hypocrisy in our midst. They just think we’re too dumb to see it ourselves.

Which is why the image of a guy in a confession booth finally confessing the truth started my six-year-long quest to make Blue Like Jazz.

When we tell the truth – even the uncomfortable truth – the truth sets people free.”

the whole article is totally on point.

if you haven’t seen Taylor’s first feature The Second Chance, you should check it out; i really enjoyed it. i’m really looking forward to Blue Like Jazz (and not just for the Bear on a Bicycle scene).

i hope that there are a lot of angry patrons. if the film stirs the pot, people will become disappointed and angry with their anger and disappointment in life and seek something higher.

encouraging that search should be the aim of every filmmaker who proclaims the name of Christ.

 

UPDATE:  interesting update to this story as director Steve Taylor receives an unexpected phone call from Alex Kendrick of Sherwood Pictures.


Mar 19


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Mar 12

parabolos is my motion picture production company. through it, i hope to turn vision and message into tangible work, sharing myself through process and product from story development to the final master of the film. i believe using cinema is the strongest way to deliver Truth that inspires thought and encourages reflection in people, particularly in today’s America.

etymology

parabolos (pronounced par-ah-bah-lahs) is an ancient Greek word which means, “venturesome, reckless, dangerous”. the para- (para-) prefix can mean “aside”, “alongside”, or “to the side”, and the bolo root means “i throw”.  quite literally, the word means “thrown aside”. consider our idiomatic expression “throwing caution to the wind” as a parallel construct.

it may evoke ideas of its relative, parabole (par-ah-bah-lay), where we get our English word parable; a parable is a story “thrown alongside” a truth so that people may more easily understand it.

the paraboloni

from a lesson on Model Spiritual Servants by John MacArthur:

“That word parabolo came to have some interesting usages. In the days of the early church after the New Testament era, there was an association of men and women who got together and took the name ‘The Paraboloni’ which meant ‘The Gamblers.’ They took as their hero Epaphroditus who gambled with his life. And it was their aim and their mission to visit the prisoners, to visit the sick, especially those with infectious, dangerous, communicable diseases. It was their mission to unhesitatingly, unflinchingly and boldly proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ in every environment without any hesitation. And they called themselves, ‘The Paraboloni, The Gamblers.’

It is also interesting to note that in A.D. 252 the city of Carthage had a terrible plague and the heathen were so frightened of the germs that were in the bodies of the dead that they literally bagged them somehow and hurled them out of the city, not wanting to touch them for burial. Cyprian the Christian bishop gathered the congregation of the believing church together and the church members took their bodies and in a gracious act of human kindness buried the dead bodies of the plague-stricken people. And according to the historians as well, they nursed even the sick people, coming close enough to them to touch them in that plague-infested city, risking their lives to save some in the city and God used them as a tremendous potential, as a tremendous force really to reach people for Christ because of their love.

Whether you’re talking about The Paraboloni who gambled with their lives in an infectious disease environment, or whether you’re talking about Epaphroditus their hero who gambled with his life by going at a hostile culture with all he had in the service of Jesus Christ, that kind of self- sacrificing example is marvelous.”

through parabolos, i hope to live a thrown-aside life in order to tell the Story that this generation so desperately needs to hear.


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Mar 08

my 2nd year directing class under the instruction of Janos Kovacsi was a life-changing experience. Janos gave a lot of wonderful instruction, a lot of which i have shared with my students over the years, and now hope to share here with my readers.

one of the best tools i learned from my time at NCSA was the director’s worksheet. in this post, i’ll explain the worksheet, give you an example, and links to some downloads.

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Mar 07

i began this blog with a few reasons in mind. one of the most visible purposes was to share what i had learned about using new technology as it applies to the film production process.

some who follow my blog but don’t know me well personally may be frustrated that the site went dark for about six months, only to return with cryptic stories and essays that don’t seem to have anything to do with iPad 4 rumors.

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Mar 05

here’s an interpretive exercise for directors: pick a song, poem, hymn, or psalm (preferably at random… open a book, eyes closed, and point your finger, e.g.). craft a story that demonstrates visually and audibly the essence of the original work.

story and screenplay © parabolos 2012
please do not reproduce or produce derivative works without permission. thanks.





“KATE’S SONG”

FADE IN:

EXT. DOWNTOWN – NIGHT

KATE (mid-20s) hustles on her way. She is dressed simply, but sharply, and dark, in contrast to her brightly lit nighttime surroundings.

Other PEOPLE bustle about on this early winter evening. Some beggars hassle passers-by. Kate ignores them, lost in her thoughts, going over some sheet music.

EDDIE (50ish), a street musician, slowly strums his guitar, but no one seems to listen, least of all Kate.

INT. ELEVATOR – LATER

Kate looks over her music. She glances up at a few of the other girls in the elevator car with her. They are also dressed well and made up, going over music themselves.

Kate catches herself being distracted and turns her attention back to her sheet music.

INT. WAITING ROOM – LATER

Kate is now just pretending to look at the music.She glances occasionally at the other girls, but mainly stares across the top of the page at the floor.

A door opens.

PEON (O.S.)

Kate Abrams?

Kate snaps out of her daze and plasters on a smile, rising.

INT. SMALL THEATER – LATER

Kate sings. Her eyes closed, she calls the music up from her memory.

A few gray heads in the front row listen and write notes. One interrupts her.

GRAY HEAD

Thank you.

Kate, a bit stunned, stops and looks at him.

GRAY HEAD (CONT’D)

Very nice. Thank you for coming.

Kate forces a smile and does a slight bow before exiting the stage. As she exits, she looks to the gray heads one more time. They busy themselves turning pages, making notes, and checking their PDAs.

INT. ELEVATOR – LATER

Kate rides down alone. She stares at the floor, her music rolled up in her hands.

EXT. DOWNTOWN – LATER

Kate walks home. It is late, and the streets are mostly empty, save a beggar or two.

INT. KATE’S BATHROOM – LATER

Having changed clothes, Kate cries, looking into the mirror.

INT. KATE’S TINY APARTMENT – THE NEXT DAY

SERIES OF SHOTS: Kate practicing her music and getting increasingly frustrated.

INT. KATE’S TINY APARTMENT – LATER THAT NIGHT

Kate sitting in front of her one window, staring out of it, in a trance. The television plays mindlessly in the background. A microwave dinner sits on the table in front of her, half-eaten.

EXT.DOWNTOWN – COFFEE SHOP – LATER

Kate exits a coffee shop with a high-dollar drink to go. She is dressed warmly, but comfortably. She strolls slowly, burdened.

Faintly, the sound of SINGING.

She looks up, listens. Follows it.

EXT. CHURCH – MOMENTS LATER

The open doors of the church cast a warm light onto the cold street. Kate steps into the light and hears the choir practicing. She steps in.

INT.CHURCH – CONTINUOUS

She walks about a third of the way down the aisle and sits in an empty pew. The pews are almost entirely empty, except for a few parents down near the front. The choir sings “Nearer My God to Thee.”

Kate’s face starts to ease as she listens. She sips her drink and begins to relax.

A feeling… someone behind her. She turns and looks.

There sits Eddie, his eyes closed, swaying back and forth singing along quietly.

Kate turns back around, contemplates, then watches the choir.

INT. KATE’S BATHROOM – THE NEXT DAY

Kate puts on her make-up. She is dressed nicely again.

EXT.DOWNTOWN – LATER

Kate walks down the street going over her sheet music. She passes Eddie who pays no attention to her as he strums his guitar.

Kate stops and watches him. A STRANGER drops some coins in Eddie’s hat. Eddie’s face lights up for a moment as he smiles at the passer-by, but then drops as the man walks away, not listening. Eddie turns his attention to his fretboard once again.

Kate looks at her sheet music, then to Eddie. She rolls up her music and puts it in her purse and goes and sits next to him. Eddie looks at her confused. Kate smiles awkwardly.

KATE

You know “Nearer My God to Thee”?

Eddie just stares at her for a second. Kate’s smile fades to “oh crap, what am I doing?” Eddie breaks his stare and begins strumming, and then singing.

EDDIE

Nearer, My God, to thee… Nearer to thee…

Kate joins him, smiling.

Soon, passers-by pause to listen. Eddie pays attention only to his guitar. Kate only watches him as she smiles, swaying back and forth to their singing.

When the song is over, a smatter of applause calls their attention to the small crowd that has gathered. Kate, genuinely surprised, smiles at Eddie. He grins slightly back.

People drop money into Eddie’s hat. Dollar bills even. They look at the money. They stare at each other for a moment.

EDDIE (CONT’D)

Just a closer walk with thee?

Kate beams.

KATE

Yes!

Eddie starts playing. Kate touches his arm as she begins singing with him. He playfully nudges her off. Kate laughs and continues singing.

FADE OUT.

 

from Psalm 95:1,2


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Feb 28

many of you are aware that i often write articles for Macgasm. for many of my app reviews, features on Apple hardware and software, and thoughts on the future of tech, i often post on Joshua Schnell’s respected blog instead of here, since his readership is basically more in a day than i get in a year. Josh is kind to indulge. plus, it leaves me free to use this space to think purely about film technique and process.

if you’re at all interested in Apple stuff, and you’d like to hear our snarky opinions on everything (WHO WOULDN’T?!), give macgasm.net a few clicks.  the comments are often where it’s at, so read and participate.

a few shortcuts

you can find any of my Macgasm articles at macgasm.net/author/skidmore.


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