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Exciting Announcement from CVMag!

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2nd Issue as Editor

It’s time for the July/Aug edition of Christian Video Magazine, my second issue as editor. I’m excited about the contents of both this and upcoming issues. In this issue we have:

Cover Story, THE INCREASE, by Gregory Fish

Videos about the Faith of Pro Athletes (a good resource with free content)

Article, The Hunger Games- mindless entertainment and its effects, by Martin Baggs

A well-written and intriguing review of this blockbuster hit, that just came out on Redbox and on-demand. Written from a Christian perspective.

Article, Practice Makes Better by Gregory Fish
A case to create out of passion, not just for pay

Article, Eight Tips for Better Videos by Ryan Geesaman

ArticleStarting From Scratch by Ken Erickson
2 articles that are great for beginners, just getting started in video
This resource can show up in your inbox for free if you subscribe at
Go get it!!!

First Issue as Editor

Christian Video Magazine, Volume 5 Number 3 is my first issue as editor. It just went out today. This is pretty exciting for me and I look forward to the future of this publication as I continue to work on it.

If you do not receive it currently, I’d be honored to deliver it to your inbox. It is a free subscription. Simply go to and follow sign up directions. You can read this issue and past issues at our online community in a new flash viewer or download pdfs to read/ save.

This issue contains:

Editorial, New Beginnings by Gregory Fish
Cover Story, NOMaD 1-2-3 – An interview with Good News Productions, Intl, by Gregory Fish
ArticleThe Avengers – manipulation and teamwork, freedom and subjugation, by Martin Baggs
ArticleThe Power of Video for this Generation by Gregory Fish
ArticleSync Without Sinking by Ryan Geesaman
Quick TipIncrease You YouTube Upload limit from 15 min to 12 Hours! by Chad Gleaves

Thinking Outside

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Download the pdf of this post from Christian Video Magazine- here.

This last mini-movie I made was a beast to edit…and I mean that quite literally. It is about the greatest of beasts which draws its inspiration from an obscure passage in Revelation. Here are some helpful little revelations about the creative process that I gleaned through my experience with this project, which by the way can be found at

Let this video help you to tell the Christmas story in a new but a very Biblical way.

(4-page Leader’s Guide PDF included!)

1) Think Outside the Manger

You thought I’d say “box”, but that would be cliche, and therefore not “outside-the-box” thinking. When it comes to creating a Christmas illustration, we need to think outside the manger. In other words, do something that hasn’t been done already a million times over. A creative person scraping the bottom of the barrel, recycling old, used ideas just isn’t attractive. I know, I know. There’s nothing new under the sun. However, we can present a new/ old idea in a new way. Or we can bring to light something that is new to most people. It’s like when I talk about my new camera lens, it’s not actually new; it’s slightly used, but it’s new to me.

This video has been a long time coming. I taught a class on Revelation at church and actually preached on the Red Dragon of Christmas last year. It’s taken me all of this time to muster the courage to piece together this video and companion leader’s guide. Why courage? There’s a risk in creating something that is different. How will it be received? I don’t know. But we will see. As a pastor, I know what it’s like to come to Christmas every year and wonder how I’m going to bring something fresh this time. The Red Dragon of Christmas certainly would be something that many never would have even considered, but will others now take the risk in showing this video and building their message around this obscure passage? Many pastors are even afraid to get into the book of Revelation beyond chapter three. These types of questions are always on the back of your mind as a creator, but is the unknowing a deal breaker? It is not. You won’t know until you publish. If you ship it off you’ll find out the answer. If you don’t, you’ll never know. So, create something plain and safe, or go outside of your comfort zone to bring a potentially great and impacting creation from conception to follow through all the way to completion. More on this later.

2) Bring in Outside Help

When making something that was a big idea in your mind, you may have to venture outside of yourself to execute that idea effectively. The vision may be larger than your ability to accomplish on your own. That’s is absolutely fine. Bring in outside help. Nobody can be an expert or even decent at everything. John Dickson does a great job in his book Humilitas of defining humility in part as common sense. In that chapter he tells a joke:

There was a plane, and the pilot comes across the radio and says “Attention all passengers. I have some bad news. We are going to crash.” Now, there were three others on board this aircraft, four including the pilot. The pilot says, “The good news is, there are parachutes. The bad news is there are only three. This is my plane, I’m the pilot, and I’m going to take one.” So he straps on a parachute and out he jumps. Now, remaining on board was a brilliant professor, a minister of religion, and a backpacker, with only two parachutes. The brilliant professor jumps up and says, “I’m a brilliant professor; I have lots to achieve in this world; I can create and donate to mankind; I need a parachute.” He straps one on and jumps out of the plane. Left behind is the minister of religion and the backpacker. The minister turns to the backpacker and said, “Look, I’ve had a long life; I’ve enjoyed my life; I know where I’m going. You take the final parachute.” The backpacker stops him and says, “No, wait. That brilliant professor, he just jumped out with my backpack.” While the story is not true, it clearly demonstrates how expertise in one area counts for little in another.

So as Dickson illustrates, while I may be OK at animating, I’m not very good at drawing. Here I needed some original dragon art that I could use and animate, but Illustrator is a program that I hardly ever use! It’s time to phone a friend. Actually I Facebooked him (if that’s a verb). I later went through and explained the crazy concept. Though we live in different states, we were able to collaborate on this project. Without him, I wouldn’t have original dragon art. And if the title is “The Red Dragon of Christmas” I probably need some dragon in the video.

That’s not where the collaborating ended. If you’re a one man team like me, then you are easily tempted to do everything yourself. That way you have more control over it, and you get it the way you want it. That’s all fine and well. More power to you, but know that maybe, just maybe, quite possibly, actually, it could be better if you brought in outside help. This particular had an enormous menacing voice-over. If you look at my videos, you’ll find that I do most of my own voice-overs. It’s easier that way. No need to bother anyone else. On this one, I broke down and said to myself that I should find someone else. The first person I had in mind was a personal friend who is a professional radio voice. Though he too lives in another state, these days that doesn’t mean you can’t collaborate. He did a fabulous job. Only had to fix one pronunciation, and I was ready to build a score around his wonderful narration.
3) Expect Resistance from the Outside
I have my original dragon art. I have my audio done. I’m looking at the calendar. I set a deadline for myself. I get the weekend that I’m supposed to use to piece this thing together. All is ready to go…except for me. The moment I’ve been planning for a year has arrived. I’ve blocked out many other activities to dedicate this time for editing, something I love to do, and yet I want to do anything else but this. Fear is creeping in. Is anyone going to be bold enough to use this? Will they even like it? I don’t know how to create a fire effect or smoke. Will people think this is tacky? Why is a public domain picture of Athaliah so hard to find? All of this is called resistance.

If you haven’t watched my dragon video yet, let me give you the cliff-notes right now. (If you want to go a lot more in depth, it packs a lot of info, and I give you even more in the 4 page pdf that comes with the download.) The video is about the missing piece in our nativity scenes. Not the angels, or shepherds, wise men, or even Joseph. According to Revelation 12 a large Red Dragon was present there in Bethlehem, trying to destroy the child. This is something he been trying to do ever since Genesis 3. He is identified as Satan, the ancient serpent in verse 9. The video chronicles many times throughout scripture that he attempts to undo God’s promise, but is unsuccessful.

I am making a video about our enemy, exposing him for what he is. My wife told me that he probably didn’t want me making this video. That was some of the push-back, the wanting to give up, the self-doubting, the procrastination. In Gary Molander’s new book (I interviewed him in the last edition) he has a section on creative blocks and resistance. On pgs 80-82 he gives it a name. Satan. Interestingly enough, he even quotes Revelation 12, the very passage I was to be animating. Gary writes, “The most important line is the last one – the one that says that Satan is coming after Christ-followers with a rage and with vengeance. You hurt a Father most by harming His children.” I tweeted Gary and he and others actually prayed for me that day. In two days of hard work, the video was done. If you expect resistance, you can counter it. In your next project think “outside”.

Gary Molander Interview Transcript

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I recently had my first experience at the wonderful Echo Conference, and while there I caught up with Gary Molander. For your benefit here’s a transcription of our conversation (video of the interview is at the bottom of the post):

GF: I’m here with Gary Molander,, Floodgate Productions, and author of a new book “Pursuing Christ, Creating Art”. And Gary, instead of telling you what a great job you did. I want to say thank you for writing such a needed book in the Christian artist world. I could relate to it throughout. It ministered to me and I know it’s going to help a lot of people so thank you for writing that.

GM: You’re welcome. I will say that whoever invented blogging is my best friend cause that’s where it all started. It gave me a chance.

GF: Awesome. You say that God doesn’t need our art. We should create art in response to God because the world needs it. My question is do you really think I or any other guy could really change the world? I mean, that’s kind of a lofty goal.

GM: Yeah, the answer is yes, but I think we change the world one person at a time. And so it’s not my job alone to change the world. It’s our collective job as the church, capital C, to change the world. I think what really changes the world are stories told beautifully and art done wonderfully. That’s what I think.

GF: I agree. You also say we are children of God who happen to be artists. And never get that turned around. Why is that important?

GM: It’s because we are children of God first. There will come a day when we are not artists anymore. When we can’t pick up and type or blog or whatever we do. But we will always be children of God. And I think that’s really important to realize so that we don’t have a complete identity meltdown when that day comes, when we aren’t artists anymore.

GF: That’s great. You say your most impacting art is a bi-product of time spent with a creative source, Jesus. And the title of the book is, “Pursuing Christ, Creating Art”, in that order. Do you feel that many people and artists tend to reverse that order?

GM: Yeah, I do. I can’t speak for all artists. I can certainly speak for myself. And the tendency is not to pursue Christ and create art. The tendency is the create Christ and pursue art. And that’s a little bit scary. I wrote the book because I wanted to make sure it’s Christ we’re pursuing and out of that relationship we respond with art.

GF: I love that Christ is literally the backbone of your book. It’s a bold approach. In it you say “Beware of the artist whose skill level surpasses their character. You spend considerable time on creative blocks and you even give resistance a name in Satan. To combat this you say God needs to crucify in the art of the artist both fear and pride. Can you elaborate on that?

GM: Absolutely! What I would say is God is busy crucifying one or the other. It’s either fear or pride. It’s fear of what people will think. And that’s the block. That’s where so many artists get stuck. What will people think of me if I push publish? What will people think of me if I create that media piece and then stand in the back of the church and watch? What will they be thinking? And if he’s not busy crucifying fear in our lives, that’s my biggie by the way, He’s busy crucifying pride.

GF: Two sides of the same coin.

GM: It really is. You know, when you really think about it, it’s not the same thing, but it is two sides of the same coin. You’re exactly right. So, what I say in my book, and I really mean this too, ’cause I’ve met a lot of prideful artists; oh man! Where you can’t touch their work. Where pastors can’t come in and try to massage it at all or change it. “No you can’t change that!” I would just say that, if you tend to overestimate your abilities then I promise, God disagrees.

GF: That’s good. And at times we can cross the line into idolatry. Jump from God worship to art worship. Well, related to that, you say that the best art is born in the joy of heaven or the pain of hell. To create from Hades will result in safer art, less impacting and boring. What did you mean by that?

GM: I just mean that God works in our lives through pain and through beauty. So if I was to ask you what the most painful part of you life is, I would promise that your heart was changed during that time. And if I was to ask you what was the most beautiful thing you’ve ever experienced is, maybe the birth of your children, you would say, “Uh, yeah, I was changed in that moment.” That’s how God changes our hearts. So, my point is: Can we create from those places too? Can we create from the beauty? Can we create from the pain? If we choose to discard the beauty, discard the pain so we are creating from some middle ground, and I think that’s boring. Frankly, if I was an artist who had to create from middle ground all the time I’d feel castrated. I mean, you know, I really would. I would much rather learn to embrace the beauty and embrace the pain and create as much as I can out of those places.

GF: I must say, your book is not a safe book. It’ll change you from the inside out.

GM: I hope so. And you’re making a really good point. I hope it’s not a safe book, but I don’t want it to be an accusatory book either. Does that make sense?

GF: It’s not.

GM: So, the whole time I’m writing it I’m thinking, “I want this to be dangerous, but I don’t want this to be finger wagging, judgmental, legalistic.

GF: I don’t think it is because the whole time you are looking in a mirror and you’re being frank and honest, so I appreciate it. OK, well, just one last question. Kind of the end all question. What does the book mean to you and why did you write it?

GM: I wrote the book because I was deeply impacted by my father who was a writer. And I always wanted to write. I felt like I had something in me to write, but like many people and probably like yourself too you say, “I wanna write, but what would I write on?” And then the more I began to get into the creative arts world and I got my Master of Arts, the more I began to do that, I just realized that artists are really pursuing art. And Christian artists…I’m really pursuing my art and creativity and kind of bringing Jesus on as a passenger. I don’t think that’s the way it’s meant to be.

GF: And that’s why you make it a goal with your art, and now with people who read your book will be introduced into that, where your best art will be when you make the invisible visible.

GM: God. Absolutely and that’s really what it is because that is what we have, like it or not, a God who is not seen. And so we have to make him visible and I think through our love one to another certainly a community would look on. But there’s another way too and that’s through our art. Through art that redeems.

GF: Amen. Well, there you have it. Go buy and read this book. It’s worth every penny and you will not be disappointed. Thanks a lot.


Inspired Creativity

Today was the last day of #echo11, or Echo Conference. It was my first time, and will definitely not be my last! I’m headed home with inspiration, practical tips, and encouragement. Over the next few days I’ll be blogging about some of the many gems. I’ll also be posting my review and interview of Gary Molander and his new book- “Pursuing Christ, Creating Art”. I’ll be posting thoughts on the “Blue Like Jazz” movie as well as a short but great interview of Steve Taylor. So stay tuned.

I was really excited to go to Echo, I it turns out, I should’ve been. However, even before Echo I experienced a sort of surge of inspired creativity. Let me tell you about it and how God used it in ways that I would not have imagined. And you can do the same!

So let me link you now to a pdf of my July article in Christian Video Magazine, entitled “Inspired Creativity“.

Jacob Mann on 7D, rigs, filmmaking

For this month’s article, I thought it’d be nice to interview an expert in the field. Jacob Mann was a good friend of mine growing up and now freelances for a living. I wanted to pick his brain a little, so why not come along with me as we explore the world of freelance video with Jacob Mann.

GF: Jacob, I’d like to welcome you to the Toolkit. You and I go way back. We both were missionary kids in Chile. We went to the same school. We had similar interests in music and basketball even. I never would’ve thought back then that we’d both be into video production now. How is it that you first got interested in this field?

JM: Well, I was always exposed to the broadcast side of things. Growing up as missionary kid, I was always around radio broadcast, as the ministry began
growing, they started adding live sound for concerts, lighting, and video. So being the Pastor’s kid, I was always there at every function. My buddy Job Alonso was always shooting fun little videos and movies, and then editing them old school style using VCRs. He actually really got me excited about it. With the
ministry side of it, and shooting skate videos with Job, then fast-forwarding a few years later I realized that I’m somewhat good at this, I like it, and I can
make money doing it. So why not!

[read more]

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