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Best of Fest!

I recently had the privilege of being selected to the 19th Bare Bones International Film and Music Festival in Muskogee, OK with my documentary about the Joplin tornado and recovery. It’s touted as the friendliest film festival and in my estimation they lived up to it. From the moment I first met the founders at a VIP reception, they greeted me and my wife with a hug and a selfie and a comment about driving through Joplin and seeing some of the rebuilding.

I also got to do a radio interview at the local station.

 

But let’s skip to the awards night… I knew going in that I was one of four nominees for the Best Feature Documentary award. The DJ at the radio, who is also a storm chaser, watched my film and seemed convinced that I would win. But I wasn’t too sure and tried to not get my hopes up too much. The awards ceremony finally arrives and the wait is over.  They are announcing the Best Feature Documentary, and I’m hoping to hear “Steadfast, directed by Gregory Fish.” But instead they called another film, I think it was called “The Big Secret.” My heart sank a bit, but I resigned to the fact that I had not won. The director went up and gave his acceptance speech about how they won in France and some other country, but this means more to them for bringing it home. I was at least thankful to lose to good competition. Then the presenter introduces the final award in the documentary section, Best of Fest, whether a feature or a short or micro, the best documentary of the whole festival is, and then I heard my film’s name! A moment of discouragement quickly gave way to exhilaration as I walked up to the podium, an award-winning filmmaker. You can hear in my speech that I was emotional:

 

What an amazing experience and an even better outcome! Thanks to everyone who has encouraged me along the way.

 

 

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Giving IS Better than Receiving

On my last trip to Mexico, there were many sweet moments, but no sweeter than this. It’s a memorable in which I was reminded that it truly IS better to give than to receive.

We visited a small church in a very poor part of town. When we ask the pastor what needs he had, he mentioned that he had no instruments to use in church, and a guitar would help tremendously. That’s when God put a thought in my spirit… A thought that I wrestled with for the next day or two.

 

I had a guitar with me. It’s a guitar with tremendous sentimental value. I had it since before my first kid was born. And now he is a teenager and a member of the team on this very Mexico trip! I’ve recorded albums with this guitar, sung thousands of songs on it, and now God is prompting me to give it away. I fought Him on this, recounting all of the reasons why this guitar (which I called by it’s nickname “Al”) should stay with me. The reasons weren’t good enough to stop a change in ownership, and I knew it. I knew I was supposed to give it away.

As long as these were my thoughts, I could change my mind in selfishness. So I knew I needed to put it out there and tell a friend, and then I couldn’t take it back. So I told my friend, Derick, who is in my life a tremendous example of selflessness. And there it was. That night, I’d play some songs and tell of my history with the guitar, and inform him that I just played my last song on it, and that it was now his to play.

I want to be clear on something. I don’t write this to brag in any way. I know Jesus says that when you give not to announce it. I can’t brag about this anyway. The way I fought God on this internally doesn’t put me in a very good light! I write this to encourage you, that if you feel the promptings of God to sacrifice and give something away to someone less fortunate, do it! Don’t fight Him. You’ll lose. Or you might miss out on the blessing of giving.

What a sweet moment is was! I get emotional just thinking about it. Seeing my brother in Christ play his first song on my old guitar. You’ll have to just watch it for yourself. My now teenage son recorded the exchange:

 

 

We Lost a Good Man…

Last month, we lost a good man. Mark Allen was GNPI’s Nomad Coordinator for the last two years, and made a huge impact in that short time. It was emotional for me to edit this tribute video. Shortly after he passed away in a vehicle accident I wrote the following paragraphs to share about this wonderful soul:

In Color Code personality theory, yellow is the driving core that’s motivated by fun. Mark tested as high yellow. Bright yellow! As a fellow yellow, myself, I’m no stranger to being the comic relief in the office. But whenever Mark was in town, he stole that show in a great and wonderful way. People fed off of his energy, (I know) probably depleting his own reserves. But like the energizer bunny, he kept on going and going, and was perpetually lifting people’s spirits.
He shared with others an infectious joy in life. I’ll remember him, not only for the way he made people laugh, but also for his giving spirit. Some of the neatest old cameras in my collection in my office were gifts from Mark just because. It goes without saying that he will be missed every time I see those pieces.
My daughter won a CD at some event and wanted to hear it as we drove to the lake this last weekend. We were listening to it when a colleague texted asking if I had checked my work email. I sensed it was important so I looked and saw the tragic news of Mark’s passing. Sadness hit like a ton of bricks. Then I immediately heard over the car stereo on the CD my daughter gave me the words from Chris Tomlin’s song “Home”:
 
There’s a better place waiting for me in heaven
Every tear will be wiped away
Every sorrow and sin erased
We’ll dance on seas of amazing grace in heavenin heaven
I’m going Home
Where the streets are golden
Every chain is broken
Oh I wanna go, Oh I wanna go
Home, where every fear is gone
I’m in Your open arms
Where I belong Home
The tears well up as I think of that moment and even now as I write. Mark was not just a teammate, a talented trainer, a funny storyteller. He was a friend. And although it’s painfully shocking to think of how he will be missed, we find some solace in knowing that he’s gone Home, which is right where he belongs.
Please take a few minutes to watch this video tribute featuring people from all over the world who were also impacted by this individual.

Categories: Uncategorized

First Element 3D Video

I recently installed the Element 3D plugin from Videocopilot that we had at the office, and used a model phone for a video. It was fun to do, and I think it turned out pretty nice. I think my favorite part is when the phone multiplies into several phones. Enjoy! Oh, and get the GNPI app too!

Categories: Uncategorized

Inspiring Documentary For Free

January 19, 2017 Leave a comment

For a few more weeks, I’m giving away my documentary, “Steadfast” as seen on PBS for free with coupon code: “newyear”. Get it now right here!

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60+ performers, 12 nations, 8 languages, 1 song

March 11, 2016 4 comments

There are lots of projects that get me excited, but this one was a once in a lifetime opportunity. This music video is one of my proudest creative achievements to date.

You could say that it was 20 years in the making. I wrote this song from the shortest chapter in the Bible when I was in high school. My band used to play it occasionally in youth group, but we didn’t do too much with it. Years later I ended up recording it myself in a home studio project, but I didn’t really like how it came out. Now fast forward to a couple of years ago.

I work as the video editor for the U.S. office of GNPI (www.gnpi.org). We have video-savvy people in strategic places all over the world. My fun little song says, “Praise the Lord all you nations…” It seemed like the perfect time to use the song to the fullest potential, using the vast network of international producers now at my disposal! I pitched the idea to our creative team and then to the executive team. It was a big project. Some called it EPIC! After nearly a year of planning, six months of work from 12 nations and eight languages around the world, this music video is now being released!

We hope it brings smiles to many faces and a small glimpse of Revelation 7:9, “…a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb.”

If you like the video, would you help us by sharing it with your friends? We’ve also created a behind the scenes video with details about those who participated in the project. If you’d like to see more of that backstory, check this out short video:

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A Good Sport

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Our summer intern, Hannah, from China had her last day at work today. She was a really good sport. She was mainly a graphic design help and helped to design our calendar for next year. I’m excited about that as it’s the ministry’s 40th anniversary and the calendar features some history in it. I also helped her learn some videos skills. She helped me set up for lot’s of shoots and then the best part was she starred in an ad that was did!

You can see the ad and the funny behind the scenes below. (And yes, I was photobombed!)

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