But when those deals are connected to things I really love or am interested in, then finding them is a wonderful feeling.
Such was the case when I was offered a CD album from Vision Forum in exchange for posting a review of said item on my blog.
Now, just to be upfront with everyone, I ought to say that I don't agree with every single company on every single thing, but there are a handful of companies that, while I don't think they're perfect, I feel comfortable saying I really like them. Vision Forum is one of those companies, and I got very excited over the prospect of reviewing one of their products. The album I chose was one I've gazed at longingly in the Vision Forum catalog:
Remember, a few posts back, I talked about dreams? I had this album in mind when I wrote that post. Some of us have dreams that may never be fulfilled and deep inside we know that, but we dream them anyway.
I've always dreamed of taking a part in the making of a movie. Not just any movie, though; I wanted to be part of something I could be proud of.
I know Christians have varying views about television and movies. My purpose in this post is not to go into all of that. I believe that in areas where God hasn't given us a specific command, we ought to let one another have our own convictions. My own family hasn't watched television in years, and we are pretty picky about which movies we watch, but we do believe the TV can be a very useful machine, when used properly.
I've often imagined what it would be like to help create a movie. I'm not picky - I'd love to be an actress, but I'd also love to run the cameras, be a gofer, arrange the lighting, design the costumes, fix hair, fill a set, or even just watch. So long as I'd be where the action is taking place, doing whatever I'm allowed to do. Whenever we get a new DVD, the first thing I do is check the back to see if a "Behind the Scenes" feature is included. My family jokes about it, saying "We'd better not let Amber get a hold of this if we want to actually watch the feature." They're right - I will happily watch the "Behind the Scenes" first!
So I believe we've established the fact that I'm interested in movie-making. The problem is, for many years I believed I was "bad" for being interested in it, because the only movies being made today, by Hollywood and such, were ones I would never want to be involved with. Can you imagine my delight when I found out that there are Christians out there who want to make movies that uplift and honor the Lord Jesus Christ? Even if I never get involved in the film-making industry, I like knowing that those kinds of movies are being made.
So perhaps you understand now why I wanted to listen to the CD album from The 2009 Christian Film Academy. The Film Academy in 2009 was a gathering of over 500 students who want to make Christ-honoring films, and was taught by some really talented film-makers. The day the album it arrived in the mail, I was ecstatic!
The album was even better than I hoped. It is packed full of practical information, as well as some very thought-provoking lectures on the motives and spiritual drives behind movie-making. The album includes:
- A two-part lecture on cinematography
- An analysis of how Christians should depict violence in film
- A blueprint for how Christian filmmakers can rightly employ the Science Fiction genre
- A look at the twelve most common mistakes of beginning directors
- Practical tips on how you can improve a film in ten minutes
- A panel discussion with feature filmmakers such as Stephen Kendrick of Fireproof
- “How to Win the $101,000 Best of Festival Award”
- A special address by actor Dean Jones outlining why Christians should build an independent film movement outside Hollywood
- A bonus DVD of lecture slides from the event
- And much more!
I haven't finished every CD yet, but I've already heard enough to know this is a great album. If you, like me, are interested in film-making, I would highly recommend this album. The biggest reason is because it made me re-think my motives in dreaming about movie-making.
After all, if you really wanted to, you could find all sorts of resources out there to help you make better, more high-tec movies, act better, light better, etc. The skills aspect of film-making is certainly covered in this album, but it also delves into the heart of the matter: the motives that drive the film-maker. The desire that should be present in a writer, director, or camera man; to uplift the name of Christ.
That kind of challenge and encouragement is something you won't find everywhere. It's well worth hearing. It made me think about motives and desires in my personal life, even though I don't make movies.