T-2

Almost time. Today, I decided it was smart to take a day to just hang out with my wife and daughter.

We watched Thor: Ragnarok again. It’s a fun movie. Although, I think a lot of the humor is based on unexpected behaviors and I wonder how that will hold up to repeated viewings.

It’s also super corny. Between the music and all the colors, it reminds me of Flash Gordon. Most folks consider that to be a complete waste of time, but I still think it’s funny. It’s just campy and silly and doesn’t even try to take itself seriously.

Regardless, Chris Hemsworth has an unexpected gift for comedy, particularly in the awkward behaviors genre.

Here’s something that keeps troubling me about this film (I know, I’m being nitpicky here). How can it be true that Thor grew up hearing legends of the Valkerie’s but doesn’t know they’ve all been wiped out, or really anything about the era in which they fought?

In project news, please be in prayer. I don’t want to post details publicly, but we are experiencing a lot of last minute issues. They’re significant and could really mess things up. God can handle all of it, though.

T-3

We spent much of the day today working on the prop pictured above. The folder is filled with photos and official documents building an imaginary case against our imaginary character.

Note that isn’t the read Interpol logo. Alex the Intern actually put that together himself, including hand drawing the continents. It’s an impressive piece of work and while it evokes the Interpol logo, it’s different enough that to make it clear we’re not trying to forge official documents.

A lot has come together and I feel great about much of what we’ve accomplished. But we still have a ton to do. Our most recent news from the island indicates that a lot of our plans are going to have to be changed to match the new circumstances on the ground there. Please be praying for us. This isn’t really our project. And in many ways, its success or failure is out of our hands.

Very grateful to all of you who are following along with us.

Here’s the before and after of the surveillance photo I posted last night:

T-4

This grainy, night-vision shot, was originally a tack sharp daytime shot of one of our actors. Maybe tomorrow I’ll include a before and after…

Every morning, I wake up a little overwhelmed by all the things that still need to happen to be ready for our departure Saturday.

It’s hard to keep up with it all. Today, in addition to madly scrambling for props, hunting costumes, learning about all the unexpected challenges we’re going to be facing next week, and creating fake surveillance photos, we added a major house plumbing overhaul to the mix.

Each day, I’m reminded in livid detail that I can’t do this. I’m insufficient to the task. Fear of failure dogs my heels a lot. Afterall, this isn’t just some tiny project that no one will ever see. I’ve been blogging, tweeting, and basically leveraging all of my relationships and communications networks to tell everyone and anyone who will listen about this thing.

I’m often tempted to work really hard. To view myself as the solution to every problem, ignoring the giftings of my teammates and taking on a bit of a savior complex. The result is that I quickly feel overwhelmed, and I start to come apart. I find myself becoming more and more paralyzed by my own inadequacy and by the overwhelming number of tasks that must be accomplished.

But there’s a solution to my problem. It’s deceptively simple, and somehow incredibly hard. See, all I have to do is trust God. Accept that I’m not the solution and lean on the only one who is. There’s peace and rest there. He is utterly trustworthy.

In 43 years of life, he’s shown me over and over again that he cares for me, and is working out all of the details of my life for my good and his glory. I just have to trust.

Today, I did. And I got so much more done. And it felt so much better. Now I just have to do it again tomorrow…

Writing Tip: Two Simple Steps to Better Dialog

Getting dialog right is tough. The way real people speak is remarkably difficult to read. We ramble and imply. We don’t use punctuation or good sentence structure. If you mimic it too accurately, no one will understand what your characters are saying. Instead, we’re always struggling to create clearer, cleaner communication without sacrificing that authentic feel…. It’s not a low bar.

Step one: Record yourself reading your dialog aloud. This isn’t difficult to do. Your phone can probably do it for shorter works. Or for longer stretches using a free program like Audacity can be a great way to go.

Speaking your words aloud will reveal a lot of convoluted and difficult to say phrases. When you find yourself stammering or struggling with a sentence, change it. If it’s hard to read aloud, it’s probably hard to read.

Step Two: listen to your recording. Does it sound like you expected? Does it seem forced? Do you hear yourself struggling with words or phrases you missed when you were reading it? Most of the time, your unnatural words and phrases will stick out. The hardest part of any problem is finding it. Once you know where the trouble spots are you can get to fixing them!

Do you have any tips or techniques for writing good dialog? Share them in the comments!

First Day of Shooting

And so it begins…

Today we went out to shoot some surveillance shots we need for making a few props and to grab the first few little flashes of footage for our film’s trailer.

Alex the Intern did a fantastic job capturing it all in this week’s vlog. Check it out: