Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hey, I'm Back.

FREE MUSIX!!! Yeah, you don't see that often on the internets right? This time it's special though. The free music in question is coming from a decent Christian band and it's unreleased stuff! House of Heroes is releasing their new record via iTunes this summer (finally, a Christian band with a clue), but they're giving away three of the fifteen tracks for free... Now.

Go. Download. Nowz.

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Episode Twenty Eight - The Oath of Desormeau

Check out the official website of The Oath of the Desormeau.  Lots of good info there.  

FINALLY. Curse Garageband (or Blue Snoball), but the latest episode is up and running.

Like a song on the show? Don't like a song on the show? Just need something new to listen to at work? Check out the SuperCandid Muxtape. Intro and Outro songs compiled from our past six episodes (or rather, building up to our last six) available in streaming form. As far as iTunes seems to allow anyway.

We spent a while talking about The Myriad's new video, so you can watch it here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Marketing to Faith-Based Audiences

The Hollywood Reporter has an article about marketing to "faith-based" audiences, specifically in regards to major Hollywood films like the just released Prince Caspian.  

It has numerous interesting and troubling points, such as someone from Gener8xion Entertainment saying that relationships with senior pastors are his "secret sauce" in the recipe of faith based marketing.  He mentions that the most effective tactic is having a pastor play a trailer and then endorse a film.  For me, I find that concept disturbing.  I was troubled by the single, small poster for Expelled that was on the bulletin board at my church.  I think that if my pastor had devoted service time to a trailer and then endorsed the film himself, that would be the day I leave the church.  
The article does bring up the concept, as expressed by Bill Ewing in our interview way back about a year ago, that The Passion was a anamoly.  They also mention how huge "faith-based" marketing campaigns failed to turn Evan Almighty or The Nativity Story into hits.   However, marketing people interviewed keep saying that they can have success getting Christian rear-ends into seats, despite scant evidence.  It seems that, for marketers eyes, all Christians are part of a monolithic viewing block that simply follows wherever someone mentions Jesus in a film.  Or even worse, when they don't mention Jesus at all and expect Christians to come anyway because of some tenuous association.  
Rather insulting to Christians, if you ask me, and I'm proud to see that such slimy campaigns as Evan Almighty failed to bring in the gullible audiences they were apparently looking for.  

Friday, May 16, 2008

Episode Twenty Eight Delayed

We recorded our 28th episode 2 days ago, but we had some technical problems in the recording.  

So, the long and short of it is that we have to re-record it.  We're reviewing The Oath of the Desmoreau, so we'll try to get that done in the next couple days.

In the meantime, a big congrats and prayers of thanks to God;  I'm graduating college today!

Expect better posting next week since I'll be done with school, for a while at least.  

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Watch Christian Movies Online (sort-of)

So Radiant God has a post about a website where you can watch Christian movies for free. Entitled Higher Praise, the site also hosts sermons, sermon illustrations(literally thousands of those little Paul Harvey-esque stories that ministers sometimes favor) and worship music, in addition to films. Naturally, I was excited, although I questioned the legality of such a site. Normally, Christian movie producers are even worse then Hollywood in keeping the profits of their movies close to the vest, so I was skeptical of anyone saying they could put up Christian movies for free. So I wandered around the site for a few minutes, and this is what I discovered. First, there is no way any of this site is legal, as much as I think it should be. They have a lengthy and confusing "Terms of Use" page that defines their operation as similar to a library, and their belief that they are covered under fair use. All well and good, and I support this concept, but so far none of the copyright holders or courts have supported this interpretation of the law. Second, the site is about as ugly as possible. Horrific colors, HTML to make your eyes bleed, and gawdy advertisements everywhere. It looks like the kind of site that you might find if you are searching around for the most illicit, immoral and illegal kinds of things that you might want to find on the internet. Finally, the movies that it promises are not what they seem. It promises the entire "Prophecy" series of A Thief in the Night, A Distant Thunder and Image of the Beast. Instead, all three movies link to a different movie, Years of the Beast. The 10 minutes I watched make it look as awesomely bad as the other films, but it does make the site seem pretty fishy if they are pulling a bait and switch with movies like this. I'm really interested in copyright law and media sharing in this digital age, but this site is a perfect example of everything that Hollywood and other movie producers are afraid of. It diminishes anything that is hosted there, and claims it all under "fair use." Save This Page Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Widow's Might

Just saw some new info on a film that is the very early stages of pre-production: The Widow's Might.

Don't know much about the story other than the obvious fact that it is based upon the famous story from Mark 12:41-43.
It sounds like they have quite a production planned, using one of the trendy new "RED" cameras.
On the filmmaker's blog they've posted a call for support for the film. Astuteness in Filmmaking points out that these filmmakers are using the vast resources of the internet to make their film a reality.
I applaud any independant filmmaker who eschews the Hollywood model to produce a film themselves, and I think the internet can be a powerful too, if used wisely, to leverage support from around the world.
At the moment my only reservation is the presence of the two men in the poster for The Widow's Might. I'm concerned that the film will forget about the "might" of the widow and provide a new husband to take care of the widow. Not that I anything against romance stories, but the Bible is full of wonderful stories of widow's that don't need a romance in their life to do great things for God(ie. the eponymous widow of Mark 12, Elijah's widow of Zaraphath), although there are a few who did find great glory for God in a new romance(Ruth of course, and David had a thing for creating widows and then marrying them-that would be an interesting concept for a film!). I mention this partly because a woman spoke in church today about how much the church and the Lord had helped her get through the murder of her husband. Of all the things that she mentioned, she never once mentioned God providing a new father for her children, or a new partner for her. The Bible mention's God special love for widow's many times, but not once can I recall it including a promise that widow's will be re-married.
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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Albuquerque Connection to Expelled!

I knew that I recognized the name!  

When we saw Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed last week, I saw the name Mark Mathis in the credits.  I wondered if it was the same Mark Mathis who was once a local talk radio personality, but Don said it was probably a common name.  Well, I looked it up!  

It's actually hard to draw the connection.  But, through this website I found the website of Rampant Films, one of the co-producers of Expelled.  On the Rampant website you can find the bio of Producer Mathis, under "Inside Rampant."  Mathis is best know as a PR guy, so you might be able to lay some of blame/credit for Expelled's ubiquitous media presence on his shoulders.  He's also a founding member of "Citizens for Responsible Energy," a group that has such diverse goals as increasing wind power, drilling for oil in wildlife refuges and discrediting the "myth" of global warming.  

I remember Mathis best for his radio show, which dissapointed me when it was cancelled(and the whole, ill-advised FM talk radio station went under shortly after).  Mathis hosted it with his wife, Dianne Anderson(an ABQ news celebrity), and it was quite entertaining.  Mathis & wife had a great rapport and created a entertaining talk show about local issues, even if I disagreed with them about 70% of the time.  The biggest problem with the show was that Mathis had the awful habit of eating on air, so he was constantly talking with his mouth full.  Ugh.  Also, the producers of the show made the disastrous decision in choosing what show to air as a repeat when the hosts were on vacation.  Of all the shows they could have chosen, they re-aired the live coverage of Albuquerque's deadliest shooting spree in recent history.  Listeners who tuned in that day could hear a complete recounting of the live coverage from that tragic day, complete with speculation and news reports.  When I heard it my first thought was, "oh no, not another killing."  I actually had a chance to discuss that with the show's producer when she visited a class that I was taking in college, and she could offer no explanation other than, "we messed up."  

The reason I mention this is that Christian Cinema has what looks like a press release from the producers of Expelled, which mentions Mathis prominently, announcing that the film has reached #13 on the all time highest grossing documentaries.  Another few thousand dollars and it will pass Roger and Me, Michael Moore's first film.  Expelled drop quite a few theatres this past weekend, presumably to make room for Iron Man, and with the blockbusters coming out over the next few weeks we can expect it to continue to decline.  However, even with lower total theatre numbers, it maintained a respectable per-theatre average.  I'm sure this one will be eaten up on home video, just because of its subject matter.  

If you want my recommendation, pickup either The Fog of War or Grizzly Man.  #18 & #26 on the top grossing documentaries list, but those two films are both entertaining and enlightening throughout.  They will change your life.  The key difference between those two, and other excellent documentaries, is that they raise questions and challenge you to let go of your assumptions.  Unlike some others, which shall go unnamed, that prefer to tell you what to think.  

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Spirit West Coast Video Contest

I don't know anything about Spirit West Coast.  Nothing.  

Apparently it is some sort of Christian music festival.  I recognized a band called Skillet.  

But, I'm interested because they are having a amateur video contest for videos to be played on their JumboTron during the festival.  Sounds like a fun opportunity to get some home-made short films seen.  I'd recommend films that don't rely upon sound to get their point across, since no one can ever understand anything broadcast over a PA system.

(news release at Christian Examiner)

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Christian Message in Iron Man

I don't usually like to talk about non-Christian movies here, but I found this one article that I thought was too interesting too pass up.  

You know how some churches use popular movie clips to illustrate points?  Or perhaps you've read Wild At Heart and marveled at how Eldridge was able to relate nearly every scene in Braveheart & The Matrix into a Christian allegory.
Well, Iron Man is one of the best movies of the year so far, and people are already trying to figure out how to integrate it into their sermons.  
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Monday, May 5, 2008

Filmmaker Gerald Bickel

The Great Falls tribune has a story about filmmaker Gerald Bickel's latest movie, a Christian movie about an angel who comes to earth and falls in love.  Sounds like a Montana based remake of Michael, but the proceeds of the film will go to benefit an 11-year old who needs heart surgery.

What a great and wonderful time we live in when Great Falls, MT can make a film that gets national attention.  I'm looking forward to seeing the result.

Oh, and here is another of Gerald Bickel's movies, that I found on youtube.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Episode Twenty Seven - Expelled

Ben Stein goes all Michael Moore(except he's on the host and didn't direct it the way Moore does), and we make a rare trip to the theatres to see Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.  Sorry the podcast is so late, but we've had a hectic couple of week.s  I even had a really great photo to put up with this post, but now I'll have to save it because I don't have the energy to get my digital camera and upload it at the moment.

Anyway, some good reading if you want the "full story" behind Expelled:
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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Erwin Brothers Motion Pictures

The Erwin Brothers, filmmakers behind such films as The Cross and The Towers, have a nice little profile about them from the Birmingham News.  

The profile doesn't go over any new movie news, but it does have a nice bit about how they built an independent film production company from the ground up.  

The Erwin Brothers have a diverse range of credits that include documentaries, short films, music videos and more.  You can check out their stuff on their official site.  

Their latest project is a series of short films based on Bible stories.  While this may sound an awful lot like Promenade's "Epic Stories of the Bible" series, these stories look like they will be much smaller and more personal in scope.  Also, judging from the footage from their pilot piece, The Widow and the Oil, they will be high quality films with thoughtful interpretations of the Bible.  I look forward to the whole series!

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