2017 is on its way out, time to look ahead to 2018! Let me know what YOUR plans are for the coming year!
It’s finally done! 🙂
Inspired by her cousin Rachel, Felicia Sterling sets out to try to follow the “What Would Jesus Do” pledge for herself, and encounters her own set of difficulties.
I wrote this follow-up short film to be the project for the 2016 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers & Actors Camp. Ever since Rich Swingle (who played John Gray in In His Steps) started teaching the Actors Camp with us, I’ve wanted to do something In His Steps-related that could include him and my dad (Ken Lawrence, who plays Pastor Maxwell) since, you know, we had both of them there!
The biggest challenge in writing was making sure it had enough scenes for each of the film camp students to direct, and enough parts for each of the acting camp students to have a substantial role so that they all could apply what they were learning. It took a few years, but I was finally able to come up with a story based on the characters from the second half of the book, which, to my knowledge, have never been adapted to film before!
Everyone except for Felicia’s female friends and the homeless girl are all characters featured in the book. Plot-wise, the only elements I used were:
- Felicia being the only member of her family who takes the WWJD pledge
- Pastor Calvin Bruce knowing Henry Maxwell from seminary
- Felicia’s mother not being present with the rest of the family due to an illness (not stated explicitly in the film, but the actors were given that bit of info to help build their characters)
Beyond that, it’s all original story. Hope you enjoy it!
You can see my behind the scenes vlog from that camp by clicking here.
I had a blast teaching again at this year’s Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp! Check out my vlog from the week:
I know this is a long one, so if you need to take a break, here are the times for each day’s section:
Day 1 – 0:00
Day 2 – 9:05
Day 3 – 10:25
Day 4 – 15:14
Day 5 – 19:29
Day 6 – 23:23
I’m getting restless.
We’re getting super close to the time on In His Steps where I’ll have to send the movie off to someone else to work on, and I’ll be left with nothing to do for a time.
Oh sure, there’s behind the scenes and promotional stuff to work on, but it’s not the same. The actual movie making phase is winding down. And while it’s exciting to see a project I’ve been working on for nearly seven years finally be finished, I’m already starting to get impatient. I mean, it’s been two months already since I was last on set!
I really want to be on set again. I could be a grip, and I’d be happy.
I love being on set!
The return of this nearly insatiable desire has gotten me thinking, though. I remember that I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, there was a time when I was ready to quit the dream before it had really gotten started. Ironically enough, it was while I was working on In His Steps in what seems like a lifetime ago. (It was before I was married, so it may as well have been. 😉 )
It was 2008. We had just announced that we were suspending production on In His Steps indefinitely. I was pretty disheartened. I’d even say depressed. Why would God block us from completing something I was so certain He had led us to start? Why even bother continuing? Why not just get a “real” job and forget this silly filmmaking nonsense?
Don’t you just love 20/20 hindsight?
Turns out I needed some training. I needed maturing. I needed experience. Yeah, I’d never been on a real movie set before, and really was not prepared in the slightest to direct a feature film. Thankfully, God used the cancelling (really, the postponing!) of In His Steps to bring producer/director Norton Rodriguez into my life. When he agreed to teach at our Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp, it not only revived my passion for filmmaking, it also led to the training of nearly three dozen other people in the craft of Christian filmmaking!
I’m sure there’s a lesson there about God’s perfect timing, and how He can use circumstances to glorify Himself and bless others.
And wouldn’t you know it, In His Steps is getting made after all.
But the other cool thing is that since then, I’ve been able to work on at least two movies a year!
Am I Special (actor, project unreleased)
Hearing God (actor, student director, editor)
John’s Miracle (actor, student director, editor)
The Door Backwards (actor)
Ragged Edge (writer, director, editor)
Blessings Missed (actor, assistant director, editor)
Choices (assistant director, editor)
In His Steps: The Series (writer, director, editor)
Only On Sunday (assistant director, editor)
In His Steps: The Movie (writer, director, actor, editor)
Hmm? Only one movie this year?! Well, no wonder I’m feeling restless! I’ve got a record to keep up! That’s okay, there’s still a few months left in the year, right?
Originally posted on ChristianFilmmakersCamp.com
In 2007 I was going to embark on directing my first feature film project. I’d written a script, read a couple books, and made some short YouTube videos starring myself. Surely I was ready for the tremendous undertaking of directing a ninety minute movie, right?
I learned pretty quickly, as you might expect, that I was about to do the equivalent of diving into the deep end when I’d only heard about the concept of swimming. The project fell apart, and I was pretty depressed. What did I do wrong? Did this mean God didn’t want me to make movies? Why did this happen?
What happened was that I simply didn’t have the skills or experience to finish the task I had set out to do.
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it” Luke 14:28 (NKJV)
What I’ve learned since then is that while some are fortunate enough to have big projects from the start, most filmmakers start small and work their way up. Two filmmakers I admire and study are Alfred Hitchcock and George Lucas (don’t laugh, now). They both started small, Lucas making many short films while in film school, and Hitchcock started as a title card designer during the silent film era. These two men became regarded as great filmmakers (for quite different reasons, admittedly). They both started small, and they both did a LOT. Hitchcock worked on 17 films in the five years prior to his directorial debut. Lucas made 9 short films before his first feature.
So if you feel you’ve been called to make feature films, or just have a burning passion to tell stories through film… start producing! Make short films, make a web series, do a documentary, film a skit at church… but do something! Of course it won’t be great… at first. But think of how gratifying it will be to look back in five, or even two, years and be able to see how far you’ve come and how much you’ve improved.