Rainy Days and Film Scripts

It looks like a rather blustery day...
It looks like a rather blustery day…

After stumbling about in the rain for a few necessary minutes with a scarf over my head because I couldn’t find my umbrella, I’m quite content to sit indoors on this blustery day and wait it out. (That is, until I have to leave for my other job this afternoon.) I’ve already had two cups of coffee, but I may succumb to number three. It’s dark, gloomy and windy out. That sort of weather just begs more coffee, or if you’re like a lot of my friends, more tea. I’m about ready to close the shades to my office window. I find myself staring out at the rain, going into a trance and not writing. I suppose I can allow that for a few minutes since the last couple of weeks have been quite productive!

I started my second film script for Duke Street Productions once again. This time, the momentum is high. One of the things holding me back was the nuisance of formatting a film script correctly. I hadn’t learned how to do it a couple years ago which caused some timing issues for The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club. At the film festival in Texas, though, I learned about Celtx—a free program that does the formatting for you. I started messing around with that last week. It’s so easy! So now I can focus on writing a story instead of worrying about whether I’ve formatted the story correctly. (I hate technical details. I’m a big picture kind of person.)  Anyhow, I’m now thirty pages into the new script and eagerly looking forward to the next big chunk of time I can use to plow forward.  I am very excited about this next project. It’s a story that comes from deep inside of me about a topic that is so very important. I wish I could tell you what it’s about, but we’ve decided it would be best to keep it on the down-low until the script is done and we’re into the planning stage. The title of this next film is under wraps at the moment, but if you’d like to get a general idea of the movie’s theme you can read Severe Mercies, a post I wrote a few months ago.

If you think of me as I write this, please pray. I want to show this story well. I hope that a small part of God’s character will be revealed accurately through this story. My hope is that unbelievers will feel compelled to give Him more of their thoughts and believers will be reminded that God’s ways are always perfect.

That is all for this week. I need to work on a Union Gospel Press assignment. That is, if I can tear my eyes away from the rain drops falling outside.

Film Festival in Restrospect

Film Festival in Retrospect

Well, I broke my promise of blogging a couple of times last week while we were at the film festival. Bother. I had the best of intentions, but boy, were we busy!

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Rowan and Mr. Cade

Here’s how the week went. Sunday, myself, Justin and Mr. Cade (who played Virgil in the movie) flew out of Chicago and arrived in San Antonio in the afternoon. After picking up the rental car and driving to the rental house, we hauled all of our junk inside and then waited until Seth, Harmony and Rowan arrived at the airport. They came in later that night and my friend, Lynette, flew in the next day at the same time as Stacey (who played the lovely waitress, Megan). There we all were, a large portion of The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club team, together again. We all oohed and aahed over the baby. It was the first time I’d seen Rowan in the flesh, and I found him quite satisfactory.

Wanted and WMBC crews
Wanted and WMBC crews

Monday night, we met up with the crew from Wanted (Stacey’s next movie project) on the river walk. We had a good talk and commiserated with them over their Kickstarter campaign, which at the time seemed to be losing a bit of ground. Oh, how we felt for them! I recall shedding more than a few tears when it looked like our own campaign was doomed to failure.

Tuesday, the Filmmaker’s Guild began and lasted through Thursday morning. We had the opportunity to get a lot of good Biblical teaching plus go to workshops where we learned some more of the nuts and bolts of filmmaking. I think the most memorable workshop for me was the one on writing by John Fornof who has written for Adventures in Odyssey and other neat stuff. Not only did I laugh my head off at his amusing presentation, but I also had a lot of writing techniques confirmed to me—ways to make the characters likeable, etc… Plus, I believe Mr. Fornof is more of a Charles Dickens nut than I am. And any friend of Charles Dickens is a friend of mine.

Before our first showing...
Before our first showing…

On Thursday afternoon, the Film Festival began. All of us breakfast club people looked forward to Friday and Saturday with great excitement.1920205_481897145255689_105822985_n Our first showing was Friday night. Stacey and I donned our waitress outfits again and handed out the survey cards as people came in. My clever brother designed them to look like guest checks at a restaurant and the attention to detail was not lost on the audience. When I finally took my seat, the room was packed and people were sitting on the floor. I listened as the people around me roared with laughter over the funny parts and sniffed during the sad ones. (Every time I sit in on a showing of the movie, such a unique sensation comes over me. “Huh. I wrote that,” is about the only thing that comes to mind. The movie has sort of taken on a life of its own and I find myself laughing just as hard as everyone else. That probably looks weird or conceited or something, but I can’t help it. I have to remind myself that I did actually write the thing.) That night we found out that Wanted had reached its goal on Kickstarter!

A visit to San Antonio wouldn't be complete without the Alamo
A visit to San Antonio wouldn’t be complete without the Alamo
Justin, Rusty, Mr. Cade and Jeremiah
Justin, Rusty, Mr. Cade and Jeremiah

Our second showing on Saturday went well, too. There were probably two hundred people or more in the room. The best part about showing the movie was all feedback. I had person after person pull me aside and tell me how much the film meant to them. One family, like me, had spent many years caring for an elderly relative so the story especially resonated with them. One gentleman told my brother, “I have to go right away. I need to call my mom.” Praise the Lord! That is exactly the sort of impact we had hoped to make with the story.

Though we didn’t walk away with any awards, we still made it into the four or five films (I can’t remember exactly) that were finalists. That was exciting! I would be hard pressed to say what parts of the festival I enjoyed the most. It was all such a blessing and an encouragement, especially meeting so many new friends and getting to know the old ones better.I was quite unwilling to leave when the time came. But there will be another one next year, God willing. So, I’ll have to contain myself until then.

 

Film Festival!

Official-selection-laurels-blackIt has been yet another interesting week. My car broke down again, stranding me in Kalamazoo overnight. So much fun. Thank God for my aunt who let me crash at her house. As I am sick of car trouble, I assume you must be too. Therefore, that is all I shall say about it!

Last year, we got to meet the Kendricks.
Last year, we got to meet the Kendricks.

The time is drawing near for the Christian Worldview Film Festival in San Antonio. This year, my brother, myself, Seth Haley, Harmony Haley, and Baby Haley will be taking The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club there. We just got the film schedule this week and it looks as though the movie is going to be shown twice. At one of the showings, they’ll also be playing our extra feature, “The Hoary Head.”

I cannot tell you how much I’m looking forward to this. There will be warmth, good friends, things to learn, the San Antonio River, a possible visit to the Alamo, and best of all, I will not have to look at my ornery car for an entire eight days. On a more serious level, though, I’m looking forward to sharing the film with a big group of people once again.

There are quite a few big things coming up for me, actually. The film festival would be the first thing. When I get back, there’s a recital that some of my students will be performing in. Then, in May, I’ll be doing a mini concert for a Ladies Tea at a church in Otsego. After that, another recital for my students. I’m going to be quite busy in the next few months.

Also, it thundered this morning. There’s snow piled all over the place and it thundered. Michigan is so weird.

 

The beautiful river walk
The beautiful river walk

 

Severe Mercy

I cannot tell you how extremely pleasant it is to sit at home in front of my computer, typing away with a cup of coffee close at hand, my most favorite Christopher Parkening CD playing, and rain drops falling against my window. I am the consummate home body, and any day I can spend in part or entirely at home doing homey things like cooking or cleaning something, is a very good day. This particularly morning, I have been working on a new movie script idea, the story line of which I am not at liberty to divulge at the moment! Sorry. Suffice it to say that it will be the next film project for Duke Street Productions and will be a full length feature film. The story is dear to my heart, and to a certain degree captures a small portion of my life—that most painful portion called adolescence.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand why people go on and on about youth like it’s the most carefree part of life. Youth, especially adolescence is when you realize that life isn’t rosy, that the expectations for a good life in which you assumed that everything around the corner was a new delight waiting to happen, fall crashing to the ground. As my main character will say at a certain point in the story, “I hate expectations. They come unconsciously when you’re little, and they’re always rosy. But when you grow up, they just kind of fade away and all you’re left with is reality.” I believe a great deal depends on how an individual responds to the reality of failed expectations at that point in life. Adolescence is the training ground for adult character, whether good or bad.

Growing up, especially as a Christian, means realizing that those things you wish hadn’t happened were the good things. “God’s severe mercies” is what the Puritans called them, a term which has all but faded out of the modern evangelical vocabulary. “All the afflictions that attend the people of God turn out to their profit and advantage. They are God’s furnace to cleanse and preserve his people,” said Puritan Thomas Brook approximately three hundred years ago. And he was right. All the miserable things that have happened to me have been the best experiences of my life. If nothing else, they’ve shown me what a weak, miserable, selfish person I am and how much I need Christ to do anything good.

And so go the meditations of my head today. Thanks for stopping by

 

Satan seeks to draw the soul into sin by presenting the sufferings that daily attend those who walk in holiness. But all the afflictions that attend the people of God turn out to their profit and glorious advantage. Afflictions are a looking glass that show the ugly face of sin. They are God’s furnace to cleanse and preserve His people. Saints thrive most internally when they are most afflicted. Manasseh’s chain was more profitable to him than his crown. Luther could not understand some Scriptures until he was in affliction. God’s house of correction is his school of instruction. Afflictions lift up the soul to a fuller enjoyment of God, and more sweet and full enjoyment of his blessed self. They keep the heart humble and tender, and by experience saints find that they can embrace the cross as others do the world’s crown. Afflictions inflame love that is cold, quicken decaying faith, and put life into withering hope. The more the saints are beaten with the hammer of affliction, the more they trumpet God’s praises. 

Adversities abate the loveliness of the world that entices us and the lusts that incite us. They afflict, but never harm. They are momentary; sorrow may abide for a night, but joy comes in the morning. This short storm will end in an everlasting calm. We must measure afflictions by their outcome, not how they hurt. (from Voices from the Past, p. 288) 

Thomas Brooks

 

 

 

New Screenings!

As promised, here are the three new screening dates for The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club!

August 29, Sister Lakes, MI

When: August 29th at 8:00 PM
Where: Sister Lakes Community Church 67119 Michigan 152, Dowagiac, MI
Cost: $6 at the door

Call (269)-463-6846 for any other questions.

September 5, Berrien Center, MI

Where: Berrien Center Bible Church
8830 Highway M-140 | Berrien Center, MI 49102
When: September 5
Time: 7:00PM
Cost: $6 at the Door

 

September 6, St. Joseph, MI

Date: Friday September 6th
Time: 7:00PM.
Tickets: $5.00
Where: The Box Factory 1101 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085

For More Information about tickets contact The Box Factory at 269-983-3688

 

I’ll be at all three of these showings. I hope you can make it. If you have a copy of The Pursuit of Elizabeth Millhouse, bring it along, and I’ll sign it for you! If you don’t have a copy, I’ll be bringing extra copies you can purchase after the showing. (Copies of the DVD, of course, will be available also.)

Let me know if you have any questions!

 

The New Duke Street Productions Headquarters

Last week, Duke Street Productions (that is, myself, Justin and Mr. Cade) rented office space on Hilltop Rd. I cannot tell you how happy and relieved I am about this new state of affairs. First of all, for the last year, the apartment I share with my brother has been positively overrun with movie paraphernalia—posters, soundtrack CDs, rewards from our Kickstarter campaign, one large slider made by a dear church member for shooting the movie last summer, lighting equipment, a bunch of sale copies of The Pursuit of Elizabeth Millhouse, etc… Now, it’s all over in the new office space and I can walk around at home without tripping over anything, and I can actually use the dining room table for…dining. But the best part is that I now have my own little writing space at the office, which in fact, is where I am at this moment! Here’s what my spot looks like:

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Items of interest: 1. My book is now on the shelves of at least one Barnes and Noble store in Mishawaka! 1150424_552077481496135_590542299_nThat’s gratifying. Now you can pray that people will actually buy it and come back later on for the book signing I’ll be doing there on October 5 at 1:00! 2. If all goes according to plan, a thousand copies of The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club DVD should arrive tomorrow. The following day, Justin and I will proceed to the new office space and pack and address about 200 of those or more and ship them out to all of you wonderful people who contributed to our Kickstarter campaign or pre-ordered the movie at the premiere. 3. You can now order the movie and the soundtrack through our website using Paypal. Both will also be available on Amazon. 

That’s all for now. I’ll be back next week with more updates as well as a list of new showings for The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club. If you missed the premiere, you can still get in on these!

 

 

Getting You Up to Speed

I realized that I made a few announcements about the premiere for The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t let you know how it went! We were all pleased with the turn out. Four hundred and fifty people came to see the movie. Afterwards, I could barely move, so many people kept coming up to me and telling me how they enjoyed the movie and how much it meant to them. We set up a camera outside the auditorium and interviewed people as they came out. You can catch their reactions here:


We are so thankful to God for the impact the film has already had on people. We hope to show the film many more times. At least one more showing is already in the works for September 6 at The Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph, MI. If you’re interested in going, give them a buzz for tickets. Admission will be five dollars.

 

On another note, I’m watching my calendar fill up rather rapidly. In June, I procured the services of a publicist. Adam Parmenter is a former student of my dad’s and has taken over the daunting task of getting promotional gigs for me as an author. Recently, he has somehow convinced a number of Barnes and Noble stores to have me in for book signings. I’m not sure how he does it, but I am so thankful. Promotion is something I’m terrible at. To be honest, it intimidates me. So, to have someone who will go to bat for me persuasively is a huge help. You can look here for a comprehensive listing of all the events—book signings and more—Adam’s already lined up for me. I bought this ginormous calendar so I can mark down Justin’s work schedule, my work schedule, my events and movie showings all in one spot. Which brings me to one more exciting little detail.

 

My older brother, Jeremy, has jumped into high gear for this movie. After watching the premiere, he was convinced of the value of the movie and its message and is now actively approaching churches in our area about showing the movie. You can pray for success in this area. I know good pastors are usually a bit reticent to show films from people they know nothing about. (They should be.) But do pray that they’d be willing to talk with us and see what we’re about before they say yay or nay.

 

That’s all for now. I will be back next week either with more news or with the musings of my head.

The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club–Tomorrow!

 

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Tomorrow is the day! The first showing of The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club open to the public will take place at 8:00 PM on Friday night. Justin’s phone has been ringing all week long as more and more people call ahead to reserve tickets. You can do the same! Call Justin at 269 267 7506. You can pay with a credit card or simply reserve the tickets and pay for them when you pick them up.

We’re praying for a big turn out. To be precise, we’re praying that The Chapel gets filled to overflowing. But more importantly, we’re praying that the message of the movie will be encouraging and convicting–that the audience will be inspired to reach out to the elderly and cultivate relationships with them.

I hope to see many of you there.

The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club Premiere

Premiere!

Counting down the days to The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club premiere! All manner of plans and preparations are being made. Justin (producer and director) put together a theatrical trailer several days ago. Have a look!

For all the ladies, I just finished the dress I’m going to wear. Yes, the poor script writers among us have to make their own dresses. I trimmed it with tatted lace.

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Justin and I were interviewed last week by a reporter from The Harold Palladium. The story should appear in Sunday’s paper. Once it’s in print, I’ll see if I can post a link here. Tomorrow, Justin will be meeting with a gentleman from our church to write up the order of ceremonies.

Things are progressing well, and we look forward to seeing you there.

You’re invited!

Where: The Chapel on Washington Ave., St. Joseph, MI

When: 8:00 PM

Cost: $6 at the door, or you may call 269 267 7506 to order ahead

I’m Back!

After a nine-month-long absence from this blog, it’s about time I checked in. I believe I stopped writing posts about the time things began to get really crazy with filming our movie, “The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club.” So much has happened, and I am excited to announce that the filming is complete as is most of the editing! Our next major project is the soundtrack. My dad, Richard Barber, has written a completely original score that really complements the story in the best way possible. Now, the plan is to have a recording session on March 23 with members of the Kalamazoo Philharmonia. It’s been quite amazing seeing all the pieces fall into place. During filming, over forty people volunteered to provide prop food, help design costumes, and even build some filming equipment. From late December to early January, we raised over five thousand dollars on Kickstarter.com to record the soundtrack. God has provided the things we needed for the project over and over again.

 

The second major piece of news is that my book, “The Pursuit of Elizabeth Millhouse,” is finally in print! You can purchase it on Amazon in print and on Kindle, or at Barnes and Noble.com.

 

I will be writing more regularly now, and I hope to check in once a week, at the very least! In the meanwhile, here is a clip from the movie that I think you’ll enjoy.