Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Tunes: Maybe I'm Amazed

This is one of my favorite Paul McCartney tunes. I really like this video because it features Linda's photos...a very nice montage. It's like looking at the McCartney family photo album.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Sermon: Just Ask

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to  you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?

Luke 11:9-13

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Flicks: Duel

Duel (1971) was Steven Spielberg's first feature-length movie. The story: a traveling businessman is terrorized by a tanker truck driver on the open road.

This movie is brilliantly edited for suspense and action. The excellent camera work packs a wallop with incredible closeups of the truck and car in various angles, not to mention the long shots of the desert location and amazing sound editing. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in that editing room.

Dennis Weaver's performance was outstanding. A henpecked, insecure, nerdy businessman takes on a psychotic truck driver. A Spielberg masterpiece.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Scotty McCreery wins American Idol!

Who would have thought a 17 year old Christian country singer would take the crown? YAY SCOTTY!

He was such a sweet kid all the way through. He sang with confidence and was never once in the bottom three. Best Idol season EVER!

Here's a clip of him singing "Gone":

Scotty singing "The River":

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday Tune: I Thank You

Nothing says Rock and Roll like ZZ Top! A Methodist pastor back in the 80s told me that this was his favorite band.

Their sound is unique. Rock with a splash of country.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Sermon: The Door

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said, "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever. And I hold the keys of death and Hades."

Revelation 1:17-18

Here I am. I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:20

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Flicks: Dances with Wolves

There is no denying that Dances with Wolves (1990) is absolutely amazing! Who would have thought that a three-hour Western would win seven Academy Awards and become one the best films of the 20th century?

For me, this movie has personal meaning. My ancestors were Cherokee and came to Indain Territory on the Trail of Tears. Most of my family still live in Oklahoma. The movie was filmed in South Dakota and in my home state of Wyoming. I've lived in Wyoming most of my life.

Produced, directed and starring Kevin Costner as Lieutenant Dunbar, Dances with Wolves is the story of a Union soldier who befriends a tribe of Sioux. Excellent casting with Graham Greene, Mary McDonnell and Rodney A. Grant. Everything in this movie works: the storyline, the authenticity of language and culture, the breathtaking cinematography. Costner's passion for this project was evident throughout.

One of the most amazing scenes is the buffalo hunt. It's not only beautifully filmed, but it's a turning point in the story. Dunbar begins to truly understand and embrace the Sioux. He is accepted as a member of the tribe. The buffalo is a metaphor for the Sioux way of life, and for the Sioux themselves...and what will soon be lost forever.

WIND IN HIS HAIR: Dances With Wolves! I am Wind In His Hair. Do you see that I am your friend? Can you see that you will always be my friend?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The End

I wrote the first draft of my short movie. It's a horror flick called "The End" and it's about an alien invasion.

I've written the shooting script and have recruited the talent (my daughter Jennifer).

For music I'm going to make a recording of myself playing Chopin's E minor prelude on the piano. It's easy enough that I can play it through without making any mistakes -- if I practice --  a lot.

So far so good.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Plan

The video production class has inspired me so I'm going to create some short movies using the in-camera editing technique that we learned.

The first step is to come up with some stories. I want to try different genres including a comedy, a drama and a thriller. I might even try a documentary.

Things to do:
Sit down with my laptop and white chocolate mocha and come up with a premise and a story

Write script

Recruit actors

Plan the shots (lights, sound)

Music? (a problem with four solutions: do not use music at all, get copyright permission for music I want, use copyright free music, or write and perform my own music)

Create titles and credits

By making a few movies now, I'll have some experience under my belt for the 2011 Cheyenne Shoot Out this fall!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Tune: Sounds of Silence

I didn't really know much about Simon and Garfunkle until I'd seen The Graduate. After listening to their tunes on the soundtrack I was a fan for life. This song is one of my favorites.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Making a Movie

Saturday I attended a video production workshop. Check out the details and see the movie we made at My Theatre Blog.

We were also featured on our local Channel 5 News that night. Here's the clip.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Sermon: Rescue

At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.

And I was delivered from the lion's mouth.

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

II Timothy 4:16-18

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Flicks: Rope

In Alfred Hitchcock's Rope (1948),  a couple of social elitists commit the perfect crime. The murder weapon? A rope.

Brandon and Phillip are intellectual snobs who look down their noses at everyone whom they deem to be inferior. In their thinking, killing a worthless person is the right thing to do. They want to prove to themselves that they can commit the perfect murder. The movie opens with Brandon and Phillip strangling their victim, David, with a rope.

After the murder, they decide to play a little game and raise the stakes by hiding the body and the rope in an old chest in the living room while hosting a dinner party that evening. The guests, which include David's father and girlfriend, haven't got a clue.

The only one who suspects something is amiss is Rupert (James Stewart), their former college professor who inspired their warped philosophy about mankind.

Rope was based on a play by Patrick Hamilton and the entire film takes place in one set (the living room). Hitchcock took it to another level by making the movie appear as if it were filmed in one continuous take. Pretty tricky considering the technical limitations of the period.

This is one of the most philosophical of Hitchcock's films. It raises questions about social class, prejudice, the meaning of life and purpose of man.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

"Growing Up Laughing"

I'm having a blast reading Marlo Thomas's book "Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny."

I first discovered Marlo on the TV series "That Girl." I was in 5th grade when the show first aired and Ann Marie was everything I wanted to be: pretty, smart, funny...and an actress! I have all five seasons on DVD and it still ranks (in my book) as one of the funniest sitcoms ever. One of my favorite episodes is where Ann gets her big toe stuck in a bowling ball just before an important event. Reminded me of an "I Love Lucy" episode where Lucy gets her head stuck in a vase.

In her book, Marlo shares personal information about her family and what it was like to grow up as the daughter of Danny Thomas. It also features wonderful photos from her life, both personal and professional.

But it's not just about Marlo. She actually interviews America's greatest comedians and humorists, including Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Alan Alda, Chris Rock, Tina Fey, etc. Marlo's book is funny, informative and a pure delight.

Every once in a while I just gotta laugh. I'll watch Leno's monologue, read Steve Martin's twitter page, check out humor websites or tune into Ellen.

My favorite must-see sitcom now is "Modern Family." I literally fall on the floor laughing so hard that I can't breathe.

What's your funny fix?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday Tune: Bad, Bad LeRoy Brown

This song was a big hit when I was in high school. I loved the country-rock style. Seems like Croce just arrived on the scene and then he was gone...a plane crashed ended his life in 1973 at the height of his career.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Meet My Mom

My mother, Lora, was born and raised in Oklahoma. She passed away recently and is now enjoying the glories of Heaven, spending eternity with Jesus. I love her so very much and want to celebrate Mother's Day by sharing some fun and interesting things about her.

Hobbies: Quilting, crocheting, sewing, cooking and reading. Mama made beautiful quilts with impeccable craftsmanship. She had a natural, God-given talent for sewing. She also designed her own crochet patterns and even sold some to craft magazines. She enjoyed cooking and creating new recipes and had the largest cook book collection I've ever seen. Mama loved to read and when I was growing up I never saw her without her nose in a book. I'm proud to say that she passed the bookworm gene to me.

Favorite Meal: Fried potatoes, pinto beans, cornbread and ice tea. It's my favorite, too.

Favorite Color: Yellow, because it is bright and happy.

Movie: Mama liked all kinds of movies and had a huge DVD and VHS collection. She was partial to heartwarming family dramas and action flicks. She particularly liked the Die Hard movies.

Actor: Glenn Ford and Bruce Willis

Actress: Elizabeth Taylor

Book: She liked psychological thrillers and mysteries. In her later years she liked James Patterson's novels.

Music: 1950s Rock and Roll and Country/Western. Mama liked music and would sing all the time. As a teen in the 1950s, she was there when Rock and Roll was first heard on the radio. She liked Bill Haley and the Comets, Chubby Checker, the Big Bopper, and the Everly Brothers, just to name a few. She also enjoyed country music, particularly Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.

Bible verse: Too many to count. She loved Jesus more than anything. We used to have a Bible study over the phone every Friday and shared what God had taught us that week.

"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people." Hebrews 8:10

Hymn: Rock of Ages

A Special Memory of Mama: I was about eleven when she taught me and my brother to play canasta. She was a terrific card player and could shuffle a deck better than the dealers in Vegas. She was fun to play cards with.

I also remember her laugh. She didn't just chuckle or snicker, she guffawed! It was contagious. She had a wonderful sense of humor.

Five Words to Describe Mama: Determined, Funny, Compassionate, Smart, Creative.

Happy Mother's Day, Mama! See ya, soon!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Friday Flicks: The Out-of-Towners

The Out-of-Towners (1970) was my introduction to Neil Simon. After seeing that movie, I read all his plays: Barefoot in the Park, Plaza Suite, The Odd Couple, The Sunshine Boys, etc. Simon inspired me to become a playwright and a comedy writer. There's nothing like watching something you wrote performed on the stage and to see the audience's reaction.

Interestingly, the movie was not adapted from a Neil Simon play, but was written as an original screenplay.

The Out-of-Towners is absolutely hysterical thanks to Jack Lemmon's magnificent performance. He and Sandy Dennis play George and Gwen Kellerman, a couple from Ohio who are visiting New York City where George is meeting with the New York Division of his company to discuss a job promotion and relocation.

The Kellermans experience one nightmare after another -- losing their hotel reservation, getting mugged, no transportation, no luggage, breaking a heel, losing a tooth, running from the police. They have no place to sleep, no clean clothes, no money to call for help.

I would say this rates as one of the funniest movies of all time.

What movie inspires you?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Tuesday Tunes: These Boots Are Made for Walkin'

I remember singing and dancing to this song when I was in fourth grade. My mom's friend Lucy gave me a pair of white go-go boots; they were groovy!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Sunday Sermon: Renewed

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:3-7