Friday, April 11, 2014

Posting from the Sickbed

I did not plan to post today. I've been too busy to post lately, and my list for today definitely had no room for posting time either. But alas for all that, I woke up this morning dreadfully sick. I basically never get sick unless I am way behind on sleep, and I recognized right away that this was definitely not that. My stomach was churning all night, and finally this morning I was with it enough to figure out what was wrong-that I have a very bad case of food poisoning. How lovely. To my knowledge, I've never had food poisoning before, and I'm very happy if I never get it again.

I'm trying to rest here and not get stressed thinking of how I was going to have an uber-productive day conquering my mile-long list of cleaning, food prep for the weekend's company, sewing projects with deadlines, secretary work, and music practice for tomorrow's concert, Sunday's special music, and next weekend's youth conference. Instead I reside flat in bed leisurely sipping forcing down a most dazzling, non-tempting array of charcoal water, lemon water, and ginger tea. (anyone want to trade places?) You can't imagine how delightful these beverages are. (ahem...)

As usual, I have lots of things to post about. But sadly most of the pictures are all on my camera. And when you are sick in bed, it isn't exactly appealing to think of getting out of bed, getting the camera and camera cord, plugging everything in, downloading/sorting the pictures, loading and posting the pictures to blogger, and posting. Nope, food poisoning has taken away my zest for movement, blogging, and most everything else normal.

What is actually quite funny is that several days ago I was making a very special appetizer in preparation for an event, and I was so excited about it that I took pictures of ingredients, prep process, etc. I had amazing plans to post this whole start-to-finish process, and it was going to look like something that the Pioneer Woman would pull off, and I was so excited.

The appetizer turned out amazing. I took it to the party I was going to and everyone enjoyed it. But the next day, we had it in a little cooler/lunch box thing with us while running errands, and I was snacking on it at different times throughout the day. And looking back, I'm realizing that that cooler was not cold enough to keep the cheese ball safe. I unknowingly ate a rather large amount of "non-safe" cheese ball. And now here I am, experiencing a very thorough case of food poisoning.


hope y'all have a healthy weekend, and never forget to refrigerate your cheese balls! =)
-chels

Thursday, April 3, 2014

2014 Christian Filmmakers Guild & Festival||Recap

Here it finally is. My recap on the 2014 Christian Filmmakers Guild & Festival.
There's so much to say. So much I learned, so many amazing people I met, so many awesome sessions, so many great films I got to see. Its hard to sum it all up in one little blog post. But since many of you have asked how it was, I'll just take a few minutes here to share some pictures and a few of my highlights.
The worship times were, hands down, the best thing. Such an incredible foundation for the week.
I was so blessed by the emphasis the Telfer family placed on worship and how that was the #1 important thing, glorifying God in all that we do. 

About 250 people attended the guild, which was the first three days of the week. 
The guild was basically workshops, classes, and main sessions for filmmakers, directors, actors, composers, scriptwriters...etc.
The main sessions were so amazing. I found myself continually challenged by the speakers and their dedication to excellence while honoring Christ. 
Above, George Escobar gives one of the main session talks.  
(George Escobar is the owner of Advent Film Group. His first film was "Come What May" and one of his recent projects that is coming to theaters in June 2014 is "Alone Yet Not Alone")
A few notes from his talk:
*There are two kinds of films
1) those worshipping the creation
2) those worshipping the Creator
(VERY convicting to think about this)
*we need to enter the land God has given us, and bring back the fruit of the land, like the story of the twelve spies...applied to making movies

Probably one of my favorite sessions that I heard all week was the main session talk given by Rich Christiano, who did the film "Time Changer". 
His session was so SO convicting.  
One of the first things he said was this,
"As a filmmaker, you have to decide if you're going to be like Abraham..or if you're going to be like Lot. If you're going to choose the land God has for you...or if you're going to pitch your tent towards Sodom." (Hollywood)
*God is looking for faithfulness in motives.
*Our films that we make, direct, and act in...should ALWAYS please the Lord.
*Die to the "Hollywood Dream" and go ALL OUT for God
*People add Jesus to their lives, and movies, instead of turning their lives and movies over to Jesus
*If God is not pleased, you won't be reaching anybody. So many people lower their standards to try to "reach the world". You don't reach the world by lowering your standards. You need to reach the world by building the church. (witnessing, discipling) And yes, you need to preach to the choir. Because the choir isn't all saved. 

How I wish that everyone could hear his talk! There were moments when he was speaking that the whole room was deathly still. I know God was dealing with a lot of hearts, including mine. This guild was pretty diverse-there were those that were super conservative filmmakers, and then those whose goal is to make it big in Hollywood, and then those who were riding the fence. But this kind of session...was convicting for EVERYBODY. 
Hands down, the funniest speaker was John Fornof. 
For those of you who don't recognize his name, he is the genius and writer behind certain well-known radio theater dramas like Adventures in Odyssey, The Lamplighter Dramas, and the most recent and in the works radio theater project,  G.A. Henty Audio Adventures. 
{ah! so pumped about those coming out!}

I went to his scriptwriting talk not so much because I think scriptwriting is my "thing" (although I do want to learn more about it) but more because the title intrigued me and I thought "I could use this is ALL areas of writing"! 
The title was "How To Turn Writers Block Into A Blockbuster". 
Here are a few of my notes from his session:
*we need to write from our heart, not from our head
and since "writers block" is all in the head...well then! write from the heart!
*if you focus on fear that your writing won't be good enough, you will be paralyzed by that fear. choose to focus on the joy of what you're writing, what you want to communicate. 
*set aside specific writing times to "meet with God" and let Him speak/write through you.
*the story you're writing...needs to spring from your "God story". In other words, use experiences God has take you through and weave those into your writing.

In his main session talk, he said this about writing well and writing God's way:
"You'll go from a writer who aspires...to a writer who perspires...to a writer who inspires." =)
Also...
*take the camera of your mind, zoom out, and focus on God
*instead of following your heart and your dream...follow God's heart and God's dream for you. Because its not about you. Its all about Him. 
So. Do you know God's dream for you?
Rebekah Cook (actress & casting director) taught one of the acting classes. I learned a lot from her and in the course of our conversation at lunch afterwards we even made a few Kalona connections!
{small world it is}

During the guild, there were multiple tracks to choose from, such as acting, videography, editing, scriptwriting, networking, advertising, worldview, social media tools, etc etc. 
I attended all acting classes except for one session when I went to the scriptwriting class.

The speakers at the acting track were great. They all had different ways of teaching, but the sessions all flowed together really well and I learned so much at each one.

One of the speakers even showed us his acting skills by giving his entire 1 1/2 hr long talk in a flawless British accent, which was quite impressive and very unique, for sure. =)
Phillip Telfer (founder of the guild/festival) had several very convicting sessions.
Here are a few of my notes from his talks:
*even with all the media and modern resources that we have, we are not nearly as effective as the early Christians who had none of this technology. This is because we have strayed from the vision, the purpose.
*we say we want "the call" from God, but as long as we're not fasting and praying, we won't get the call
(in filmmaking circles, "the call" can mean anything from getting the call that your acting audition was accepted, or that someone wants you to shoot their film, or cast their film, or direct their film, etc)
*No matter where you "cut" the Bible, it always bleeds Jesus
(in the same way, films we make and what we do, needs to always be honoring and glorifying Christ)
One of my favorite statements made was this: 
"Its not about the culture. Its about the KINGDOM."
So true. The emphasis of the week was not on changing and reforming culture, but rather on building the Kingdom of God. Winning the lost for Christ. Challenging, encouraging, and stirring up the body of Christ. 
That is our purpose and our mission. 
Several attendees did impromptu, practice auditions and the different actor speakers critiqued them and gave advice. I learned a lot at this session-it was super helpful to see the whole thing from a directors perspective and get an inside peek at what they look for in their actors.
This little guy was probably the cutest kid at the fest. He was so into it-cracked me up. =)
This family (friends of ours) took the stage one night and did a fabulous job as usual with all their instruments, vocals, and family interaction.
Getting to meet and learn from Christian actor Rich Swingle was very inspiring. This picture is from the night he did his "one man act" and acted out the story of Jonah. Its hard to describe but suffice to say it was really, REALLY good!! He and his wife were so sweet and down-to-earth and encouraging. 
(and they acted husband/wife in the movie Indescribable, which is a movie I bought at the festival and brought home for my family. All of them loved it and my mom promptly said it was the best movie she had ever seen. Coming from someone who doesn't generally like most movies...thats a pretty big compliment!)
Some other friends sang the last night. They did a couple seven-voice accapella songs that were beautiful!
About 700 people attended the festival. 
My favorite thing about the whole festival was just the emphasis on honoring and glorifying God. It was so central; everything was based on that one desire. 
And it showed. It was so evident.  

I loved it. It was all so wonderful. I learned so much! The speaker lineup was so good---in fact there was only one speaker that I didn't like. (not one that I talked about in this post!) 

I did get to see a lot of fabulous new movies at the festival. It was especially cool to see friends unexpectedly appear in several of the films as I was watching them. =) Nothing like being all into the movie and suddenly sitting straight up thinking "I KNOW THAT PERSON!" =)
Due to time, I'm not, in this post, going to give any reviews of films I saw there, but I am hoping to do some reviews in the future, after the films are out officially in dvd and available for purchase. 

(For more pictures, highlights, and award winners, visit Christian Worldview Film Festival.)

I'm so thankful to my family for making it possible for me to go. I'm thankful to the Telfer family who, in spite of everything they had going on in running the conference,  adopted me as their daughter for the week and let me stay with them.  I'm thankful to Jesus, who has given me my love of acting and has blessed me with opportunities like this to develop and grow that love!

so theres my recap. (and trust me, I omitted quite a bit due to lack of time!)

have a blessed weekend wherever you are, friends!
I'm spending mine on my favorite Iowa home farm. =)
-chels

Friday, March 21, 2014

And the Winner Is...

Entry #243, Anna!!

{it is so exciting when people I know, win my giveaways!}

So Anna...we have your address already, and the book will be on its way soon! 
May take a while to travel all that way to you in Spain, but it will be there eventually! =)

Thanks so much to everyone who commented and participated! By pinning and posting and tweeting, y'all were also a big part of helping the Duggars in spreading the word about their book!

And for those of you that are interested, below is a live interview that the Duggar girls did a few days ago, talking about their new book.


-Chels

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Book Giveaway||Growing Up Duggar

I am very excited to introduce this new book, and host a giveaway of it here on my blog!

The authors, Jana, Jill, Jessa, & Jinger, are dear friends of mine, and I can testify to the fact that they are just as sweet and genuine in real life, as they are on TV.

Their family called us about a month ago and asked if we would be willing to preview and promote their new book, "Growing Up Duggar". Of course we were happy to, so they sent us a copy and we have all been reading it in shifts ever since. =)

(note: one of my brothers contributed to the "what guys are saying" section in the book.)
So anyway, all that said, I thought I would host this giveaway now since I am at the 
Christian Worldview Filmmakers Festival and won't be doing any posting until sometime next week.

Giveaway will last until next Thursday night, March 20th.

You can enter by any/each of the following:
1) comment on this post with your first and last name (and anything else you might like to say =))
2) clicking on the pinterest icon in the below tab to share on Pinterest
3) clicking the Facebook icon in the below tab to share on Facebook
4) clicking the google icon in the below tab to share on google plus
5) clicking on the twitter icon in the below tab to share on twitter
6) posting and linking to this post on your blog

If you do all six, then...you can enter six times. =) All you need to do is include your link to wherever you shared it, along with your name, each time you comment. 
You will need to comment separately for each time.

One last thing. Even if you're a guy, you can still enter. For one thing, I have spotted my brothers reading various sections of this book, and one of them said that it was actually pretty good. =)
The other thing is that even if you aren't interested in the book, chances are pretty good you either have a girlfriend or a sister or a daughter or SOME female in your life who might like a little gift from you. =) 

Happy weekend!
-Chels



Monday, March 10, 2014

San Antonio Bound

Today I am spending the day at four different airports, flying in three different planes, and going from a very cold state to a very warm and sunny one!

Harrisburg PA. To Philly PA. To Charolotte NC. To San Antonio TX.

I'll take you back ??? years, to the first time I ever heard Vision Forum's San Antonio Christian Film Festival. My very first thought was "how cool is that? A place where hundreds of people come together and learn how to make movies, and then screen all these new Christian films!"
But every year we were at the other end of the south touring over the time that this event was going on, and so it never was really an option for me to attend.
When Vision Forum shut down last fall they also cancelled all of their upcoming conferences and events, including the Film Festival. My first thought when I hear that they had shut it down was "what about all those people who spend their year last year getting a film ready to compete in the festival? What happens to their films now?"
I was beyond excited when I heard that our good friends the Telfer Family (from Media Talk 101) were going to start up their own festival, the Christian Worldview Film Festival. The Telfers called our family and asked us to come down and perform on the mainstage for the festival, but sadly we already had this coming week booked doing banquet concerts with the WeCare Program Fundraising Tour. I tried to think of a way to still go but it just wasn't possible so I tried to forget about it.
Fast forward to my birthday...my father gave me a card and inside was a certificate to attend the festival. I was shocked! And so excited!
(it appears that he talked to my brothers and they said that they could wing a few concerts without me. =) yes, I know-I have sweet brothers! bless their hearts.)

Everyone who knows me well knows that I am a movie junkie. Not in the typical sense (I don't sit around and watch tons of movies) but I love to review new movies, and be critical, and tear them to pieces. =)  (both theologically and morally)
It drives me crazy that our society has such low standards when it comes to movies.
It also frustrates me that Hollywood seems to have the monopoly on "professional" filming. My family loves watching movies together (we rarely do because there is hardly anything decent for the whole family anymore) but there aren't a whole lot of movies out there that are decent AND professionally done.

All that said. I've been passionate for years about Christians standing up and taking back all the ground they've lost to the secular crowd in the area of media. Lets face it: in our generation, media is the way to reach people. There are many people who won't read a book, or listen to a message, but they will watch a movie. Films can have such a powerful influence for evil. Or for good.

Sooo...I'm heading to San Antonio, getting ready here in just a few minutes to board my final flight. I'm planning to take the acting tracks and soak up all the information I can!

-chels

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Phone Update

This is for those of you who may have been texting/trying to contact me via phone in the last month.
Lest you think I have been rude in not responding, let me fill you in...
My lovely blue phone crashed/quit/whatever on my birthday, January 29th. So since then (until today) I have been without a phone. Its been quite lovely, actually, and I really haven't missed it hardly at all. I think my family missed it more than I did; they couldn't keep track of me as well. =)
We have been in the south the past month, and down south they don't have US Cellular stores. So we had to wait until today, when we finally located one in Virginia.
They told my brother (who kindly took care of the transaction for me because he's just nice like that) that they wouldn't be able to transfer my contacts to the new phone.
Whereupon mother dear said "wait a minute...how can they be able to track people and supposedly access all this information from your phone but they can't transfer your contacts?"
#truefact
So brother and dad went to battle with the salesman and it ended with all my contacts getting transfered.
#nevergiveup #learntoarguewell #happydance
If you've texted me in the last month and I never answered and you feel so led to text again, go right ahead. =)

-chels

#storyofmylife