I wanted to include one page that was a catch-all for the cool, the weird, and the inspiring. It’s a place where I can post about the work of favorite authors, artists, and filmmakers, friends whose work I want to support, favorite websites, and fascinating things I’ve encountered in my own explorations. On a previous version of my website, I had a virtual wax museum. If I ever learn enough about game design to create a newer, better one here, I’ll add it to this version. Meanwhile, read the articles and follow the links.
A Video on the Power of Storytelling
In fall of 2016, I took Ted Dekker’s The Creative Way writing course. During the course, Ted’s coauthor Kevin Kaiser posted a link to this amazing video by Anis Mojgani: www.vimeo.com/102128538.
The Wannabes is a comedy in the spirit of O Brother, Where Art Thou? set in the mid-1930s. It tells the story of Harvey Gene and Cecilia, two down-on-their-luck Bible salespeople, and Gus, an out-of-work demolition derby driver, who are inspired by Bonnie and Clyde to turn to a life of crime. With no real killer instinct, they don’t make very good bank robbers. The movie was written and directed by my long-time friend, Philip Wade and filmed over a period of three years in North Louisiana and Southern Arkansas. I assisted with this project pretty much from start to finish and wore a lot of hats. I collaborated with Philip in the writing of some of the scenes, lent my camera to cinematographers Michael Campisi and Keith Bruce, kept up with scenes, moved equipment, and even had a cameo appearance in one of the scenes. Philip’s inspiration for this movie came from a number of sources. Raising Arizona, with Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter is one of Philip’s favorite films. He also likes O Brother, Where Art Thou? He also has an ancestral connection to the deaths of Bonnie and Clyde, the notorious bank robbers who were shot by the authorities near Arcadia, Louisiana, in 1934. Philip’s grandfather was the coroner who examined the bodies of the infamous duo. Most of the film crew and actors were volunteers, but I think the film is unusually well done for such a low budget production. I wondered, early in the project, how we were going to round up enough period cars to make the outdoor scenes look believable, Crickett Watkins (who plays the female lead) found a group of people in Many, Louisiana, who had a number of them. I also managed to round up some cars in Magnolia, Arkansas. In another scene I was concerned about, a Bible salesperson happens upon a group of snake handlers, and Crickett managed to find a man who could supply us with live snakes. The film premiered in Many, Louisiana, in summer 2016, and will be shown at Shreveport’s Robinson Film Center in January, 2017. Distribution is still up in the air.
Disney’s Avatar Land
I just read an update on the construction of the the Avatar Land that is taking place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom now. The new section of the park is supposed to open this summer and sounds spectacular. Those of you who saw James Cameron’s Avatar movie will remember the floating mountains and the beautiful bioluminescent plants on the planet Pandora, and this section of the park brings all of that to life. Click here for an update on it.
I met Tosca Lee at an American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference in Denver, Colorado, eight years or so ago, and spoke to her again at the RealmMakers conference in Philadelphia two years ago. Some of her books, Havah, Iscariot, and Sheba, are fictional biographies of biblical characters. Demon, her first novel, fits that profile too, to some extent. In the case of Iscariot and Demon, her characters were “bad guys” from the Bible. Havah is the story of Eve. (Havah is Eve’s name in Hebrew.) I like the way she picks unlikely characters to explore. There’s a certain amount of risk in writing about biblical characters. Even if the story is fictional, there are always people who want to argue doctrine, even to the extent of attacking your faith if they disagree with you about some part of your book. I mention that here, because I know Tosca has had that experience. She tells unpublished authors to cherish the innocence they have before they end up in the hands of the critics.
I emailed Tosca when I was struggling to write my own Genesis-inspired novel. (I’m still working on that, by the way.) Progeny and The Book of Mortals series (co-written with Ted Dekker) aren’t about biblical characters, but they do explore spiritual realities from interesting angles. The Book of Mortals series which starts with Forbidden is set in a dark and depressing future era. Genetic engineering has made humans incapable of feeling any emotion except fear (which is necessary for survival), but a vial of blood from the past restores the emotions of some of the characters and leads them to realize what they lost. Progeny is Tosca’s newest book. I just bought it on Amazon. To read about it and buy yourself a copy, go to https://www.amazon.com/Progeny-Novel-Descendants-House-Bathory/dp/1476798699/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483045138&sr=8-1&keywords=progeny.