Friday, August 26, 2011

Film Internship!

I recently began an internship with a small film company! For the time being, I'm not going to share exactly which film company it is, but I will share with you my general experiences. It has been very exciting, and I've already been able to learn and do so much. So far, after just three weeks, I've been able to:
  • Read and critique three scripts for upcoming films. 
  • Learn the basics of how to use Final Cut Pro, a professional video editing software.
  • Learn the basics of making websites through iWeb, specifically for films and film companies.
  • Help write character descriptions for an upcoming movie, to give to actors who want to audition.
  • Do some script "tagging"; I.O.W., going through a script and recording what cast, props, set dressings, etc. are in each scene. (VERY exciting. O_O But... VERY vital.)
  • Do a little bit of editing work... kinda. The intent was for me to add temporary music to a behind-the-scenes video, but I was never really able to do this, due to some computer problems. But, the experience still allowed me to familiarize myself somewhat with the setup of Final Cut Pro. 
  • Watch three live auditions, conducted over Skype.
  • Help out with some scheduling... or, figuring out which scenes will be shot on which days, for an upcoming movie they'll be filming soon. (Side note: This is an insanely complex, chaotic, crazy, and time-consuming process that involves extreme coordination, organization, and a good dosage of non-going-crazy pills. I think it's kind of fun. :-D)
Obviously, most of what I've been doing so far is part of "pre-production" (all the mountains of preparatory work that must be done before you start filming a movie). But, before long, I'll have the opportunity to participate in some "production" work... I.O.W., being on an actual film set! I greatly look forward to that, and I'll be sure to share with you more of my experiences and adventures as time goes by!

Keep pursuing the Truth...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Review: Mere Christianity

I just finished another book: Mere Christianity. Since it's such a famous, classic book in Christian literature, I'm not going to go into a detailed review, but I will say a couple things. 

First, I'm going to share a quote that I thought applies pretty well to Mere Christianity. I found it on the back cover of my copy of the book:
"C. S. Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half-convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds his intellect getting in the way." - Anthony Burgess, New York Times Book Review
But Mere Christianity is not just for unbelievers. It is for believers as well, to see Christianity with a fresh, different perspective, to be more equipped for Christian apologetics and for sharing their faith with unbelievers, and to become more solid in their own beliefs. 

Mere Christianity deals with a lot of tough questions, and uses logic and reasoning to answer them. It can be pretty deep and often makes you think, but C. S. Lewis frequently uses excellent analogies and metaphors that make all of his concepts seem simple, straight-forward, and easy to understand. In fact, I think this is probably one of his best gifts as a writer: his beautiful use of analogies.

My personal copy of the book is scribbled all over with notes, underlining, and stars, with a few pages dog-eared for my favorite quotes. Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book. (I'm putting brief phrases and questions at the beginning of each quote, so you can tell, at a glance, what topics they're on.)

We are at war, in enemy-occupied territory...
"Christianity agrees with Dualism that this universe is at war. But it does not think this is a war between independent powers. It thinks it is a civil war, a rebellion, and that we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel. ... Enemy-occupied territory -- that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage."

 Something even better than earthly romance
"The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water."

Why do Christians still sin??
"A live body is not one that never gets hurt, but one that can to some extent repair itself. In the same way a Christian is not a man who never goes wrong, but a man who is enabled to repent and pick himself up and begin over again after each stumble -- because the Christ-life is inside him, repairing him all the time, enabling him to repeat (in some degree) the kind of voluntary death which Christ Himself carried out."

 What does Christianity say about totalitarianism and democracy?
"And immortality makes this other difference, which, by the by, has a connection with the difference between totalitarianism and democracy. If individuals live only seventy years, then a state, or a nation, or a civilisation, which may last for a thousand years, is more important than an individual. But if Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of a state or a civilisation, compared with his, is only a moment."

A "big" sin vs. a "small" sin
"One man may be so placed that his anger sheds the blood of thousands, and another so placed that however angry he gets he will only be laughed at. But the little mark on the soul may be much the same in both. ... The bigness or smallness of the thing, seen from the outside, is not what really matters."

The desire for another world...
(Two quotes on this topic.)
"The Christian says, 'Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthy pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.' "
"I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same."

How can God be three persons in one??
"In God's dimension, so to speak, you find a being who is three Persons while remaining one Being, just as a cube is six squares while remaining one cube. Of course we cannot fully conceive a Being like that: just as, if we were so made that we perceived only two dimensions in space we could never properly imagine a cube."

Our free will is like a choosing compass...
"Their [unbelievers'] free will is trembling inside them like the needle of a compass. But this is a needle that can choose. It can point to its true North; but it need not. Will the needle swing round, and settle, and point to God?"

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Book Review: Captivating

I just read the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. It continues in somewhat of the same tradition as Epic and Wild at Heart (two books also written by John Eldredge). Captivating specifically focuses on the unique soul of a woman. I highly recommend it; I think every woman, or young woman, should read this book at least at some point in their lifetime.

Like Eldredge's other books, Captivating is about the deepest meaning of life... a passionate, romantic relationship with Jesus. You'll see yourself, God, and the world in general from a different perspective after reading these books.

There were two things that I especially liked about Captivating. First, it offers a definition for true femininity; and out of the few books I've read on the topic, none came anywhere close to the powerful, liberating, beautiful presentation of femininity that John and Stasi Eldredge describe. 

For an example, I loved how they addressed the issue of feminine "strength". It's been often said, in answer to the feminist movement, that women can be just as "strong" as men; we just have a different kind of strength, even though it isn't always physical. I've always believed that; always believed that females have their own kind of strength... but I've never understood how that plays out, exactly. Sure, okay, we are strong in other ways... I know that... but what ways are they? Exactly? What are some examples of this? Captivating answers this question perfectly, beautifully. Yes, women do have their own form of Godly, feminine strength... and it is just as powerful and influential as a man's strength. But, you will have to read the book to know the answer... I'm not going to spoil it for you. :-)

Second, I loved how the Eldredges answered another major question: the question of beauty. In the church, we often say that true beauty flows from the inside out, not vice versa (1 Peter 3:3-4). Well... that's a great saying... but what does that mean, exactly? Captivating answers this question; it shows how absolutely, totally true this concept is. The answer is amazingly real and applicable, for every single woman on earth. 

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book...

"Nature is not primarily functional. It is primarily beautiful."
(Just look at the picture above! I took it while on vacation in Florida, on a tiny island close to Tampa. I thought that sunset was such a gorgeous display of God's beauty and romance. Sometimes nature can be God's version of chocolates or flowers...)

"It is God who longs for Romance; it is God who longs to be our ezer [someone we desperately need, as if in a life-or-death situation where He is our only hope]; it is God who reveals beauty as essential to life. You are the image bearer of this God. That is why you long for those things to."
(The context of this quote is this: man and woman were both made in the image of God; we each reflect different things about who He is. Thus, this is some of how women bear His image. Isn't that an amazing concept?)

"Following hard after Jesus is the heart's natural response when it has been captured and has fallen deeply in love with him."

" 'To be spiritual is to be busy.' 'To be spiritual is to be disciplined.' 'To be spiritual is to be dutiful.' No, to be spiritual is to be in a Romance with God. The desire to be romanced lies deep in the heart of every woman. It is for such that you were made. And you are romanced, and ever will be." 

" 'Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.' (1 Peter 3:3-4)
"First, Peter is not saying that we shouldn't enjoy wearing pretty things. What he's trying to say is that true beauty comes from the inner part of us. Our hearts. ... To have a gentle and quiet spirit is to have a heart of faith, a heart that trusts in God, a spirit that has been quieted by his love and filled with his peace." 

"A woman wants to feel beautiful. The strength of a good man makes her feel so. A man wants to feel strong. The beauty of a good woman makes him feel so."

"No matter how wonderful a taste of relational fullness you have, you will want more. If you had an amazing connection yesterday with someone, when you wake this morning, you will want it again. Eve possesses a bottomless well of longing. Jesus alone is the never-ending fount, which can slake her thirst. No other source, no other relationship will fully satisfy."

"If you are called, God will make a way. Either where you are or through a change of circumstances. Follow your Lover; respond to his invitations. With him, there is no stopping you."

Click here to see Captivating on Amazon.
Click here ( to visit the site of the authors, John and Stasi Eldredge, and learn more about their ministry.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How EXACTLY Do You Influence the Culture?

A commenter on my last blog post asked a really good question. He said:

"Brianna, I commend you for wanting to wanting to influence our culture with media that draws us nearer to Christ. I'm curious, how do you intend to do this?"
My response to him ended up being so long, that I decided to turn it into its own blog post. Here's what I wrote:

I think there are two main aspects of films that can draw people closer or further away from God, and from truth. They are: (1) The characters, and (2) The worldview of the films.

First, the way the characters behave has a HUGE impact on viewers; whether it's a surface impact, or a subtle impact, taking place in their subconscious. I once read a survey that showed that, even if they wouldn't admit it, teenagers who watched movies or TV shows with teenage sex in it, were more likely to engage in sex themselves during their teenage years. (I'm sorry that I do not have this survey or the statistics in front of me... but I remember that it was in a "Brio" magazine, so if any of you absolutely have to have the statistic itself, I could probably dig around for it. :))

Anyway, this was just one statistic involving one issue, but the point stands that we ARE impacted by what we see on television, or in the movies. I remember that when I was a little girl, after watching a movie or TV show, I would often start to behave, in a small way, like the characters I saw. I realized what I was doing and tried not to do this, because I was sort of embarrassed, but as a kid I somehow just couldn't help it. Younger minds are especially susceptible to what they see on the screen, but even adults are impacted, whether they realize it or not. 

(Pictures from
So, I said all that to say, that the characters should be GOOD ROLE MODELS. Not perfect -- they should be real people -- but when they make mistakes, those mistakes shouldn't be glorified or encouraged with the way the story works out.

And, the most important thing they should model is a RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. When we watch characters pressing into God and growing in their walk with Him, who's to say that won't impact us in a positive way, in the same way "teenage sex" shows would impact us in a negative way?

Now, for the second thing: The worldview. The worldview of a film is, I think, almost as -- if not AS -- powerful and influential as the characters. Is it a world where evil has the upper hand and there is only a faint hope for good to win? Is it a world where sin is portrayed as good, and something to model? Is it a world where we are all "animals", on the same plane with dogs and birds and ants; where we all climbed up from the goo over millions of years, and Creator God is just a make-believe fairytale?

Or is it the world portrayed and explained in the Bible?

We might know what we believe. But then, when we start watching movies with worldviews that contradict our views, those worldviews begin slowly seeping into our minds. Eventually, we start thinking in those worldviews, even if they're not what we really believe. And if we really let them get a hold of us, those worldviews will become what we actually believe, instead. And then we are falling headfirst away from Truth and away from God.

As a final thought, here are a few movies (off the top of my head) that, in my opinion, can draw people closer to God in the way I describe. Now, a note: none of these movies, of course, are exactly the way I personally want to make movies. Everyone has their own style, myself included. But, with each of these movies, there is at least something about them that I like.

* What If - Encourages people to dedicate their lives to God, not to themselves.
* The Chronicles of Narnia series - An analogy that shows Christ and His sacrifice with a fresh perspective (esp. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe)
* Faith Like Potatoes - Based on a true story, encouraging us to have faith in God; shows how God can change a life.
* To Save a Life - Deals with teenage suicide, depression, etc.; a call for the church to look past our judgmentalism and reach out to people.
* End of the Spear - Based on a true story, about bringing the gospel to a tribe centered around killing and revenge; a message of powerful, emotional forgiveness.
* Come What May - About doing the right thing, regardless of the outcome; and honoring God through absolute purity in relationships.

So, that was just a few movies I thought of off the top of my head... there are plenty, plenty more. What are some more that you can think of? 

Pursuing the Truth in Christ,