Tag Archives: screenwriting

Are You a Roaring Lamb?

The term “life-changing” is overused in today’s world. But today I have to say it: I’m in the middle of reading a life-changing book. For real.

A few weeks ago I received a gift from my friend, Janelle Woodyard. It’s a copy of the book, Roaring Lambs, by the late Bob Briner. I was in the middle of a deadline at the time and couldn’t start reading right then. But last week, I finally got a chance to pick it up…and now it’s hard to put it down!

Published in 1993 by Zondervan, Briner’s Roaring Lambs challenges all Christians, but especially those in the arts, to get out of the Christian world and get into the secular one. He says that we do a good job in our churches, in Christian schools and colleges, in Christian publishing, in Christian bookstores, and Christian television.

But then he goes on to say:

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The Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival by Lori Marett & Writing Opps

Guess what. It’s the 5th Thursday, and that means I get to do what I want AGAIN this week! And this time I want to introduce screenwriter Lori Marett, co-director of the Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival, to be held August 11-16, 2012 at Ridgecrest in the Asheville, NC area.

Do you love film, acting, screenwriting, or directing? Do you dream of writing and singing songs for the Lord? The Gideon was created to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through all types of media with an emphasis on television, film, theater, church drama, music, graphic arts, marketing and distribution, screenwriting, youth ministries, and spiritual encouragement.

Lori and her husband Rodney created the Gideon Conference in 2007 for adults, and yet, they also had a desire for teens to be able to learn from Christian professionals in the industry as well. So now I’m honored to be co-director, along with Sarah Anne Sumpolec, of the Gideon Intern Program for Teens 16-18 years old. If you know an interested teen, please let them know about the program today–the deadline for applications for the intern program is tomorrow, June 1st! Registration is open-ended for regular adult attendees. 🙂

And now, please welcome my friend, Lori Marett.

The Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival by Lori Marett

As co-director of The Gideon I am frequently asked, “What exactly is the Gideon?” I have perfected my answer over these past 5 years: The Gideon is a place where those interested in the media arts – screenwriting, drama/acting, music, graphics, television and filmmaking – may come to learn from and network with media professionals.

When Vonda asked me to guest blog about the Gideon, I had planned on giving the memorized extended version of what the Gideon has to offer. That is, until my preacher gave his sermon last Sunday about Pentecost. Then it dawned on me. The Gideon has many similarities to Pentecost, a Biblical historical event that took place 2000 years ago.  So if you’re curious whether or not you’ll hear a mighty rushing wind and have cloven tongues of fire descend on you at the Gideon, read on!

What is Pentecost?

Many of us, including myself, think that Pentecost was a onetime event, but actually it was an ongoing feast-day for the Jews – a festival observed 50 days (50 = penta) after the Feast of Firstfruits. Jews united from different parts of the world to commemorate the giving of the Law to Moses at Mt. Sinai.

But the meaning of this event changed at this particular Pentecost (read the second chapter of Acts) when the Holy Spirit came to be with the Apostles as well as the other followers of Jesus Christ, whose crucifixion and resurrection took place just 10 days prior. Jesus foretold that an Advocate, Helper, or Comforter would come in his stead (John 14:16) and the Holy Spirit descended upon them as the sound of a mighty rushing wind and as tongues of fire! This particular Pentecost was the day that “the Church” (a visible body of believers) was started.

What does Pentecost have to do with Gideon?

Just as Pentecost was the catalyst for spreading the gospel by word of mouth, Gideon is training and sending out individuals to spread the gospel by the way of media. Below you’ll see other some interesting similarities between Gideon and the Pentecost of Acts 2…

Pentecost united all sexes, all ages

Gideon Interns 2011

Still to this day, Jews do not allow the men and women to worship together. Children were also restricted in their participation. But at Pentecost, these traditions were broken. The Holy Spirit did not distinguish between the sexes nor did the Holy Spirit distinguish between ages.

In television and film, we still see a male dominated field, but the Gideon works hard to break down the barriers for women. This is also true for the teens who feel called into media. The Gideon is proud to have the GIDEON INTERN PROGRAM (ages 16-18) which offers unprecedented opportunities for young men and women. Gideon also offers FAMILY RATES to make it possible parents and their children to experience Gideon as a family unit.

Pentecost united all denominations, all races

Peter made it clear that this new church was for both the Jew and the Gentile. Even though the Gideon is sponsored by a Southern Baptist organization, LifeWay, the Gideon is not a Southern Baptist conference and our FILM FESTIVAL selections are from all around the world.

Pentecost united the rich and the poor

While we don’t have a caste system per se in this country, we do have a distinction between the levels of experience of individuals who participate at Gideon. Gideon tries hard to meet the needs of both the beginner and the professional. We design WORKSHOPS to give the attendee the maximum use of his/her time by offering various levels of training as well as networking opportunities.

Pentecost united all for one purpose

When my husband, Rodney, and I started designing the Gideon in 2007, we were uncertain of the path God was going to lay before us. But the one thing we were certain of is the PURPOSE OF GIDEON.  At the inception of the Gideon Conference, Rodney and I carefully chose the scripture that we felt best described what we were called to do. And now, as I write this blog post, I see the irony of the scripture verse we settled on because it foretold what was about to happen at Pentecost.

“But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere.” Acts 1:8

Vonda here: Thank you, Lori. And friends, I hope you’ll join us at the Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Fesitval where cutting-edge media arts are combined with one of the most unique Christian conferences and Christian film festivals in the country.


I Know It’s Not Writing Opportunities Day, But…

I have some last-minute opportunities and don’t want to let them get by!

1.  Maranatha Christian Writer’s Conference has a call for submissions for their 35th Anniversary Book. On the day I’m posting this, the link isn’t working, but I’m assuming it’s down for maintenance right now. I hope it’s working when you check because it sounds like a great opportunity!

2.  Guideposts is hosting another Writers Workshop Contest! But you must hurry, deadline is June 20, 2012. Thanks to Marilyn Turk for sharing this great opportunity. As a past winner, she knows firsthand the amazing opportunity this is for ongoing training!

3.  Game Show Network (creators of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) has posted on Craigslist that they’re looking for contestants for The American Bible Challenge, hosted by Jeff Foxworthy in Atlanta.

Write on!


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Writer’s Headlines: Opportunities for Creative Teens

Welcome to Thursday’s Writer’s Headlines…

Today we’re focusing on opportunities for teens interested in writing, acting, and film. Be sure to share these opportunities with the talented teens you know!

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Grant Skellenger on Screenwriting & Filmmaking and Writing Opps

grantskellengerheadshotI just returned from the Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival–a wonderful week of learning about filmmaking, acting, screenwriting, music videos, graphic novels (a genre, not a judgment), and just about anything else you can think of related to media arts.

Many of you know about my love of acting, but only a few know that I’m working on a screenplay, an entirely new area of writing for me. And since some of you might be interested in learning about it too, I thought it’d be good for all of us to hear from someone who’s actually completed a movie script that ended up on the big screen. So please join me in welcoming screenwriter, filmmaker, novelist, and new friend, Grant Skellenger.

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Plot Points with Indiana Jones by Pepper Basham

pepperbashamheadshotLast week Pepper Basham wrote a blog post about plotting over at her group blog, The Writers Alley. Since I’m at the Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival this week, this is a good time to focus on movies and plotting. Thank you for sharing it with us here at the Christian Writer’s Den, Pepper!

Plot Points with Indiana Jones by Pepper Basham

Okay, so put on your brown Fedora, pick up your whip, don your best sarcasm, and watch out for snakes, because we’re going to look at Plotting Tips from Indiana Jones.

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