Sunday, May 26, 2013

Me? A Mighty Hero? You Gotta Be Kidding!

Lori Marett

Maybe I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of my attitude when, as a writer with an interest in screenplays, I knew that getting into Hollywood was about as likely as jumping off a cliff, waving my arms, and flying like an eagle. My thoughts began to stir that somebody should bring together those in the media arts.

How? Who? I felt like my dad’s favorite biblical hero, Gideon, when the angel of the Lord appeared and said, “Mighty hero…I am sending you.” As I and my husband, Rodney, prayed and pondered, we wondered if the project was possible for us and behaved like Gideon when he said, “Show me a sign.”

We laid out our fleece, wondering if it would be wet or dry as we contacted persons we’d met at writers conferences including Dr. Ted Baehr, founder/CEO MovieGuide, Ken Wales, producer of Christy, Amazing Grace and others, and Linda Seger, leading Hollywood script consultant who approved our venture, would participate, and promote.

Carrying the banner of the Lord who said, “I will be with you,” we started the Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival six years ago to give Christians a place to encourage their talents, a venue to meet, learn, network and get advice from experts in the industry, and the opportunity to develop working and personal relationships that extend long after the Gideon is over.

The faculty is comprised of Christian writers, producers, directors, graphic novelists, musicians, actors. DJ’s, performers, speakers and teachers chosen for their expertise and servant hearts. Workshops are designed to stretch the attendees’ minds and help them discover the path God has placed in front of them.

In addition to workshops for all the arts, writers can improve their craft, even if they don’t intend to write scripts. Included are:
            How to Discern God’s Leading in Career Decisions
            Dynamic Ways of Creating Character – work through acronym CROWS for a                                technique taught from The New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts
            From Book Pages to Movie Screen
            Creating a Compelling Protagonist and Antagonist – primary and secondary                                  characters, avoid stereotypes, develop motivation and growth, write a bio of your characters
            The Art of Collaborative Writing – share the fame or the blame – navigate                                        through the sometimes-choppy waters of writing as a team

Many testimonials have been given by attendees such as this one from Deborah Raney, award-winning novelist and movie, A Vow to Cherish. She writes:
            I’m sure it wasn’t really all about us, but when Ken and I look back on the Gideon it seems like God must have orchestrated it to become a part of our lives just when we needed it most! Ken had just been laid off from his job of 25 years, and we were in deep disagreement about what to do next. Ken felt strongly that the Lord was asking him to step out in faith and use his gifts of illustration and graphic design to start his own business. I wanted the security of a “real” job.
            What I discovered at the Gideon changed my mind and changed my heart. There, I got to know a whole bunch of people just like Ken. Fellow creatives brave enough to step out in faith, to walk in obedience to a calling, and dedicated to using the gifts and talents God gave them to tell the world about Jesus. And to tell it in a quality way.
            It’s hard to adequately describe how God used the Gideon to direct our paths, but we look back at the journey God took us on (still has us on!) and we see that at each critical juncture, God allowed us time at the conference. And every year it was a time of encouragement, spiritual growth, growth in our marriage, and of evaluating where we were headed––and whether it was the direction God wanted us headed.
            We heard so many wonderful testimonies of how God had provided for others in our shoes. We heard such inspirational and motivational talks that helped us make important decisions. We watched films that encouraged us. We made friends who will always have a precious place in our hearts. And we formed prayer partnerships that I have no doubt made all the difference.
            It was clear to us that God had paved the way for us to be there, and we will always look back on the Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival as a gift from His hand.”
            Maybe you, like Gideon, Rodney and I, the Raneys, and other Arts Festival attendees have said, “Me? A mighty hero? You’re going to use me?”
            Then listen for His answer of, “I will be with you.”
Lori Marett and her husband, Rodney, direct the annual Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival held in Orlando, Florida. Her publishing credits include articles published by Focus on the Family. Her screenwriting career began two decades ago when she won and/or was finalist in regional and national contests. Her first adaptation was of Yvonne Lehman's novel, In Shady Groves, which led to her adapting a feature film screenplay, Sea of Glory, a novel by Ken Wales, producer of Christy, Amazing Grace, Pink Panther, and other movies. Her first feature film, Meant To Be (co-written with producer/director Bradley Dorsey) was released in January, 2013 and is a best-seller for the Family Christian online stores. Her screenplay for Jenny L. Cote's novel, The Ark, the Reed, and the Fire Cloud is in pre-production for an animated feature film for projected release in 2015. Lori lives with her husband and three daughters in Black Mountain, North Carolina. www.gideonfilmfestival.com




Lori Marett and her husband, Rodney, direct the annual Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival held in Orlando, Florida. Her publishing credits include articles published by Focus on the Family. Her screenwriting career began two decades ago when she won and/or was finalist in regional and national contests. Her first adaptation was of Yvonne Lehman's novel, In Shady Groves, which led to her adapting a feature film screenplay, Sea of Glory, a novel by Ken Wales, producer of Christy, Amazing Grace, Pink Panther, and other movies. Her first feature film, Meant To Be (co-written with producer/director Bradley Dorsey) was released in January, 2013 and is a best-seller for the Family Christian online stores. Her screenplay for Jenny L. Cote's novel, The Ark, the Reed, and the Fire Cloud is in pre-production for an animated feature film for projected release in 2015. Lori lives with her husband and three daughters in Black Mountain, North Carolina. www.gideonfilmfestival.com

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