Acting as a Form of Intercession

written by Josias Jensen

 

Two years ago, I was on set taking a brief break from a scene. I was staring into the beautiful blend of colors from the sunset and a thunderstorm looming in the distance. The weather somehow managed to reflect what was going on in my mind. It was both filled with the deepest peace and yet also deep anger.

 

The peace was my own, the anger wasn’t.

 

The character I was playing was an abusive man in an unhealthy relationship. Throughout the short film the character acts in great anger and frustration, resorting to violence towards his girlfriend.

 

“Every character you play and every story you get to tell can be to the praise of our maker, it can also be a sincere prayer of reconciliation.”

 

Although I wouldn’t describe myself as a method actor, playing this character touched me deeply.

 

As part of my research for the part, I read about the common characteristics of people who resort to physical abuse. I came to believe that at the heart of most abusive relationships is a person who is desperately afraid of not being in control of his or her own destiny. They manifest their desire to be in control via. physical abuse.

 

These people are broken and in desperate need of healing.

 

Playing an abusive man made me understand abusive people better, and my heart started aching for them more than it had in the past. Physical abuse is inexcusable, but these people are in need of help just as much as their victims.

A photo by Rosalind Chang. unsplash.com/photos/qtIsUwoP94s

Through this process, God was giving me more of a heart for people who resort to physical abuse. I started praying for these people and I realized that in a sense, by portraying this character I got to pray for men and women who struggle with abuse.

 

It occurred to me that the acting process can be a form of intercession, prayer and standing in the gap.

 

Through the process I got to not only bring awareness to the issue, I also got to impact God’s kingdom in the spiritual realm.

 

Every character you play and every story you get to tell can be to the praise of our maker, it can also be a sincere prayer of reconciliation.

 

In your research you get to learn about the world around you that he so loves and wants to reconcile. In your acting you get to step into the shoes of the people God loves and feel the pain and joy they go through.

 

God’s plan has always been to reconcile all of creation to himself, and we get to do it through film making and acting. I challenge you to let your expression as an artist to be a sincere prayer.

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Editing For Dummies

written by Brenden Bell

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Editing was not something I went into my film school excited to learn about. I thought of it as that thing you had to do in order to complete your movie and not much else.

 

Imagine my surprise when my instructor informed us all that the edit was your last rewrite for your film. I had never thought of it like that before. I leaned forward, eyebrow raised and hand firmly under chin, and I whispered, “Go on.”

 

If you have read any of my blogs or know anything about me, you know I love writing and think of myself, however foolishly, as a writer. My love of writing, and being casually anal, transitioned seamlessly into editing.

 

I became an interpreter of the footage in front of me, the author of the final story.

 

Since editing can seem overwhelming, I thought I would give you some tips in order to start your journey. Once you get into it, it can actually be quite good fun.

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  • Watch Tutorials

 

No matter where you’re at in your skill set, watching tutorials is always helpful. If you’ve never edited anything together and don’t even know where to start, looking up free tutorials on YouTube have been designed just for you. Of course there are plenty of tutorials that cost you dollars, which are great as well and give you a more in-depth look. I like the ones that give me footage If you’ve been around the block a few times, you’re probably already pro level at finding a YouTube tutorials for your specific situation.

 

  1.   Watch Everything

 

No matter what you’re editing whether it’s a short film, interview, or wedding video, watch every bit of footage recorded. Even watch the clips that think are only mess ups. There are moments in clips that can work for your movie or video that you didn’t think would unless you had watched everything. Watch all of your clips before importing as well, so you can label them appropriately (if they’re digital clips).

 

  1.   Be Casually Anal

 

If you look at my bedroom at any given moment, you would laugh at the idea of me being an organized person. When it comes to organizing my footage for editing though, I like to say that I am casually anal. The more that you can organize your footage the better. I always create folders/bins/projects (whatever your non-linear editing software calls it) and organize my footage accordingly so that when I need to find something, I’m able to reference it quickly.

 

  1.    Tell a Story

 

This is probably the most important point in all of the points of this article. Once you’ve organized your footage in an easily accessible way, you need to start creating your peace. No matter what your making, you want to tell a story. Whether it’s a narrative, a commercial, an interview, or an artsy fartsy impressionistic piece on nature, you want to tell a story.

 

  1. Find your own rhythm

 

Any time I’m editing something together, I want to have a certain feeling or pacing depending on the emotion of the scene, situation, or piece. I try and find a song that I feel matches the tone of the scene or video, and I edit to the song. When I was editing a short film about a young man dealing with the grief of losing his father, I listened to violin music in order to get in the head space of long, slow shots and editing. However, I listened to more frenetic/experimental types of music when editing a scene from another film where a character is having a stroke. Listening to music helps me decide the tone and pace of a piece. The only danger is that you can grow too attached to the music you have playing underneath the scene.

 

  1. Kill Your Darlings

 

Once, I was editing my final project on my film school, and as I watched my edit back I knew there was something wrong. I called one of my instructors over to have him watch it, and he told me to edit out a lot of my middle section, because it wasn’t working and slowing my story down.

 

I protested, but he simply placed his hand on my shoulder and told me to kill my darlings.

 

I did. I got rid of parts of my story that I loved dearly. The end result was much stronger because of it. Sometimes in an edit (especially if we wrote or filmed the piece ourselves) it’s easy to get attached to an idea that isn’t working. Be ok with killing your darlings, because our work is often more rich and clear as a result.

 

  1. Make Bold Choices

 

I was editing a short film, and the beginning wasn’t working for me. It was taking too long to get into the action of the story as it was scripted. I made a bold choice. I started the edit of the film 1/3rd of the way into the script, reinserting Act 1 later in the story as a sort of reveal.

 

I wasn’t sure it was going to work, but after watching it back through, the story came alive to me in a way it never had before.

 

If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try something wild or unorthodox. You never know what’s going to work until you try it. In this day and age, undoing is just a command-z away.

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It’s easy to get overwhelmed by editing or to lose heart. By following some of these simple guides, I hope editing can become something that is less intimidating and more fun.

 

Editing is truly the final rewrite of your film, have fun with it and make is a good one.

Visual Metaphor’s

Metaphor:

\met-uh-fawr\

A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else”

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Here at the SDF/SAS we believe in the power of the image.

Film, unlike almost any other medium, has the ability to take an idea and express it visually. This is called visual storytelling.

This can come across in the composition of a frame or in cutting between two different images that tell us something.

This allows a film to communicate a message to us on a visual and almost subconscious level.

In an interview with Denis Villeneuve, director of Enemy and Sicario, he said that he did not use the best shot he had ever filmed in Prisoners because it did not serve the story they were telling.

What ever you do with framing and compositions it must build to the story you are telling, not just be cool visuals for cool visual sake.

Lets look at how others use visual language.

Here’s how some of the films of 2015 used composition:

Here is a bit of the history of composition in cinema and how its used:

Here is how film can use subtle metaphors and references, such as in Children of Men:

Now it’s your turn.

What will you do with film? How will you communicate using visual metaphors?