Traffic Jam

Every once in a while, we are asked to work on a project that feels a lot bigger than ourselves. The possibilities are enormous, and the content has worldwide implications, but the truth of what it is lines up with the mission of our hearts. These are the stories that we long to tell.

Human trafficking … child sex slavery … these words do not belong together. But there is something we can do about it. Traffic Jam unites musicians and fans to raise awareness and fight trafficking and enslavement of children around the globe.

At the end of June, Storytelling Pictures will be partnering with Traffic Jam and traveling with the band Sargent Avenue to Thailand and Cambodia to document child trafficking and slavery. In addition, Sargent Avenue has been asked to perform in Chaing Mai, Thailand for an anti-trafficking concert created by MTV Exit.

Sargent Avenue, formed in 2008, blends a variety of musical influences to create rhythmic, emotive rock music and high-energy live shows. Sargent Avenue is the only American band invited to play in the event. But as bass player Jesse Harris shares, "We are more than just musicians; we are men who have something to stand for, something to fight for."

Storytelling Pictures is honored to partner with Traffic Jam to tell such a powerful story. The goal is to educate and inspire people to address child trafficking and slavery head-on and take action to defend innocence.


ICCF Sala’s Story


Bad Blogging

That’s me. Terrible at it. So thought I’d throw out a token blurb just to stir the pot a bit. In a depressed economy, particularly in a state hostile to small businesses, we have managed to grow and thrive. Disparities in Healthcare is a large documentary project we’ll be diving into later this spring – always a pleasure to swim in subjects that touch so many people on so many levels. A number of short films, a healthy backlog of commercial work. Diligence indeed has its rewards, as does quality of work and commitment to the clients best interest, always. A good formula.


New TV Show

The Dove Foundation, Zondervan Publishing and Storytelling Pictures are teaming together to produce a 30-minute “Entertainment Movie Review” television pilot. Its market is the faith and family audience with multiple broadcast formats including television, satellite and podcast. It’s objective is to advance the mission of the Dove Foundation in its efforts to provide families with entertainment information, analysis and recommendation.

Upon its success, the pilot will become a weekly entertainment show nationally broadcast through satellite and cable partners, reaching a digital footprint of 34 million households.

The TV series will explore and review current theatrical, DVD and gaming releases with celebrity/industry interviews and other Dove branding elements.


Wildest Ride on Earth

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A friend of ours came into our office and told us about this reoccurring dream she had while going through chemo for breast cancer. In her dream, she’s with her family at an amusement park. She’s drawn to this roller coaster ride, but when she gets in line she realizes that only her gate opens – she has to take this ride alone. As the coaster jolts forward, it’s now dark outside and the track is dimly lit. She can’t see the twists or turns….or peaks and valleys. This will be the ride of her life as she’s literally fighting for her life.

We weren’t quite sure what to do with this “dream” and it’s powerful metaphor, but we knew we needed to film it. We co-wrote the music as well as produced the accompanying documentary. Maybe it could be used somehow to identify with women going through the frightening journey of breast cancer. Maybe when they find themselves in some dark hole…and afraid…it would be a welcoming friend that communicates they’re not alone.

Fortunately, it found a “home”. So we produced it, handed it over, and then watched as it was distributed through a variety of networks.

BOOM.

This all took place two years ago. I continue to be overwhelmed at the responses that have come pouring in from all over the country and beyond. This haunting dream, a passion to communicate it on film, writing the song, documenting the production, and watching the end product land on the shelves and libraries of schools, hospitals, cancer centers, counseling centers, churches, literally hundreds of related websites, broadcast on media outlets, etc….ALL of this has once again reminded me of why we do what we do.


Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts

What is it about sunny weather, great food, music, art and LOTS of people?

It’s Festival – Grand Rapids signature event of kicking off the summer.

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So many volunteers, so much work and so much fun. As a simple gesture of gratuity to all who labored to make this event possible, we wanted to capture Festival ‘09 in a less ‘conventional’ way and create a reflective and cinematic expression that says “thank you.”

From the tranquil to the frenzied….thank you.


What’s wrong with a little porn?

Everything.
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Every man in America, at some point, has looked at porn. I mean, it surrounds us. From soft-core billboards and TV commercials to the hardcore skank magazines and websites. No matter what “level” your eyes fell upon, you can probably recall the images that were burned into your mind. That’s just one problem. Men are visual beasts and it feeds a darkness within them. Even worse, if twists their perception of how women think, and what they truly want.

Statistics are staggering at the number of marriages/relationships that have been destroyed, careers that have been ruined, families that have been devastated, by pornography.

In the documentary, “Somebody’s Daughter,” interviewee, Michael Cusick, said it best; “Pornography is addictive because it allows a man to FEEL like a man, without requiring him to be one.” In other words, he THINKS he’s desired by the opposite sex and it temporarily satisfies his longing to be a MAN. Purely plutonic. The reality is that he’s introduced comparison into his marriage, objectifies women, and thinks that life is all about sex….and being wanted. (Now, I realize it can be more complicated than this, but this is a blog and not a book.)

Being a real man DOES take work. It takes sacrifice, listening, genuine understanding, putting her needs before your own, speaking her “love language”, and cherishing her as you said you would on your wedding day. This turns her head (and desires) far more quickly than a false notion from pixels on a screen and subsequent role-playing in the bedroom.
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Producing this documentary was excruciating. Here were people painfully opening up wounds, and in a spirit of humility and vulnerability, were recounting the dismantling of their marriages. John Evans was on camera and I was doing the interviews. For the married couple we interviewed, I felt terrible. In digging deeper and asking them personal questions about their journey, I felt like I was talking to this man about his “virtual” affairs in front of his wife. Painful. But they were so humble….so wanting to be used to warn others.

Produced for Music for the Soul, which is a Christian based non-profit ministry out of Nashville, the viewer can’t deny the grace of God at work in the lives of the folks on camera. Their message is convicting and inspiring at the same time. They share a journey into darkness, but one that doesn’t end there. On the contrary, it ends with redemption….and hope.