Prodigal Project update

one-sheet-thumbnailIt has been awhile since my last update on the film. Not because nothing’s been happening, though. We’re making progress… slow and sure.

Sometimes I get anxious and frustrated. In the TV world, where I’ve spent most of my life, things happen much faster. In the “film biz,” progress is measured in months and sometimes years. But that’s the nature of the beast, so I’m learning to deal with it.

Here’s where we are…

Fundraising: Nothing’s real until the money’s in the bank. So raising the funds we need for production is the first priority and is taking most of my time these days. As of today, we have $265,000 committed to the project. We need a minimum of $500,000 – so we’re over the hump. Ultimately, we need to raise $750,000 to take care of marketing & distribution. We’re continuing to seek potential donors and applying for grants from foundations. Want to donate? You can do so here.

Cast & Crew: We’ve not done any casting yet. We won’t begin working on that until we’re closer to the funding goal. But we have begun putting the major crew department heads in place.

Among those already attached to the project, and some of the previous projects in which they’ve been involved…

  • Ken Roy, Line Producer – Lincoln, Mickey, John Adams, Hearts in Atlantis, Killing Kennedy, Blues in the Night
  • Rich Wills, Producer – Lincoln, Civil War 360, TURN, Troop 491
  • Jon Nelson, Director of Photography – First Landing, Gospel of Liberty
  • Richard Blankenship, Production Designer – Lincoln, TURN, John Adams, Captain Phillips
  • Jim Ed Wills, Editor – Lincoln, TURN, Troop 491, Killing Kennedy

Partnerships: We’re structuring our production company, Belltower Pictures as an independent non-profit corporation focused on producing, promoting and distributing high quality Christian-themed films, television and web projects… and to be an incubator for the next generation of Christian filmmakers… and to offer a way for people of diverse faith traditions to come together and work on a common goal. To that end, we’re constantly in conversations with churches and other organizations to forge partnerships, not only for this film but also for future projects.

Distribution: We’ve already begun developing potential distribution channels. A representative of a major film distributor recently told us, “The script covers a timely subject/scenario ripe for comedy… We’re rooting for you guys to pull the rest of the finance together and make the film, the market needs more comedies.”

If you want to keep up with what’s going on with the film, jump over to the Belltower Pictures website and sign up to receive updates.

The Church and Home Depot

The_Home_DepotAlan Jones, a former colleague at Richmond’s First Baptist Church,  once talked about being in a Home Depot on a Sunday morning.

“Why do people go to Home Depot on Sunday morning?” he asked.

“So they can dream.”

He said he saw dads and sons checking out tools and moms with Starbucks cups… all having a good time dreaming about what can be. Their creativity is called out. Their commitment level is high. They are willing to make the investment of money, time, and hard work to realize their dreams. Their hopes for the future far outweigh their fondness and memories of the past.


Then Alan asked, “How can the environment at church be more like that at Home Depot?”

How about this for a church mission statement: “God can do it. We can help!”

Watch where you’re going, honey.

It is a beautiful spring day, so I went for a walk in Dorey Park this morning.

Hardly a cloud in the sky, a crisp 55 degrees, light breeze… nature seemed to breathe a deep, satisfying “Ahhhhh!” following a long winter.

As I rounded the lake, a group of two grandparents, a mom and two children were coming toward me. One of the children, a little eight-year-old-ish boy focused on the ducks who were swimming rapidly toward him. He never looked away from the them as he wandered across the path, right toward me.

Dorey Park
Dorey Park photo by Devra Powers

As we were about 10 feet apart, the mom took notice and gently exhorted her son, “Watch where you’re going, honey.” The little boy quickly looked up and swerved, allowing me to pass on the edge of the path.

The thought occurred to me that some people go through life like that little boy: focused on their own agendas, distractions, priorities, and goals… oblivious to other people and the effects their actions have on those around them.

You see it everywhere: on the highway, in business, in government, in families, and sadly — in churches.

The world needs more people like that mom in Dorey Park, who will gently guide their children into awareness of their surroundings and the effects of their actions. And do it with kindness… not yelling and stifling his spirit.

The world needs more people like that little boy will grow up to be — aware of the needs of others and willing to make course adjustments for the sake of civility and courtesy. (While maintaining a healthy focus on their priorities and a lively curiosity about the distractions in life.)

And the world needs more people who will respond to the absence of those characteristics in other folks (like I hope I would have done this morning) by making their own course adjustment with a smile and an awareness that we all sometimes forget the lessons our mothers taught.