Friday, February 29, 2008
There's still the verses to complete and then alot of polishing, but it's exciting to see this song come together after only thinking about it for the better part of a year.
That's all for now. Time to crack the whip and get Paeter back to work!
Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Of course, since virtually anyone can upload loops, you'll find some things that are useful and some that are not, but as I've skimmed the surface I've so far found most loops to be of good quality, if not always what I'm looking for.
Currently, I'm looking a for a little electric guitar material. I've got a friend who did some great guitar work on one song in "Dark Ritual" already, but when I need something short, simple and repetitive just to "fill-in" the sound some, loops are a quicker and easier way to go.
Currently I'm working on a song for Dark Ritual called "Death Come Quickly". Like one or two other songs in Dark Ritual, it has an Epic feel, so I'm looking for authentic sounding strings and will also add choral voices using a mix of samples, synth and my own voice to create the final sound.
Anyway, that's all for now. Back to work!
Monday, February 25, 2008
At the start of this chapter we're reminded of a what a good historian Luke is, including detailed lists of names, some of whom are only mentioned in the Bible once.
Although the text doesn't give any clear indication of the method, the Holy Spirit communicated to this group of Christians that he wanted Barnabus and Saul to be set apart for a specific ongoing work.
Have you ever wondered about this "laying on of hands" business? Why did they do that? Some churches still do! So what's this all about?
We can see something similar to this as early as Leviticus 16:21-22, where hands were laid on an animal to symbolically transfer the sins of the people onto the animal. In Numbers 27:18 and 23 we see an ordination of sorts that seems a little closer to what's going on in Acts 13. An even more evidenced "spiritual transaction" is mentioned in 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6.
Although it may be difficult to find a common link between the sacrificial use of hands and the "ordination" use, we can at least say that this was not something done lightly. It was a solemn event and in Acts 13 it seems to serve a similar purpose to the passages in Numbers and 1st and 2nd Timothy.
In the city of Paphos, a headquarters for the Roman government, Saul is asked to share the word of God with a Roman official. But the official's servant, a sorcerer, wanted to keep the Roman proconsul from believing Saul. (The proconsul's conversion could've very likely put the sorcerer out of a job.) Saul, guided by the Holy Spirit, uses very strong words with the sorcerer. He calls him the son of the devil! Yet we don't see any indication that the sorcerer even believed in the concept of the devil. So what does this statement mean?
If we look at John 8:42-47, we remember that Jesus said something similar of religious Jews who said they were God's children. But since Jesus saw more character traits of Satan in them than those of God, he referred to them as children of the devil. Saul wasn't being so closed-minded that he believed everyone different from him was a devil worshipper. Instead, he realized the truth: The natural state of humanity is to do our own thing and focus on ourselves, just like Satan does. Until we put our trust in Jesus, allowing his perfect record to stand in place of our own before God, we most resemble Satan. This sorcerer was not only serving his own interests, he was doing so at the expense of others, keeping them from learning and believing the truth that can save them!
God loved this Roman official who was open to hearing the truth. Without that truth he would be separated from God forever. It's understandable that God would become angry with the man getting in the way of that!
It's at this point that the Bible begins referring to Saul(meaning "desired) instead as Paul(meaning "little"). For a man that did so much to change so many lives, it would seem his new name helped to keep him humble.
John Mark (who wrote the Gospel of Mark) had been traveling with Paul and Barnabas, but at this point left them to return to Jerusalem. His reasons for this are unclear, but we'll see in chapter 15 that Paul was frustrated with this behavior.
Paul uses a very sound strategy by speaking in the local synagogues of the places he visited. His audience would be primarily Jewish and therefore be familiar with the Old Testament prophecies he used to point them to Jesus. (One example being Isaiah 11:1-16, which he may have been referring to here in verse 23.) Starting with a summary of major O.T. events, Paul lays the foundation for telling his audience about Jesus. But that will have to wait until next time!
Next Week: Thank God For Leftovers!!Coffee House Question:Have you ever felt loved or protected by God? If so, when and how?
Friday, February 22, 2008
Paeter's schedule will begin to free up after a couple more months and we expect progress to come more quickly when that happens.
We also don't anticipate the mastering process to take as long for "Dark Ritual" as it did for "Spirit Blade"(which took around 4-6 weeks). So once the primary mixing is complete it will be a sprint to the finish!
We've learned alot from our experience making "Spirit Blade" and believe that the production quality of "Dark Ritual" will be a significant improvement and refining of what we accomplished in our first project. We hope you'll agree!
Thanks for your support and stay tuned for more updates as we continue to move forward!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Although the disciples didn't believe it was really Peter at the door, his persistence paid off and he was allowed in, to the shock of everyone present.
You may notice that Peter singles out James as one that should be told about Peter's miraculous escape. With so many names (which are sometimes shared by more than one person) it can be hard to keep track, but the James referred to here is the biological brother (or half-brother, anyway) of Jesus.
The next morning, the guards were pretty frantic to figure out what had happened. With prideful modern eyes we can look at this and say that Peter escaped through luck, or a soldier that was either paid off or just feeling friendly. But the soldiers knew the consequences for failure in their duty, and their execution due to Peter's escape places the evidence on the side of the miraculous account of the Bible.
Herod, while making a public speech, is referred to as a god and not a man by those listening to him. But this politician didn't even mask his pride with false humility, and because he did nothing to deflect the attention, God instantly sent an angel to "take him down".
A surface glance at the text in verse 23 might seem confusing. Was he eaten suddenly by carnivorous worms and died on the spot? Wouldn't that be the kind of miracle that everyone present would have noticed and reacted strongly to? What's going on here?
Josephus, or Titus Flavius Josephus, was a Jewish born Roman citizen and one of the great historians of this time period. What makes his writing valuable to Christians is that he himself was not a Christian, but a religious Jew. There is no motive in his writings to make Christianity look "authentic". So his accounts are interesting to compare to the Biblical accounts, and provide great support for the authenticity and reliability of the Bible.
Regarding this event, Josephus reports that Herod, after collapsing, was carried to the palace where he died after five days of stomach pains caused by worms. At this time, deaths from bowel diseases and worms were thought to be among the most horrible.
Politicians come and go, but God's work continues. An account attributed to H.L. Hastings reads:
"When the French monarch proposed the persecution of Christians in his dominion, an old statesman and warrior said to him, 'Sire, the church of God is an anvil that has worn out many hammers.' So the hammers of infidels have been pecking away at this book for ages, but the hammers are worn out, and the anvil still endures. If this book had not been the book of God, men would have destroyed it long ago. Emperors and popes, kings and priests, princes and rulers have all tried their hand at it; they die and the book still lives."
Regardless of who may have power or authority over you, remember and be encouraged that God is in control of them and his words remain in every moment of our lives to support and guide us.
Next Week: The Mission!
Coffee House Question: What qualities do you like to see in leaders? (Church leaders, business leaders, political leaders etc.)
Monday, February 18, 2008
"In Search Of Truth" will be posted on Wednesday this week. In the meantime, Paeter has JUST made the next part of his "Spirit Blade" commentary available to download at http://www.spiritblade.net/site.cfm/sbp/media
Go check it out!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Although prepared to "get creative" and find a solution that could be written around the missing lines, we felt very lucky to have found the original lines tucked away on a mislabeled sound file. (Whew!)
Paeter is currently mixing an action scene that leads into a MAJOR cliffhanger around the middle of "Dark Ritual". It's a big moment because of its intensity and because of the length of time we make the audience wait before the cliffhanger is resolved. Should be fun!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Yesterday, I started work on a "Mike Tully scene". Mike does the voice of Raan and it's always a ton of fun mixing his stuff. When he came into town for a marathon recording weekend last summer, we had so much fun and alot of our screwing around was captured in the recording sessions. So as I'm listening to his takes, deciding which ones to use, I'm often exploding into laughter as I listen to Tully and me just messing around and having fun. (Rest assured, I will be putting together a special feature centered on Tully and his behind the scenes gags.)
With Dark Ritual, I've experimented with using actors who can record their lines and send them to me from across the country or even across the world. It's been a cool way to expand my casting options, but I can't imagine casting long-distance actors in the really hefty lead roles. As a director, I think I value too much the time I spend with my actors one-on-one in a room together. Artistically and socially, there's just too much I think I'd miss.
Anyway, back to work. I wonder what Tully's gonna say today...
Monday, February 11, 2008
An opportunity for a fun sidetrack has caused us to space this chapter out just a little.
King Herod Aggripa 1 (nephew of the Herod that tried Jesus and put John the Baptist to death) began persecuting Christians at this point. He was part Jewish himself, and seems to have been doing this to gain favor with the Jewish people he ruled over.
Capturing Peter, he held off on a public trial until the Passover Week (also called the Feast Of Unleavened Bread) was finished. This would mean that more Jews would be able to witness the trial, since they would be finished with their religious festival.
Peter was locked in chains and watched by four squads, made up of four soldiers each. A large group of soldiers that took their responsibilities VERY seriously. They probably knew and feared the consequences for failing in their task. (See verse 19)
But God still had work left for Peter. The night before his scheduled trial, an angel came and freed Peter from his chains. Together, Peter and the angel walked right past the guards and watched the gate to the city open for them by itself. It wasn't until the angel vanished and Peter was in the city, that he realized he hadn't been seeing things. He was really free!
Peter wasn't the only one who had trouble believing in what had happened. When he came to the place where his friends were praying for him, they didn't believe the servant girl who said Peter was at the door!
Let's take a little time here and talk about "Angels". There are several different ways that historians and scholars interpret verse 15:
"You're out of your mind," they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, "It must be his angel."
Craig S. Keener, in The IVP Bible Background Commentary, says, "In some popular Jewish traditions, the righteous would become like angels after death." Matthew Henry also acknowledges that the disciples here may have been superstitious and believed this person at the door to be a supernatural omen of Peter's death.
Another theory is that Peter was believed to be a human messenger representing Peter. Since the Greek word "aggelos" is used interchangeably for human messengers in the New Testament (Luke 7:24, 9:52), it's possible the disciples thought the servant girl only heard someone say Peter's name at the door.
Finally, some believe that this verse and Matthew 18:10 suggest the idea of "Guardian Angels" who are closely bonded to the individual humans they serve, thereby taking on traits (like Peter's voice in this case) of those they protect.
The first two options seem the most credible to us. Although the word "aggelos" doesn't seem to lend itself to mean "ghost" or something similar in the Greek lexicons we've examined, we think it would be very possible for the disciples, through lack of understanding and superstition, to believe dead people can potentially become like angels in some way. (We've certainly seen this unbiblical concept in dozens of classic cartoons.)
Although some form of "Guardian Angels" may exist, we want to be careful not to come to the conclusions described above based on so few verses with so little detail.
Whatever the case may be, it was an unbelievable night where God displayed his power in an astonishing way!
Next Week: Pride and Politics
Coffee House Question:What thoughts or images come to mind when you think of the word, "Angel"?
Friday, February 8, 2008
Paeter has had some other work to do that's kept him from working much on "Dark Ritual", although he was able to finish work on a "dialogue-heavy" scene that he's been editing for over two weeks now.
We're hoping to have the next part of Paeter's "Spirit Blade" Commentary finished this weekend or next, so keep an eye out for that on the "Media" page of our website.
Have a great weekend and as always, thanks for your support!
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
In live theatre, the actors can mess up, the sets can fall apart and the props can go missing. Light cues might be late, sound cues completely lost, and an actor may not deliver his line in "that perfect way" that he did the night before.
As I'm editing scenes for "Dark Ritual" however, I have an insane level of control. At times, my actors deliver the perfect line in one shot, and other times, I'll hack and slash and assemble a version from six completely different takes. As an actor, that might drive me nuts to hear, but as a director, sometimes it keeps me sane.
Then again, it's also good to let go a little now and then. Sometimes I'll get through listening to all of an actor's takes and think "Why didn't I direct them to do it more like THIS?" Hindsight is 20/20 and all that, right? But despite the initial frustration, something neat happens after I realize I'm "stuck" with a certain variety of takes to work with. The character is taken out of my hands and out of my mind and lives and breathes a little on its own.
Suddenly, I have to re-evaluate who the character is in light of the actor's performance. And when the product is finished, I've got a group of people that surprise even their creator now and then.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still a certifiable control freak and will take the version matching "my vision" over the alternative any day. But there's a certain charm in the unknown that helps to keep this fictional world "alive". And that's pretty cool, too.
Monday, February 4, 2008
Word quickly spread among believers that Peter had associated with a non- Jew. Back in Jerusalem, Peter explained everything that had happened adding, "who was I to think I could oppose God?"
The believers in Jerusalem recognized that God was reaching out to the Gentiles and so wisely adjusted their opinions accordingly. This marked the beginning of the church's interaction with non-Jews. (We'll be the first to say how thankful we are that God chose to allow EVERYONE to hear and know the turth about him!)
As you may remember, the persecution of Stephen resulted in the scattering of Jewish Christians. Although many still focused their efforts toward reaching Jews, some went to Antioch, one of three major cities in the Roman empire, to try and reach non-Jews with Christ's message of hope and forgiveness. They braved entering the heart of a secular (or at best polytheistic) culture, abandoning even the comfort zone of Jewish culture. (What an example for us!) Their work became very successful and, after hearing about it, the church in Jerusalem sent Barnabus to see what was happening first-hand.
Barnabus is just the kind of guy we'd like to work with. He was incredibly generous with his property (Acts 4:36-37) and seemed to believe the best about people (even someone like Saul!) until the facts proved otherwise(Acts 9:27). In fact, his real name was Joseph, but the Apostles liked to call him Barnabus, which means "Son of Encouragement"(Acts 4:36). Living up to his name, Barnabus encouraged the believers in Antioch and even added to the good they were already accomplishing(Acts 11:23-24).
Barnabus brought Saul to Antioch and they began to work together. No doubt the result of their efforts, the first church of mostly non-Jews was established in Antioch. It was also in Antioch that followers of Jesus were called "Christians" for the very first time.
Often times it seems that those who become Christians in their adult lives have a great deal of passion for serving and loving God. This was no less the case in Antioch. The church there was eager to do good and took action with swift generosity when a famine hit the Roman empire. Combining their efforts and giving what they could, the Christians in Antioch sent their contributions to Jerusalem for distribution by church leaders.
Barnabus and Saul, one of the New Testament's "dynamic duos", delivered the gathered amount to its destination. But their work together was just beginning...
Next Week: Prison Break!
Coffee House Question:How do you think that church can better reach out to sub-cultures like sci-fi/fantasy fans and gamers?
Friday, February 1, 2008
If you've never checked out the "Spirit Blade" Commentary Series that Paeter has been producing, jump over to http://www.spiritblade.net/site.cfm/sbp/media
and listen to Paeter as he talks about the secrets and stupidity behind our first full-length feature!
Part 5 of the commentary series was added just this week. Paeter takes a break from focusing on technical issues or sharing behind the scenes stories, and expands some on why he wrote Spirit Blade and what some of his core philosophies are that the project aims to represent.