"" bshawise: May 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vimeo HQ

Thought these were pretty humorous...

Matt is new in the office, so we figured we would let him know what Andrew is really like.

Blake can't keep up with Casey's hipness.

Vimeo HQ - 4:12pm
Blake needs to talk to Jack about the homepage... or at least he tries to.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sorry I'm Late (a short film)

Clever wizards like this keep me grounded.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Two open letters

Dear Bears,

I fear you. Like a lot. Like Steve Fuller fears lightning. But you may've just got bumped by these sword seals. These seem to travel in packs and practice their swordery on each other. One on one I think you'd still win. But a whole pack? You'd be bear kabob. Be careful out there. These slippery ninjas look mean.


Dear Billionaires,

If you reading this letter I have an idea for you. You know how you buy stuff? Like rad stuff to make your millionaire friends jealous (boats that fly, laser pointers, etc). What if you built an aquarium and loaded it up with these sword seals? That'd make all your sucker friends/MCs with piranha aquariums feel foolish, wouldn't it? Build it on your flying boat and watch em battle each other after you've had a jetski. Actually, don't. They probably have a secret language that would summon their sea-pirate friends and it'd be sinkville for you. Keep em on dry land. You'll still be way rad.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shark Puppet=Funny

D.Workman shared this with me today.


For some reason I got a little nostalgic over Rocky Fork Lake last night. Hence the blog redesign. The legend is I was conceived there. Which might explain why it's my favorite place on earth. I spent a little time thinking about my earliest memories. My apologies because this is a very mastubatory post. But back in the 1980s, I remember...

-Getting carsick from all the hills but excited because it means you're getting close.
-Pulling off the asphalt and onto the gravel road.
-Seeing that proud A-frame sitting there same as always.
-Opening the door and mixing the musty air with the fresh.
-Turning hovering fireflies into shooting stars with those big, red, wiffleball bats.
-Writing air poetry with sparklers.
-Finding turtles and feeling like C.Darwin on the Galapagos.
-Listening to the Reds on that scratchy AM station after dinner and having it be the only contact with the outside world.
-Solving the world's problems before bed in our bunk beds.
-Getting woke up and wavering on our decision from the night before to get up so early.
-Walking down the path slicing thru spider webs with a trusty stick.
-Puttering out into the empty lake thru the morning fog.
-Waking up completely by the deceptively cold water.
-Standing on the skis in between my dad's legs and calling it skiing.
-Puttering back to the dock just as the heat and bugs start to wake up.
-Turning off the engine and hearing nothing.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


In the comments section I give an alternate ending. See if you can do better.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Great Expectations

My mind was opened yesterday. I had a matrix experience and it happened watching the Vineyard Boy Band. I had heard a lot about this video since coming on staff. For some it's the flagship of Vineyard humor and for others it's the abomination. Isaac and I experienced it yesterday, and in that moment, everything made sense. The previous three-ish years kind of flashed before my eyes.

When I first came on staff, I heard A LOT about how funny the Vineyard was. People would tell me about the guy who had my position and all the funny, great stuff he did. The word "creative" and "funny" were synonymous. I would be introduced as the new creative director and people would joke around, "Oh, say something funny." They were kidding, but not really.

So after awhile, when people realized that my creativity didn't translate into "funny" videos, they'd say things like, "We used to do such funny videos, they were so effective, I miss those videos. We should do more funny videos." There was some serious disconnect between my style and the Vineyard's modus operandi.

Watching that Boy Band video made me realize the importance of expectations. I don't think I ever really understood how much of the vineyard vibe was goofy humor. Because it was such a part of the culture/vibe that people spent 20+ years creating, I was expected to maintain the vibe.

There are three options when dealing with folks' expectations. You can meet them, exceed them, or defy them. Before you can do any of those, however, you have to really understand the what and why behind their expectations. This is critical because it's impossible to meet or exceed expectations without true understanding.

And on the flipside, it's disrespectful to defy expectations if you haven't really heard them and took them into consideration. Defying expectations can translate into meeting or exceeding expectations if you're clear in your communications. When I first started at the Vineyard I was not clear. I didn't have an elevator speech that explained why I did things the way that I did them. When people shared that they missed the funny videos they were saying that their expectations weren't being met. I should've been able to articulate why in certain situations I'd rather do this video (the first thing I did at vcc) than something funny.

The bottom line is that we all have expectations laid upon us. We have to react to those in ways that we can live with. For example, I could've met the funny video expectation by producing their brand of funny. Those folks would've been satisfied but I wouldn't have been. I think lots of people are showing up to work every day and doing a "good" job meeting everyone's expectations but their own. We can figure out how to meet both, it just requires communication and understanding.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Michael & Nora

Realized today that I never posted this vid. We went and shot this at my new friend Michael's house in one of my favorite Cincinnati neighborhoods, Reading. All the houses are jammed together down there, close to the street, close to shops and factories. I like to imagine folks back in the day getting off work, walking to the bar, and then walking home for supper. Maybe singing songs together as they walked in step. Anyways, Nora the Singing Dog is one of Reading's hidden treasures. Michael says she's part sheep. He's broken many electric razors trying to trim her uber thick coat. Great pair these two. I'm lucky to call 'em friends.

Monday, May 18, 2009


In many ways, the creative process is all about combinations. You mix and mash stuff that already exists together to create something new. Maybe I'll elaborate on this topic down the road. But one thing I've found is that it's not always the logical combinations that produce extraordinary results. Logical combinations will usually produce what you expected, something not very unique or fresh. They make "work" but they won't stand out.

An example of this would be this next "Summer of Love" series we have coming up. The logical combination would be to use Woodstock hippie imagery. That would've been fine. But it's what you'd expect. By going a different direction with the carnival idea it has the potential (we'll see how it pans out) to be something fresh and unexpected.

And sometimes you combine things that you assume will connect with the masses and get you famous (tubas and a leather-jacketed dancing wolf) and it just doesn't happen. There's a lot of X factors that go into combinations.

So a practical example... yesterday, my brother-in-law, Justin, suggested that we should teach Miss Jackson to open the screen door. She's manic about going in and out. She's figured out how to let herself out. It's the getting back in that we have to do for her. It's very annoying. So teaching this old pup a new trick would be a win win.

Miss Jackson likes to chew and pull on various things. Plastic bottles are some of her favorites. So logically, you'd think if you attached a chewed up Perrier bottle to the door she would still enjoy chewing and pulling and easily figure out to open the door. Not so, my friends. She doesn't get it. Not even a little. She just gets all confused and hyper and can't figure out why we won't just let her inside. It's a logical combination, but it produces less than ordinary results.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rollercoaster of love

This summer, we're doing a series on God's love. This song will be somewhat of a "theme song." When I heard it I saw old school carnival imagery. Ferris wheels, giant swing rides, strings of big bulb lights, warm, nostalgic, happy. Think Tim Burton's Big Fish. So if you know someone who owns a warehouse that old carnival rides go to die, please holla. And if the sound/feel of this song makes you think of anything, please share. I'm in the very beginning of tadpole season with this one. I'd love some help.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Flutey Flutebox

Remember choosing an instrument back in like 5th grade for band? I wonder how many dudes would choose the flute if they saw this. I can imagine showing up the first day of practice with Mr. Kesey, his tie tucked into his pants, and his surprise when I started fluteboxing.

Mr. Kesey would've told me to stop and made me promise to never do that again. So then I'd be stuck just fluting and getting made fun of like this.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tadpole to Frog (part 3)

Thought #3: Tadpoles need momentum

Maintaining momentum is a pretty crucial part of the process for me. Tadpole-ideas are my crack. I could spend all day giving birth to them. I even stay pretty engaged when they start growing legs. But once the little buggers start becoming kind of real, I lose the original fervor I had when they were born. I'm often a deadbeat dad with ideas and perhaps you are too. The question is, Why?

Momentum Killer #1: Perfectionism

Maybe you have an idea for a blog, book, home-improvement project, diet, song, hobby, etc. but you know what the perfect version of that could/should look like. Because of this, you don't ever start or you've convinced yourself you need to wait for just the right moment when you have enough time, money, inspiration, etc. to get started. I think you have two options if you're facing this brand of perfection.
1. Give your idea up for adoption. If it really is a good idea, maybe someone else can take it and run. Or maybe you just need to walk away and stop beating yourself up for not starting/finishing it.
2. Quit being so damned silly. There's no such thing as enough time, money, inspiration, etc. There's no such thing as perfection. Waiting for those things would be like waiting at the Ford dealership for a flying car to go on sale. Maybe someday you'll be the luckiest person EVER and get that flying car. Until then, get in your used Corolla and drive. The lessons and experiences you'll gain are far better out on the road than they are in the parking lot.

Momentum Killer #2: The Joneses

When I start paying attention to what other people are doing and what other people are going to think I lose momentum. I have an unhealthy need to be different. So when I see that there are four million people out there who want to create or are in the process of creating the same thing I'm doing I get discouraged. It's not healthy for me to go to blogs where people are talking about how to get published, make movies, get savvy, etc. because those blogs make want to quit. I can also worry too much about too wide of an audience. First and foremost, I have to create things that I like. I'm my own worst critic so I don't need to worry about what you you all will think until later on in the process. Now, that said, I do need to know who my audience is and I need to have a desired outcome/objective. But that's the trigger mechanism for me. It's the numerous chefs in the kitchen thing. Know who you have to please (boss, wife, dog) and only think about them. If you worry what your step uncle is going to think you're going to lose focus which turns into lost momentum.

Momentum Killer #3: The Soothsayer

Trying to prognosticate the exact future of your project is worthless. You should have a goal/picture that you're working towards. But hold that loosely. When my bro-in-law, Justin, and I were adding onto my deck recently it was hard to picture the finished deck. We had holes and wood and tools. To get the deck finished we had to take each step as its own project that we needed to complete before moving on. That's the only way to get crap done. We all know this. But it's easy to get overwhelmed and jump ahead and worry about how it's going to come together, will it work, bla bla bla. Trust your initial idea and take each step. One after another.

With every good thing I've ever created I've had freakout moments where I don't know if it's going to work. I didn't know if The {RE} Gifter was going to work until after the first show. Focus on the steps in front of you. Trust the process and the Reds, Masters and Bouncers you've brought into to project. Just keep on dancing, the magic will happen.

Sunday, May 10, 2009



Friday, May 8, 2009

Once Upon A Time...

I sat down to write part 3 of the tadpole monologues and got an email from Jason in Ireland. He wanted a "Once Upon A Time..." story for his message this weekend. He wanted something about God's redeemed work. I have no idea if this is what he wanted. I honestly don't know if it's good. I started writing and hit send when it was "done." I didn't even proofread it. And now, I'm copying and pasting, sans proofread. If it sucks, ah well. I kind of warned you, right?

Once upon a time, in a small village outside Capital City, there lived a young inventor. His name was, and still is Edgar. He is an old man now and no longer inventing. In fact, he stopped so long ago that nobody in the village remembers his old trade. Why did he stop, you ask? That's what I'm going to tell you.

When Edgar was young he impressed everyone with his imagination and ability to create something out of nothing. He could walk into any shop and know what the shop owner needed to improve efficiency. The baker needed a better shaker. The florist needed her scissors repurposed. He was well-loved throughout the village.

One summer Edgar became fascinated with marbles. No one knows why, but he spent sun up to sun down creating new kinds of marbles. Green swirls mixed with bronze bursts. Red sparkles sprinkled through ivory folds. He made big ones, small ones, round ones and even square ones. The squares didn't work like he hoped. His marbles were gorgeous and for a few weeks he couldn't make enough to meet the village's demand. So he hired help. He spent his life savings on a larger furnace and took trips to India in search of exotic sands.

When he returned, kids no longer played marbles. They swung hoops around their hips instead. Edgar had all the supply but no demand. His business crumbled. Edgar had nothing except regret. He stopped coming out. People would walk by his shop and talk about how sad it was that the marble maker had given up. His former customers turned into adults and Edgar turned into an old man that most everyone half remembers.

Then a Stranger came to town. In some ways, He was like Edgar. He knew what people needed and knew how to fix things. He seemed to be half counselor and half inventor. This Stranger pretty quickly stumbled into Edgar's old marble shop. He found Edgar in the corner, behind bag after bag of sand. The Stranger didn't say anything. Neither did Edgar but he watched as the Stranger began examining the bags.

Soon, that examining turned into hauling. The Stranger was dragging the sand towards the furnace. Edgar kept watching from afar. Eventually the Stranger stopped working and came to talk to Edgar. They spoke about the day Edgar came back from India. Edgar told him how he lost everything. The Stranger listened to Edgar's sad story. When he finished the Stranger looked around at all the bags, the dusty furnace, the tools, everything. There was an awkward silence in the room. Edgar felt uneasy and the Stranger knew it.

"I can fix it." The Stranger said. Edgar half believed him but didn't know why and didn't say anything.

"Do you want me to fix it?" The Stranger asked.

"Very much." Edgar said ever so meekly.

The Stranger stood and helped Edgar to his feet. He began walking the old, bent-over Edgar around the shop. The same shop the younger Edgar used to skip through creating all sorts of things. Now it was just full of bags reminding him of his failures.

The Stranger taught Edgar a skill he must've learned in one of the other villages He'd been to. Even Edgar, a lifelong inventor had seen it before. They spent days working in the shop from sun up to sun down.

Finally, Edgar and the Stranger emerged from the shop. Edgar was holding his creation- a beautiful, blown-glass vase full of the most exotic colors the village had ever seen. Indigos danced with marigolds. Violets vibrated throughout periwinkles. People flocked towards Edward to see the vase. Immediately, he was taking orders. People wanted them for their living rooms, dining rooms, bathrooms even.

As they shouted the Stranger slipped away. He watched Edgar smile for the first time in years. Edgar saw the Stranger right before he left for good. They made eye contact. Edgar wanted to thank him but he didn't need to. His eyes said it all. He silently thanked the Stranger with his vase in hand. What was once a source of paralyzing shame and regret, was now something extraordinarily beautiful.

The Stranger fixed it. Just like He promised.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tadpole to Frog (part 2)

Thought #2: Tadpoles need legs.

For me, once the initial idea starts growing legs I look to my network to help pull them out. A creative's network is as valuable as their creativity. There are different types of people I think you need to have in your network. The first and most crucial (in my opinion) is having a Red.

Reds are people who can get their hands on things. They know people who know people who know people. I have a couple Reds in my network. One of them is Donna. She is usually my first call once I kind of start figuring out what my idea is. I called her when I decided I wanted a female Brit to read the Wind poem. I also emailed, called, txt'd other people with applicable networks (a colleague in ireland, a colleague at the other large church in town, Sean Murphy). I've learned that on time-sensitive, big asks you need to have multiple irons in the fire.

Awhile back we had a project where I needed over 2,000 bricks and had zero dollars to spend. I called Donna who called her husband (a builder). He gave me the name of a company. It didn't pan out so I called Donna back to brainstorm other options. She made more calls and in a day a few tons of bricks showed up at our doorstep. A good Red cares enough about you and your projects that they keep working their networks until they find you your bricks, brits and balloons. (I had to think of another B that someone helped me find, and Sean found me a 16ft weather balloon once).

Another type of person(s) you need in your network are Masters. These are folks who are experts at certain things. Luckily, I have lots of these. Sometimes the legs of an idea are formed by the Masters you know. When I started writing both A Cat Named Bruce and The {RE} Gifter I knew I needed a rotating stage for the former and a giant screen for the latter. So right from the beginning I called Greg. He can make anything and I needed his go-ahead before I could proceed much further than a few pages of writing. On the Saturday morning I walked down my stairs and had the idea for The {RE} Gifter I called Steve . I knew there would be a junk sculpture aspect to the story and so I knew I needed a Master sculptor to help me figure out what that would look like. Masters are most effective when brought in as soon as you know you need them. They know things you don't and can share their knowledge even before they share their actual skill.

Another key person(s) in your network are Bouncers. Not the beefy doorkeepers, but someone you can bounce your idea off of and expect honest, good feedback. After the Wind video idea grew some legs I bounced it off Isaac. He gave me key feedback that helped mold and shape the idea into something better. I have folks on IM who I constantly send graphics to and say, "What do you think?" I have friends who I can email tadpole ideas and know that they'll tell me if I have something that deserves development or death. It's key that your Bouncers aren't scared by ideas. They need to be folks who know you and trust that you can actually figure out ways to pull stuff off. Bouncers typically can get excited about ideas without having to see much beyond the tadpole stage. They will even say things like, "You know what'd be cool is if you did this..."

Bouncers are important throughout the entire creative process. Perhaps you have different Bouncers for different stages. For example, if you have a Bouncer who helped you throughout then they probably aren't the Bouncer you need AFTER it's finished. They're too invested. So find uninvested, unbiased folks who can be your post Bouncers to critique the end product. You also may have folks who are unable to see or understand infant ideas but can give great feedback in the refining stage.

Ideas can breed community and collaboration. The good ones always do. Start identifying the Reds, Masters and Bouncers in your network. They're the folks who will help give your idea legs. And without legs your idea is just bar talk. So think of it this way: Your network is what helps turn bar talk into bar celebration. Both are good. One is better.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tadpole to Frog (part 1)

I run into lots of people with great ideas. Most of those ideas never leave their brain or have life outside of conversations that start with, "So I have this idea..." Most book, invention, restaurant, video, prank ideas never become anything more than that-ideas. I have a billion currrently collecting dust in my brain. So I thought I'd write a series of posts about the creative process I try and use that can turn brainstorms into real storms. The kind of storms that soak fools with your awesome geniusness.

(First off you have to read the post before this. I'll reference it a good deal)

Thought #1: Tadpoles need food.

Your brilliant idea = a tadpole. By itself it's fascinating, full of potential and alive. But it's got a long ways to go to become a fly-eating, pad-jumping frog. The tadpole idea we had for the Wind poem was simply, "let's do something with it." I didn't know what we should do. The possibilities were somewhat endless a bunch immediately filled my head. This can be overwhelming. Which is why the first couple steps beyond this idea-conception are extremely important. Generally speaking you can go two different directions.

1. this is impossible, I'll go eat snacks instead.
2. this is possible.

I decided it was possible to do something with the wind poem. The next step was going to a place that fed that idea. I'm no biologist but I bet that's what tadpoles do. So I started in a place where I knew I'd find a concentrated amount of inspiration- image search + music. Images and music inspire me. The images help define, redefine, add onto, morph my initial ideas. The music must cultivate my brain in some way.

What feeds your creative side? A good movie? A trip to the park, museum, root beer stand? What gets your juices flowing? And a key question: what "food source" do you need in that particular moment. Different sources work better for different projects AND different stages of the same project.

When I'm in the brainstorming stage I need energetic input. Lots of different images, upbeat music, videos, IM conversations with friends, drives thru neighborhoods I've never been. But when I'm past that stage I change my food source. I even change the time of day I feed. When I'm writing a script or fine-tuning an idea I turn to the morning hour and make lots of coffee and fill the room with jazz. I wrote every single page of my latest screenplay to classic jazz. Miles and Coltrane plowed the soil of my brain matter. Whereas, Death Cab, Radiohead, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs influenced the Wind video.

So be aware of what kind of food you need in those early stages of idea-conception. It's more important than we realize. The wrong kind or not enough nourishment in those first moments determine if your lil' tadpole will grow legs. That's what we'll talk about next.

Part Two

Part Three

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Evolution of an idea

People ask me a lot how we come up with ideas for stuff. We did the below video this weekend and I got asked that very question a few times. So here's how it went down. Sorry it's a little long. The scary thing is that I'm probably forgetting steps.

Saturday, Dave (senior pastor) told me he had a poem that he wanted to "do something with" for next weekend. I told him to email it to me. He also told me the author was British.

Monday, Dave sent the poem.

Tuesday, I started to look around the internet for photos of wind for a few hours while listening to alternative indie rock on Pandora. As I searched I thought about how to use said photos. I considered for a moment getting someone to do interpretive dance (honestly) but then thought about how I hate interpretive dance. I decided to just do a video with someone reading the poem. I talked to Jim Zartman about doing a music bed. He agreed but needed the reading of the poem asap. So I started digging thru my network to find a female brit. I sent various emails, calls, txts and ended up getting a decent confirmation from some friends in Ireland. They would send something Wednesday.

I kept searching for images and thinking. I decided I didn't want to just do a standard deal where photos fade in and out. Suck it, Ken Burns. I thought about having a female hold printed out photos and flip thru them. That turned into her holding collages of photos. Then I re-read the poem. That line, "Who has seen the wind?" was used twice. That made me think of someone hanging flyers on telephone poles, "Have you seen this cat?" So I thought, could a female walk down the street hanging flyers of wind on poles? I thought it'd be cool to have the poles be in a cool area of town. Ludlow. Kind of artsy. So with that neighborhood, the irish voiceover, I thought if I had an African American actress who could pull off a bohemian look that could give the whole thing a very eclectic, funky feel. I went upstairs and told Isaac (video guy) the idea. He said nothing. I asked if he was processing or disliking. He was processing. He said for it to work the images would have to justify being printed out. They needed texture or something. I thought that added to the eclectic idea brilliantly.

Wednesday, got the voiceover from Ireland. It was spot on. I decided to write the lines of the poem on each flyer so no one would complain about not being able to understand the reading. And it seemed cool for the girl to leave the poem thru the city. I got ahold of the actress I wanted, Susan, who was into the idea. We couldn't shoot the video until Friday because of other projects and it was raining all week. I spent the rest of the day doing other stuff.

Thursday, I printed off the photos and heard the track that Jim created. He nailed it. I did other stuff (including shooting a video of Nora the singing dog) for the rest of the day.

Friday, I played arts and crafts all morning and after lunch. I brought in a bunch of funky papers that Leah had, I bought a newspaper and I sat on my floor taping stuff together creating the "flyers." I made sure they had texture, depth and the ability to blow in the wind. While doing this I thought about how the piece needed a beginning and end. So I thought the opening shot could be her crossing the street to start and the end could be her walking away from her work. Isaac liked this. He went and shot the piece and got done just as the rain started.

Saturday morning, Isaac cut it together. We talked about it (him in cincy and me in fremont, ohio) made a couple tweaks, and ended up with this...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Deluxe Hugs

In the comments section I put my thoughts about the ending. Read them AFTER you watch it. Leah, this means you.

Friday, May 1, 2009