Have a blessed Christmas Season!

We were blown away by the creativity of our Creator while we were in Africa a month ago! We saw the wonders of his love everywhere we looked, and we can be sure that Heaven will be better than the best of earth... and without sin! Wow!

The only snow we saw in Africa was
atop Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest
mountain on earth that is not a part
of a mountain range.
On the first Sunday of Advent our service was canceled by the threat of snow, sleet and freezing rain. I told one of our friends we made in Africa, and he texted, "Snow 🤔🤔." Our church gathered via conference call to share praise and prayer and hear Pastor Jim Warren share briefly on the Christmas Season. Because of the poor audio quality we didn't record it, as we usually do, but now I wish I would have. Pastor Jim made a keen observation: Just before Jesus was born the world was yearning for the Messiah to come. So many missed Him because they were looking for what they wanted Him to be. Now we who know Him are eagerly awaiting the return of the Messiah to deliver us from the mess we've made. Just as He came as a Babe in a manger, He will assuredly return as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Be ready to worship Him!

Serving Him has taken us far and wide this year. I've been able to teach and perform in 15 states, Kenya and Tanzania, and Joyce joined me in leading seven chapel services at Africa Nazarene University in Kenya.

Here are some highlights:

Joyce and I worked on the short film "Reflection," produced and directed by alumni of the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp, where Rich teaches and coaches each summer. Later that month Rich performed the role of Elijah for an Airship Genesis episode.

Rich performed I Dreamed I Was Free at the Westfield Friends School, where he also visited classrooms as John Woolman, the Quaker abolitionist featured in the play.

Rich read Scripture and led hymns at the Memorial Service of Roger Nelson in Pasadena, CA. Roger was one of Rich's mentors and colleagues in one-man plays.

Rich recorded the voice of John the Baptist for Airship Genesis Mobile Game.

Rich played John the Apostle in the Off-Broadway production of Revelation.

Rich taught and coached at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp. He also played the father in this year's short film, "Loneliness."

Rich performed in two short films ("The Ledger" and "Mine") in Canada near Calgary. They were produced by an alumnus of the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Several bookings linked together, along with a trip with Rich's parents, which set up episodes of Treasure Seekers between Denver and Rhinebeck, NY.

Rich played Alan in the feature film Second Chances in Northern Idaho. Then Rich taught an Actors Bootcamp and performed at Content 19 Film Festival and Media Summit in Fort Worth, TX.

Rich performed and taught at the Hollywood Divine International Film Festival, near Harrisburg, PA. Then Joyce and Rich led seven chapel services at the two campuses of Africa Nazarene University in late October and early November. You can watch two of those chapels at www.RichDrama.com/Africa.

We went on safari in Tanzania, where we filmed several episodes of Treasure Seekers. We'll be posting more photos at www.RichDrama.com/Africa.

Joyce and I are portraying Elizabeth and Zechariah at three events: www.RichDrama.com/Schedule.

Praying the warmth of the Son shines on you throughout this Holy Season.

I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

The Log in Sharky Man's Eye

In this episode of Treasure Seekers, Sharky Man tries to get a speck out of Trevor the Treasure Seeker's eye while he has a log in his own. We'll see why Jesus said that's a really bad idea in Matthew 7:1-6. We'll also see interviews with pilots at the Oshkosh AirVenture, the largest airshow on earth and hear how they welcome people into the Family of God.

There are still three openings for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp next summer, where I'll be teaching acting for film and coaching students in a short film.

The Chosen

We really enjoyed Season One of The Chosen, the first multi-season series about Jesus and his followers. They have such an interesting take on each character. It gives it all such depth and clarity.

Find out how to watch it at www.TheChosen.tv.

There are three openings for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp, where I'll be teaching acting for film next summer.

Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp 2020

Registration is now open for next summer's Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp, where I'll be teaching and coaching the actors for my ninth camp. We're down to our last three spots for actors, so if you're interested, register soon: www.ChristianFilmmakersCamp.com.

Here's an article that was written last year by Cindy Puhek, the mother of two of our alumni, for 7,000 families involved in Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC):
Summer camps can be a great way to augment our children’s educations. Getting outdoors and hands-on brings learning to life. We have some wonderful opportunities for summer camps here in Colorado including the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers’ Camp and the Alpha Omega camps and day excursions.

The Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers’ Camp is held annually on the Western Slope at Ministry Haven in Norwood, Colorado. The camp was started by Ken Lawrence in 2007 after attending the San Antonio Christian Film Festival. He felt Christian filmmakers needed more hands-on training and instruction than could be gained through a filmmaker’s conference or through workshops at a film festival. As a result, he began inviting people experienced in filmmaking to come as mentors to a weeklong camp. Now in its 12th year [2020 will mark its 13th year], the camp has helped train scores of artists in the craft of filmmaking. To avoid spending time in a classroom, campers complete intense online training before attending camp. The camp itself is a weeklong immersion into either filmmaking or acting as the campers film a short, original script. Ken states that the goal of the camp is to, “equip the next generation of Christian filmmakers with the training and skills necessary to effectively use the visual media for the glory of God. We believe the best way to do this is with the small group, hands-on method we use.”

Rich Swingle is the acting coach for the acting portion of the camp. Rich has an impressive resume of acting credits in film, stage and audio drama. He teaches the acting campers how to get into a character and how to get out of a character. At the 2018 camp, Rich arranged a video conference with the Kendrick Brothers' acting coach [Beth Becka] who was working on the set of Overcomer at that time. She taught the campers the same acting tips she was teaching the Kendrick Brothers' actors. The acting tract campers become the stars of the short film being created at the camp.

The film makers tract has the campers working as the film crew. They rotate through the positions and work on everything from directing and sound recording to camera work and lighting. The campers gain an impressive amount of experience in the fine arts of camera angles, white noise, and the protocol used on a set.

In 2018, the camp made a short film called "Return on Investment" based on the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant and the Parable of the Talents. The campers commented that attending the camp was one of the best experiences of their lives. “We were not just told what to do. We were shown what to do and then we had a chance to actually do it,” one camper commented. The campers were impressed that there was a strong focus at the camp on how to glorify God through film while making a quality film. There was also a great camaraderie among the campers as they did goofy things like deciding to speak with fake foreign accents as the filming went into the late hours of the night. Alumni from previous camps have gone on to begin their own production company and work on multiple projects including documentaries and independent feature length films.

This year [revised for 2020 dates], the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp will be held June 7-13. To find out more information and to register, visit their website at www.ChristianFilmmakersCamp.com.

Alpha Omega Institute (www.DiscoverCreation.org) is a ministry located in Grand Junction, Colorado. They are dedicated to equipping Christians to answer questions about evolution, creation, and the Bible and help them understand the foundational importance of Genesis to Christian doctrine. One way they do this is by hosting creation vacation adventures during which the participants experience the wonders of God’s creation while receiving in-depth teaching about the scientific basis of creationism.
This year [2019] the Alpha Omega Institute is taking a group to Yellowstone during Labor Day weekend (August 30 – September 3). Experienced teachers and frequent CHEC speakers Dave and Mary Jo Nutting will lead a bus tour through Yellowstone National Park. While visiting all the famous sites within the park, the teachers work to equip families to survive “the evolutionary, naturalistic worldview philosophies that are so prevalent in our society today.” The accommodations are rustic bunkhouses with nearby bath houses, but this helps keep this all-inclusive learning adventure very reasonably priced.

Upon request, Alpha Omega will also take groups on weeklong River and Rock Adventures held in Colorado near the Royal Gorge. Groups can also arrange for guided day trips to Colorado National Monument or to the Dinosaur Museum.

If you have actors, actresses, and filmmakers in need of hands-on movie making experience in your house or if you would like to spend your vacation being equipped to combat false philosophies, we have wonderful resources right here in Colorado. Consider spending a week in June at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers’ Camp making a short film and discover the power of this media for telling God’s story. Or spend some time in Yellowstone with the Alpha Omega Institute uncovering the lies of evolution and the beauty of God’s truth.

Secure your spot soon: www.ChristianFilmmakersCamp.com.

There are three openings for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp for next summer.

Chapels at Africa Nazarene University

For the
25th Anniversary chapel at
Africa Nazrene Universtiy
we portrayed
Harmon and Lula Schmelzenbach,
the first
missionaries for the
Church of the Nazarene.
We just returned from Africa, where we had an amazing time! We're so grateful for the prayer covering we had, and everything went so smoothly with Divine appointments left and right!

We'll post more photos soon, but in the meantime, here are links to the two chapel services we led at Africa Nazarene University:

October 23: 25th Anniversary Chapel
October 29: The Lamb of God

For the second one you can see monkeys coming forward as Joyce gives the altar call.

Registration is now open for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp, where I'll be teaching acting for film.

We've arrived in Kenya!

At least a dozen of these
monkeys live on the ANU
We've arrived in Kenya!

We'll present in six chapels at Africa Nazarene University.

On Wednesday Joyce and I will portray Harmon and Lula Schmelzenbach, who were the first missionaries in the Church of the Nazarene, which is our denomination. Their grandson founded ANU, and this week they're celebrating the school's 25th anniversary and Harmon Schmelzenbach III's promotion to Glory. We count ourselves incredibly blessed to share the legacy of the Schmelzenbach family on this continent.

Here's a powerful sermon by Harmon Schmelzenbach III:

If you're receiving this in an email you can listen at www.Blog.RichDrama.com.

I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

Give Your Life for the Lord

This morning at Westchester Chapel Church of the Nazarene Joyce taught on John 12:20-36.

Also, Pastor Jim and Dr. Linda Warren lead the community in prayer over us before our missions trip to Africa, which begins in a week!

Opening and prayer by Melanie Solomon. Joyce mentions the mini-series Lost Legacy Reclaimed, about the early Church in Northern Africa.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:

This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Give Your Happiness to God!

I got up early to drive about four hours to church from the Hollywood Divine International Film Festival, where I performed and taught. We always commute 90 minutes each way to worship with our church family, but this week we celebrated our founding pastors for Pastor Appreciation Day, and I wasn't about to miss that! Because I already knew I'd be there, I didn't hesitate to lead worship, too. In my intro I shared about how the Lord was orchestrating things at the film festival.

Rachel Taylor shares from 1 Samuel 2: 1-10 on how to allow the Lord to define our happiness as we continue our series on Giving as God Gives! Dr. Linda Warren opens in prayer and leads us in worship in giving.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:

This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

See Jesus and Take Action

This morning Joyce and I challenged Warwick Church of the Nazarene to see Jesus, what He did for us, and to take action.

At the opening, Joyce mentioned our upcoming trip to Africa to perform and speak at Africa Nazarene University next month. She mentioned that we're expanding our sketch on Harmon Schmelzenbach, the first missionary in the Church of the Nazarene. What she left out is that the expansion is in her section of the piece. She'll be sharing the dramatic testimony of Lula Schmelzenbach.

She also refers to my performance the night before of I Dreamed I Was Free, and how the performance was used to raise awareness of modern slavery.

I read excerpts from the Book of John , and she taught on those passages.

At the close of the service, Selah Cohen of Sensory Bible Experiences, blew the shofar and prayed the Aaronic blessing in Hebrew!

Click the arrow below, or if you're receiving this in an email, you can find this at the top of www.Blog.RichDrama.com.

If you'd like to know more about having a relationship with Jesus Christ, visit www.RichDrama.com/MyPassion.

I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

Treasure Seekers and other projects for Children

Joyce and I just ran into a woman from the UK with an adorable child who just couldn't stay awake! It was the fourth time in three days that I wished I had one URL for all the children's projects in which I've performed, so I jotted down this URL before it was created: www.RichDrama.com/ForChildren.

Now it works, but I realized I have a number of Treasure Seeker episodes, and I need to pack for my flight to Ft. Worth tomorrow so I'm ready to teach at the Content 19 Actors Boot Camp! So I'll add the Treasure Seekers episodes later, but for now, you can find most of them at www.WestchesterChapel.org/TreasureSeekers.

I pray they'll keep your child awake! :-)

See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Second Chances

I just finished performing in what I think will become my next favorite movie! 

What a joy to work with these young servants of the Lord! 

I love it because it's such a powerful picture of how the Lord can transform a life, even one broken by pain, guilt and loss. No one is beyond the Lord's reach. 

I play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.


My new favorite film is the Kendrick Brothers' Overcomer.

I heard the producer, Stephen Kendrick, speak at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival in 2013, its final year. He said that Christian filmmaking was just past its infancy. He said we're going stand on our own two feet. We're going to walk, and then we're going to run. We've seen the Kendricks Brothers' films come a long way over the years, and now they're seriously humming!

Beth Becka serves as their acting coach these days, and she's putting the actors through their paces. She addressed our students at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp from the set of Overcomer, though at the time she could only tell us it was K6, the Kendricks' sixth film. But she shared generously about her approach...which is Meisner-based...for the actors reading this.

The opening drone shot was profound! Chad Burns who directed me in Beyond the Mask was their director of previsualization, and I'm guessing he conceived it, and he probably had help from Ethan and Ashley Leddin who did special effects. They did the most SFX of any Christian-themed film at the time for Beyond the Mask and just before this they created the screen that changed everything in Unplanned.

Alex Kendrick directed, and he plays John Harrison, a basketball coach on the verge of the season in which his team is going to win it all! The best players for their strongest competition are graduating, and his students are just coming into their strength. Then a local manufacturing plant moves, and so do many of the families of John's players, as do many of the faculty because they see the school is dwindling. So John is asked to step in and coach cross-country, which he doesn't think is a sport... until he runs three miles. The effect three miles has on the three Harrison men is a "running" joke that keeps getting better. The two Harrison boys are definitely not going to join the team, leaving John with one runner: and she's asthmatic.

If that doesn't sound like the makings of your favorite movie, just wait. Overcomer is absolutely outstanding! It had me early on when Cameron Arnett, playing a blind man dying of diabetes and its complications, had his first scene, but his work kept getting richer and deeper! And the Kendricks connect the dots so beautifully! The way they tie identity into the storyline is stunning. In a world that doesn't know what it is anymore, everyone really does need to see this film.

At the New York Media InitiativeShari Rigby shared with us the dramatic story of her getting the role of John's wife, and she showed the human side and the Spirit-filled side of a wife who is there for her family and the Kingdom.

Aryn Wright-Thomas makes her film debut as Hannah Scott. Her IMDb bio says, "Aryn Wright-Thomas is an actress." That's it, but she sure is! Alex and Beth brought out some fine performances from her, as she takes us on several emotional roller coasters. She helps define another important theme in the film: The importance of fatherhood. One of my favorite sermons I ever heard --by John Langlois when he served as the director of pastoral care at the MasterWorks Festival--was on the Father Heart of God. He pointed out that we all have imperfect fathers. They might be absent, delinquent, or abusive, but even if they're great, they're still imperfect. Priscila C. Shirer plays the school principal, and she basically brought the final message of John's sermon to Hannah: God is the perfect Father.

The Kendrick Brothers are used to taking chances on first time actors when the the Lord directs them to do so. I heard Stephen Kendrick speak at the Christian Worldview Film Festival, and he told how Sony wanted to know who would be playing the lead in War Room. They were shocked to hear Priscila C. Shirer had zero acting credits on stage or film. But she's been moving audiences for years as an author and speaker, and she got to bring home the scene that moved me the most.

After reading this review as it was first posted Beth said,
What many do not realize when they see great performances is that most of the work is done in casting well, which Alex certainly did. And while it’s my job to run the actors through their paces in pre-production rehearsals and to encourage them on set, Alex’s excellent direction and the actors’ hard work is where credit is due. Bottom line is, God gets the glory for bringing this incredible cast and crew together for such a time as this.
My favorite film for 35 years was Chariots of Fire. It was the film that inspired me as a cross-country and track runner. If I were still running competitively Overcomer would be my Chariots of Fire. The climax of the film is one of the best cinematic moments I can ever remember. All I'll say is that I heard my coach, Hans Voskes coaching me on when Hannah was in the big race! When Stephen Kendrick spoke in 2013 he mentioned being inspired by Chariots of Fire and wanting to do a sequel. I ran, well, I pushed my way through the crowd to get to him to tell him I was working on a screenplay based on my one-man play Beyond the Chariots. Though Joseph Fiennes beat us both to the finish line on that one, I'm glad Stephen got to do something that moved this Chariots of Fire fan as much--I truly think more--than the original.

After a long applause in the AMC Empire Theatre on Times Square someone--and no, it wasn't me--shouted out Academy Award! Chariots of Fire won four. We live in a very different world today, but I really hope Overcomer gets the recognition it deserves.

I haven't read any secular reviews. I'm sure some of them will say the transformed lives it shows are unrealistic, since they won't be able to knock it on any artistic merits. But for those of us who are intimately acquainted with life transformation, it's spot on.

Click below to watch the trailer, or if you're getting this in an email, visit www.RichDrama.com/Overcomer.

See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Praise the Lord for His Wonder

This morning at Westchester Chapel, Joyce mentioned our trip to her hometown of Rhinelander, WI, during my #SevenWeeksOfWonder. My reflection in the service was a memory from the novel Les Misérables from 30 years ago!

These stories were invited by Pastor Randy and Melanie Solomon's very interactive exploration of Psalm 19 and 104. Many members of WCCC shared their testimonies of the wonder of the Lord and his creation. Pastor Randy mentioned The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel, the author of The Case for Christ, which was made into a major motion picture.

From Rich's performance at the
Nordic Black Theatre in Oslo, Norway
Dr. Linda Warren mentioned my upcoming performance of my one-man play about John Woolman who spoke against slavery over a century before the Civil War in America. It will be at Warwick Valley Church of the Nazarene on September 28 at 6pm. She mentions my performance of that play last year in Norway. You can find out more about that at www.RichDrama.com/IDreamedIWasFree

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:

This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

Seven Weeks of Wonder

I recently returned from seven weeks on the road. It was a mix of teaching, coaching, performing and spending time with family. You can see highlights searching for #SevenWeeksOfWonder on this blogInstagram and Facebook.

See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.