Patterns of Evidence: Exodus

Patterns of Evidence: Exodus was shown in theaters nationwide a couple of years ago, and Joyce and I saw it on Times Square. Many of the archeologists the filmmaker interviewed deny any evidence of The Exodus, but others point out that there is an abundance of evidence: a small pyramid tomb for a non-egyptian wearing a multi-colored coat and surrounded by 11 graves, an entire settlement of semitic people that was clearly abandoned in a hurry, a papyrus document describing blood in the water and everyone burying someone. All of these are discounted because they don't fit the established timeline, or -- as with the Brooklyn Papyrus -- "he couldn't have seen it. He must have imagined it."  

If we lived in an intellectually honest society this film would have made the front page of every newspaper in the country.

The filmmaker shows that there is evidence the timeline really does line up with Scripture. 

Patterns of Evidence: Exodus is now available, and watch for their next film, Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy. It will be in theaters March 14, 16 and 19 only.



There are still openings for the 2019 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Don't Be Shy -- Let the Compliments Fly

I wrote the following article for Graceworks' January 2019 Big Bold News:


Take a moment to think of people who encouraged you to get where you are today. See their faces? Now thank yourself for accepting their encouragement!

A recent New York Times article by Micaela Marini Higgs titled,"How to Accept a Compliment — Even if It's From Yourself," explores how "meaningful praise can measurably boost motivation and performance and can improve your brain's ability to remember and repeat new skills." The catch? We're not wired to give or receive praise! Cited in the article, Dr. Kristin Neff, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, says, "...our brains are designed to look for problems."

An exercise we sometimes share in our training is called, "Observation/Compliment." It addresses what happens to us humans when we're asked to give and receive praise. One of the rules is that participants are asked to keep their hands at their sides when receiving the compliments. It's a lot harder than you think because we're so programmed to deflect compliments like Wonder Woman blocking bullets! So, the next time someone compliments you, let it in and enjoy.

Now, it's one thing to learn to receive praise, but offering encouragement can be just as big of a game changer.

Offering honest, positive and specific feedback can transform your workplace. How? Because people do more of the things they're praised for. Let's be real – we spend more time with our co-workers than we do our families, so why not make an effort to create a positive experience for everyone? The next time you need to give someone input, lead with sharing what they did well. By starting with praise, it shuts their inner critic down and immediately gives their brain that positive boost of the good stuff, leading the way for improvement. Isn't that what we want for ourselves and our colleagues — and our family members for that matter?

Here are some suggestions on how to offer praise in a way that can help transform your environment at work and at home:

  • Highlight What Went Well: If your team had a rough presentation or meeting, make sure you spend enough time focusing on what went well. In the article, Higgs says, "Small setbacks can have a negative impact three to four times stronger than the triumph of a small win..." So, bring in the positive stuff big-time!
  • Give Constructive Feedback: When you lead with praise, giving necessary constructive feedback tends to be more graciously received and appreciated.
  • Be Consistent: If you're consistent with offering praise to someone, that person will be more likely to come to you for input and feedback. Remember, you have to offer honest compliments; no blowing smoke!
Encouragement is just so good! It has the power to move you and your colleagues to greatness. Let it flow!
-- Rich


You can read the full Big Bold News here.

You can share this article with others using www.RichDrama.com/Encourage, and my previous Big Bold News article is at www.RichDrama.com/Smile.


Since 2001 I've been a Freedom Finder for Graceworks, helping people become more comfortable as presenters through workshops and project specific coaching.

Find out more about our work and sign up for future issues of Big Bold News at www.GraceworksInc.com.

"Reflection"

Joyce and I are working on a short film by Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers and Actors Camp alumni William and Morgan Willer (It's a Life Worth Living).

We were greeted with my favorite verse, which Morgan remembered from Film Camp and wrote in calligraphy on a card!


I'm playing the role of the father of a young woman played by Joanna Ferbrache (who helped out for a night at Celebrity Confessions), who is being seduced by my character's arch nemesis, played by Andrew Hurt (Polycarp, "One Day"). I'm also serving as acting and accent coach. We've set it in Florida in the late 30s, so the cast (and some of the crew) have been speaking in Southern accents all week. One of them said to me, "I don't know if I'll be able to stop talking like this when we leave!" I think we're all having a ton of fun in the Florida sun!

On Day Two I got to drive this 1932 Chevrolet, and it was an AMAZING experience!

The production value has been astonishing! The cars, costumes, furniture, and especially the locations, almost all donated in order to help tell the Lord's truths in film. It's going to look like a much more expensive production than it is.

We were particularly grateful for The Banyan Estate, which was a 1927 school house that was refurbished just over a year ago. It's an amazing event space for weddings and business events.

This time last year many of this same crew created the short film, "There," which you can watch at www.RichDrama.com/There.

You can find this page at www.RichDrama.com/Reflection. We'll announce when the film is released through emailings to which you can subscribe at www.RichDrama.com/Updates.

Here are our Production Diaries filmed and edited by Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmaker alumna Morgan Willer...

Day 1


Day 2 (This shows the 1930 Chevrolet named "Ethel" I got to drive.)


Pre-Rigging at the amazing Banyan Estate (I was performing "The New King" on Epiphany while they were setting up.)


Day 3 (Filmed at the Banyan Estate.)


Day 4 (More footage of me driving Ethel.)


Day 5 (This has my favorite line that won't make it into the film.)


There are still openings for the 2019 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Join the One Year Bible Reading Plan!

In the New Year I've opened up my daily Bible reading through the One Year Bible reading program, and you're welcome to read along!

I'm planning to post notes and answer questions as I have time. I'd love to have you join us on the journey.

The Blue Lagoon, Iceland: 
www.RichDrama.com/EuroTour2018
Here's my first post, inspired by a teaching by my friend, David SanbornJesus is mentioned in the very first verse of the Bible! You just have to understand Hebrew and the Hebraic mindset to see it. This article will help.

Hope to see your comments and questions starting tomorrow!

Have a blessed New Year, everyone!


Join the One Year Bible Reading Plan

There are four openings for the 2019 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Register for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers and Actors Camp

Greetings from Times Square!

...or at least from a few blocks away in the warmth (and dry) of our apartment. But we were on Times Square last night as they were setting things up for tonight's festivities. I recorded some very exciting news there: Registration is open for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers and Actors Camp!

You'll get the main training in video tutorials before arriving, so that as soon as you hit the ground, we'll be running into film production. You'll leave with a short film for your reel, headshots, and (if it's like every year so far) you'll have an opportunity to audition for a live professional project.

Also, many projects want you to have taken a film etiquette course if you don't have a certain amount of film projects under your belt. That happens to be one of the film tutorials, so you'll be able to check that box!

We opened registration up to alumni first, so two spots are already taken on both sides of the camera. Move swiftly to secure one (or more with friends!) of the other four spots for each program: www.ChristianFilmmakersCamp.com. The intimacy of the program means there's lots of opportunities to grow as an artist and as a Christian.

Also, there is an early bird savings of $100 through the end of January, so if you don't have time to register now, be sure to set an alarm. 
Register for Film Camp

Where Hope Lives


There are a lot of great lines in Where Hope Lives, written by Marco Santiago (actor in "Colonel Papa Cubano"). My very favorite came after the show by Pastor Carter Conlin, who gave one of the best summations of Christmas I've heard: "Unapproachable Light (1 Timothy 6:16) wrapped Himself in the most fragile form of humanity." Marco and Courtney Menking (Henry Box Brown, Celebrity Confessions) play the parents of an adopted daughter and birth son, who invite two foster kids to live with them.

Patricia ("Colonel Papa Cubano" and Courageous Love) plays Florence, the pre-believing social worker who sets up the foster relationship is astonished at what the help of Jesus achieves.

Mark Steele (Celebrity Confessions) plays the stern principal, who sets up one of the most touching scenes.

Adrienne Breland (helped with the production of Fire Off-Broadway) had a poignant scene in which she plays an admitting counselor at an abortion clinic with a girl played by her granddaughter! The way they resolve the scene is electrifying!

Ronalda (Off West Broadway productions), played the birth mother in a heart-wrenching scene.

Pastor David Ham (who used to perform at The Lamb's Theatre) introduced the production and had a hand in directing it, alongside Marco and Patricia. They've done a great job, especially with the younger actors. The gal who played the protagonist of the story, the foster daughter, had a major character arc and carried it off with brilliant nuances.

Justin Hullinger (who got his start at The Lamb's Church) did a great job with the lighting.

You can watch it online through Sunday at www.TSC.NYC. Click on the image for the 10 AM or 3 PM services.


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.

The Christmas Song of the Prophets

For our Christmas Eve Service at Westchester ChapelDr. Linda Warren takes us through some key prophecies announcing the coming Messiah and how they were fulfilled:
Genesis 12:1-3
Genesis 49:10
Numbers 24:17
Isaiah 9:6-7
Isaiah 11:1-4
Daniel 9:24-26
Luke 1:67-72
Luke 2:1-14
Dr. Linda mentions that there are hundreds of prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Here are more prophecies and how Jesus fulfilled them: Bible Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus.

Between the Scripture readings and Pastor Linda's teaching, we sing carols that celebrate the fulfillment of those prophecies. In the service we sang to modern adaptations of classic carols, but our CCLI license does not allow for sharing recordings of copyrighted material online, so because the carols were such an integral element of the service, I recorded carols that are in the public domain. If you'd like to sing along, click this link for the lyrics.

Pastor Jim Warren opens and closes the service.

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.



Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp is about to announce that our registration has opened. Sign up so you don't miss it.

The Word Made Flesh Is Hope

This morning at Westchester ChapelJoyce teaches on Matthew 1:18-25. Matthew, the despised tax collector, lived a life of shame, and he highlighted the great shame Joseph took upon himself by marrying a woman who was already bearing a child not his own. Joyce mentions Views of the Manger, my play, and two stories it portrays: Joseph's choice of obedience (today's main passage) and Abram nearly walking between the cut animals when God promised to be the Covenant Keeper (Genesis 15). She also told the story of her heart failure in 2005. You can visit the blog we kept during that frightening season.

Dr. Linda Warren opens the service, and Melanie Solomon reads Luke 1:30-33.

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.

Here's a Billy Graham sermon that reinforces some of the things Joyce teaches...


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


You can see one story from Views of the Manger as performed just beyond the door to The Manger in Bethlehem at www.RichDrama.com/ViewsOfTheManger.

Unplanned

I performed alongside Ashley Bratcher in Princess Cut, so I was delighted to see this marvelous interview with her on Fox and Friends about an upcoming film that looks fantastic!

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email, you can find it on www.Blog.RichDrama.com.



I play a conniving realtor in Princess Cut.

How EuroTour2018 Began

Joyce and I presented plays and teachings in eight nations throughout Europe in August and September. Later, Harald Sørlie, who produced Rich's performance of I Dreamed I Was Free in Oslo, visited New York City. We met with him and Danielle Campbell, who introduced us to Harald, at the restaurant where it all started.

We talk about that first conversation that blossomed into an eight-nation tour... and about the sounds animals make in Norwegian.

Press the arrow below, or if you're getting this in an email, visit www.Blog.RichDrama.com.




I Dreamed I Was Free, which Rich performed in Oslo, is available anywhere in the world. It tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War in America.

The Treasure of the Secret Cove

McKenzie (left) and Rachel on the
set of "Milk and Oranges."
McKenzie Harris and Rachel Marley were my students together at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp (RMCFC) in 2016, where we produced the short film "Milk and Oranges."

This January, McKenzie was in charge of wardrobe on the set of "There," which was written, produced and directed by William and Morgan Willer, two other alumni of RMCFC (2015 and 2016). In the middle of production, McKenzie got a call-back for the lead in the Lamplighter Theatre production of The Treasure of the Secret Cove. As an alumna of RMCFC she received the casting call I sent out to all my former students. The Lamplighter production team listened to over 250 auditions without considering who the actors were. They were shocked to discover McKenzie was also an alumna of the Lamplighter Guild (2017), where I got to teach this summer, as well as Lamplighter Live, where I first worked with her.

Rachel and McKenzie in the
studio for The Treasure
of the Secret Cove
.
McKenzie discovered that Rachel was cast as her character's best chum in the production. Our friend and colleague, Nato Jacobson, plays the husband of McKenzie's character. David Sanborn, a friend I've worked with on projects since 2001, plays a mysterious visitor. Nato and Rachel also played smaller roles.

Joyce and I just listened to it, and they all did splendid work! So many nice moments. So much truth spoken so eloquently. It's a wonderful story, based on the classic book of the same title by Amy Le Feuvre. It's about the power of the covenant of marriage, and it's set up in a very creative way! You can order it as a set of CDs or download it now.

I was honored to be a consultant on several elements of preproduction.



We're about to announce that registration is open for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp. Sign up for the announcement.

25 Years in NYC!

From a performance at
The Lamb's Church, circa 1994.
I've now lived in New York City for 25 years. In 1993 I went from a 70 acre farm in Oregon to an 8.5' x 11' room in the Lamb's Church, which had two Off-Broadway theatres (though one was later registered as Off-Off-Broadway). It was close enough to Times Square that from the roof we could see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons float by.
For my first New Year's Eve I stood for hours on Times Square during one of the coldest NYC days on record, and then I discovered the next day I could have walked through a parking garage next to the Lamb's Church at 11:55 PM and seen the ball drop! Later, a building was demolished that allowed us a view of the ball from the roof of the Lamb's Church. The first time I remember that happening was when we rang in the New Millennium. As soon as the ball dropped we all ran to our computers to see if they had crashed! Thankfully Y2K was greatly overrated.
I kept a journal in those days called "Farm Boy on Times Square." You can read the first two entries by clicking here.



A Clear Leading was the first feature-length play I wrote, and I performed it for the first time in 1994. It tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War. We've changed the title to I Dreamed I Was Free, but the basic play is (after many adjustments) still basically the same.

Have a blessed Christmas Season!

In a time when darkness, strife, and division seem to reign--very much like the time Jesus was born--we pray Joy to the World!
Joy to the World; The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King:
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the Earth, The Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding Joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground:
He comes to make His Blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the World with Truth and Grace,
And makes the nations prove
The Glories of His Righteousness,
And Wonders of His Love.
As darkness increases, His Light shines brighter. "He comes to make his Blessings flow / Far as the Curse is found." We've seen his blessings flow in large measure in 2018! I performed in 15 states and eight nations, and Joyce spoke in six of those. Here are a few of the highlights:

January
Rich played Walter and served as acting coach, while Joyce was a key crew member, keeping actors warm between takes in "There," a short film that takes place during a rain storm! Joyce also played the mother of my character's daughter during a sociodrama to help her get ready for an emotional phone call, so we're counting Moriah's character as our 22nd screen child! You can watch "There" now: www.RichDrama.com/There.

February
A 20-year prayer was answered, and Rich got to perform at Christian Cultural Center.

March
Annual workshop at Princeton University, where we visited Jonathan Edward's gravestone which inspired a post about revival.

April
Performed Jonah for a gang unit on Rikers Island.

May
Performed in It's a Life Worth Living and The King's Messengers on the same day! That was a first! Later that month I performed several roles for The Adventum, a wonderful audio drama of the Book of Genesis, which is now available.

June
Taught, coached and performed at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp, where we produced "Return on Investment."

A revival broke out in the theatre
department on our last night of the
Lamplighter Guild for CreativeDisciplines.
July
Taught and directed at the Lamplighter Guild for Creative Disciplines.

August
Performed in Denmark and Sweden on the same day! That was a first!

September
Performed in Norway, Finland, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Iceland.

October
Performed at the Hollywood Divine International Film Festival.

November
Performed I Dreamed I Was Free in New Mexico, the 43rd state in which I've taught and/or performed. Another first!

December
"Milk and Oranges" released, which was our film at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp in 2017 and the directorial debut for Joyce. Joyce shared the Christmas Eve eve message at Westchester Chapel.

Here's my prayer for the Mastermedia Christmas party, which is for us all... though we don't wish a broken boiler on anyone! Click the arrow below, or if you're getting this through an emailing, visit www.RichDrama.com/Christmas2018.





Registration is now open for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp June 23-29.

EuroTour 2018 Photos

We finally sorted all of our photos from our trip to Europe this fall. You can find all the albums at www.SwinglesEuroTour2018.Shutterfly.com.

Here are the individual albums:

We started our trip in Copenhagen, Denmark...

Follow us into Tivoli Gardens and to other wonderful sites
in Copenhagen.
Then we presented in Denmark and Sweden on the same day...

Joyce was translated (through headphones) into Danish. Swedish translations
were used for Rich's performance of Big Fish Little Worm that evening.

We spent a couple of days in Randers and Ørsted, Denmark, where Joyce's grandfather and great grandparents lived...

Solve the mystery of the golden boot in
Randers and Ørsted, Denmark
Back to work in Oslo, where Rich performed I Dreamed I Was Free at the Nordic Black Theatre and Joyce shared her testimony...

...and we had a shockingly great time in Norway.
Then to Finland to perform for the Nazarenes and catch up with Timo, the Swingle's foreign exchange student when Rich was in college...

This church was our first stop on our tour of Helsinki.
Next we spent time in Sweden with Niklas, a foreign exchange student from Rich's youth, who inspired this whole trip. We were delighted to meet his wife, Jenny...

We loved spending the day with Niklas and Jenny on the island of Öland,
Sweden.
Then to Frankfurt to perform I Dreamed I Was Free, and Joyce brought the Sunday morning message...

After our presentations we relaxed with dear friends in the Rhine Valley,
Germany.
With all major presentations out of the way we started our 21st honeymoon in Switzerland...

We found lots of swans and lots of references to Rich's ancestor's brother,
Ulrich Zwingli, in Zurich, St. Gallen, and Wildhaus, Switzerland.
... with a stop in Liechtenstein...

...where we did an enacted prayer for the nation and stopped in
Triesenberg, Liechtensteinwhich Rich's mother's
family is named after. 
...and then a 24-hour stop in Iceland on the way home...

It doesn't look like it, but we were about to dive into that water, which
was actually quite warm in Iceland.




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