I know I have said this before, but I wanted to say it again. Thank you to all of the people who donated to the making of Family Tree.
I love what God can do to a life poured out to Him. This is an amazing journey and I am glad He brought this group of people along. You can see their names if you click my list of supporters.
I pray that the Lord God will bless you pressed down, shaken together and running over. Eph 3:20.
One of my goals for Family Tree was to make a movie you could watch over and over and laugh every time. I am almost there.
Not only are you going to want to see this when it opens, you will want to take a copy home with you. (smile)
I can’t take the credit. The actors did a great job of telling the story. As I reviewed the footage, they had me laughing and I knew what was going to happen. This happens when you get a group of talented people and challenge them to take their skills to another level. They did that thang!
There are going to be moments in the movie where you just stop. You won’t be able to believe what they just did or said. It is going to be sooo fun.
I can’t ignore the larger force in this project. God brought all the right people together at the right time. Lately my prayer has been, “Lord, don’t let me get in your way.” Every time the situation seems impossible, He handles it. Sometimes He tells me yes and gives me the industries best. Sometimes He tells me His grace is sufficient. My goal is to stay in His will cause He has a plan.
I love what He has done so far.
Another thing I started this weekend was Outtakes. I am compiling those into a presentation of its own. I promise to play these at the premiere. We spent a lot of time laughing and I will have to share. I want you to fall in love with cast. They have earned it.
Peace and Hair Grease
As a human being, I experience moments that are, for lack of a better word, incredible. I had one of those moments this morning as I listened to the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing He’s God. Some days all of the things in the universe align, the clouds part and we get a glimpse of God’s glory. It is difficult to put words to it, but I am sure that that was the goal when the artist created it. They pointed you to God so that you could experience Him in a way that brought Him glory.
As a storyteller, I am gathering all of the pieces of this film: music, art, video. I hope to create moments that stir something in you. I want you to laugh, but I am pointing in a certain direction. I hope the universe will align, the clouds will part and you will get a Word.
I have to tell you I love how it is coming together. Many of the struggles I had the first time around are non existent. There are struggles, new ones. But each day I grow more confident in the one who has brought me to this.
One of the biggest blessings has been from the support of my family and friends. Your financial support has kept this thing rolling along. I pray that the Lord will bless each of you a hundredfold for your contribution. I pray He will pour into you and your projects. I want to thank you for believing in this movie, Family Tree.
Here is the first trailer for the movie, Family Tree.
Let me apologize first, because I am not an video editor. I don’t have the patience. I recognize that there are some technical glitches, but hey, this is the first of many trailers for this project. I hope it peeks your interests and you take this journey with us.
Family Tree is a dramedy that tells the story of an African American family that do not like each other, but is forced into having a family reunion by one of the members. The story explores family dynamics and what is family. Is it blood or relationship? And what does one have to do with the other?
Family Tree is the story of a family who don’t like each other, but find out that through thick and think they love each other. The family matriarch, Flora Jones, is challenged by her granddaughter, Kate to have a family reunion. Flora knew her children couldn’t speak two kind words to each other, less lone share a meal or party together.
One of the things I learned about storytelling from the Bible is that sometimes a person is important, sometimes a situation is important. Some bible stories start off with “Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found in Israel.” (1 Samuel 9:2) This tells us Saul is key to the story. Then there are bible stories like “Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak,” (Matthew 9:20) This points us to the situation, and doesn’t bother us with names.
In telling the story of Family Tree, sometimes the character was important, sometimes the situation was important. There were days when the actors and crew looked at me like I had lost my mind. I would say, “Don’t worry about the line, just do this!” and I would give them some piece of action to complete. Sometimes these jokers came with their own actions. There was a lot of laughing. Some of the characters you are going to remember, some of the situations are going to make you laugh for decades. There are many standout moments in the picture, but I know an amazing ensemble was formed. You will see it.
I enjoyed this story. I enjoyed watching the actors bring it to life. But I loved watching what God did with the story that went beyond my original vision for it. Every person who participated brought something that was significant. It was cool watching them become a family. As we were wrapping up, some hated to leave. They loved watching each other work. Only God’s presence can bond people like that. It was a privilege to lead them.
I confess that I prayed over every actor and all of the crew before we ever turned the cameras on. I spent the last 30 to 40 days on my knees praying for His intervention. Upon getting up from that position, I learned to accept and receive what He delivered, regardless of if it looked like what I imagined. I trust Him. He knows what He’s doing.
We finished principal photography in June. We will spend July working on graphics. It will head to the editors at the beginning of August. I know that He who began a good work in us will see it through to the finish. I can’t wait to share it with you.
Peace and Hair Grease.
When you take a road trip with God, the Creator of the universe and Lover of our souls, you will spend a lot time asking “Are we there yet?” As you look around at some of the places He takes you, you will be really glad when He says, “Not yet.”
He never tells me where I am going. He knows that if He does, I will spend all of my time trying to find a shortcut instead of being a part of the journey.
When God invited Abraham on a road trip, He didn’t tell Abraham where he was going. He just said to a place where I will show you. I am sure Abraham trusted God, but I bet it left him with some angst as he had to deal with the folks who came along for the ride. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, probably wanted details. I mean she needed to know how much and what to pack, would there be markets where they were going. How would their needs be met?
This past weekend brought me closer to the end of one part of this journey. I am learning to trust God’s vision for this project. Even though I don’t know what He’s doing, He knows what He’s doing. As I watch amazing moments come together that I did not plan, I know it is only the hand of God that orchestrated it. My goal is to stay out of His way.
Even though we were scheduled to shoot outside, it rained most of the day. This situation brought out the creative side of us. My plan B was God’s plan A. He was right.
When people don’t show up or places don’t work out, God writes this story so beautifully I stand back amazed at His Presence.
My original vision for this story was like a single rose sitting in a vase on table in quiet room. It was a lovely piece of work. Yet, with each day as this movie evolves, it turns into an amazing rose bush in a fabulous garden with much more to see. I had one joke and God made it a concert. (But that’s what happens when you bring talented people together)
Some great moments have been created for you. I can’t wait for you to see it!
God gives me wonderful moments of inspiration, sometimes I wish He would do it before midnight. This past weekend was hard. I knew it was going to be a beating, I just did not know to what extent.
When you make up your mind to do what God has called you to do, there will be obstacles in your path. You will have to decide what you will do about those obstacles. God has spent my life showing me that the battle is His. My biggest stress point is allowing Him to handle it.
I walked into this weekend knowing that the battle was already won. God had decided who would be faithful and who would not. I have allowed the Lord to write this story, cutting when necessary, adding when He saw fit. I had no idea what it would look like, but I trust Him. I like the story He is telling.
Through a very hard, hot weekend we did some of the best work we have done. When one of the actors arrived to the location, he thought he was in the wrong place. He thought we were a “real” family reunion. We have bonded.
My favorite moment was after a scene when most of us cheered. It was a good scene. The actors had done what they came to do. I have been blessed with a talent cast and crew. Lois, Joyce and Camille are incredible talents that have performed far beyond my expectations.
Some moments I got so wrapped up in, I forgot to yell “cut.” Even though we all sweated off five pounds, we laughed, played and created magic. You are going to love this movie.