The Creative Process

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The Creative Process

The Creative Process

 

Over the weekend the team at Pancake’s House traveled to Springfield, MO to meet with our editors for the Rideout documentary. The Springfield team consisting of Dax and Jenni Jones-Bedell have spent more than a month getting acquainted with Ken Rideout, scouring all the footage, taking notes, reading his book and trying to find the story that is in the footage. We cannot imagine the workload this has been for them to undertake. 

Part of the reason we knew we needed outside voices working on the project was our closeness to the subject matter and our inability to look at all the footage objectively and share the best possible story to reach an audience. As Dax put it about ten minutes into our discussion on Friday, “There are three different movies in this footage. What do you [Stuart] want to be the story we tell?

Stuart thought for a minute and said, “I want people to know the Ken Rideout who taught me how to work out all this faith stuff.”

Fortunately for Stuart, and the other two of us, that is the direction Dax and Jenni wanted to take as well. 

Stuart said, “This isn’t a movie for the Christian church. I don’t want this to be something that the church will look at and say, ‘well, there’s another great missionary who did good work.’ However, I do want people to listen to Ken and ask questions of how their own faith assumptions can be challenged and find a willingness to wrestle with those convictions to see if there is another way of looking at them.”

Stuart has spent the last several years trying to dismantle his own preconceived notions of what it means to be a Christian or a follower of the teachings of Jesus as represented in what we call the Bible. He says that in his exploration with Ken he was able to find a deeper truth that was only spoken of on the surface of the text he’d grown up reading and learning. 

Over the last year to year and a half Antony has continued telling Stuart he needed to be the voice of this movie. He needed to let the viewer see Ken through his eyes to tell the audience about his great teacher. Stuart resisted for quite some time. 

After reading the near five hundred comments given during a screening of the documentary last December he was more amenable to the idea as many had said pretty much the same thing. We think Stuart’s hesitation was that the film would end up being about him rather than shining a light on the brilliance of Ken Rideout. After the meeting with Dax and Jenni, Stuart was convinced that this was the correct way to go. 

We were reminded of the video post Stuart had put up on Facebook at the start of our first crowdfunding effort where Ken said, “I would like to say that I worked beside scores of men and women who were truly sacrificing. Some were in the deepest jungles. Some took three or four months to get to where they were going. That my life is only one life and there’s nothing in it that I would ever say is better than the other person. Those are great men and women. Many of them are still alive and they have a history that is just absolutely beautiful. So I would like to say that I don’t want in any way to be exalted above them.” As he shared those words he was moved to tears. It was a beautiful moment and one that has stuck with us, especially Stuart, during this entire process. 

Stuart’s hesitancy for being a voice in the project has been based on the many people who were affected by Ken over the decades. He is worried that the addition of his voice would make the movie about something other than Ken and his teachings and his ways of helping people wrestle with theologies and philosophies in the context of their daily experiences. 

We understand this differently. We see the need for a narrative voice to help us, people not around Ken during his life, to put into the context what Ken was saying and why it is so important to Stuart. 

 Jody Bilyeu, Jenni Jones-Bedell, Dax Bedell and Stuart Stokes discuss the music of the documentary "Rideout: One Last Summit" and it's role in the final film. 

Jody Bilyeu, Jenni Jones-Bedell, Dax Bedell and Stuart Stokes discuss the music of the documentary "Rideout: One Last Summit" and it's role in the final film. 

The next day we were also able to meet with Jody Bilyeu who has allowed us to use some of the music from the Big Smith catalogue. Big Smith was for many years a staple in Springfield and all over the Ozarks and beyond with their unique take on bluegrass music. This music also shaped Stuart in some of his thinking and it fit perfectly with Stuart’s original vision of juxtaposing the “old time religion” music of the single room churches with the work Ken did in Thailand for over four decades. 

Having lunch with Jody and the edit team we were able to see the creative process at work as Stuart talked about the importance of certain songs and their placement in the film. Jody also offered to work with Dax and Jenni to provide instrumental music for the final film. This was a gift we never thought possible. 

We were charged with a new sense of hope leaving Missouri for the film that has taken two years to this point. 

Dax and Jenni will travel to Nashville next month to capture Stuart on camera to fill in some of the gaps of the story. We’re exited to show them around our fair city and keep the creative work going forward. 

 

-Rideout Documentary Crew

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Working For Your Reel May Not Be The Exposure Needed

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Working For Your Reel May Not Be The Exposure Needed

Pancake’s House moves slowly in their developments. We work to get all the necessary funding and budgets to make sure that when work is being done that work is being paid for in an honest and honorable way. This begins with our storyboard artist, as none of us are talented with a pencil and paper and ends with our preferred post production house to bring all the work to an end the entire team can be proud of.

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Creativity Birthed

I must admit I had a hard time finding the right title for this post. As a fella who’s never had children I’d rather not personify my creative endeavors in a way that would diminish other people’s relationships with their little ones. However, it is the best analogy I’ve come up with. When an idea comes and finds its way into the realm of possibility to see it to fruition by the collective works of many I can't help but see it as the babe wrapped…  in a bassinet helpless and dependent on the care of a family to raise it to the responsible contributor to society it should grow to be. 

I know. I’m using a lot of flowery words to say, "an idea for a movie or play or book or painting."

For the past two years I've been trying to tell the story of a man who has changed my life and shown me a reality that I can't help but fall deeper in love with everyday. That reality is that love really can change the world. 

The man was Ken Rideout and the story is found in the countless hours of footage for a documentary of his life and return to Thailand. 

After our recent campaign to raise funds to hire an editor to put all the pieces together and tell his story without the assumptions of yours truly we decided to hire Dax and Jenni Jones-Bedell. 

This week I made the trek back to my hometown to take this baby, this creative project and hand it off to them with the hopes that they would care for and nurture it to maturity it needs to be and release it into the social and cinematic world for consumption and consideration. 

As I approached their home to deliver the hard drive I was struck with the reality that I was letting go of the story for a time. I would be trusting their abilities and expertise with the most valuable work I'd ever put my hands to. 

After a brief meeting I was out to ease and knew, somewhere deep inside my soul, the decision to bring them onto the team was the right one to make. 

 In my meeting with Dax and Jenni I was told by their actions and questions that they would care for my dear teacher's story in a beautiful way.  

In my meeting with Dax and Jenni I was told by their actions and questions that they would care for my dear teacher's story in a beautiful way.  

Dax and Jenni both looked at me and asked the questions I had hoped they'd ask, pushed against my preconceived notions of what needed to be said in the edit and showed me that they are not only capable of taking this task but excited to bring this story to life in their craft. 

This experience of trusting another made me also think about the businesses we are working with as a production company in Nashville. 

Pancake's House has begun working with a few clients to share their stories and we understand that companies are often birthed in a similar fashion of creativity. Like our little documentary, these companies are protective of their properties and want the best for the growth and maturity of their work. To have these business owners and operators trust us with the narrative of their marketing is an amazing honor that we hold very closely with deep respect.  

Our creative collective celebrates the diverse talent in Nashville and seeks to tell the stories that promote the great work these clients are doing as well as inform the city of the wonderful offerings these businesses have to offer.

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Creativity in the hands of Nashville

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Creativity in the hands of Nashville

This morning the Nashville Public Library held a parade filled with puppets! As they meandered along the path from Legislative Plaza to the front doors of Nashville's beautiful downtown library crowds of children and adults were transported to the cultures of puppeteers around the world. 

Following the parade were photo ops, shows and workshops as the creative artists of Nashville shared their craft.

I found myself mesmerized with the movements, artistry, detail and whimsy of the parade. From a towering Maya Angelou from the students and faculty of University School of Nashville to a brilliant collection of hand puppets by Sailors & Maidens I couldn't make up my mind where to look at any given moment. 

 From the Bearded Lady (far left) to pie and bacon hand puppets (not pictured) Sailors and Maidens showed what a collection of creative ideas can produce.

From the Bearded Lady (far left) to pie and bacon hand puppets (not pictured) Sailors and Maidens showed what a collection of creative ideas can produce.

 Under the direction of Emily Holt (USN Middle School and High School Art Teacher) students spent the school year creating notable literary figures in parade puppet form. USN parents, students and faculty operated these magnificent pieces of art through downtown Nashville today.

Under the direction of Emily Holt (USN Middle School and High School Art Teacher) students spent the school year creating notable literary figures in parade puppet form. USN parents, students and faculty operated these magnificent pieces of art through downtown Nashville today.

The parade ended less than an hour from the time it began and I couldn't help but walk up to any puppeteer I could find to thank them for their gift and congratulate them on the beautiful work they had done. Some were operators only and others were the artists of these creations from concept to execution.

 

I even got a brief peak at character I've known about for years moving amongst the crowds nearly unnoticed as the parade end on. Rick Prince (Filmmaker, Professional Special FX artist, contestant on SyFy network's Face Off and all around creative genius trekked through the parade as a Transformer! 

Yes! You read that correctly. A Transformer. Prowl, an Autobot Police Cruiser in full robotic form.

Of all of these amazing creations I was most captivated by this one. I believe it to be a Samurai and it's movement and style were something I'd not imagined. As I made my way toward the operator (drenched with the sweat and fatigued by the heft of such a figure) I overheard a gentleman say he had created the figure this operator was working. I was struck with the joy an artist must feel when their creations are brought to life by another.

 

 

I interjected to make sure I had heard correctly and sure enough, Leon Fuller of Artistree (creative group who designed and built the figure) was meeting Richard Link of Nashville Ballet (operator of the figure) for the first time.

Nashville is rich with the creative works of so many wonderful minds and today many puppeteers and puppet makers were able to inspire and excite a great number of people. Thanks to the work of so many and the organization of our public library this filmmaker and business owner was taken back to his child-like way of playing and creating in a world of imagination and fun.

-Skip

 

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