Friday, June 16

3700 Kilometers to Nijmegen and back

The IMM crew just returned from a major shoot up in Holland. We drove 24 hours in two days to get there in a four-vehicle caravan through the worst of traffic that included Paris in rush-hour. It helped to listen to the Pirates of the Carribean soundtrack. We got to the Open-Air Bible Museum in Nijmegan (Ninja-man as our audio guy calls it) and shot segments of the Parables of Jesus project for a week. As always, there are too many tales to relate and far too many images for me to sort through in my brain. But here are a handfull of fotos!

We took all of the Speed the Light video/audio equipment that we had in Madrid and packed into a Silver STL VW Cargo van. The fan is a 6-speed shift on the dash. We also had a large Toyota Hiace passenger van, a Seat minivan and our STL VW Bora. We had walkie-talkies so we could tell if anyone got battered on the road.

First day the entire crew went through a walk-through to the scene locations. The museum ( is set in a large park complete with camels, donkeys, Arab coffee and even a Mithritic temple hidden along a main street. It was cold and rainy that day. We were afraid of the rain. It had been raining for a week, but it held off for the entire time we were shooting but oddly enough dumped hard on us when we got back to Spain. Maybe a Cosmic balance thingy as we strive to tell God's stories?!? hmmmmm....

There was at least a hundred costumes including armor, functioning swords, amphora, hide-bound shields, plenty of beards, tubs of sandals and homespun.

Many of us had to be extras for background shots as well as continue with our technical tasks. Here's Mark Williams tracing power for a light before a scene.

Denise was the Sergeant Major of the production. She was the final authority before Christopher the Director. Christopher has always said that Denise is the best Producer's Assistant that he has ever worked with. As one scene was being shot, the next location was being set-up, lighted etc... It was fast-moving and tense. We made sure everything was cleaner than when we left it. IMM has an open invitation at the museum that not even Dutch National Television has anymore.

A Roman Reenactment group from Holland joined us for the shoot. None of them nor their wives were believers, but were eager to assist because of the video project's reputation for historical accuracy. Here is Tibs, a giant of a man being put into make-up. His demeanor and stature are such that I would not be surprised if he executed dutch criminals with a sledge-hammer to earn a little beer money. Dutch people also don't mind stripping down to nothing and changing costumes in front of American women.

Wim (Vim) helped us grab a shot that might be used in an upcoming scene. He blew his Roman horn while wearing scale-armor that weighed at least 50 lbs. I don't know if he was joking or not but one tune he belted out sounded suspiciously like the Bridal March. These guys craft all of their own gear. True artists. I was told by Wim that Nijmegen was an actual Roman camp way back in the day. Some days walking through the woods between locations in costume I felt like the original soldiers were still watching for intruders.

We shot all scenes in standard video format and high-definition for future use. No one in history has attempted a video representation of the Parables. This stuff will have long-shelf life as educational material long after Gladiator is on sale at WalMart.

I had to play one of the servants. Being a Ham for the camera, I was thrilled to put on a costume, but hated the make-up driven all the way into my ears and under my armpits. We were given no dialogue as there would be voice-over for various languages. When the lights were on and the cameras rolling it was like high-anxiety bible-ad lib. Here's your costume, you're buying spices, now ACTION!!! whew...

Loading up was a relief. The week flew by. We were tired. There were no major snafus during production and we were still all friends. Some of the crew put Denise on the camera jib and had a little game of Teeter-Totter. If you know Denise, you know she enjoyed it.

The distance back was just 20 miles short of travelling from Washington D.C. to K.C. Hard to be alert in a fast-moving convoy on European highways for that long. But God was with us and we got back in one piece.

I've slept hard lately. Now starts the long editing process and the orchestration. Got word early this week that the Parables will be translated for Iranians living abroad among other languages. This was a good investment and a worthy expenditure of emotional energy...