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If Creative Directors were a member of a band I think they would play bass. Why? It’s relatively easy to learn to play bass. But it’s rare that people put in the time to become exceptional. Most people don’t remember the name of the bassist and that’s okay. Bassists aren’t in it for the glory, but if they do their job… the rhythm is gonna get you.

6 Tips for creative leads/managers:

  • Defend a healthy team culture.
  • Creative types rarely work well under micro-management.
  • Hire great people and work hard to find out what need to excel.
  • Be generous with meaningful compliments.
  • Don’t be quick to make decisions that you don’t need to make. Delegate.
  • The best projects happen when everyone is allowed to function in their sweet spot.

5 Things I’ve learned the hard way:

  • Determining culture fit in a couple hours of interviews is more challenging than it sounds.
  • Good people move on.
  • If you have a culture fit issue, waiting it out doesn’t seem to pay off.
  • Most staffing issues can be fixed by “just acting like a Christian.”
  • Opinions are better in the back seat than in the driver’s seat.

Disclaimer, I’m no expert. I’ve hired a good number of good people and lost a good number of good people. There are lots of books and conventional wisdom on hiring that usually agree on three points.

Look for a fit for in the areas of culture, character and competency.

Not an original thought, but pretty tried and true.


Hey creatives, what makes a great boss?

*post used by permission from


How to work as a creative in a church and not burn out

I have spent the better part of the last two decades working on staff at churches. I tried to leave a couple of times, but “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in” which actually is good news for me because I would not be satisfied, long-term, if I wasn’t able to spend the better part of my day working for the cause of the gospel.

And truthfully, I am grateful for the opportunity and enjoy my life tremendously.

But how does one keep on keeping on and not “BURN OUT?”

I find that term funny. “Burn out.” We toss it around to describe someone who has had enough, became bitter, given up, left the clubhouse, has senior-itis, or seems to keep one eye on the exit at all times.

The reality is that working at a church is a lot like working at any other job,

  • in that you really get to know people,
  • you hurt people’s feelings,
  • your ideas get squashed,
  • you mistreat others and get mistreated.
  • Basically, you are human and you act like it.

Some problems seem best solved by throat-punching a co-worker, but just like any other job that really wouldn’t solve anything.

So how do you prevent this “burnout” that manifests itself like apathy and sometimes depression? Is there a secret sauce? 

The Incredible Hulk in Marvel’s Avengers movie solves the issue of how he controls his rage by ignoring all the other plots or story lines of his past and says the line “I”m always angry”. Is there something like that for us? “I’m always burnt out?” Awesome line, but… Will it work? The solution for burnout is to always be burnt?

I’ve learned a lot from experience, mostly what not to do, and the common thread that runs through my experiences that kept me from burning out was my attitude. Keeping your attitude in check may be the closest thing to “magical burnout relief cream” that we have. But keeping your attitude correct is more like a constant discipline than a quick tune-up.



You probably just decided to stop reading this article…

So next time you feel like turning into the Hulk and smashing/throat punching, consider this:

Whether you work at a church or another organization, how do you keep your attitude in check? Leave a comment with your best anti-burnout-secret.

Five Laws of Story for Church Filmmaking

When working in church filmmaking one of the main areas we wrestle with is balancing the need to create projects that emotionally engage viewers while also needing to simply inform them. Ministry leaders are looking for media that produces a specific result, and while most of those leaders know on some level that telling a story is important, the pull often seems to be towards promos, recaps and profiles. And while there’s nothing wrong with these types of projects, they’re not nearly as effective a well-told story.

So how do we keep the focus on narrative without it drifting into simple promotion? After struggling through this with more than my share of fellow ministry leads I’ve learned that there are some basic rules that can help us distinguish between what’s a story and what’s not. Let’s take a look at them together…


This is crucial, as this central figure is the set of eyes you’re viewer will experience the story through. As hard as this is for people to hear, an organization doesn’t have a story. It has a history, it may have seasons of success and failure, it may have a beginning and end, but without a deep desire you can’t have conflict. Which means you can’t have a story. So remember, a promo is about an organization with multiple parallel desires – a story is about a main character with a deep desire for something.


A story is about a character that exists in a specific place, at a specific time, within a specific community context. Your main character cannot exist separate from these things. It’s what make them special, unique, interesting. It’s the stage they’re drama takes place on. A good story needs that. Again, a promo tries to appeal as broadly as possible – a story has a unique setting and context.


So you have a character in a specific setting who strongly desires something. Now the character has to go after what they want. But getting what they want isn’t as easy as it seems. The character begins to experience conflict and struggle. Which is when the story gets good. Interesting. Compelling. Never forget, a promo is positive and aspirational – a story features conflict and struggle.


As a result of all of that conflict and struggle the character has had to endure, they eventually experience a climax where their story finds a conclusion. Maybe the character gets what they want (comedy), and maybe they don’t (tragedy). Either way the viewer shares that emotion, that catharsis, with that character. That’s the power of a story. A promo is open-ended – a story is about a main character with a deep desire for something.


This is a very big deal, and far too often it goes unrealized. The story needs a master craftsman, a storyteller, in order to soar. The storyteller, or in our case the filmmaker, has to know where the story is going in order to craft a strong beginning. This is a non-negotiable. A promo is about an event in the future – a story has already taken place.

So how do we make these rules work for us the next time we’re discussing an upcoming film with a pastor, worship director or ministry lead? The first thing to remember is they make a terrible weapon. In ministry we’re all on the same team, and we want the same thing. Don’t try to use them to get your way unilaterally.


Instead of trying to slam a project already in production through this story paradigm, pull up a previous film or two and discuss how the rules applied or didn’t apply. Talk about what makes a film connect with the heart and not just the head. Process together how these rules could help your team create the very best stories, and the very strongest promos, moving into the future.

Remember, most films, including testimonials, succeed or fail before the cameras ever start recording.

Remember, most films, including testimonials, succeed or fail before the cameras ever start recording. These five rules work best when applied in pre-production, while you’re writing your script and creating your storyboard. Then pull them out one more time after you create your first rough draft edit and see how it lines up against them. They’ll help clarify and crystalize and show you where your story has lost its way.

Enough talking. Let’s get to work…

We Write and Look Good

This is a standard blog post. Nothing special about it. Fancy, huh? Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Morbi commodo, ipsum sed pharetra gravida, orci magna rhoncus neque, id pulvinar odio lorem non turpis. Nullam sit amet enim. Suspendisse id velit vitae ligula volutpat condimentum. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed quis velit. Nulla facilisi. Nulla libero. Vivamus pharetra posuere sapien. Nam consectetuer. Sed aliquam, nunc eget euismod ullamcorper, lectus nunc ullamcorper orci, fermentum bibendum enim nibh eget ipsum. Donec porttitor ligula eu dolor. Maecenas vitae nulla consequat libero cursus venenatis. Nam magna enim, accumsan eu, blandit sed, blandit a, eros.

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