Included below are a few special projects and ideas for additional work using Words and Visions. Contact me to learn more.
This section of the website celebrates the artist in every person and the artistic in every moment of life. The presentations and activities are not just about creating art, but also about raising awareness of the beauty, harmony and creative potential in individuals and in the world around us. Art is about exploring the depth of meaning behind the artist’s work, whether it be a painting, a poem, a song, a sculpture or a story – or even a well-cultivated garden or a well-decorated house. Art is also about getting in touch with the deep down feelings stirred within us when we take in the artist’s work. Good food can be art. Humor can be art. A machine or a stone wall or even a graceful dance can be art. It is all in the relationship that is created between artist, creation and the one experiencing the art, in the emotional and spiritual connection it makes between the artist, the audience and the art. Remember that an artist isn't someone who creates something other people consider "art." Rather, an artist is someone who can look at the world and see its beauty and potential...and then find a way to express that to others.
The Power of Art
Art is healing. When people engage in drawing, working with clay, acting, making music or writing, they are able to grow spiritually and emotionally. This happens for a variety of reasons:
Art taps into what is inside us. Drawing an image, composing a poem, working with clay or moving one’s body helps to bring out our inner life in a concrete way. It allows us to communicate thoughts and feelings in a way that goes beyond the verbal alone.
Art lets us drop our guard. As people express themselves artistically, there is a natural lowering of inhibitions and defenses. They become more open to relating to others on a deeper level and can discover much about who they are.
Art allows us to relate to our feelings in an objective way. When a person produces art, he or she is able to stand apart from it and look at the feelings behind it more impartially. It also helps others to better understand those feelings in a more unbiased way.
Art leaves a record. The finished product can be looked at again and again, and helps those in later generations understand better the person who created it. It allows the beauty and soul of the person to be shared with others in a more intimate and personal way.
Art isn’t tied to space and time. Artists can express a number of ideas in a single work of art in a way that isn’t bound in the same way conversation is. The past and future can join the present and struggles and joys can come together for understanding.
Art is a release valve for the soul. The physical and emotional energy that one puts into a piece of art can be freeing and cleansing. It allows for a safe expression of feelings and inner desires and helps the person learn to relate to themselves.
Music and Rhythms
Music expresses the underlying pulse of life’s heartbeat. It helps to put a sound to the silent emotions sitting below the surface of all we experience. As the participants become engaged in making music and rhythms, they will be invited to tap into their own inner music and rhythms in order to gain a sense of their connection to the larger symphony of life.
Wham Bam Slam Jam – Using household items to create “organized chaos” in rhythm and beat
Body Parts Band – Using our bodies to make sound effects and music as the backdrop to a story.
Tech and Teeth – Using a computer and microphone to edit different vocalizations to create something new!
Hardware Harmonies – Creating music from hardware in order to show how sound effects are created.
The Story Pattern
What is presented here follows the circular pattern of storytelling. Stories often involve transformation on the part of the main character from the ordinary, to a search for something more, to a time of struggle and conflict and finally to a time of transformation. Below are some ideas for fleshing out good, artistic storytelling.
Chronicler Collaboration – Simple story-telling exercises to get the participants into the feel of telling stories.
Staging Stories – Constructing a story using basic mime and mouth-only sound effects, guided by a general theme.
Creative Canvas – Creating a group visual representation of the story they help to tell using drawing tools and crafts.
Claymation Revelation – Using modeling materials to create the main characters and setting to teach fluid storytelling.
Virtual Visualization – Using imaginative speech to "paint" the illustrations of a story as a way to open up creative thinking.
The beauty of art lies in its ability to take what is inside us and bring it to the outside for others to see. That can be wonderfully transforming, especially for someone who has felt closed off from his or her creative potential. Art has the power to heal and bring rebirth to the artist, as well as those with whom the art is shared. Even the things that may bring us tears or present us with a mystery that can speak to our deepest needs and ignite our deepest passions as it brings transformation and deeper meaning. Art seen in this way has the potential to unlock a deeper meaning for both the artist and the audience. Here are the activities for Art Articulation...
Expressionistic Experimentation – Using form, color and texture to explore inner feelings and ideas.
Story Endings – Using visualization, sound and music to help show how to shape endings to artistic life quests.
Journey Journaling – Journaling exercises to spark creative thinking and new artistic projects.
“Body” Painting – Working together to create a work of art, where each member of the "body" adds to the expression.
The Blob – Using clay that is passed around and molded as a story is told and shaped by the participants.
Multimedia Maneuvers – Creating a multimedia presentation from start to finish with technology and art.
Puppets and Props
Using a puppet can be a very freeing experience. The persona of the puppet allows the person operating it to let go of any inhibitions and express thoughts and emotions in more open way. It releases the “inner comedian” and it takes the blame for our little mistakes. It also allows the audience to be drawn into the individuality of the person and the wonder of the story. It is the power of pretending and the beauty of believing all wrapped up in a little character brought to life by the spirit of the one holding it. It is a tool for helping the young grow their imaginations and the young at heart recapturing theirs. Below are some puppet training exercises.
“Hand Me” a Puppet – Using hands as the first puppets to understand the basic of puppetry skills.
Socks and Shtick – Making puppets from socks, teaching how to put personality into the puppet's character.
Personification Production – The participants give personas to ordinary objects and make them come alive!
Shining Silhouette Stars – Creating shadow puppets from cardboard and preforming a shadow puppet show.
Prop Shop – Participants are give objects and use them in new and different ways in impromptu skits.
The Giant – The participants are give different parts of a "giant" and must learn to work together to make it perform on stage.
The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Dinner Experience immerses the audience into a world of intrigue and mystery. They are the guests at Oakhurst Manor, witnesses to a crime, the theft of Lady Oakhurst's priceless necklace.
Enter Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective, and his faithful friend, Dr. Watson. Together these two will take on the case and examine all the clues to try to spot the true thief. Everyone's a suspect and with the help of the guests, the sleuth from 22B Baker Street may just be able to solve this most baffling case.
Included in this experience is a full script with templates for sign ups, cast assignments, invitations and "Mystery Cards" to help the audience solve the case. The "staff" of Oakhurst Manor are the actors in the play and perform the play in between serving the guests their dinner. The audience members who correctly guess the true thief can be awarded a prize or certificate.
I will work with the cast members and support team to set up and carry out the Mystery Dinner. This project can be used by high school drama teams, churches, or local theater groups as a fundraiser.
I've created a very special All Church Retreat called, "The Blueprint for Living," a 3-day retreat that focuses on the essentials of Church life and how we can lay the right foundation, fill our house with good things, create a doorway for others to enter, and plant a garden of grace to nurture the members to grow closer to one another and to God. Here is a brief outline of the retreat...
10:00 – 10:45 AM – Arrival and Registration
10:45 – 11:15 AM – Community Building Activity – “Treasure Hunt”
11:15 – 11:30 AM – Praise and Worship
11:30 AM – 12:15 PM – Session One – “Laying the Foundation”
12:30 – 1:15 PM – Lunch
1:15 – 5:30 – Free Time/Planned Activities
1:30 – 2:00 PM – Children’s Treasure Hunt
5:30 – 6:15 PM – Dinner
6:30 – 7:45 PM – Session Two – “The Body & the Spirit: Walking with the Lord”
8:00 – 9:30 PM – Snack Shop Open/Coffee House
9:30 PM – Evening Activities/Youth Sharing Session
10:00 PM – Quiet Time/Games
Early – 7:45 AM – “Morning Hike”/Devotions
8:00 – 8:30 AM – Breakfast
8:30 – 9:00 AM – Devotional/Community Building Activity
8:45 – 9:15 AM – Praise and Worship
9:15 – 11:15 – Session Three – “Opening to the Spirit, Our Joy, Our Tears”
11:30 AM – Baptism
11:45 AM – 12:30 PM – Lunch
12:30 – 5:00 PM – Free Time/Men/Women/Youth Specific Planned Activities
5:00 – 5:45 PM – Dinner
6:00 – 7:30 PM – Session Four – “The Prayer of Going Forth and Seeking Within”
8:00 – 9:00 PM – Campfire Activity – Reconciliation/Celebration Theme
9:30 PM – Evening Activities/Youth Planned Activities
10:00 PM – Quiet Time/Games
8:00 – 8:30 AM – Breakfast/Communion Service
8:45 – 9:15 AM – Session Five (Closing Thoughts) – “The Fragrance of Grace”
9:15 – 9:45 AM – Gift Celebration (Variety Show and Planned dramas)
9:45 – 10:00 AM – Video/Slide Celebration
10:00 – 10:30 AM – Praise and Worship/Benediction
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Free Time
12:30 – 1:00 PM – Lunch
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Pack Up and Departure
I've also been asked to lead special days of reflection for church ministers, offering them some reflections and encouragement on the important work they do for their congregations. Below is a sample outline of a reflection day...
Reflection Day for Church Ministers- Schedule of the Day
12:45 p.m. - Arrival, Fellowship
1:00 p.m. - Outline of the Day/Opening Prayer
1:05 p.m. - Presentation One - “Our Identity in Christ: Power in Weakness” -
This presentation will look at who we are in Christ and who we are without him. It will challenge each person to consider what kind of commitment to follow Jesus he/she has made.
Activity Sheets for Presentation One -
- “Examining My Faith” (Discussion questions)
- “Who I Am In Jesus Christ” (Reflection sheet based on Scripture)
- “Life in the Flesh, Life According to the Flesh, Life in the Spirit” (Scripture)
2:30 p.m. - Presentation Two - “Discipleship and Ministry” -
Here, we examine what Scripture says about ministering to family, friends and others. We will also consider the experiences of those present and offer suggestions for witnessing and ministering to others.
Activity Sheets for Presentation Two -
- “Being a Disciple” (Scripture)
- “My Ministry Experience” - (Questions for reflection and discussion)
- “Helping Skills” (Informational sheet)
- “Dealing With Issues of Pride in My Life” (Checklist and reflection)
- “Overcoming Satan’s Lies and Walking in the Spirit” (Scripture)
3:30 p.m. - Presentation Three - “The Mission Church” -
This final presentation will lead into discussions and brainstorming about possible directions for the ministries (training, spiritual enrichment, expanding the ministry, moving in new directions, etc.).
Activity Sheets for Presentation Three -
- “Being Church” (Brainstorming Exercise)
- “Affirmations” (Exercise to be shared at Closing Worship)
- “Doctrinal Affirmation” (Scripturally-based commitment prayer for closing)
4:15 p.m. - Closing Worship/Fellowship
This will involve music, spontaneous prayers of petition and healing, affirmations for one another and a fellowship meal at the end.
Explanation of the Reflection Day Components
Purpose of the Day - This is a time for serious and prayerful reflection on three things:
- Our relationship with Jesus Christ and what believing in him asks of us…
- Our relationship to our ministries and what the cost of being a disciple really is…
- Our relationship to our community and how we can build the Kingdom here…
As the participants share themselves throughout the day, they will be supporting one another, growing in their awareness of how important their ministries are to the church and committing themselves to taking greater responsibility for bringing Christ to others through these ministries.
Presentation One, “Our Identity in Christ: Power in Weakness,” is meant to focus on the most fundamental message of Christianity - that we must believe in Jesus to be saved - and express the depth of God’s mercy in giving us His Son. The participants will look at all the wonderful promises God has given us in Jesus, and take time to do a self-examination to see where there are areas of pride that keep them from living free in Christ.
The “Examining My Faith” sheet has general questions on faith to spark discussion and help the participants to see that they have a responsibility to own their faith. The other two sheets use Scripture to support our identity in Christ and what it means to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh.
Presentation Two, “Discipleship and Ministry,” will look more specifically at what it takes to minister in the church. Many times, people see their ministry as some sort of privilege duty rather than an act of loving service to the Body. The participants will learn about what God’s Word has to say on being a servant before sharing their own experiences of ministry with others.
The sheets, “Being a Disciple,” “My Ministry Experience” and “Christian Helping Skills” will help the participants to examine what it means to minister to others one-to-one. The “Dealing With Issues of Pride in My Life” sheet is a simple checklist with a prayer to help the participants renounce those areas where Satan has gained a stronghold in their lives, and recommit themselves to Jesus. The other two sheets are Scriptural resources to help ground all this in God’s Word.
Presentation Three, “The Mission Church,” will challenge the participants to move beyond their particular ministries to see their connection to the larger church and its mission to win souls for Jesus Christ. Often, people can become content with ministries that “feel good” and programs that “get the job done.” The participants will be asked to take things a step further.
The “Being Church” sheet is a general brainstorming exercise to get the participants thinking beyond the program. The participants will use the “Affirmations” sheet to build up one another in their ministries. Both will be used as part of the closing worship. The “Doctrinal Affirmation” sheet is a sort of expanded creed, which calls for a deeper commitment to the Christian faith and the work of God’s people. It is used to close the last presentation and set up for worship.
The closing will involve spontaneous prayer, Scripture, music, sharing, affirmations and fellowship. It will have both structure and freedom to allow the Spirit to move in the group.
Using audio and video to chronicle an event, promote a program and share a vision is powerful. It isn’t just recording an experience that is important, but getting to the heart of what that experience can teach us. The way the scene is shot, the commentary and copy used, the music and sounds in the background, all serve to turn an ordinary recording into a lasting memory. The power of audio and video lies in how it evokes emotion, deeper understanding, a drive to action and inner transformation. From start to finish, the Making Memories service will work to put together an audio or a video that will speak to the heart of all who experience it.
The Old Made New - Creating a Video Keepsake
Old VHS home movies can be transferred to a digital form and the material can be grouped according to person or subject (All birthdays, all holidays, one person’s life events, etc.). A DVD can include a menu with chapters.
Some Suggestions for Keepsakes...
Memorial for Mom and Dad. An anniversary, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift to one’s parents, expressing their children’s love and making a special memory to treasure for years to come.
Our Child, Through the Years. Parents can send a special tribute to their children with pictures from birth to now, to send them off to college or married life.
Thank You Pastor. A Church can honor a pastor for his years of faithful service to his congregation by putting together memories and testimonials.
So Long Video. A farewell to a retiring boss or coworker, with warm and heart-felt well-wishes, friendly stories and maybe even a few light-hearted jabs for fun.
Valentine’s Day Video Card. Spouses can put together a special message of love and romance, set to special songs, featuring words and poetry.
Video Post Card. The perfect gift for that overseas soldier, faraway friend or homesick college student, with messages of love and memories to comfort the one who is apart but not forgotten.
Video Time Capsule. A group gets together and their thoughts and recollections are captured on video and edited with pictures to create a video snapshot of a special time in their lives.
Blending. Old video can be blended with new, and pictures (scanned or from picture files) can be turned into slide shows and spaced throughout a video with music using fades and transitions.
Overlay. A step up from simple fading, videos and pictures can be overlaid over the original video adding a special look and a special mood to the video.
Copy and Narration. Descriptions, words of warmth and even humorous lines can be added at appropriate places in the video. Mark can narrate sections or record words of affection or stories from you and add it to the video as well.
Highlight Footage. Special "summary" video can be created from the original and added in special sections to the DVD. This can include shots at the same location at different times, humorous scenes, or simply a quick look at what is to come.
Music. Whether for older video converted from home movies or as a special touch to a slide show, special songs and appropriate background music can be imported into the footage for added enhancement.
Frames and Special Looks. The video and slides can be placed within decorative frames, and special images or speech bubbles can be placed over the video to create a humorous or sentimental look.
A Look at the Art of Documentary Videography
Creating a good documentary or video story requires a blending of technical skill and artistry. Anyone can make a video, but few can capture the soul behind the images. Below is a brief look at how Mark puts together a story or documentary.
Establishing relationships. It begins by having a real conversation with those involved to understand their wishes for the video and to get into the heart of how they would like people to react emotionally when the video is over.
Creating a theme. Next it's time to put together a theme – a mood, a message, a look – for the video, considering not only what, but how things should be said. Also under consideration her are general camera angles, lighting, music in the background etc.
Making a storyline. Then it is time to flesh out how the project flow from beginning to end, while remaining open to making changes as it comes together. The theme is woven into the storyline and plans out how the story will unfold.
Writing the initial copy. Now comes questions or ideas for interviews, as well as initial narration to help set up the camera shots. This is drawn from the theme and storyline and considers how the words will set the mood of the production.
Gathering footage. Interviews, video and stills are collected, along with archived materials for the project. There can also be slides from the still images to fit into the project. This material will be edited down later.
Coordinating video footage with slides. After this, the video and slides are blended together as the raw material is placed into the editor and a rough draft of the material is fleshed out based on the initial outline and narration.
Adding in the final copy. Once the scenes are in place, the final produced is mastered with the final narration and music and the project is done!
Below are two examples of video consulting projects...