Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Change in Neighborhood

Hey all,
After far too much time away from this lovely little blog, I've decided to shift the Nomad Chronicles to tumblr. I'll be doing more sharing of visual ideas and inspirations with occasional musings. I wanted to shift the emphasis from the written word to the visual arts as a way of refreshing the Nomad Chronicles idea and giving myself a second wind. Hope to see you all over at Nomad Chronicles 2.0.

Continue the journey...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Holy Moment

Image by Oprisco

By Leslie Foster (Cross Posted from Re-Inventing the Adventist Wheel)

One of my favorite scenes in "Waking Life", Richard Linklater's groundbreaking 2001 film, involves two men speaking about film and the nature of God. Known as the "Holy Moment" scene, the two philosophize about whether film has the ability to capture, if only briefly, some of the essence of God and what, if anything, is truly holy. There are a few things they say with which I disagree, but much more is said that inspires and provokes me to think.

If there has been a single constant in the 19 months I have lived in Hollywood, it has been my own questioning and re-evaluating of what my purpose here is. I was certainly doing a lot of that questioning on one of my worst days on set. The day included an inane script in which an Oscar-winning actor spent most of his time making out with bikini-clad actresses and a job position that left me feeling fairly incompetent. Inveterate overthinker that I am, an experience like this does nothing but add to my mental chorus of concerns singing in happy cacophony. "Am I really supposed to be here? Maybe I've gotten this calling thing all wrong. I wonder if I'd be a decent tugboat captain...that might work out better than this." And yet, when I take the time to be still, I know my calling is striving to, even for a moment, capture that Holy Moment on film; to share, and retell the holy moments that I and others have encountered.

To quote from another portion of "Waking Life": Life is a matter of a miracle that is collected over time by moments flabbergasted to be in each other's presence....Our eyesight is here as a test to see if we can see beyond it."

The Christian filmmaker's challenge, as I see it, is to tell stories that illustrate the little miracles of life. I know many filmmakers who dream of shooting a grand epic detailing the Great Controversy (among other things). My reply to this is that we need to tell parables, find the stories of 'the least of these,' and get excited about those moments in which we ourselves are flabbergasted to be in each other's and God's presence. Tell parables that go beyond the visual, stories that see beyond our own eyesight.

Practically, what does this mean? I think it means learning to be still and listen for God in the quiet moments before we race to grab a camera or jot down an idea. We speak of doing this and of the importance of daily worship and meditation, but it's so often forgotten in the rush. I'm constantly guilty of this. Beyond that, this means walking on to every film set willing to listen to and serve everyone, regardless of attitude. People notice that kind of service.

I have friends who are constantly recommended to other productions and whose crew are completely loyal to them because they embrace this idea. A storyteller dedicated to parables cannot forget the treatment of the crew and cast in the process. This is just as much a part of the story as what is being recorded. I have a feeling that without the moments of holiness that are possible on set during production, even the most moving and edifying of stories will not achieve what it could have. Is a good story, which is told at the expense of the crew, worth telling?

I realize this question doesn't have a black and white answer and the deeper you dig, the more gray you will find. I think it's one that we'll have to live with for a while. I do know this; whether I am leading a production or working for another storyteller, the next time I am on set and feel lost, frustrated, or upset, I intend to close my eyes for just a moment. And in that moment, I will remember that I am blessed to be in the presence of these other human beings and challenge myself to discover the small stories around me.

Continue the journey...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Nomadism 101: Morro Bay and the California Central Coast

Scott Arany and I spent a few days north of LA in California's Central Coast several weeks ago, shooting a short film and enjoying some time away from the city. You can see more pictures on Picasa and the short film on Vimeo.

Continue the journey...

Nomadism 101: Detroit, MI

Doing some catch-up on my recent are pictures from my grandmother's funeral - you can see more at my Picasa site.

My Sister, Chelsea

My Cousin Brandon and I

My Grandfather

Continue the journey...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

And This, This is Why I Love TED

Thanks Sahale, for pointing me at this.

Sorry for the size weirdness - trying to fix that...

Continue the journey...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ashes on Wednesday

I celebrated Ash Wednesday today for the first time in my life. This is not a typical Adventist tradition, and being the good little Adventist boy that I am (ok, so I'm snarky in the morning - gimme a break), I had my concerns and questions about the service. I really won't dig into that right now - I don't think it's important for this. I attended the service this morning at the Purple Church and was really touched. I was not convinced to participate in the imposition of ashes until the moment of - and I felt moved to take part in that symbol.

I can't speak for other Ash Wednesday services, but I feel that Ryan and Scott designed a service that pushed me to rededicate myself to service and God, that reminded me that I am in need of confession, and that God still has a ridiculous amount of work to do on me. A celebration of fasting and a recognition of the journey which we are on - what could be better for a melancholy like me, eh?

Continue the journey...

Friday, January 30, 2009


"Carrie Davis Foster was born on June 23, 1918 in Indianola, Mississippi.
She was the eldest of four siblings born to the union of Lafayette and Retha Weathington Davis (both of who preceded her in death). Carrie was educated in the Detroit Public Schools system (Barstow Elementary and Miller High School). She later married Jones E. Foster. They were blessed with three children, Eugenia, Jerome, and Henry.

Carries was affectionately called 'Lover' by her family, for she touched the hearts
of many people in her lifetime.

She became a faithful member of the Hartford Seventh-day Adventist Church, now know as City Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church, serving as Cradle Roll and Kindergarten teacher. She was secretary of the elegant 'Friendship Circle Club,' which was known for their fabulous teas and fashion shows. She was a charter member for more than 30 years. She also enjoyed being a part of the Sunday Rook Club,

Lover worked at Detroit Memorial Hospital as a surgical nurse technician for 33 years. Upon her retirement she began to bake professionally. She made, wedding, bridal shower, and baby shower cakes. Her culinary talents never ceased to amaze anyone who tasted her cooking. Lover was an excellent cook--holidays were extra special. Almost every Sabbath, Jones (affectionately called Greepy) and Lover's home was the gather place.

Our sweet Lover departed this life on Sunday, January 25, 2009. Preceding her in death was her sister Ernestine Humphreys and brother Edward Davis.

She leaves to cherish her memory her husband of 68 1/2 years; daughter Eugenia (Charles); son, Jerome (Gwen), son, Dr. Henry Foster (Patricia); grandchildren, Carolyn Terrel (David), Marcia Walker, Charles C. Kent (Nurhayat), Natis Rambus (Dion), Jerome 'Dee' Foster, Leslie Foster, and Chelsea Foster; nine great-grandchildren, one sister, Thelma Scott; special adopted son Herbert Alford; and a host of nieces, nephews, and other family members and friends who loved her and will miss her greatly."

Continue the journey...