Fire on the Mountain

I went for a jog up in the mountains above Burbank. I went to a spot that offers an expansive view of Burbank. It's where I often go to talk with God. The amazing view of the city draws lovers, partiers and friends there. I jogged past a car and halfway down the steep hill, and I said "no." The unspoken question was: would I go tell the people in the car about Jesus. I didn't want to.

But, I knew from previous experience that I would feel out of sorts for awhile if I didn't do it. I had witnessed to another lady up there at the overlook some years back, and I didn't want to do it then either but I did.

I went up to the girls, who were not frightened by my sudden presence. After some small talk, I told them I come up here to talk to God. I asked them if they had lost their boyfriends. They laughed. They said they were depressed and came up to talk.

I told them that God was Bigger.

They smiled.

I told them that I couldn't shake the feeling that I needed to come back up the hill and tell them that Jesus loves them. They gave me more smiles. They said that they did know the Lord.

I asked if I could pray for them. Yes. I gave a short prayer and opened my eyes to see them basking in the relief that was offered by the prayer. The prayer seemed to have cut through whatever was ailing them. Their gratitude was intense. I went on my way, knowing that their lives would be different.


Quality beats gratuity!

An amazing thing just happened that I want to tell every filmmaker about. One of our faithful 168 producers went against the grain of the expected and was rewarded for it.

Congrats to producer Jessie Ottolini and director Francis De La Torre for winning the GoDaddy “Create Your Own Commercial” contest and grand prize of $100,000. The team went against the website registrar's normally sex-based advertising strategy in constructing their entry, “Go Momma” and it paid off.

There is a great lesson here. Quality can compete with gratuity. It can and frequently does win.

My hat is off. It is right next to my jaw, which is also on the ground. Why? Because this is so rare. File it under delivering something that is better than what was asked for, under changing hearts, at least for such a time as this moment.

I am sure there is a hoard of pre-pubescent young men who are sitting there watching the runners up and going, "Yeaaahhhh!" Then they see the winner and they are wondering what happened to you GoDaddy? Where's the jiggle? Where's the cat fight?

The least sexiest thing on the planet is possibly selling website domain registrations. So how does one sell them? Take a guess.

For as long as God created woman, men have been captivated by the beauty of the female body. This fact is not lost on advertisers, who use the innate fact to sell everything from power tools to shaving cream to wing nuts.

GoDaddy's practice of using "GoDaddy Girls" as sex symbols in their advertising has paid off. They are by far the largest domain registration company with over 30% of the market or greater than 34 million websites under management (according to webhosting.info).

Ottolini and De La Torre didn't want to do anything GoDaddy has done in the past. “We brainstormed with our writer Lisa Waugh, who came up with the original concept. We knew GoDaddy would either love it, or hate it,” explained Ottolini.

"It was a 168 (Film Project) almost. We had 18 days to complete it because we found out 19 days before the contest closed. We shot everything during one day at the writer's home in Santa Monica.

The 168 Film Project gives teams 10 days of preproduction and exactly 168 hours (7 days) to shoot and edit and turn-in for the deadline.

"Francis did all the post in 3 days, and actually, most of the production funds were provided by my real life ‘Momma.’ Yes, she will get her money back when I get the check,” Ottolini chuckled.

“Prayer was a really important part of the production for myself and Francis, she said. We prayed throughout the process, including at the screening party. I think several people have a new found appreciation for the power of prayer,” Ottolini said with a smile.

“God had his hand on the production the whole time. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. In my experience, there is always some sort of unforeseen crisis on a production, a computer dies, a car wreck or someone who doesn't show up. You can pretty much bank on that. But, it just didn't happen this time. It was very refreshing.”

What’s next for these filmmakers? Ottolini is producing a feature length documentary on Nelson Mandela. De La Torre is producing the brand new “Hope Film Festival” in November. The proceeds be used for
youth filmmaker training programs.

Ottolini and De La Torre
will use some of the prize money to enter more commercial production contests, like Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl," which has been dominated by 168 Film Project alums in the past.

Technically speaking, "Go Momma" was shot on the Canon 7D DSLR still camera, which shoots HD video.

Ottolini had not used one of these or even seen one on a professional film shoot before. She and Director of Photography, Oktay Ortabasi had worked together before with his full-sized Sony F-900 HDCAM rig, which she was comfortable with.

Upon seeing the relatively small still camera, she asked in shock and horror, "where's the camera!?" Needless to say, she was pleasantly surprised with the results.

Ottolini is no stranger to The 168. In 2005, she produced "Inner Prison," in which acting coach Clay Banks actually gets his head shaved. She was also part of the 168 staff in 2006 and she just line produced the best-comedy-nominated "Sumo Joe" for the 168 Film Project 2010.

"Go Momma" was selected from the field of 10 finalists. The winners were announced by airing as the very last commercial on the Daytona 500 broadcast.

"We saw the first frame of our spot and everyone went nuts, so we missed the whole thing in our celebration. But, it also aired during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Rugby Championship," she said.

For the "Go Momma" website: http://www.gomommabackstage.com/

See the New York Times entitled, "Go, Daddy, And Sin No More."Clik Here