Can a Non-Religious Producer Compete in 168? A Letter from Director, John David Ware

Dear Friends:

168 is NOT a Preaching Competition, it's Serious Storytelling!

The 168 Film Project is excited to welcome you to the competition, whatever your faith. No, you do not have to make a preachy film to win the up to $1 Million feature film budget. Scriptural Integration (how well the scripture is reflected in your story) is a key as is technical prowess.

There are some content restrictions, but your task is simple. Create a great story based on a scripture! We believe that all stories can be told without swearing, nudity, or overly violent content and religious attacks.

If you want to preach in your film, then you are welcome to do that with excellence too!  We welcome your efforts at improving the genre of "Gospel Films" and there is an award for the best film that explains simply and directly the Gospel of Jesus; that we have sinned and he saves us.

Each year, mature content is portrayed in 168 with exquisite subtlety in the western, zombie, drama, comedy and almost every other genre. Yes, this type of storytelling is a lot harder than that full of "f-bombs," but it is far better and more satisfying art. This subtlety allows content to be enjoyed by a wider audience.

Real life is complex and real drama shows this. The fact is that people do pray and murder, steal and give gifts, lie and love. This is life and that is what we are after. The theme this year (2013) is Atonement, which is covering a wrong that's been done to us or by us. I think we can all relate.

Faith-friendly film or values-driven entertainment is a valid, money-making enterprise if you do it well (i.e. "Blindside," "Soul Surfer," "Chariots of Fire"). It is more than genre, it is a relationship to your audience.

A large segment of the population (mothers, kids, families and middle-America) is sensitive to gratuitous language, violence and sexual material. This is why PG and PG-13 films are the champions of the box office.

If you are up to the challenge of making a film from the best selling book of all time, then we are excited to cheer you on.

As you compete for a feature production budget worth up to $1 Million Dollars, you will develop significant creative, crew and industry relationships.

Film is at its best when it encourages discussion, reinforcing and celebrating values that make us human. We are excited to watch you touch lives and grow as an artist.

-- John David Ware, 168 Founder and Director


168 Film VIP Mixer with Greg Michael 4-22-13

(L-R) Greg Michael, Director 2nd Unit 

and John David Ware, Director 168 Film Project 

The event was a mixer to encourage crew to join filmmakers in the 168 Film Project to join a team or start their own team.  Greg Michael, 2nd Unit Director was our VIP guest.

Greg told about his experience directing on big pictures like "The Scorpion King," "The Mummy," "The Mummy Returns," "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," and "Van Helsing."

He talked about shooting in Morocco in miserable 139 degree weather.  When a sandstorm came up, the gear was quickly packed away and yet they needed that shot, so the gear was quickly unpacked.

He told of the collaborative nature of film, where anyone can be the hero of the day.  In the end it's all a product of the collective, so the best advice is to be courteous to everyone all the way down to line.

Greg shared great insights with our short film producers in the area of creating the illusion.  If you can imagine it, you can create it.  He backed this up with practical experience from a chase sequence he shot in Prague on "Van Helsing" with Hugh Jackman.

Greg is a firm believer in learning from both the mistakes and good fortunes of others, so his example started where he started in getting ready to shoot the "Van Helsing" chase sequence.  To prepare, Greg deconstructed the horse and carriage chase from "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," with Johnny Depp.

Greg didn't work on this film, he only studied it.

The logistics of a carriage chase with horses is exponentially difficult if you need horses in every shot.

So, the trick and trade of any good director is to find a way to create the illusion of reality with efficiency.  In this case, Greg had to sell the idea that were horses there at all times, even as the carriage is actually being hauled by an 1/2 ton pickup truck.

Because of copyright issues, I can't upload either sequence, but I have a great pinch hitter, the 168 Barnyard Promo from 2004 (our 2nd year).

Snickers the pony was wonderful, but his agent would not allow him to be in every shot.  Plus, he had a lot of trouble hitting his marks.  Click Here and Enjoy!