Category Archives: Rodney Marett

God…did I hear you right?

by Rodney Marett

In our spiritual walks with God, we have constant conversations with Him. We pray. We worship. We sing. It’s something that He wants and asks us to do…communicate with Him. In this communication, we know what WE are saying but are we always 100% sure what the Almighty is saying to US?

Let me share with you a situation last year where I desperately needed to hear God’s voice clearly. Last August was the fifth year of Gideon, but because of my job as a contractor in Iraq, I was unable to get home to help Lori with the conference. For those not too familiar with the conference, Lori is my wife and co-director. So, Lori ran the conference by herself with lots of help from friends and faculty and she did a great job. After the conference, Lori told me, without hesitation, she said she would never do another Gideon without me. Which at the time gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling, thinking that the conference can’t run without me? So, I promised that I would not leave her again.

Then, in the fall, LifeWay decided that they were backing out as our primary sponsor. Because LifeWay had been our major sponsor for five years, this was a big deal.

So, when LifeWay said no more, Lori was relieved. I think she actually danced a jig, it was quite amusing. She was happy. I’m not sure if you realize how much work goes into putting on a conference like Gideon. Yes, it’s only 5 days but the preparation is the other 360 days. It’s a constant motion kind of thing. Always looking for free advertising… Looking for cheap this and low cost that… Trying to find the right faculty member…Getting the best quality films. And we do this with a very limited budget, especially, since LifeWay is no longer involved. Oh, did I mention that we work on Gideon year around and we don’t get paid. Over the past five years, I think the most that we have ever received was a couple hundred dollars. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, when Lori and I started Gideon, we didn’t start it to make money. We started it to honor God and bring this type of conference to the east coast. So, you get the point that Gideon is a lot of hard work. And it becomes frustrating trying to direct the conference, many different things play into this frustration. I think Lori or I QUIT Gideon about 100 times a year.

With me in Iraq Lori is a single parent for 2/3 of the year. I’m only home 4 months which adds to the stress level of directing Gideon. As for me, I’m split in half, Gideon is like another child. Lots of love and hard work go into it but seeing the seeds that were planted starting to grow is amazing and you sit back with your mouth wide open and just stare at what God is doing in Christian media. So, I did what any good Christian man would do when he is at a crossroads. I got down on my knees and prayed asking God for a sign to either continue with Gideon or move on to something else. At the time, I believed I heard God wanting me to continue running Gideon and I told Lori this. And as she always has, she supported my decision since God told me.

Fast forward to today…I’m really questioning whether I heard God right. We have little to no sponsors. The sponsors that we have talked to seem very interested but in the end, fall short of making the commitment. We’ve signed a contract that we can’t cancel and if we did, we would be out of tens of thousands of dollars. The reason I started working overseas was to help get us out of debt. Unless we bring in 200 students, we’ll be back in debt.

What about the signs from God that led me into this decision? People were calling and emailing saying they wanted to be involved. I felt like God opened the door wide open after our visit to the hotel in Orlando. So, you can see why I’m questioning whether I heard God correctly. Maybe, I’m just inpatient. I know it’s all in God’s timing but He is really cutting it close this time.

The point of this blog is not for your pity or your money. The point is do we really hear what God is saying or are we using what we want in lieu of what God is saying? In this case, I’m not sure.

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

Men of God

by Francine Locke

“He was the Heartbeat of our family..We enjoyed choir practice and prayer meeting together on this earth for the last time last night..but today He is enjoying Heavens Jubilee…He was the greatest husband. dad. friend my world has ever known.”        Jackie Carpenter

What a legacy for a father to leave behind, having touched his daughter so deeply. My friend, Jackie Carpenter, lost her father last night, and when I learned that, I cried. I cried not so much for her loss, but for the realization that I, and so many others, would never experience the wonderful memories, closeness and feelings she shared with her father.  Men, this one’s for you!

I grew up with out my dad being around much, he had a territory he traveled, and frankly, we were not unhappy when he was away. Life was much more peaceful in his absence, no late nights, no drinking, no arguments. I eventually married a man so similar to my own father, that when I look back I’m amazed. I learned from what I was surrounded by in my childhood, and many of those lessons were far from positive.

I became fiercely independent after my divorce when my son was 1 year old. I knew I could raise him better alone than with the influence his father would provide. After all, I also had the past experiences of my own father. For 12 years I was a single parent, but the friends I naturally gravitated towards were those who had healthy, secure marriages. Even in my singleness I knew I wanted better for my son. And eventually, I realized God wanted better for both of us.

A father’s impact has been so downplayed by our society, dads and men in general, are regularly dumbed down on tv and in film or made into pretty undesirable characters. Is it any wonder men who may not have had the gift themselves of a loving, supportive male role model, have no idea how to be the father they should be?

How does this tie in to the Gideon? At the Gideon I have found relationships; true, authentic relationships with all sorts of real people. Not the cookie cutter perfect Christians who may be portrayed in the media, or even hyped in church. But people with  joy, pain, difficulties, divorce, abuse. People like you and me, who have lived through life & survived to tell about it.

There are some people here that will remind me of Jackies father, Jack. Strong, gentle, laughing, loving family men of God. There are also men here who may not realize the impact they can have on the lives of others. There are men to mentor, and men who need mentoring.  I’m guessing you are one or the other, or maybe one who can just benefit from the exposure to right relationships. I’m thinking of Denny, Rodney, Torry, Kyle, and so many others who will share their experiences with you. Not all positive, but all with the potential to help you see another perspective, to learn how to be more the man God created you to be. And yes, more the woman too!

Any way you look at it, going to the Gideon is a win win situation. I treasure the relationships I have made here with both men and women. It’s a safe environment, you will be brought in to the fold & held as close as you need to be. I truly hope to see you there, amazing long term relationships can happen in a week! And how incredible that it’s all tied in to a visual, dramatic, artistic, musical arts conference! See you there!

You Might Be a Clueless Midianite

by Jenny L. Cote

If you’ve been to the fantastic Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival, you might have the impression that a huge team of well-paid event planning specialists with endless resources just whips this conference up in a few weeks with ease. With such impressive faculty, invaluable workshops, impressive screenings, incredible awards, and staggering outcomes of relationships forged at the Gideon, it seems obvious that only hoards of wealthy planners could pull this conference off. If that’s what you think, you just might be a clueless Midianite.

In the incredible story of Gideon (Judges 6-7), the Midianites ran around like screaming little girls, stabbing one another with their swords because they THOUGHT there was a vast army with the baddest weaponry coming to take them out. They THOUGHT they were toast because they had the impression that Gideon and his 20,000 boys were coming down the hill with weapons blazing. They were clueless, but God is oh-so-clever that way. He made the clueless Midianites think that way, not only to give Gideon and Israel victory over their enemies, but to keep the Israelites from boasting that they had achieved the victory. God alone was going to accomplish his purposes and get the glory in the process. Let’s review what REALLY happened.

gideonites (Don’t you just love the way the guy in the middle looked right at the camera when they took this pic?)

The Lord said to Gideon, “The men you have are too many for me to give them victory over the Midianites. They might think that they had won by themselves, and so give me no credit. Announce to the people, ‘Anyone who is afraid should go back home, and we will stay here at Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand went back, but ten thousand stayed.

Then the Lord said to Gideon, “You still have too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will separate them for you there. If I tell you a man should go with you, he will go. If I tell you a man should not go with you, he will not go.” Gideon took the men down to the water, and the Lord told him, “Separate everyone who laps up the water with his tongue like a dog, from everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.” There were three hundred men who scooped up water in their hands and lapped it; all the others got down on their knees to drink. The Midianite camp was below them in the valley.

16 He divided his three hundred men into three groups and gave each man a trumpet and a jar with a torch inside it. 17 He told them, “When I get to the edge of the camp, watch me, and do what I do. 18 When my group and I blow our trumpets, then you blow yours all around the camp and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’”

19 Gideon and his one hundred men came to the edge of the camp a while before midnight, just after the guard had been changed. Then they blew the trumpets and broke the jars they were holding, 20 and the other two groups did the same. They all held the torches in their left hands, the trumpets in their right, and shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 Every man stood in his place around the camp, and the whole enemy army ran away yelling. 22 While Gideon’s men were blowing their trumpets, the Lord made the enemy troops attack each other with their swords. They ran toward Zarethan as far as Beth Shittah, as far as the town of Abel Meholah near Tabbath.

So, bottom line is, Gideon started with 20,000 men and God whittled them down to 300. They weren’t to use spears and swords to defeat the enemy, only trumpets, broken jars and torches. They didn’t even have to engage the enemy in hand to hand combat. God arranged for the enemy to beat themselves up. What the Midianites thought was happening just wasn’t so.

Because I don’t want you to be a clueless Midianite, I’d like to give you a behind the scenes peek of the Gideon so you REALLY know what it takes to pull it off. I asked Lori to give me their list of what goes into the Gideon. Here’s her list:

  • Bathe all our decisions in prayer
  • Consider what the independent Christian film industry needs are and how we can possibly meet those needs
  • Find a location that can host this event
  • Consider the venue and whether it can meet our needs
  • Choose dates that are in agreement with students and faculty and yet, don’t compete with sister conferences and film festivals that are striving to do the same thing as Gideon
  • Bring on staff (accountants, marketing team, operational staff, etc) that are willing to barter services
  • Come up with a budget
  • Find sponsors that can fund us (approx $75,000 for G2013)
  • Create contests that spotlight sponsors and give public opportunities
  • Choose faculty according to budget, their skill set, accomplishments, draw for students, etc
  • Create events that allow networking and professional opportunities
  • Announce details of contests, intern programs, film festival submissions, etc
  • Create workshops that will help all to hone skills, whether students or faculty
  • Market as best as possible with as little $$ as possible
  • Again, bathe all our decisions in prayer

Now, here’s what else REALLY goes on that Lori nor Rodney would never tell you. God doesn’t use a hoard of event planners, he uses TWO selfless servants: Rodney and Lori Marett. Yep, that’s it. And they aren’t paid gobs of cash for their tireless, sacrificial work. They get ZERO and even have to pay for things out of their own pockets when the budget isn’t met. They don’t have endless resources. And it doesn’t take them a few weeks, it takes them a YEAR to plan and bring everything together. Lori has to lay aside her personal work: scripts, books, and writing to give Gideon the attention it needs. Rodney continues to Skype with Lori daily from Iraq and doesn’t miss a beat working on the Gideon while surrounded by Midianites! I want you to fully grasp that the Gideon is a ministry, requiring the blood, sweat and tears of two very special people who could be doing other things. But they KNOW God is using the Gideon to change the world with the projects that are born there, and the people who gain instruction there. I think Lori and Rodney could use a few more fellow trumpet blowers, don’t you? So please contact them if you can come along side to help them with one of the bullets on their list above. At the moment, the greatest need is sponsors as they have a $75K bill to pay. Above all, please pray for Lori and Rodney as they bring Gideon 2013 to us. I guarantee you, their daily cry is: , ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’”

Let’s do a test to see if you’ve grown from this blog. With the following pictures from Gideon, see if you can determine what’s REAL. Ah-hem…

Is this really Isaiah in cowboy boots?

muse

Well done! It’s actually Muse Watson (NCIS) being a good sport to play Isaiah in a creative writing workshop filmed for DVD curriculum.

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Let’s try another! Are we Gideonites really cannibals, ready to devour Jayce O’Neal at the amazing Gideon Awards banquet?

stabbing

No! Doug Peterson, Michelle Cox and I were using our newly learned dramatic acting skills on Jayce O’Neal who really pointed the way to God’s plans in a wonderful sermon in our time of Worship. 

jayce

One more! Is Michelle Cox really not responsible for Jenny Cote?

 jenny michelle

Well…she asked me to write this blog, so there you go.

The Gideon Experience? Priceless!

by Michelle Cox

Have you been wondering why YOU should attend the Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival this year? There was an awesome discussion about Gideon last week on Facebook and I wanted to pass some of the comments along because I think they might help some of you who haven’t attended the conference and film festival yet to understand why the Gideon Conference & Film Festival experience is something you don’t want to miss.

When asked about how the cost of Gideon compares to other film festivals, Lori Marett (Gideon co-director) replied “The Gideon is 1/3 film festival and 2/3 conference. Unlike other film festivals that screen films from morning til evening, we offer workshops from 9:15 am – 5:15 pm, and then screen our films in the evening and have a Q&A following with cast and/or crew. Compare our rates with any other Christian or secular conferences and you will find we are comparable with their fees.”

So what do you get for your money from the Gideon experience? Co-director Rodney Marett says, “Well, let me tell you some stories. Have you seen October Baby? The writers for this story met at the first Gideon. They didn’t know each other before then. The film Meant to Be, it just came out, is written by my wife, Lori. She got the gig from meeting one of our faculty members the first year of Gideon. His name is Torry Martin. He in turn introduced her to another writer, Marshal Younger. When a director from LA wanted Marshal to write his next film, Marshal couldn’t do it, so, he and Torry talked about it and introduced the director to Lori. These are just a couple examples of what goes on at Gideon and I could go on with many other examples but I think you get the point. Hope that clears some things up for you.

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Gideon attendee Jurgen Beck shares, “I want to chime in on what Rodney and Lori have stated, but from the perspective of having attended the Gideon. Depending on your location and how well-connected you are, the Gideon’s main focus as an individual involved in filmmaking or media is not the festival, as wonderful as it is. The true gem lies in the networking opportunities and the ability to start lasting relationships with folks in the industry. As you know, in our industry it truly matters who you know, and especially who you click with. Gideon is an opportunity to do this over the course of several days with a chance to get to know some of the people that may be influential in your career either now, or down the road. And of course, vice versa is the case as well. There may be people who can learn from your experience and expertise.”

In the vein of the MasterCard commercials: “Participating at the Gideon? Priceless!”

From my own perspective as both an attendee and a faculty member, I think you’ll discover that Gideon is unusual on many levels. I’ve never been around people who are more loving and giving. Often in this industry, people are super protective of contacts and information, but at Gideon there’s such a sweet spirit of helping and you’ll often see people who are tops in the world of screenwriting and making films who will sit with a newbie sharing their knowledge and skills. Or you’ll overhear comments like, “Oh, I need to connect you with __________. I think they could help you.” You’ll discover that Gideon isn’t just a conference, it’s a family.

The faculty is phenomenal and the classes are so informational and presented from a faith-based perspective. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see many of the faith-based films before they release. I’ve seen some amazing networking take place at the conference and seen results that are literally touching the nation and the world.

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Gideon pulls in some impressive instructors, including Dr. Ted Baehr – media critic, publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Movieguide and Chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission; Brian Bird – writer, producer, Touched By An Angel, The Shunning, Saving Sarah Cain; Michael Catt – Sr. Pastor, Sherwood Baptist Church, Executive Producer, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, Courageous; Dr. Linda Seger, writer, author, one of the top script consultants for Hollywood; Todd Starnes, radio host, news personality, author, host of Fox News & Commentary on Fox Radio; Phil Vischer, voice actor, writer, songwriter, director, puppeteer, producer, creator of VeggieTales; Ken Wales, actor, producer, executive producer, Amazing Grace, Christy, Revenge of the Pink Panther; Muse Watson, actor, NCIS, Prison Break, End of the Spear; and the list goes on and on.

John William Doryk says, “I’ve attended and taught at many world class secular and Christian conferences and film festivals and have found the folks at Gideon to be warm, welcoming, and have a great spirit of sharing and teaching while keeping both their doctrinal standards and caliber of production quality in teaching and screening high.”

For Lori and Rodney Marett, the Gideon Conference is a labor of love. They direct the Gideon year after year because “the body of Christ tells us this type of venue is so desperately needed.”

Jenny Cote shares, “In addition to all the above, you will find a bastion of supporters who will rally behind your work. In this industry, what a rarity to find a group of fellow soldiers who seek to partner with excellence to lift fellow soldiers up. And we have a ball together – it’s not just work, but a lot of fun play!”

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Now, seriously, don’t you want to be there with us in Orlando this July? Register for the conference through the website and then get ready to watch God do big and amazing things at the Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival.

The sign on the door says, “The Gideon has moved.” That’s right. Our new home is incredible. And from our new front porch I can see mouse ears, the Holy Land, Shamu, and golf courses… lots and lots of golf courses! The 6th Annual Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival is going south for the summer and has taken up residence in Orlando, FL, July 12-16, 2013 at the Orlando Airport Marriott. The facility is state of the art and the convention center was just remodeled. The rooms are cozy (believe me, we’ve stayed there) and the food is nothing short of yummy. But what was the biggest thing that sold Lori and me about the hotel? The staff’s friendliness and willingness to help. If you thought southern hospitality was left back in the Blue Ridge Mountains, then you need to visit this hotel.

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Other than moving to Florida, like a retiree, “what’s new” you ask? Well, this year, the biggest thing we’ve created is a way for those who are watching their checkbooks to be able to afford to come to Gideon. We have a new payment plan which is broken down where you pay $100 a month for six months. How easy is that? But if you happen to miss a month, there are no penalties! Just pick up the next month from where you left off. You can also get the discounted family plan where one person in the family pays the full registration price and a second family member can attend at a discounted rate. But you’ll want to start planning now!

Exterior rear

Keep checking back to our blog, we’ll let you know what is going on with Gideon, like articles from faculty members, news on our contests and info on the films that we will be showing.

I hope and pray you will return to our blog and that we will see you in July.

God bless,

Rodney