Friday, November 30, 2007


I got booted from a film set today. That's frustrating.

I was working on a Tutorial for and found out that all free NLEs do not support multiple video channels. That's frustrating.

I want to help people make movies but I get kicked off sets and run into software limitations. That's frustrating.

So what should I do with my time? I should edit some past projects that have yet to be completed, but I don't want to. That's frustrating.

I've got a book to write, but it's practically in revision mode right now so there's not much I can do. That's frustrating.

I guess today, this afternoon, is just one of those moments in life where you feel completely incapable of moving forward. It's like I've landed on "Go to Jail" and have to wait until I roll doubles. That's frustrating.

More than frustration, however, is the overwhelming feeling of weariness. I feel spent. Drained. And guess what? That's frustrating.


~Luke Holzmann

Monday, November 26, 2007

Images from Italy

[NB: The following contains images from art history that depict nudity. I will refrain from further comment at this time if you have a problem with that.]

No, this is not a post of photos I took. That will come later... maybe.

For those of you who don't know (which would be almost all of you if more people read my blog, Jason), I just got back from Italy with my family. It was a good experience. We had great weather, saw tons of amazing art, spent a ton of time walking around with the family, ate gelato (ice cream), took some great pictures, walked a ton, dealt with children, family dynamics, bedbugs, exhaustion, cramped seating, the smell of natural gas leaking from the heating units, virtual starvation, high exchange rates, and customs.

All in all, the Duomo and the David were the most impressive things we saw, but this is not a post about them. They're famous. I'm going to post about the three images that I personally liked to look at. Don't get me wrong, there are much more amazing works of art, but these were ones that stuck with me in a "warm and fuzzy" kind of way.

First, one that I only saw in postcards, bookmarks, and diary covers was Bouguereau's "First Kiss".

Perhaps I'm a sap, or maybe I'm just looking forward to having a cute little girl of my own, but I think the little girl (with moth wings, making her a... "mothgel"?) is simply adorable. This is not done by any of the "old masters", but I like it.

Second, while walking through the private corridor from the Uffizi, we buzzed past this image:

I fell in love with it right away. However, since we weren't allowed to use a flash or a tripod and there was no placard with information, it took me a while to figure out what it was--Reni's "Susanna and the Elders". After poking around a bit, I found this image, also by Reni:

I like the second better because her face is more striking, even if the colors are muted. Although, it is frustrating when an artist does multiple renditions of his own work that are so similar. Even so, in my search I found the following quote amusing as well:

"The story [of Sussana] is a complex narrative of sexual desire and visual temptation, female chastity and masculine law. During the Renaissance the dramatic focus on the moment of the woman's nakedness while bathing exposed to a lecherous conspiracy emphasized the sexual, voyeuristic and visually violating aspects of the theme, while providing a biblical and even theological justification for the painting of an erotic female nude, a genre that was emerging in this period, shifting the connotations of the female nude from its traditional iconographic association with Truth towards its modern signification of (masculine) desire and its privileged visuality" [Griselda Pollock].

Last, I really liked the following scene by Sarto:

My sister told me that she wasn't as impressed because it looked like everyone was "searching for a lost shoe" instead of mourning the death of Christ. I can see that. I'm really not impressed with the overall picture either. However, I really like how Mary Magdalene looks. In fact, I'd prefer just a poster of her, but I had to do that myself.

It is mildly interesting to me to note that the art I like contains pictures I like of girls. I like cute girls. I didn't need to fly half-way 'round the world to realize that, but it was nice to be reminded.

~Luke Holzmann

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Funds, Fads, and Fun

I've long felt that I needed to post something about Tithing. It started way back in the day when I was chatting with a few college buddies about tithing and taking a Sabbath (both of which seemed completely foreign to them). It happened again when one of the snot-nosed kids we were teaching belligerently told me that he wasn't going to give his nickel because he didn't want to "waste it". Okay, time to set things straight.

Even if you're not religious this still holds true: Take a freaking day off every week and give at least 10% of your income to some good cause. For the Christians out there there is no excuse. So why do we take a day off? At the most basic level, life gets all out of whack if you don't take time to relax. A "go-go-go" mentality is one of the biggest causes of people's personal lives falling apart, and I'm not just talking about workaholicism here. I talk with some new kid every couple months who tells me that his or her life is horrible or out of sorts. The solution? Take a day off where you don't do anything to try to get stuff done or get ahead. That's good advice for everyone, and God commanded it first.

For the skeptics, the burned, the mistreated out there: God's commands are good for us. I think this truth is often overlooked in many people's attempts to demonstrate how serious God is about what He wants: Don't sleep around, don't do drugs, don't cuss. Why? Because God says not to. Anyone out there willing to demonstrate clearly how each of those things makes life worse? I will gladly if you come ask me.

So what about "wasting" money giving it away? Isn't that a clear example of how God is just "putting it to us"?

Not at all.

Being willing to gladly give up 10% (or more) of your money to something good other than you is great. From a purely selfish side of things, you get a tax break. But much more than that you get to discover that you are not a slave to your money. That is a message that everyone needs to learn. And that's not to mention the fact that your few dollars will help someone else.

So Sunday, sitting in church, waiting to drop my meager check into the plate as it goes by, I noticed something. In front of me were two couples, nicely dressed, fairly regular attenders who seem like very good Christians who "have their acts together". Not that it bothers me exactly, but one of them dropped in $5 and the other one.

One dollar.

Come now. Why the crap would you put $1 into the plate if you work at all?

If you don't have a job but want to give what you can to a cause you believe in you put in one dollar. If you're 12 and have your soda money you want to give to a missionary you give a dollar. If you're an adult who lives in an expensive house with three cars and throws expensive parties and you give one dollar, something is wrong with you.

Don't get me wrong: God does not need your money. It's not even the amount. It's the statement: Tithing is a fad. I put money in the plate because that's what you do in church.

If you're not at a place where you "get" tithing as an act of faith/self-betterment, then don't give anything. Don't do it because it's expected of you. Get your head on right and start actually giving money. A dollar as an "offering" is like a one cent tip... insulting.

On the other side of this whole deal is the question of purposeful giving. My parents just got back from a seminar where they met with a fantastic organization that is doing wonders in improving the lives of the people of India. After seeing what they do, realizing that 1/12th of the world's entire population for all of time is alive in India right now, they concluded that giving money to change lives in India makes way more sense than giving money to encouraging "rebellious youth" here in the States.

I understand that, but it reminded me of something I learned in Film School: Use the resources given to you wisely for what you are supposed to use them.

The dilemma started at Missions Conference where we were told that for $200,000 we could feed an entire country, give them all Bibles and fund missionaries. Or, I realized, I could try to shoot a low-budget film that people may or may not watch, like, or "get anything" from. Time to drop out of film school, stop eating Taco Bell, and get my butt over to India.

I felt that way for a couple of days, convinced I was wasting resources. Then someone--my mom, I think--reminded me that God doesn't need my money and I need to use what He's given to me for what He's called me to do. If He gives me millions of dollars to make movies, I'd better use those millions well in making a great movie.

I guess it all comes down to a more simple point: This life is about finding joy. Taking a day off, giving your money away, and using the many blessings you have where you should will bring you true happiness. Not doing so, buying into a fad, will make you look okay at best.

May you find your place in this world.

~Luke Holzmann

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I Don't Wanna Be Like Mike

I did it. I finished Michael Pearl's "Sin No More" series. It's been a few days now and I decided I needed to report, review, and respond to the 10 or so hours of material presented. Naturally, this is not going to be exhaustive (thankfully), and merely an overview of my thoughts and reactions. If you are at all interested, I would recommend checking it out. If nothing else, it will allow you an opportunity to think critically and hear some challenges to some of your beliefs.

First, Mike "guarantees" at the end of CD 6 that you will stop sinning after hearing his message... "or you don't have the Spirit of God in you." Since finishing his lectures I have found that I have sinned at least 14 times that were painfully obvious. Conclusion: Either God's spirit resides not with me and am I am damned, or Michael was just saying something to make himself sound better. Since I sin, I think I know what Mike would say, but I'm not sure what Christ has to say about that.

Second, I found most of Mike's points from Scripture to be completely accurate and insightful. I can't think of a single time where he was teaching from Scripture that I disagreed. Very interesting stuff.

Third, his almost cult-like bashing of psychology, science, reason and general-life observation came off as ignorant. Psychology and science are merely labeling processes to observable phenomena in life. Proverbs would be a Bible similarity. To discredit them because they are human is "weak" at best.

Forth, Mike actually used the words "corrupted version of Scripture". What is he, Mormon? Come on. What is even more ridiculous about this is he buys into the KJV version as "the" Scripture for English speaking individuals, which has since been found to have minor translation errors. Ugh.

Fifth, many of the points that Mr. Pearl spends hours of teaching on are, at their root, mostly semantic. They are fine observations, but hardly worth calling people heretics over. For example, I'm willing to give him that the Bible does not teach a duality of spirit so there is not Old Man fighting the New Man. Cool. But then to go on to say that it is one's "Members" wrestling against one's "Spirit" makes the first point lame. I know, there is reason to make the distinction, but to claim that a believer who holds to the first view is "no better than a Buddhist" is ridiculous. It is, at most, an important semantic distinction. I think that Christ is the turning point of our salvation, not our doctrine on the nature of man.

Sixth, the majority of Mike's teaching is not based on Scripture at all. This is where what he says gets disturbing. NB: As I said above, I agree with just about everything he says from Scripture. The problem is that his foundational tenet revolves around Abraham. He claims that when God told Abraham he was going to be the father of a great nation that Abe went around telling everyone, "I'm the father of a great nation! Oh, I know I don't have kids yet, but God said that I am so I am." This is then extrapolated out to Mike's main point of saying that since we are dead to sin we should be saying that we are in the same faith of Abraham. Problem is: There's no Scriptural support for this notion.

All-in-all it was an interesting, if not depressing and frustrating, series. I'm glad I'm done with it and have been able to figure out where Mike is so very wrong. If I had missed his step out of Scripture I would still be depressed and feel damned by a holy man. Instead, I'm just a tad frustrated that he so dogmatically preaches something that isn't Scripture as if it were and am very happy for the love of God which I pray continues to make me more Christ-like.

~Luke Holzmann

Friday, November 02, 2007

Captive or Captivated?

I like pretty girls. I think everyone does. If you don't, something is wrong with you or you're lying. I don't like people lying to me. We like pretty girls.

But this raises an awareness of a perplexing reality: Since we like them, what do we do about it?

In a past post I wrote:

[Michael] talks about "husbands [who] are secretly following porn queens". Sure, there are certain girls (Camilla Belle is my current obsession) whom I "follow", but "porn queens"? I don't think my issues with porn are that different from other Christian guys. I know that many guys who have abandoned themselves to porn may latch on to certain "porn queens"... but, that doesn't fit with my experience. I don't like porn queens. I'm not interested in porn queens. I never have been. There is one "babe" whom I think is beautiful, but that's about as far as that goes (that being the header of my book's blog).

This spawned an email response:

"I think it's impossible to justify porn usage for the believer. Every Scripture says to flee immorality.
"And even 'innocent' following porn queens--I doubt if your daughter was beautiful and well-endowed, you would want to follow her around the internet. Stop following someone else's daughters. Ugh."

In my reply I said:

"My goal is not to justify porn use (or sin at all, for that matter), but rather to honestly look at what is going on and thereby come up with ways of better dealing with it. The 'Nike' solution to sin of 'Just Don't Do It' hasn't worked. ...
"I hope I get a beautiful (and properly endowed) daughter to dote upon. I plan to spend a lot of time 'following' her around. The proper response to beauty is a concept I've been kicking around a lot. I'm closer to the truth, I think, but I'm not quite there yet."

I am still not quite there yet, but one thing has become more clear to me: I really like "following" pretty girls (on the internet or with my eyes in "RL"). What do we do about that? How do we properly respond to beauty?

In college this became an obsession of mine for a while. I wrote such sappy things as:

Someday, somehow, someway allow for me to gaze on you.
No one is as beautiful as you, the fabled few.
Men write songs and poetry, paint pictures, conquer gods
All for you, your sympathy, your smiles, and your nods.
I know not what to think or do when I see you walk by;
Men as tough as iron break down, they weep and cry.
Pity us, but mortal men, fallen, by the way,
So now we have nothing to do; even less to say.

Oh pass again before us
That we may all concur
That you are truly pretty,
You, and her, and her.
So many charming women,
And girls, oh to be sure,
Soft like new-made velvet;
A scent like rose or myrrh.

The longing that I know so well is deeper than your face,
But the beauty there beheld is a mirror for that grace.
You cannot know the every time that I have sought you out,
And tried with all that I could do to restrain the shout
That would exclaim your many charms, and desired traits.
Oh what a cruel world that leaves us in such states.
A fallen world we live in, and it bequeaths this pain
That sears within our souls when beauty touches stain.
Oh for better words, for flowing songs and melodies,
For something I could say or do to charm these very trees,
For all this you daily do, in that precious, youthful way.
I see you oh so rarely, but how I bless that day!
Again I say it's painful to be with you or no.
Absence makes forgetful, or the longing grow.
Alas, alack! Oh who can say, what I am to do,
For something more than love draws me more to you.
Not that I would have your hand, or even your fond touch,
But if innocence could kiss, I'd like that very much.
Curse lust that burns in passion, for that I would not feel.
Rather, I'm enamored, but more than that, it's real.
There's something in the way you are that shines upon the soul.
Like heaven on this moral coil, you seem to be so whole.
And yet you are so fragile, in need of love and care,
And so you are approachable, and I can meet you there.
Remember you're desired, much more than I can write.
I wish I knew what this is called when one weeps in delight.

I love re-reading those poems because they get at that raw emotion I experience when I see pretty girls I really like. The question remains unanswered to this day. But it is an important one that others have noted as well. I've been slowly reading through "Captivating" by the Eldredges and the entire book is devoted to the point that women were made to be, believe it or not, captivating. I haven't gotten very far yet, but the already it is dripping with the need to be noticed, appreciated, longed for, loved and, yes, even looked at.

I like pretty girls. I like looking at them too.

But am I then captive to lust? Am I merely another "dirty old man" [shoot, I have a great link, but it is far too inappropriate] who likes leering at little ladies? I admit that I am, at times, but more often than not I am just trying to "drink in" beauty. As we argue in our book, this is far more likely to be the case. The problem is that without a proper response to the properly captivating girls around us we often find ourselves captive... either to lust, legalism, or lying.

I like pretty girls. I wish I could figure out a better way to say that both in pen and in life.

~Luke Holzmann