How to Take all Your Vacation While Working in Church Media (How to balance life and work in media ministry)

Inevitably, when I hang around a group of church media techs we end up talking about workload. After we share the crazy stories and the cool stuff we got to do, we wind up talking about hours and events Too many times I hear about people who routinely do not take all of their vacation days. And it’s not just vacation, it’s going home for dinner, or having days off.

There is an overworking epidemic infecting church media technicians.

To understand this, and ultimately fix it, we need to acknowledge some realities.

Reality 1: Non church media people will never understand what you do. 

They are busy with their own lives. When you get excited about a new piece of gear and start rattling off specs, their eyes glaze over. They don’t know, and don’t want to know. Mostly people respect us. They understand that our jobs are specific. But they didn’t choose to go into our line of work. While they may appreciate it, they will never know what goes into doing our jobs. 

Reality 2: For the most part, we don’t control our assignments at work.

In fact, most of the people who give us work to do are the same ones who don’t understand what we do. Generally, we don’t schedule events, dream up projects or initiatives. We don’t tell ministries what to do, we come alongside ministries to leverage technology to accomplish their ministry goals. 

That is a recipe for more work than you can get done in 40 hours. People who don’t know what you do, or how you do it, can unintentionally pile too much on you. I’ve heard more than one church media professional describe the hours they have to put in to get the job done right. Many times, after putting in hours and hours of overtime, they are not thanked or rewarded. 

Now, here’s where you expect me to start talking about educating people, and developing an understanding with your supervisors about proper work/life balance. I’m not saying these things aren’t worth the effort. But they require someone else to do something. They require others to learn and change their behavior.

I want to give you some things you can do, within your own department and ministry area, to reduce workload, get home more and take your vacation days.

Deal with your pride.

Just wanted to lay that out there. It doesn’t do any good for me to list the other things if you won’t actually do them. Too many of us labor under the prideful assumption that no one else can do it, or no one will be able to do it right. If you miss a Sunday, things will go wrong. Even if they don’t go terribly, they won’t be as good as when you are there. 

Get over yourself.

I mean that in Christian love.  Stop it. If you quit your job right now, church would still happen on Sunday. God would be worshipped. We like to say that we facilitate worship, but in reality we facilitate a certain style of worship. I’m not saying that isn’t important, but keep perspective here. If you can learn to do your job, someone else can learn to do it. But you have to be willing to let them do it.

Cross Train

Cross train other people to do multiple media positions.  My friend, Dr. Wes Hartley, has a lecture he gives on systems. He talks about creating repeatable and transferable processes designed to reduce cognitive load.  Make checklists, write down important information, then show others how to do your job. If you don’t, you can never be gone.

The key to cross training is not just showing someone how to do a job, it’s letting them do it before you are gone. You can’t just throw a checklist at someone and expect to miss a Sunday with no issues. I used to dread Sundays morning text messages when I was out. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Compare these two conversations… “Hey, boss, I’m taking Sunday off but don’t worry, I showed Billy how to do my job and made some notes for him. He has my phone number if you need me.” Vs “Hey, boss, Billy has been running this media position for several weeks. He has it down and has been doing a great job. He is going to fill in while I’m out next Sunday.”

Which makes the boss more comfortable? The latter, of course.  Cross training requires practice with a safety net. Over time, you can build a team of staff and volunteers who can fill into multiple positions. This team can fill needed positions for weekends and events, so your staff can be gone.


Technology is awesome. You can automate lyrics. You can tie PTZ camera moves to stream decks or other custom control computers. You can extend monitors and use wireless mice and keyboards to duplicate positions. You can automate lights. There are so many tools you can use to reduce the amount of people needed to cover simple events. 

A fully staffed crew in our Worship Center requires 7 people (staff and volunteers). But we have things set up so that 2 people can cover simple events.  On extremely simple events, we can even remote in with a computer and run the entire room with one person.  1 vs. 7.  That means less time away from family for our staff. 


This is similar to automate. In some instances, technology can simplify an event. Other times we can manage expectations and what we provide.

Look at every event with an eye toward what you actually need to cover it.  Depending on how your tech requests may be set up, people might say that they need a technician, or multiple technicians, when they really don’t. Our education spaces are designed so that teachers can run their own presentations without technical help. 

How many people are expected? I recently failed at simplifying an event. The special night was scheduled for the Worship Center, which seats a lot. The past two times this event had been held, not a lot of people attended. It could fit into one of our smaller and simpler spaces. I should have gone to the ministry leader and persuaded them to move venues. Not only to save the effort and time of my team, but to help the event. 50 people in a room that seats 1000 feels like no one came. 50 people in a room that seats 250 feels better. Smaller spaces mean less techs to cover.

What have they asked for? Do they really need 7 wireless handhelds, or could most speak at a podium with a microphone? Are they comfortable running their own presentation from a laptop? Do you need multiple laptops and computers, or can you load everything onto one? 

We have a venue that could use 3 techs to operate audio, lights and CG. Because of cross training and simplicity of events, we normally staff it with one person. That doesn’t mean we won’t use a full crew when necessary, but our goal is to accomplish the tech needs with excellence, using as few people as possible.

Simplifying isn’t just about reducing staff at live events. Sometimes it’s about reducing your internal weekly workload. Are there times when a project comes up and you see that something can be improved? Sure. Is there time this week to do that improvement? Sometimes the answer is no. I know people who take every chance to make thing better, overall, even if no one else will notice the improvement. That’s a good thing. But doing it when it means you will have to work an extra 10 hours this week isn’t.

Sometimes, the time consuming complications we put up with are actually caused by us. I get the arguments. To do it “right” you need to swap out that gear or rewire that rack. And you do need to do that. But maybe not this time. How about you do that upgrade when you are not already filling your hours with other duties.

As with most things, balance is the key. We all want to improve. There will always be something left to do. You have to get OK with going home while you know work is left to be done. You have to realize that sometimes, the work that is left will not be missed by others. You can put it off.  And for the sake of your health and your family, you need to put it off.

When ministry leaders/ pastors/ bosses place work on your plate, they don’t know (or really care) how it gets done. It’s not because they don’t care about you, it’s because of reality #1. (How many graphic designers have been asked to “throw something together real quick”? ) They don’t know or care if you rewired the entire system or just made it work like last time. They don’t know if you went and shot your own B Roll or used a stock footage library. They only know you delivered with excellence.  

Stop piling on extra work. Get OK with going home. Be efficient and get things done. Find ways to use technology to automate and simplify your work. Identify staff and volunteers who can be trained to do your work. Train them, let them learn how to do it well. Set your vacation days. And take them.

That’s how you can take all your vacation, and see your family more even though you work in church media.


Being Creative is Risky

Today, I accidentally stumbled onto a review of my old comedy series. 

It’s not kind. Written in 2018, for a series that first came out in 2012, the anonymous reviewer proceeds to list many of the things I knew were deficient in the series. He (She? The whole review site is anonymous, so just guessing here) said one positive thing: “Video and audio quality, for the most part, are fine.” Oddly, I disagree with this. 

Everything else is sarcastic, critical, and somewhat deserved. My disappointment with this review is not that he didn’t like the things I don’t like, but that he missed the entire point of the show. He seemed confused that we would make fun of Christians and Christianity. He seemed to think we were being completely serious. So, he didn’t get any of the jokes. 

Of course, this review site isn’t something you would ever know. If I were reviewing the site itself, I might say…

“Leaving aside the horrible, outdated WordPress build, it’s difficult to find anything on the page. Publishing under an anonymous name does nothing to establish the author as any authority on Christian content. When it comes to series reviews, the author has only two categories- The Chosen and bad Christian series. If he is reviewing something Dallas Jenkins isn’t involved in, expect a low score.”

[OK, that was a bit cathartic. I’m aware my blog is also on WordPress, but it’s a blog… not a full-on website with multiple pages and sections.]

You see, even though I am aware of the flaws in that series, it hurts when some anonymous guy on the internet points them out AND doesn’t get the good parts at the same time. I suspect that the reviewer has never put out anything creative is his life. He has no idea what it’s like to spend hours trying to make something and send it out into the world. 

Being creative is risky. 

In a humorous twist, I also found out that both the series and short ebook about how we made the series were cited in a textbook. The book is strangely about humor in Evangelical and Mormon contexts. I would have bought a copy, but like all textbooks, it’s too expensive. I have no idea what they said about the series, except the author did reference my comments about the Christian TV market and changing the model to allow for more non-traditional content production. I could see that from an excerpt.

If you had asked me in 2012 if I thought that creative work would be cited (for good or ill) in a textbook, I would have laughed. If you had asked me if it would still be on the air or streaming a decade later, I would have said no way. It’s not on many places, but it is on. 

Being creative is risky. 

One of episodes singled out as terrible by the anonymous reviewer was the same one that NRB reviewed and awarded 2014’s Best Creative TV Programming. Now, I know there were not a lot of entries that year, so that doesn’t mean it was amazing. But the National Religious Broadcasters didn’t think it was as bad as the anonymous reviewer. Not everyone gets everything. Especially in a comedy.

Nothing you do creatively is going to appeal to everyone. [Insert one of the many, many stories of super successful people not being appreciated, getting turned down, etc…]

I’m not gonna’ lie, it sucks hard when you read that negative review. When some random person says something (that literally happened to you before) is a “trope” or isn’t believable. When he just doesn’t get what you spent so much time working on. Yes, the internet allows anonymous people to “platform” their opinions alongside more qualified reviewers. But it is inevitable that you will get a bad review, especially if your work is flawed. (And this series is seriously flawed. I am amazed at what we were able to accomplish, but it’s not amazing, itself.)

But it is very cool when you get positive feedback. Whether it’s an award, or that email from a fan saying it’s her family’s favorite Christian TV series, positive feedback feels great. My feature length documentary came out in 2019, and I still have speech & debate kids and parents tell me how much it means to them. That is a very cool, thing.

But be aware, there is no guarantee that anything you do creatively will ever get any positive feedback. You must decide what is worth the risk? Is your passion for your project enough to carry you? Your early work will be flawed. Know that. Part of growing and learning is doing. And your initial “doing” can be pretty bad. But you need that bad to get to better.

So, take the risk. Not because your current project is awesome (though it could be) but because your next project will be better.

Technical Director

For most of my career I’ve worked in Media or Media & Communications. There are parts of each that I really enjoy.

I work at Mobberly Baptist Church, a large SBC church in ETX. I started out at Mobberly in a video position, then about three years later I moved to a Communications only position. This was the first time I had no media responsibilities.

I’m not a graphic designer, so my tasks focused on project management, and expectation management, as well as web, PR, advertising, brand management, etc. I enjoyed much of what I did in Communications, but when COVID hit I flexed back into some media roles.

I hadn’t realized how much I missed live production. I was reminded how much I missed using video creatively. So, when the Tech Director position looked like it was going to be opening up, I talked with my boss about moving back into media.

Starting in September, I will lead our staff and volunteer teams in the areas of audio, video and lighting production.

My title is Technical Director, which is a true enough description. But there is a lot more creativity involved. I am eager to get back into more video production.

I Upgraded My Camera

I know. Telling stories isn’t about gear. You can tell a compelling story on your phone and tell a terrible story and the most expensive camera.
Even, so sometimes a new body comes out that is worth the upgrade. When I upgraded from the Sony a6000 to the a6500, the jump was huge. I was shooting my documentary, I needed the features of a better camera, and splurged a bit to get the a6500 over the a6300.

Enter the a6600. When it came out a few months ago, it was released to mixed reviews. Some people didn’t see it as a major upgrade. The upgraded AF, larger battery, and headphone jack alone were enough to make me want one. Add in a flip up screen and no video record limit, and I’m sold.

But the price was high. I just couldn’t justify spending another $1400, especially in between major projects. Even when the body started going on sale for $1200 regularly, I didn’t purchase it.

Last week, BH Photo put the a6600 on an education discount for $918. At this price point, I could justify the leap. I could sell my a6500 and accessories, and some other filmmaking gear to cover the cost. And I have two college students (dual credit counts) in my home. So, my son bought me a camera. Such a good kid.

I actually looked at the a6400. Numerically, that would be  a downgrade. But the a6400 had the new AF and no limit on recording. I liked those features. but the a6400 does not have the larger battery and headphone jack. Those two features were important to me. (I also like IBIS, but Sony’s isn’t that great, really. I could live without it.)

-As someone who shoots documentary footage, the smaller my footprint can be, the better. With the included headphone jack, I don’t have to use an external recorder to monitor audio recording. 

-I am often “running and gunning” and with the a6500 I routinely had multiple batteries on charge. The new, larger battery will help reduce the number of battery changes.

-In a “run and gun” situation, autofocus can be a critical component. I loved the face tracking in the a6500, but a couple of times it let me down. I had to cover a couple of shots I really wanted to use because at an inopportune moment the face tracking hunted focus for half a second. It doesn’t happen often, but it happened. I’m hoping, with the eye-tracking AF there will be greater accuracy.

I understand that some people may not value these improvements, at least not enough to upgrade. I didn’t think they were worth upgrading until this sale. But at that price, I could not pass it up. Plus I cleaned out my production cases a bit, converting little used gear to a new camera.

Facebook Ads for Indie Filmmakers: Using Facebook’s Funnel with Larger Audiences

I recently wrote about attempting to use Facebook’s funnel to drive sales of my recent documentary film. And about developing Lookalike Audiences.

My first attempt did not go well. But I think that’s because my initial audience is too small. To find out if this was true, I ran a similar funnel for my church’s Vacation Bible School, to see if this funnel would work with a larger audience.

Here are the basics:

We have over 8400 fans on our FB page, plus over 1100 Instagram followers. I also built lookalike audiences for both FB and IG followers. I have a FB Pixel installed on our website. I was able to track some behaviors specific to this funnel.

My ultimate goal was to get more kids to attend VBS. I was trying to do that by driving people to register online through our event web pages.

The Facebook Funnel is a 3-week plan That builds audience the first week, primes the pump the 2nd week, and moves toward conversions the last week.
I was employing this plan with a $200 total spend.

  • Week 1– Brand awareness. I only used the lookalike audiences within driving distance of our campuses. $30 Budget.

  • Week 2– Video interactions, separate ads by campus. The ads were geo targeted t with 25 miles of the church location. There was significant overlap. $80 Budget

  • Week 3– I mixed this up a bit. One campus I had traffic to our registration page as the only goal. The other I split the goals with traffic and conversions. Conversions I set as a lead- someone clicking to register from our website. $90 budget.
  • Results of the ads:

  • Week 1– I had a reach of almost 4,00 and Fb said we saw an increase of our audience by 260. Frequency was about a 2 (Meaning people saw the ad an average of twice.) In my previous attempt with a smaller audience the frequency got up to 7. That’s far too high.
    During this time we had 23 link clicks.Not bad considering I wasn’t trying to get any link clicks.

  • Week 2– Campus 1 had a reach of almost 1500 reach and a frequency of 1.92. 55 link clicks. Campus 2 had a higher budget and we saw a reach of almost 2500 with a frequency of 3.49 (a little high, but acceptable). 130 link clicks. Both campuses reported higher than normal online registrations.

  • Week 3– Campus 1 running a traffic campaign saw a reach of 1279, 54 link clicks with a frequency of 1.88. Campus 2 was running two campaign. The traffic set saw a reach of 2752, 129 link clicks and a frequency of 2, while the conversion set reached 1528 people, with 38 link clicks, a frequency of 2.41, and 13 people clicked to register. As I said before, there was a significant overlap in the geo targeting. There is a community between our 2 campuses that has people who attend both campuses.
  • Both of our campuses said they saw about a 25% increase in online registration. We had never had so many kids preregistered before.

    Using the Pixel tracking functions, I set up some tracking funnels in analytics. I tracked these across both campus location event pages, regardless of campaign.

  • New Visitors Entering at VBS Event Page
    Number People who had not visited the site since the pixel was installed (several weeks ago) who entered the site at the VBS event page: 144,
    Number who from that page initiated registration: 66 initiated registration.
    Conversion rate of 46%.

  • New Visitors Entering on Any Page
    Number of people who had not visited the site since Pixel was installed who entered at any page: Over 2,100
    Number of that group that initiated check out: 169
    Conversion rate of 8%

    But of course, the real measure of success was how well we hit our goal. Did we see an increase in attendance?

    Attendance of kids and adult workers on the first day of VBS was up 17.5%

    In the end we had 1184 kids and adults. The previous year’s high attendance was 981. We increased by over 200. But that number included adult volunteers. Our promotion could have impacted the number of adults as well as kids, but we don’t do this event for adults.

    I dug a bit deeper and pulled numbers from the previous year to compare kids attendance. In 2018 we had 675 kids in grades 1-6. In 2019 we had 826 kids in grades 1-6. That’s an increase of 22.37% in attendance.

    On one campus we had 110 more online registrations than the previous year. I was pointing people toward online registration. I’m sure some of them were found by other promotion. But it’s hard to argue with these numbers when the major difference this year was the focused advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

    The funnel works. At least if you have a big enough audience to begin with. Now, to adjust it to work with smaller audiences…

  • Ross Carbonite Switcher 12.3 Software and Touchscreen Custom Controls (aka-Macros)

    IMG_7552At work we have a 2ME Ross Carbonite Video Switcher. It’s a work horse. Perfect for many church video switching environments; 4 keys per ME, 24 input panel, DVE, 8 Aux, 6 frame syncs built in. For basic IMAG and Stream/TV/Record switching it works really well. Of course, there’s always other options out there, but we have been really happy with our Ross.

    We had been running version 10.0 of the software since I’ve been here. The computer based Dashboard software was very handy for setting up and changing switcher configurations, but I didn’t use it for much else. The Ross is capable of recording and recalling macros from the control panel, but I have to admit, I spent way too much time trying to figure out how to do it. A macro is a function that allows you to record multiple button pushes and switcher states and recall them with the push of a button.

    So we used the Ross to do the what we needed, but didn’t use any of the advanced featured. Then lightning struck. Or some sort of power surge, we don’t know what it was. The surge was strong enough and fast enough that even though the switcher was on a UPS with surge suppression, the frame lost connection with the control panel. When we reloaded the settings, not everything was exactly the way it was before. Since I was about to tweak some things anyway, I decided now was the time to update the software.

    The update process is simple, but a little scary. There’s a big warning on the Ross download page about not being able to downgrade below version 11.0 of the software once you update. Version 12.3 had only been out for a few weeks. I tried the basic update, but I think going from version 10 to 12 was too much for that. It froze during the update process. I ended up having to do a Forced Update which erased everything. In order to do a Forced Update you need a fat32 formatted USB drive of 2GB or larger with only the new software on it. (Make sure you save your settings BEFORE you try to update.) On the frame, power down the switcher, insert the USB. Hold down the “Update” rocker switch and power the frame back on. Keep holding how the rocker switch for a 10 count, then release. A few seconds later the control panel will see the USB and start the update. To go from 10.00 to 12.3 it takes a few minutes. At one point the screen will say Critical Update. That’s normal. Once it’s finished, reload your saved settings. We had to do this twice. For whatever reason, some of our settings didn’t come back the first time.

    Now, we were back to basic operation. And could keep using the switcher just like we always had. But I wanted to use the new features in 12.3. In order to do this, we needed a computer on the network near the switcher control panel. I snagged an unused Touchscreen HP we had that used to be a lighting computer. You don’t have to have a touchscreen, but if you have one it is so very sweet.

    Ross’s macro functions are call Custom Controls, and the 12.3 software has a very easy to use interface. Their beta editor has worked flawlessly for me. You simply open the editor, select a bank of macros, and select the macro you want to create or edit. On the screen you hit record, and then start punching buttons on the control panel. Once finished, hit stop recording. You can edit the name of the macros if you want. Exit the editor and your new Custom Control is listed in the bank of “shot boxes”. To recall the macro, just select it.

    You can also go deeper. I created a macro that tells all 4 keyers on both MEs to turn off. Not just to autotrans all for keyers. That’s something I can program do on the control panel. I was able to go into the editor and tell the switcher to turn the state of the keyers to off. And recall that as a macro.

    The media store is also pretty powerful and easier than ever to use. Each file in the media library has a number. In the Custom Control editor you can tell the switcher to select and load a specific numbered file, and then display it. Since our panel is pretty full of inputs, we don’t have all 4 of the media stores quickly available. This little feature allows me to load any media, and fire it at the touch of a button. (One thing to note, in Ross world, if you are keying an image via the media library, the media stores 1 and 3 will be used together. 1 to hold the image, and 3 to hold the alpha information. Same for 2 and 4. This happens automatically.)

    In just a few days I’ve programmed 17 Custom Controls. I’m sure I will add more as time goes on. I’ve programmed macros that range from foundational (reset all auxes, keyers and DVEs back to our Sunday morning settings, set up for a weekly Bible study we record in the WC) to functional (fade both MEs to black or the bail loop, clear all keys, transition the background animation and key lyrics on the IMAG ME) to specific (load and key 1 of 7 icons we use that coordinate with our new kid’s worship journals). We used it this past Sunday. Everything worked. I found a few things to tweak, and will do that this week.

    Overall, the upgrade to 12.3 and used of the new beta Custom Control editor has been really great.

    “No Excuses” Sermon Series: Quick Comedy

    In late 2015 our creative team met with pastoral leadership to discuss upcoming sermon series for 2016. One of the ones that got me most excited was called “No Excuses.” In our creative time we planned to shoot 6 comedic videos that show cased excuses that Christians give when talking about why they don’t share their faith. They had to be short, and they had to be funny.

    2016 turned into a very busy year for video production at the church. Including the weekly video announcements, 2 video creators were tasked with completing 36 video projects in just under 3 months. A difficult task no matter what sort of videos are required. A short film project is a whole extra level of complication. after meeting about the workload, and planning an aggressive production schedule, we decided to go ahead with the series as planned.

    Here’s the series broken down by the numbers:

    -6 two-minute short films used as sermon bumpers.

    -2 couples with limited acting experience playing the characters.

    -4 days of shooting on a very small budget: We bought a few props.

    -2 weeks after the first day of shooting the first film was shown.

    -9 weeks total for production and post for all six short films.

    -12 other video projects completed during the same 9 weeks.

    Obviously,  that’s an insane schedule, but I wanted very much to keep it. I felt that sing humor to broach the subject of reasons why people don’t share their faith was the right approach. And I just like filmmaking. It’s incredible that I can sometimes do it as a part of my job. The fact that we were able to complete these projects is largely due to a lot of pre production and planning. Nothing ever goes according to plan, but that work paid off, as it always does.

    Watch the entire series below:

    Excuses #1: The only people I know are Christians.

    Excuses #2: I’m not qualified.

    Excuse #3: I don’t want to push my faith on other people.

    Excuse #4: People might make fun of me.

    Excuses #5: I’m too busy.

    Excuse #6: I’ve tried it before and it didn’t work.

    Producing Videos in Another Language

    I speak English. I know a few words in other languages, but not enough to say I speak them.

    Recently we were in a series that highlighted several testimonies from people in our congregation that were living out the Gospel. One of those testimonies was from a Spanish language speaker.

    Obviously, since I don’t speak fluent Spanish, this was a challenge. Here’s how we did it:

    During the interview I had someone there to translate. He gave me a synopsis of the answers during the live interview, so I could follow up.

    Later I sent a video cut of just the answers to him. He typed out a complete manuscript for each answer. I made paper edits to that manuscript. This saved time, and helped create content that I used for subtitles later.

    Then he came into the edit bay and helped me make the actual cuts to the video. A few times he suggested slight changes which sounded better to his ears.

    Then I took the manuscript and broke down the text into titles for the English viewers. And he reviewed these for timing.

    It took a bit of extra work, but we were able to share a compelling testimony with our entire congregation, instead of just Spanish speakers.

    Selling Final Cut Pro 7

    I have left the Apple professional editing software ranks. To be honest, I left over a year ago. I had already been dabbling in the Adobe CC ecosystem. So when I joined the team at my church, it was an easy transition to Premiere.

    I realized that I had this copy of Final Cut Studio sitting in my garage. I know many people still like to edit in FCP 7, so I am making it available:

    Final Cut Studio 3 for Mac

    If you or someone you know needs a copy… Free shipping. Make me an offer.

    Live Directing is a Team Sport

    front1mepanelMany weekends I am I the director chair,  calling cameras during the weekend services at my church. Other times I’m in the TD spot, punching buttons as another director calls the shots.

    I have to confess, I’m not sure what my direction always looks like. I know what I see in my mind. And I know if the members of the team executed the calls correctly. But I don’t always know what it looks like as it goes down. I hope it looks like what I imagined.

    As you call cameras, you have 3 things in mind all the time: the shot you were just on, the shot you’re on now, and the shot you’re going to next. And sometimes you even have a fallback shot in mind. As soon as a camera comes free, you are calling the next direction to that operator, while you are waiting for the timing to go to the next shot after the camera you are currently on. It’s a continuous flow of past, present, and future imagery. If you have a good crew, they can help you out by getting shots you like without much direction. But even the best operators can’t read your mind. Much of directing is communicating complex instructions quickly, clearly, and succinctly.

    Then there are the times that you get into the zone, and you know the song, and what your camera folks can do. And you can truly be immersed in the worship moment, as you are calling cameras. That’s when it’s fun! You have to find this place where you’re focused on executing the technical and artistic parts of the service and able to worship. That’s only possible if we are all doing our part.

    So, there’s about a million things going on. I’m not always conscious of what the shots actually look like, I’m always conscious of what I want them to look like. You cannot direct and micromanage at the same time. You have to turn loose and trust that the team will execute the orders you give. Sometimes you might see a camera op get into focus trouble, or go shaky, and you have to clear off that shot faster than you plan. So you know when things don’t go as planned. But it’s not until I watch the program back that I know exactly what it looks like.

    You must trust the team. It’s a creative process, and everyone involved has a part. if it looks good, it’s just as much the result of talented team members as it is competent direction.