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Monthly Enewsletter from Midnight Oil Productions
Vol 3, Number 10 | October 04
Christmas is Coming Soon... Check out our Bethlehem Star Tutorial
Media for Christmas
Bethlehem Star Tutorial
Fall Seminar Report
Design Matters 3
Monthly Media Download
Media for the Christmas Season
It’s time to begin thinking about the upcoming Christmas season. One great way to incorporate the story of God’s Incarnation is with the worship media on Fresh Out of the Box Volume 3. This resource, which comes complete with 10 sets of graphics, videos, and service ideas, covers a variety of biblical Christmas stories, including the angel’s visit to Mary, called “Let it Be.” For only $30.00, Fresh Out of the Box 3 will help you tell the Christmas story in a new light.

And coming in November, Two New Christmas Resources! First, we'll debut a complete campaign package around last year's popular "Follow the Star" media download. Details to be announced soon. Number two is a complete media set, part of which will be offered as our next Monthly Media Freebie entitled "Rediscover Christmas". You won't want to miss these resources for the holiday season.
Create Your Own Bethlehem Star
The upcoming Christmas season is also the time of year in which it seems that everyone wants to learn how to create a star. Our newest graphic tutorial gives simple instruction for making a compelling Bethlehem star, along with a technique for turning your daytime photos into night.

The Bethlehem Star Tutorial is the fourth in our popular series of free graphic tutorial downloads that includes an Easter tomb, parchment paper and pencil drawing treatments. Click here to download the latest entry to our popular training series and get a jump on Christmas today!

As usual, we're really interested in seeing you create your own worship images with our tutorials, so we're turning this tutorial release into a contest. This month, we're giving away a free copy of Christmas resource, Fresh Out of the Box Volume 3. To enter our contest, simply download the tutorial, do it, and then submit your graphic here. Entries need to be a flattened 720-540 JPEG file. Entries will be added to an online tutorial gallery. Look for the winner in next month's newsletter.

As always, be on the lookout for new tutorials every few months as we continue our quest to train media ministers in the creation of their own high quality creative media.
spark volume 3
We’re just now beginning to catch our breath from a busy September in which we got to eat at an authentic New York pizzeria, stand in the shadow of the rumbling Mt. St. Helens, search for signs of Hurricane Ivan, roam the Mall of America, and look at some corn in Iowa.

Oh, and we also led 5 Digital Storytellers seminars, too, where we got to meet many of you! We think the fall has gone pretty well so far, but don’t take our word for it—listen to what New York attendee Pete Hugger had to say in this email interview:

What were your expectations for the seminar when you registered?
I had previously read The Wired Church and was expecting a big push on the use of metaphor. I had just received a copy of Digital Storytellers. I only had time to watch the DVD before the seminar and was puzzled how some of the samples would be used in a service.

How were those expectations met, for better or worse?
I loved hearing about the planning and design process. Hearing how the clips were used to support a message was enlightening. The Coffee Shop clip was a mystery until I heard Len explain from the Scriptures about separating the wheat from the chaff. It fit so well, but wasn’t oversimplified.

Cool. We got the impression that day was helpful for you. What specifically did you enjoy about the seminar?
Jason and Len are an awesome teaching team. They naturally flow back and forth with a style that is both humorous and engaging. They have a genuine enthusiasm for their work. They use media to both teach and hold interest.

Pete Hugger on a sunny day.
Gee, thanks. Your check is in the mail. Seriously, a lot of people say after attending that they wished their pastor/worship team/music person/tech person had come with them. Can you relate to that?
I’m totally convinced that church media is a team sport. It’s a natural for attracting all sorts of creative people --artists, writers, dreamers, storytellers, actors, techies, etc. If a preacher can get past allowing others to help him tell the message with the creative use of media, his ministry will take a huge leap forward. I can’t imagine a preacher who wouldn’t want his message remembered for months or understood in culturally relevant terms. The creative team is at the heart of an effective media ministry and can be a powerful force in any church –if those currently holding the reins are willing to share. I think it could be really frustrating if someone sees the potential that you demonstrate in your seminar and goes back home to church only to be faced with a pastor who views him or her as a threat, or doesn’t want to share.

Right! Unfortunately, we’ve seen that happen. Anything we should do to make it better?
This was mentioned at the seminar and is the only thing I can think of. It would be so much fun to see the whole worship service and how all of the parts fit together. A “Behind the scenes” video would be great—like “American Worship Service”…

You mean like American Chopper on The Discovery Channel? You want to see us fighting every week?

Thanks, Pete. We’ve got 2 more dates still for this fall, as well as a slew of spring 2005 dates on the books. If you’ve never made it to a Digital Storytellers seminar, we’d love to have you. Or do like Laurin Hill, who came to our Portland area seminar for a return engagement after moving to a new ministry from Amarillo, where he attended in 2003. Laurin said, “I took your seminar last year in Amarillo, TX, and wanted to share these great concepts with my new church, so I brought my video guy. It has been and continues to transform planning worship!”

Oct 23 Battle Creek, MI Digital Storytellers Seminar
Nov 13 Boise (Nampa), ID Digital Storytellers Seminar
Feb 12 Anahiem, CA NRB Convention "Boot Camp"
Feb 19 Rice Lake, WI Digital Storytellers Seminar
Feb 26 Scottsdale, AZ Digital Storytellers Seminar
Mar 1-3 Melbourne, FL Institute of Preaching
Congrats to our Pencil Drawing Tutorial Winner
How are some advertisers so successful in getting the attention of the public? Why do certain films, shows, and ads grab our collective attention better than others? In our next installment of Design Matters, we take a look at another key principle of good design: finding references.

In case you haven’t noticed, Design Matters is our online mission to move your use of media in worship from simply projecting headshots, song lyrics, bullet points and nature backgrounds to something that captures the spirit of how the culture communicates. We’re looking at 6 key principles for good design.

This month's principle looks at a proven technique that professionals use to make sure their stuff connects with today’s design culture. Click here to learn what it is, and be on the lookout in coming issues for more specific ways to create powerful media.

This month’s freebie is designed to help you through one of the toughest secular holidays of the year. Many churches don’t really know what to do with Halloween. Do we talk about it, or ignore it completely? With so many of the children in our communities participating in beggar's night, it’s hard to completely sweep it under the rug.

Why not use Halloween as an opportunity to talk about the masks we wear, or the dreams we have of becoming something more than we are? Bats, skulls and blood aside, there is something fun about getting All Dressed Up on Halloween.

Download the complete graphics set including layered Adobe Photoshop and accompanying PDF document here.
The ballots are in, the votes are counted, and the winner is...Midnight Oil!

We’re very happy to announce that Rooted, from the upcoming Spark volume 3, (an adaptation of our On Purpose Media graphic) has won the top honors in coveted Spinner Awards.

This annual award contest, put on by one of our favorite stock photo houses, PhotoSpin, is in it’s third year. We’ve entered every time, and although our previous best was honorable mention in year one, this year we took top honors in the PowerPoint category.

If you’ve never checked out PhotoSpin, we highly recommend visiting their site. The prices are very affordable, and many of their images are high quality.
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