Here’s the Keynote animation I produced, for the Scandalous message series, that played in the Access venue, at CCC’s Old Mill Campus. Below, I’ll explain some of the backstory with the project.

I can’t recall which creative meeting it was in, but it was one of them where I pitched the idea of exploring the concept of idolatry through a modern context. Often, Christians see it as worshipping another religious god. This is too simplistic since there are many things that can fill the role of an idol in our lives.

An influence on the idea was Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods. The book did a good job of flipping the script of what is idolatry. I wanted to try and do the same with this piece. Plus, it had been encouraged by CCC’s leadership to read Counterfeit Gods last year. I wanted to tap into that a bit, especially since the book hadn’t been discussed on a macro level at CCC.

The concept then was to show someone going through the Bible and studying verses pertaining to idolatry. Some of the ideas I had for this project I had used in a previous video, Noise/Silence. I thought it might give me a chance to expand upon those ideas some more.

Since the topic is idolatry, the script starts off with the Ten Commandments. In going through the first few verses, verse by verse, I wanted to show it as someone studying it. That’s why I had words circled and lines drawn to explanations that would reflect how a number of people study the Bible. In doing so, in defining and interpreting the passages, my hope was the script/words would help people see idolatry in a modern context.

When I was scripting it, though, it became too muddled. I had too much I was trying to say in a condensed amount of time. I needed to keep things under three minutes, but that wasn’t happening at first. I started to cut a lot out of it. In one of the screenshots I posted of the project earlier in the week, you can see an early draft I had of the project.

I had written a part that delved into the word “idealized”. I cut it, and the related slides, because it was a bit redundant.

Originally, the animation was to be an intro to Gavin Johnson’s message. Gavin and I had touched base about how we wanted the animation to set up his message. However, that changed ten days ago. Mark and Gavin flipped the messages they were preaching. Because of that, and the busyness of the past two weeks, I got a late start on this project. The late start was one of the reasons I used Keynote instead of using Motion like I had planned. Using Keynote forced me to keep it simple with the time I had to work within.*

*Most of this project was done in two, 12-hour days, on Monday and Tuesday. Additional edits happened on Thursday, and I was also exporting it and adding the music.

Mark and I talked about the project last week, and he shared with me some things he was hoping I could highlight in it so that it would set up his message well. As he put it, he wanted references to the “-isms”, like naturalism, hedonism and pluralism. It’s also why the piece ends with the Hosea 4:12 scripture, since it was a scripture Mark would use in his message.

One of the toughest things with this was picking the right music for it. What I’ve started doing is creating a playlist in iTunes when I know I have to pick music for a project I’m working on. For this video, I had close to fifty songs in the playlist. As I was working on it, I’d listen to tracks from the playlist to see what worked best. I had thought I was going to use a mashup of Radiohead and Kanye West for the music, and I really wanted to use it. I thought it worked well, but in the end I drifted toward U2’s “Magnificent”.

I finished it on Thursday afternoon, in time for the Thursday night rehearsals. When I watched it play this morning in the services, I found myself nitpicking it. I think I would’ve liked another day to tweak timing elements throughout it. I did make one edit on Friday, with the ending and how the music fades, but I didn’t touch anything else. I thought I could get carried away with fine-tuning it. I knew the video was good and would be well-received.

That’s a bit of the story behind the piece. It was a fun project to conceive and create. I will be writing another post, this week, explaining how I used Keynote to do this project.

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