Independence Day Weekend

At 238 years of age, I suppose it’s about time that America can no longer blame decline and error on youthful indiscretion. Here are some observations about a particular 4th of July-themed film that annoyed some readers more than I anticipated (I offended fans of the film). Any thoughts?

Howard Da Silva and William Daniels as Benjamin Franklin and John Adams in “1776″ (screen capture).

Howard Da Silva and William Daniels as Benjamin Franklin and John Adams in “1776″ (screen capture).

Read “1776 the musical and insidious views of liberty” at Brenner Brief News

I enjoyed our traditional family patriotic celebration outing, which is when I read aloud the Declaration of Independence on our way to eat out and then watch fireworks, usually the evening before the Fourth.

Here’s some Independence Day style I invented last year that you ladies might be interested in, especially while ModCloth has a sale happening:

independence day style

Today we enjoyed worshipping our ultimate liberator Jesus Christ in fellowship with other believers at the First Baptist Church that our grandparents invited us to attend this morning. There was a sweet moment of thanking all the troops, current and retired, for their service to this country on which God’s Providence has so long smiled. That includes my Dear Old Dad, who served in the U.S. Army for 20 years.

Interesting what reference happened to be on the back of the church program this morning, isn't it?

Interesting what reference happened to be on the back of the church program this morning, isn’t it?

Afterward we went to Grandmomma and Granddaddy’s house for homemade peach ice cream, and to pick blueberries from their impressively tall and fruitful Rabbit Eye bushes.

I’ve got something else I plan to write about soon. I’ll just leave a teaser here for now. Hint: Her name means “year of liberty.”

Jubilee

New site design!

I have been a writer of the reticent sort in the blogosphere for some time now. I will henceforth make an effort to share a bit more knowledge and creativity and inspiration as it comes to me, rather than holding back in scorn of this wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve-for-the-world-to-see digital media age.

I’ve decided to redesign my website to focus more on the literary and visual content rather than to bombard visitors with links and icons to every other project on which I’ve worked (maybe my sidebar is still rather cluttered, but I’ve improved).

Oh, and here is my latest column at Brenner Brief News. Nostalgic, much?

Harvey Wiley header

Yesterday in history: Harvey Wiley and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906

D-Day

Great-Granddad Ross Bryan

My great-grandfather Ross E. Bryan was in the third wave to go ashore in Normandy, France 70 years ago today on June 6.

A picture and letter from my great-grandfather Ross Bryan to great-grandmother Marguerite and their daughter Linda (my grandmother, Dad’s mother), when he was off at war. The letter reads:

27 Oct. 1944
Margie and Linda,

I love you both with all my heart and hope this Baby I’ve got in my arms helps me to make sure “I’ll be seeing you.”
Ross

See also my Memorial Day column, Too easy to forget: Honoring sacrifice on Memorial Day.

J. Bryan Read, with his wife Christine Read and children upon his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in May 2002. Children, left to right: Abigail Read, Joseph Read, Rachel Read, Amanda Read, and Mary Read.

J. Bryan Read, with his wife Christine Read and children upon his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in May 2002. Children, left to right: Abigail Read, Joseph Read, Rachel Read, Amanda Read, and Mary Read.

Happy Tax Day

My latest at Brenner Brief…

Tiberius coin. CREDIT: forumancientcoins.com

Tiberius coin. CREDIT: forumancientcoins.com

Rendering unto Caesar in a progressive tax system

Rather than say that taxes shouldn’t be paid at all, or that Caesar has a unlimited right of taxation, Christ put Caesar in his limited place.

May the deductions be ever in your favor!

Now to pretend I’m in a good mood about this legalized robbery that can be outsmarted to defeat the point…

Bangs

I trimmed my bangs Audrey Hepburn-style, per Mr. Director’s preference.

In better news…tonight is Passover!

Amanda Read and Phelim McAleer on the Sara Marie Brenner Show

April 1st Sara Marie Brenner Show

It’s no April Fool’s Day prank. Tune in tonight (8 P.M. Eastern, 7 P.M. Central) to hear Sara Marie Brenner and me discuss Phelim McAleer’s latest film project, a crowdfunded TV drama about abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

www.SaraMarieBrenner.com/Radio

UPDATE: Here is the link to the podcast of this show: http://saramariebrenner.com/fracknation-and-gosnell-movie-director-phelim-mcaleer-teambrenner-contributor-amanda-read/

By the way, here are my latest articles…

Claire Underwood poster

Women Rule talk ruled by Hillary Clinton, House of Cards

Hillary Clinton had vocal supporters at POLITICO’s event. For contemporary politicians, wherein does “House of Cards” catch the conscience of the king?

Son of God/Ben-Hur

Son of God, Ben-Hur, and cinematic salvation

Jesus movies like Son of God and Ben-Hur remind us of mankind’s vain search for salvation through politics.

Mr. Director and Madam Screenwriter Go to Washington

Madam Screenwriter at the Capitol

That’s a Doodle Knits scarf made by my sister Abigail that I’m wearing, by the way. It was quite the hit in National Harbor and Washington as we filmed interviews for Tea Party News Network at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference and an interview for an independent documentary film about the Benghazi debacle.

Filming Vandon Gene's interview with Dr. Milton Wolf, U.S. Senate candidate from Kansas.

Filming Vandon Gene’s interview with Dr. Milton Wolf, U.S. Senate candidate from Kansas.

Robert Stacy McCain, surprised to run into me at CPAC, noted that I came out of my “usual reclusive state” to join the fray and enjoyed introducing me to all the Twitter personalities in person. Eric Golub realized that his Hebrew marriage proposal complete with sheep and goats would be in vain because I still believe Jesus is the Messiah and furthermore, I already have “a fella” (yes, Eric is a clever comedian).

Photo bombed by Thomas Jefferson

Photo bombed by Thomas Jefferson!

We worked for Tea Party News Network – along with the lovely Southern Belle/Amazon Scottie Nell Hughes and talented-beyond-his-years journalist Vandon Gene. Joel Frewa was pretty cool shooting on-the-fly interviews hand-held, and sweet Jennifer Burke kept up good interviews.

Jessica Levai, Michael Golden (who plays Andrew Romans in Romans XIII), Scottie Nell Hughes, Mr. Director, Madam Screenwriter, Vandon Gene.

Michael Golden (who plays Andrew Romans in Romans XIII), Scottie Nell Hughes, Mr. Director, Madam Screenwriter, Vandon Gene.

Washington, D.C. Crew at Krispy Kreme

Breakfast in Atlanta with the crew before the Washington, D.C. trip! Michael Golden (who plays Andrew Romans in Romans XIII), Madam Screenwriter, Mr. Director, and Mikey Golden.

Oh, and a little something inspired a column…

Julia Tourianski interviewing our George Washington reenacting friend James Manship about anarchy.

Julia Tourianski interviewing our George Washington reenactor friend James Manship about anarchy.

CPAC 2014: Why anarchy fails

Madam Screenwriter & White House

Especially enjoyable was our visit to the Perdie family residence and restaurant in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

Looking Glass sign

Definitely check out Through the Looking Glass if you head that way. The menu is delectable and Dorie and Steve are wonderful people!

Striking, Sound, Speed, And…Action!

That’s what we’ve heard a lot of around here as of late. It is an incredible moment as a writer to see the characters one has dreamed up and created come to life. There they are!

Virtus Coolidge (Kaiser Johnson) and Sincerity Newton (Stacey Bradshaw)

Virtus Coolidge (Kaiser Johnson) and Sincerity Newton (Stacey Bradshaw)

Part of the cast and crew: Samuel Thrasher, Nate Jacobson, Leona Worcester, Kaiser Johnson, Madam Screenwriter/Assistant Director Amanda Read, Ted M.W. Rich, Bryant Grizzell, and Mr. Director Matthew Perdie.

Part of the cast and crew: Samuel Thrasher, Nate Jacobson, Leona Worcester, Kaiser Johnson, Madam Screenwriter/Assistant Director Amanda Read, Ted M.W. Rich, Bryant Grizzell, and Mr. Director Matthew Perdie.

View more photographs on our Facebook page, and check out the cast and crew run down on our IMDb page. I am overwhelmed by the talent and gems of this production that I can’t wait to share. I’ll have to release these things over time in bite-sized increments to keep from freezing up your computer screens!

Stacey, Nate, Matthew, Amanda

Stacey Bradshaw, Nate Jacobson, Matthew Perdie and Amanda Read. Stacey plays the role of Sincerity Newton in Romans XIII, and Nate plays the role of Jason Fillmore. Stacey is also acting in co-star Nate Jacobson’s upcoming film, Wanted.

Matthew and I have been dubbed on set “Mr. Director” and “Madam Assistant Director” (although I’m more often called Madam Screenwriter). Like my sister Rachel (our “Madam Composer”) observed, everybody involved in a production like this becomes part of a big family – in our case, one that is an exciting blend of old and new friends and talent of varying experience. This project has been absolutely, hilariously, bittersweetly, and Providentially glorious. Despite being attacked with every measure of difficulty (including bad weather and illness among cast and crew), we are prevailing by the grace of God. Some things have worked out more beautifully than I could have planned.

Matthew and I will also be working a film gig at CPAC early next month.

As far as column writing is concerned, I was recently invited to become a contributor to Brenner Brief News. Follow my writing there, and you’ll likely find a lot about this (yet another productive filming project thanks to my skillful Mr. Director)…

A Call For Dr. Carson

Benjamin Carson speaks at the 24th Alabama Policy Institute annual dinner.

Benjamin Carson speaks at the 24th Alabama Policy Institute annual dinner.

Dr. Benjamin Carson brings a surgeon’s hand and eye to the health care debate…read my report in The Washington Times Communities.

ROMANS XIII (Casting Call)

Are you ready for this?

Romans XIII Banner Resized

Investigative blogger Virtus Coolidge thinks little of the flash drive given to him by new media mogul Andrew Romans until Romans’ sudden death. Virtus discovers he has inherited a mysterious list that intertwines the fate of his friends and possibly his country.

ROMANS XIII (13) is a fictional drama/comedy 13-part web series that follows the unlikely camaraderie of an agnostic investigative journalist and a Christian historian as they navigate the obstacles of new media politics, apathetic and psychotic friends, and forbidden love to expose a group of radicals that is advancing a dangerous agenda with a very unusual type of hit list.

Auditions start October 10th! Come join us at Longleaf Studios! https://www.facebook.com/events/624966200868697/

Follow @RomansXIII on Twitter!

Teaser poster photography was done by Abigail Read with lighting and staging by Amanda Read, Joseph Read, and Mary Read. Editing by Matthew Perdie. 

Romans 13 Audition Flyer

(Click to enlarge)

Film School 101

About that whole interested-in-filmmaking talk I’ve been rambling on for the past half a decade…Well, it’s finally being realized. Matthew Perdie moved to Alabama, and has temporarily taken up residence in the Fair Hills Farm Guest House as a live-in tutor in filmmaking for the Read family. Having our minds crammed with months and years worth of film school in a few weeks hasn’t been the smoothest and most peaceful process. But we’re learning a lot, and the prospects of future productions are exciting!

The lessons have involved film analysis…

More "Notorious".

Analyzing Hitchcock’s “Notorious” has been thrilling and amusing.

Rachel filmed a clip of the scene in which Devlin "finds out Alicia is assigned a spy job which requires her getting lovey dove with another man."

DEVLIN’S “CONSTERNATION”: Rachel filmed a clip of the scene in which Devlin “finds out Alicia is assigned a spy job which requires her getting lovey dove with another man.”

More Hitchcock...this time, "Rear Window".

More Hitchcock…this time, “Rear Window”.

Now for some good ol' historical drama...John Adams (2008).

Now for some good ol’ historical drama…John Adams (2008).

…as well as producing our own short films.

Amanda's Epic Fail

My first attempt at actress/director. You can see the result in my face: This just bombed.

Oh, the complexities of editing a movie!

Oh, the complexities of editing a movie!

THE LIST Screen Test (Lesson 5, 360p)

Amanda Read and Matthew Perdie experiment with a scene from one of their project scripts. The bonus blooper reel demonstrates improvised ways of staging the same scene, which is actually written to take place at a café bar. “Fred and Ginger’s” was a café name invented by Rachel Read while playing around on the chalk board during staging.

Playing Chess (Lesson 2, 360p)


How is Ben to keep his big sister Beth from beating him in chess? Little sister Becca comes in handy…This short film was made on day three of our film school with Matthew Perdie. Our roles were assigned to us at random upon drawing our names out of a basket. We added an amusing blooper at the end, which gives a glimpse of the challenge behind directing small children (and having a young boy hold the boom mic for so long).

Closet Doors (Lesson 1, 360p)


A little boy attempts to sneak past his brother to get a board game out of the closet on a stormy day when he gets more than he bargained for. (This is the result of our first film lesson with Matthew Perdie. He gave us the assignment of shooting a short film in five hours with no advice or help with equipment we had never learned how to use before. Amanda had a more elaborate, lighthearted plot idea, but when we started running out of time, the plot took a dark turn – no pun intended, but we misjudged the lighting too on that stormy day.)

Look at that! The green screen at Longleaf Studios!

Look at that! The green screen at Longleaf Studios!

We’ve also done a little location scouting for the web series. Until next time…

Get ready for the adventure!

Get ready for the adventure!

 

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