Showing all posts tagged #stewardship:


Unique Version of Fruit

Posted on December 14th, 2016

So I was taking a creative break while trying to work the diagram for Easter’s production design concept (I have a deadline to present this morning - I know, it’s not like I have a Troy Midweek to lead, or a Christmas Premier to have to get to late this evening, or Troy’s Christmas load in this Sunday to prepare for, or a big funeral to help provide coverage for, or our CT building project with a key meeting to prep for, or this weekend to think about making sure is covered while I have to be away on Saturday, or that fact that I’m still a position short and have the stress of ensuring coverage and praying through making a wise hire. No, not anything like that LOL - Anyway, sometimes the 1:1::input:output satisfaction of organizing helps me think creatively with the other side of my brain on the back burner…) and I came across this old half-written blog post I wrote over 5 years ago:

Boxes vs. Puzzle Pieces or Low Hanging Fruit vs. Potential Bounty of a Well Pruned Vine
Knowing the right boxes is good. It's prudent and orderly. However it's not necessarily creative.
It's the right place to start but it's not John 10:10
Life on the edge is a magical place where much fruit is produced.
Boxes are orderly, but not beautiful. Puzzle prices don't have a clean place to fit; but when the big complex picture is assembled.
Marking a checkbox can be quite satisfying, however, it's nothing compared to the euphoria of fitting puzzle pieces together.
The Creator's vision has been revealed. Pride of the Steward is a treasure.
The best manager sees all the pieces and realizes how they might fit to reflect the true heaven.
Pray for the workers.
See from the master Gardner's perspective; don't look from the field hand's position.
Don't just pull low hanging fruit; look for what produces fruit. Look for fruit producers. Fruit producers, partnering with other fruit producers will produce far greater crop through their beautiful partnerships.
Graft the ones who at a fractal level display their unique jagged version of fruit. Those fractal parts if put together will begin to reveal what the vine looks like...



FILO 2016 Production Design

Posted on May 23rd, 2016

One week ago, we were finishing load in and initial programming for 2016’s edition of the FILO Conference. It was an honor and privilege to be the Production Designer (responsible for Scenic and Lighting Design) for the conference. It was a scurry of a few days so I never really had time to post anything. Here are a few of my favorite moments from the event:


Some of you took my Scenic Design Concepts breakout class. For the rest of you, here’s the story behind how I landed on the final version of the design. These are the notes from the slide where I talked about "Branding (and the iterative process of design) …and Metaphor"

The O in FILO seemed to be the best part of the brand to play off of…
PlexiDiscs (something that I have in storage that’s not being used)
They set up easily enough (tie-line and zip-ties)
They can give depth to a shallow stage
They easily fit in my hatchback!
We concept designed about building a pretty cool set piece that we chose to say no to. (the builder, time, money, space on stage, etc.)
The iterative process - never settle for the first idea, if you stay disciplined to the process, the best idea will eventually be revealed. (certainly the idea at the greatest intersection of creativity and stewardship)
Metaphor
The 40 O’s represents each of us who are FILOs. Some of us are lone guys, some of us are part of teams. Coming together we can encourage each other with our beauty as we come together. Together we can find a chorus of a “new song" (Psalm 40) to carry with us as we go back to support and enhance the sharing of the good news that Jesus loves us.

The lights, I selected for a few reasons.
First, the B-EYEs are a light that every church tech nerd has seen the videos of and dreamt about having in their venue. I thought that giving a chance to see could be beneficial.
The opportunity to have access to the use some great hybrid fixtures in the Mythos was an amazing bonus.
Finally, the Aura XBs had a primary use of lighting the scenic. However the bonus of such a great light is that we created a number of presets to give us several bonus looks!

For the whole design I played with clusters that followed the Fibonacci sequence. I wanted to have the thought of each part of the design to have a beauty on its own and contribute to the beauty of the whole in a way that felt like it fit...

Thank you to Ryan and ILC for providing the amazing lighting gear. Thanks Jeff and Brian CCC for being perhaps the most hospitable hosts an any venue I’ve ever had the chance to work with. Thanks Nate and Chelsea for the logistics, leadership, and vision. Thanks to Michael and Nic for helping us set it all up, troubleshoot issues, and Nic especially for that great catch with the B-EYEs' profile issue. Thanks Alex (whom I met as we were both on the LD panel discussion breakout) for guest designing Session 3 as I was putting finishing touches on the Keynote presentation for my breakout.

Special thanks to Patrick for being my partner in the project. Having a guy on the console who knows how to interpret the ideas of my mind almost even before I say them is the dream for an LD. A best friend with me for the journey to and from Chicago is a bonus.

Thanks most of all to Todd for inviting me to play a small role in your vision. It was a privilege and an honor.


My Professional Vision & Personal Values

Posted on December 31st, 2015

I focused a lot of energy refining these in 2015. Here’s to 2016 being a year of flourishing in commitment and execution.

VISION (This is my professional vision. Any “tentmaking" responsibilities I commit to should support my vision)
maximizing ideation and strategy
coaching and revealing beauty to enhance story
achieving the greatest intersection of stewardship and creativity


VALUES (a sketch of my personal values that I realize is a filter for me in all I do)
  • Believe in the one who is sent … remember Jesus’ authority; be one who is surrendered … be courageous and without worry
    • John 6:29
    • Matt. 28 ... Gal. 2:19-20 ... John 15
    • Luke 12:31

  • Love with 100% - live with passion & peace … be salt & give grace … The Church Universal - ecclesial community at the fractal level … disciple (and humbly study) in every possible context
    • 1 John 2 ... John 10:10
    • Eph. 1:23 ... I John 1
    • John 16 ... Luke 2:22 ... Titus 2 ... Matt 9:38 pray for the workers

  • Pioneer; be a first follower of the Lord - every new day commune constantly; prayer without ceasing ... be authentic
    • Gal 1:10 ... Psalms 33,40, etc. ... Is. 42 ... Rev. 5
    • Romans 8:26-28 ... I Thess. 5:17

  • Maximize every context and opportunity … stewardship with the purpose of reconciliationinnovate reveal beauty (even if only to the subconscious) with the purpose of redemption
    • Romans 8:6 ... Col. 1
    • John 1 ... John 4:23-24 ... 2 Cor 12:7-10

My Production Design Algorithm

Posted on May 17th, 2015

A stream of thought listing things I consider with every design:

  • Context of organization
  • Context of event
  • What are the “budget" parameters?
    • Cost for the event?
    • Budget for series? for year?
  • Who is on stage?
    • who’s the teacher
    • who’s the worship leader
    • play to their style
  • Topic of the day…series
  • Branding...
    • How do the visuals identify with the mission?
    • Achieve continuity with the rest of communication
  • What are my resources?
    • existing materials?
    • budget for new?
      • I suppose I ought to ask about rental budget; however I’m rarely a fan of such...
    • lighting inventory?
  • What is the rep plot?
    • How do we play to the strengths of the lighting system?
    • A good rep plot is arguably the most important asset to your venue.
    • Certainly right up there with a good PA.
    • The good news is that that it costs way less...
  • What are video requirements?
    • IMAG
    • broadcast
    • camera positions
  • What are audio’s needs? What will help them succeed?
  • who is the producer?
    • What are their visual preferences?
    • what “lens" is the story told?
  • Who is on lights? Maximize their strengths...
  • What is the timeline for setup? for strike?
    • Is it a stage turn situation? If so, what is the design that precedes and follows?
    • How do you design in the timeline of multiple turns?
      • Hang the rig points 2 weeks out
      • hang the truss 1.5 weeks out
      • hang the lights 1 week out and use as backlight for the Midweek stage
      • Finally, hang hard goods and refocus lights in the turn for the target event
      • then hang a screen and soft goods from the same truss in an upcoming design.
  • What are transportation and storage logistical considerations?
  • Who is the crew? What are their strengths and experiences?
    • Artists vs. engineers
  • Materials
    • What materials have been used recently?
    • What materials will the upcoming holiday be using?
    • Use something different than either of these.
  • Mood
    • Honestly more important than materials is the mood.
    • It’s possible to create multiple moods with the same materials.
      • That’s what we do in a series: I brand a series with a palette of materials, and then craft the set for each day to support the unique story of that specific event...
  • Inspiration
    • What is inspiring me recently?
      • Architecture
      • Nature
      • Window displays
      • Trade magazines
      • Cinema
      • Renaissance paintings
      • Industrial dumpster
      • Pinterest
    • What's an archived idea that I might finally have the chance to try?
      • Evernote
        • Anything that inspires me tends to end up in Evernote
        • I use tags such as “design ideas"
    • I hate copying (plagiarism) and go to great lengths to make sure my art is authenticity mine. However, I think being inspired by other designers is completely appropriate.
    • Who can you connect with to bounce ideas off of one another? #ctln
  • Passion
    • I want people to pull their phones out.
    • I take pride in my discipline - the pursuit of creating something beautiful.
    • A design certainly should look good
      • Visual interest, shapes, patterns, textures, Layers, Depth behind every camera angle, etc.
      • However I suggest there are transcendent considerations that can be woven into the scene - metaphor, symbols, numerology, etc. Hide "Easter eggs" - it's fun and it will inspire someone, I promise.
        • break the 4th wall - immerse them in the story
        • target people’s subconscious

Love others

Posted on February 18th, 2015

Look upon people with the eyes of potential and hope rather than cynicism and judgment.


Thoughts to Remember When Creating a Space for Worship

Posted on September 30th, 2014

I rattled off a stream of thought in response to my friend asking me what things I think about when designing. He took that email and compiled it into this list; which his organization now uses this as part of their planing meetings. Perhaps it is a helpful guide for you to consider as well...


Thoughts to Remember When Creating a Space for Worship

  • The end goal of the services that happens in the space.
  • The vibe/feeling you want to help communicate.
  • Who is the target demographic?
  • Who in the audience will be reached regardless of the branding, environment, and artistry? These are not people to design for. Do not be influenced by them.
  • Who might only be opened up to the communication by the environment you present? This is who you must go after.
  • How might you use resources you already have available to support your vision?
  • What alternative ideas might convey such themes with increased beauty/power/depth?
  • What ideas might work well because of how clear the symbolism might be?
  • What of those ideas would be so cliché that it would actually turn off the artist in the audience?
  • What metaphors can you weave into the design to add depth of beauty (and meaning) ...even if only for you?
  • How long do you want to live in the look? A series? A season? A weekend? Indefinitely?
  • How will you light the set? How will you light the art and communication? Will the lighting on both feel unified?
  • Make sure to design scenic elements that will be enhanced with the lighting tools available. Also, design scenic with consideration of who is designing/operating lights. Try to play to their strengths.
  • It needs to look good in the room, to be certain. Are you broadcasting ever - stream, IMAG, record for later release?
  • Lighting for video requires thinking beyond what looks good to the naked eye; and lighting for both video and still having everything look good in the room requires some real finesse…
  • Think through positioning of each person who will be on stage. Where they stand/sit/dance should feel like it connects with the scenic elements and help visually connect the guests with the communication on stage. Break the 4th wall.
  • What scenic and/or lighting might be considered in the room? In the lobby? Before and after the event with advertising, social media, etc. How does the branding transcend the stage experience?
  • Think through everything that people might see. Certainly do not let anything be a distraction; also push into every opportunity to help enhance the story...

Why I don't intend to get an iPhone6

Posted on September 17th, 2014

I have fielded texts and DMs asking my opinion. I copy/pasted the following from one such reply.

Short answer is SIZE and stewardship of resources. What's the purpose you want to accomplish with a "pocketable" device? It should be a tool for you to be a good friend. It should remind you to be where you want to be and it should keep you connected to your extended circles. It should take good photos. It should not be a barrier between you and your loved ones. It should also not cause you to spend more for a phone bill than is prudent. A larger screen will only lure you into looking at it more. At the expense of who you might be across the table from. At the expense of your data bill. I also question how well the camera lens will fare as it squeezes in and out of pockets and countertops when it sticks out so obnoxiously. I also use my phone instead of my DSLR whenI want to travel light - the big phone seems counterintuitive... One more issue, if you're going to spend $700 (and you do spend that entire cost with the initial fee and *monthly charges for the next two years; you better make sure it is worth abandoning what you currently have in your hand…

*We save $25/month on each of our phones that are out of contract. $300/year is a steep cost for something that’s not going to truly be beneficial.

What do you think? Am I missing something crucial to the decision of what to do with this choice?

A Challenge to Myself

Posted on July 23rd, 2014

We artists are responsible for being the spark of hope that will change futures.

Eliminate everything that makes you less than the best reflection of your humanity. It is your responsibility is to be a good steward of every opportunity.

Own your contribution. Do not allow cynicism to “protect" you from having to try. Cynicism and hope cannot coexist. Embrace the new present and pursue the future without fear.

If you complain about something (especially more than once) you’re allowing it to continue. Instead, look for how you can solve the “problem" and lead into a new future… Future based language changes present results.

Do not be lulled into accepting the good. Instead, search out the hidden potential for greatness. Greatness is revealed by the discipline of whittling away at the idea and not settling for the first draft.

Tell a story. Be an artisan. Craft the magical.

Give good notes; be a good coach. Do not "play small." Give the gift of honest and constructive criticism - it is a real gift if your team trusts that you are for them.

Strive to do what only you can do. Gather and invest in great teammates. They too are creative and uniquely gifted. Be intentional and mine it out of them.

Being full of hope, bring your full self to any and every situation. Know your unique talents and steward them well.

Use your creative mind as a gift to the team. When at your best, you'll ask helpful, focusing questions that will guide us toward a better future.

Always take a chance on better, even if it seems threatening. Break paradigms - dare to bend the implications of what people think they know.

Ideate where we might go as we consider "hopeful, unknown, future possibilities."

Tomorrow is not rooted in the past unless you are lazy in your vision. May we call each other to the higher standard. Let us reach for the stars.

May we be known by love. May ours be a collective voice of hope. May we realize our potential to create a beautiful future.

Do not hesitate to step up where others shrink in fear. Charge as a warrior in the service of joy. Never cease speaking up and offering your very best work. Be relentless in generously sharing the gift you uniquely can be - to your ecclesial community and the world beyond.

You are designed to imagine and create the future.

You are not your idea. Be openhanded with everything. You are not what you do. Do not forget that the Work of God is to believe in the one who was sent.

As a creative who seeks to live life to the fullest, you must always pay attention to the world. See the big picture. Never cease to to be awestruck at the beauty of nature. Practice gratefulness; recognize gifts even and especially in the midst of chaos. Share in the celtic tradition as you journey.

Be not prideful; be courageous. Live unhindered. Your life is art.

Continue dying to yourself and live every new day in a posture of surrender.

Keep your integrity bounded and your imagination boundless. May your dreams be big - rooted in not in your past but in the One who was and is and most importantly who is to come.

Love with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.



*The above is curated from my various journal entries, notebooks, and underlined passages from books I've been reading. Along with a few "original" thoughts of my own, much of the above is derived with paraphrasing (and a few direct quotes) from some people who have been inspiring me over the past few months. Thanks in particular to Oswald Chambers, Seth Godin, Erwin McManus, Ann Voscamp, Ed Catmull, Aaron Sorkin, Marcus Buckingham, Michael Dauphinee, Jason Jaggard, Jessica Wolfe, and Jesus of Nazareth.


Unconscious competency and the gift of sharing in relationship

Posted on March 21st, 2014

A couple years ago I was introduced to a talented young man at a conference. Like a lot of us in this community, Don wears many hats in his responsibilities preparing for and supporting weekend services at his church. He’s a bit of a jack-of-all-trades and has a particular aptitude and curiosity for creating beauty and helping communicate through the discipline of scenic design. This I’m sure is a big part of why we were connected. Anyway, it has been great to get to know him as we get together for coffee a few times per year. In spite of being in significantly different life stages, our conversation always flows beautifully and is rich in mutual encouragement. Not only does neither of us like to settle for a mediocre cup of coffee; but we segue that thought into dialogue of our passion for preparing a quality storytelling environment for our guests.

During one of our meetings, we were discussing everything that goes into a stage design. The next day, Don emailed to ask me if I wouldn’t mind typing some of the things out so he could chew on them further. I sent him a stream of thoughts that covered what I remembered us musing about along with a few other ideas to consider... The next time we got together, he shared the document that his leadership team uses as a guide every time they plan an event. He had reworked my thoughts into a list and he was excited to share with me stories of the fruit of our coffee meetings.

I was humbled and honored to have been useful. I hadn’t really thought about it since sending the email. For him to have taken the time to separate them into bullet points and create a document from them that was used as it was really struck me. We all want to be helpful. I think that is perhaps the most common trait of production artists. Yes, we’re all a bit geeky, but mostly we want to help people. It was a real gift to me for him to thank me in the way he did.

When I started writing this post, I thought the story about my coffee with Don was simply setting up the list that I’m including. Perhaps the list is a helpful tool. If so, cool; here's the link: egwolfe.com/post/thoughts-to-remember-when-creating-a-space-for-worship
However, I realize the greater challenge comes in at least one of the following:

Realize the genius you have to offer someone else and share it. I think that far too often, we fail to realize the unconscious competency we have in our unique areas of expertise. Especially those among us who have been working in our craft for a long time have wisdom to share in how to we make the most of our situations. It is a crime to not share the ideas we have. These "simple" ideas will likely be a profound blessing.

I encourage you to seek out (or at least seize the opportunity when it presents itself) the person you can meet with to either pour into or draw insight from. We all have busy schedules; and the thought of taking an afternoon to do something that doesn't directly accomplish a task on our todo list is difficult to justify. In the short term, perhaps so; but in the bigger picture, the mutual sharpening from the new friendship will pay off in unseen dividends.

Ask the Lord to show you who you should meet with. Commit to the building the relationship. Share with a posture of open hands and receive with an open mind.



Quote - on debt and creativity

Posted on September 7th, 2013

“The trick is from the business side, to try to be fiscally responsible so you can be creatively reckless."


I like this reminder. It goes along with my tagline:
achieving the greatest intersection of stewardship and creativity

Eric Wolfe

Visual Artist. Production Designer and Consultant. Developer of Ideas. Maximizer of Resources. Strategic Thinker. Creative Innovator. Husband. Father. Philosopher. Photographer. Backpacker. Athlete. Cook. Artisan. Catch Eric’s sporadic musings at egwolfe.com or follow him on social media platforms as @egwolfe