A Filmmaker’s Journal

The World Premiere this past week of my new feature film Over-the-Rhine was remarkable. Cincinnati’s historic Memorial Hall was packed with good people and good cheer. The audience response was ecstatic–loud cheering erupted as the end credits rolled–a filmmaker’s dream. But more importantly, the film’s answer to the question “How do you forgive the unforgiveable?” cut a new groove into people’s hearts. And that matters far more than any momentary high generated by praise. As grandiose as it sounds, I don’t just want to make better movies, I want to make better people (myself included).

Blogger and gifted writer S. M. Zang of Pitching Pennies Poetry wrote a lovely and spirited review of the movie. You can read it here.

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Blessed are the Dodos


(Of course, they’re also extinct)

unflappable /ʌnˈflæpəbəl adjective 1. Hard to upset; imperturbable; calm; composed.

Not the unflappable type? Me neither. But you know what? There’s something better:

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives, so do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)

Go, flap, and be calm.

And have a great weekend while you’re at it!

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You’re Peculiar!


I was wearing khakis and a polo shirt, and was about to do a poetry reading for a room full of clove cigarette-smoking hipsters, identically clad in tight black clothes. I stepped up to the microphone and mumbled, “I feel so normal,” and they burst into applause. At that moment I knew I had them. Because I was, in fact, the weirdest person in the room.

“You are a chosen generation…a peculiar people, uniquely suited to show the goodness of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” ~1 Peter 2:9

Posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Poetry, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

The Wishing Map 69

Have you ever observed a phenomenon of nature so wondrous that it simply could not have come into existence by chance?

Mitch Teemley

Wishing pix-Title-(framed)

Note: To read The Wishing Mapfrom the beginning, click here.

The Wishing Map

Chapter Sixteen: Fisher Folk and Naims (Cont’d)

Previously: After being attacked by a spiffwit, Gina and her brother Zack entered the inn named for the bizarre little bird.

(See below for a Glossary of SurKellish words*)

⇔ ⇔ ⇔

The inside of the Screaming Spiffwit was made of the same richly grained wood as the exterior. Only now, in the light of multiple lanterns, did Zack and Gina realize how remarkable it was. At first they thought it was painted, but as they looked closer, they realized its rainbow hues were organic.

It was carved into patterns that took their inspiration from the wood’s natural colors: an angelic pink face surrounded by pale blue flowers; a gleeful yellow sun breaking through vermillion clouds; a deep green forest marching along a grey granite bluff. An…

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A Filmmaker’s Journal

Just a quick update: Tonight’s World Premiere of my new feature film Over-the-Rhine is getting a lot of last-minute buzz. I did a live interview on the local Fox channel, and hear the local NBC station is repeatedly airing a spot about it, as well. Result? We’ve sold nearly twice as many tickets as we expected to, and the auditorium we were afraid was too big for us, Cincinnati’s historic Memorial Hall, is suddenly looking too small!

  You can read the story carried by our local USA Today affiliate, the Cincinnati Enquirer, here. Blessings till it hurts! ~Mitch

Posted in Movies, Popular Culture & Entertainment | Tagged , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

My Scar Stories

Animals Just Love Me to Death

I love animals. And as a result, I suppose, as with humans, few animals are indifferent to me. Most think I’m swell. But some, like humans, want to kill me. The latter are the source of several notable scars, including my second (#1 was the infamous exploding milk bottle).

96f05159af01becf5900b6f26a5d8885My buddy Stevie possessed three things of which I was deeply jealous: red hair, freckles, and Rin Tin Tin. OK, so it wasn’t the actual hero dog of TV fame, just a garden variety German Shepherd. But he was a dead ringer for the real “Rinty.”

So one day we decided to act out an improvised Rin Tin Tin adventure in Stevie’s backyard. Stevie’s dad was a Scout leader, so there was a stack of unused Cub Scout caps just itching to be played with. But how? Aha! I would sit on the back porch holding them hostage while Stevie held the noble Rinty back. Then Stevie would yell, “Go get ‘em, boy!” and Rinty would run up to me, “rescuing” the caps from my grasp one at a time, and take them back to Rusty at Fort Apache. Stevie’s red hair made him Rusty, so I was the default bad guy. Which I didn’t mind because having Rinty rip cap after cap out of my hand until there were none left was a hoot!

“Until there were none left.” That was where things went awry. Rinty was apparently a fan of his namesake series, so he knew that once you’d rescued the captives, you had to deal with the villain. That would be me. So, after slobbering the last hostage into Stevie’s hands, Rinty turned and ran at me full speed, claws and teeth ablaze, in full Saturday morning adventure mode!

I woke up in an emergency room several hours later with, surprisingly, only 11 stitches in my face (now just a couple of pale lines at the end of my nose.) I had conflicted feelings about Rinty after that. On the one hand, I was convinced it wasn’t his fault, on the other, I was afraid to ever go near him again. Sadly, my friendship with Stevie began to fade around the same time.

On the plus side, I learned several things about working with canine thespians:

  1. Dogs are method actors
  2. They don’t get subtext
  3. Look for scripts with killer hamsters
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How Big is Your God?

God's Dwelling Place

“Traveling through space and not finding God does not mean that space is empty any more than traveling through my body and not finding me means that I am not here.”

~Dallas Willard

Posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments