The second CREATE conference, sponsored by the Communications Department of the Church of God of Prophecy International Offices, was held the first weekend of May, bringing together more than 60 creative and aspiring creative eager to learn more about talents, inspiration, and leadership.
The weekend was full of activities, including a film screening of the independent faith-based romance Old Fashioned with the film’s star and director Rik Swartzwelder, a mentoring session and concert with singer-songwriter, Nicole C. Mullen, and a video production drama with actress-director Lynda Stein.
After the film closed, on Friday evening, Swartzwelder answered questions from the group about his film’s inspiration and the ten-year journey from script to screen. He called the film’s timing to release against Fifty Shades of Grey a “double-edged sword” that helped the film break records but also put it in the line of fire for critics.
“Even the simple announcement of our release date put a unique kind of spotlight on our modest, little film and certainly antagonized some folks at the same time it was inspiring many others,” Swartzwelder said.
Swartzwelder encouraged the group of creatives to not be intimidated with their ideas and also shared production stories from the film shoot. One particularly interesting fact was that he revealed the movie was edited in nearby Chattanooga and he lived in Ooltewah, Tennessee, for a year during that phase of production.
During her mentoring session on Saturday evening, Mullen spoke about her history as a songwriter and recording artist along with sharing what inspired her breakout hit “Redeemer.”
In answering a question about hitting a creative roadblock in songwriting, Mullen told the group, “When I am unable to press through (the roadblock), I have to shut out (everything), I have to close out the things around me.”
Mullen also shared some of the best advice she had been given through the years, to not be afraid to go back and refine the songs she had written.
“Skill takes time,” she said. “Sometimes God will drop an idea in our hearts but He will leave for us to be challenged to learn the skill and craft in order to convey that message.”
Throughout Saturday, 20 workshops divided into five tracks were offered by professionals in various fields, including music, media (tech), media (art), drama, and writing. Marsha Robinson, who led a workshop on grammar, also served as a keynote speaker Saturday morning. A panel discussion on Saturday also allowed for questions and answers with experts for creative applications for local churches.
The weekend concluded with a time of ministry on Sunday morning with Mullen during the Peerless Road Church Sunday morning worship service. A video produced by the drama track, “Is It Well With Your Soul?,” was also premiered.
The weekend earned kudos from those who attended, citing the professionalism and large amount of relevant material presented by the workshop leaders.
“The expertise of the presenters combined with the hard work of the conference staff and partnership with Peerless Road Church made this conference truly a top level event,” said DeWayne Hamby, Director of Communications. “Weeks later, we are still hearing reports of those who were re-energized and inspired to make a difference with their talents.
”For more information, including videos, pictures and presentations from CREATE, visit www.facebook.com/CreateConferenceCommunity.