It’s no secret. Our team loves technology, and we’re constantly trying out new things (or not-so-new things, like Podcasting…) to see if we can provide more value to the community.
And today, we’re super excited about opening up a new channel of tech communication with everyone:
Read more and listen to it after the jump!
We’ll be regularly bringing new episodes filled with helpful interviews, answers to your questions, and just-plain shootin’ the ole breeze.
Episode: 001 – Radical[audio: http://8bitcache.s3.amazonaws.com/podcast/8bitpodcast001a.mp3]
If you have any questions for our next “Ask 8BIT” audio segment, we’d love to hear from you! Example questions could be:
- “What’s John’s favorite CMS platform?”
- “Our church is searching for a new IT guy. Do you guys have any tips?” (We do, by the way.)
- “What’s Kyle’s energy drink of choice?” (Probably Amp. My guess.)
Comments & feedback are also awesome. Thanks for giving us a listen & hanging out with us on your iPod for awhile!
Episode 001 Radical!
Host: Andrew Mason
Guests: John Saddington, Tom McFarlin, Adam Kring
June 5, 2010
John Saddington: I think we almost need like an intro.
Andrew Mason: You mean like before the music part?
John Saddington: Like…yeah, we have no idea what we’re doing.
Andrew Mason: Oh, ye of little faith.
Recording: 8BIT Podcast, Episode 001. It’s your favorite part of the week. You probably just don’t know it yet. It’s time for the 8BIT Podcast.
Andrew Mason: Well, welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the very first 8BIT Podcast episode. Like John said, we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing here. Definitely stick around though because we have a jam-packed episode for you. We have an interview with Adam Kring from NewSpring Church. He’s one of the motion graphic designers that worked on the really awesome Zac Smith video that’s been out for a while.
We also have the man…the myth, the legend…John Saddington here with us…here to answer your questions from two weeks ago. Sorry we didn’t get to them this last week, but things are insane around here, but awesome. So John, let’s get to it, man. Would you like to say hi to all the guys and all of the ladies out there?
John Saddington: Yeah, now, for those listening, Andrew is single, and so probably there is one female out of every thousand readers, you know, at ChurchCrunch.
Andrew Mason: Yikes.
John Saddington: You know, and that’s a great question. We should try to figure out what our female-to-male ratio…in terms of our readership.
Andrew Mason: That’s a great idea. In fact, I’ll get on top of that. If you’re a female reader, you can send your email to [email protected]… No, we’re going to completely edit that part out.
Okay, first question comes from Jim Gray, and I think you’re the guy, John, to answer this. It says, “What do you suggest for a blog schedule for somebody who doesn’t have a lot of time, and how do you pick topics for posts?”
John Saddington: That’s a really great question. In fact, the issue isn’t really so much about time because all of us have extremely busy lives. And so if you’re really busy and you only have an hour a week, that’s as much time as you can commit. And so you choose a topic or a number of categories that you know that you can complete at least one blog post in that hour segment a week. But we have dedicated more time than the average person to blogging.
Andrew Mason: Yeah.
John Saddington: And as a result, we can produce more.
Andrew Mason: Definitely…sweet. Our second question comes from Sam Mal…Malsh…Malsh…John, how do you pronounce his name?
John Saddington: Sam Maldshdat?
Andrew Mason: Mal…Mal…Mal…Malshdat…for some reason, this just feels better saying it in a funny voice.
John Saddington: I knew like a…there was a girl in my middle school class who had like a very similar name, and she was…she was Swedish.
Andrew Mason: Swedish?
John Saddington: From Sweden.
Andrew Mason: Oh.
John Saddington: Swedish…I don’t know. All right, Sam.
Andrew Mason: His question is, “For a group of guys who consistently poor out radical content…”
John Saddington: I think he said, “Rad.”
Andrew Mason: Rad?
John Saddington: It’s rad…rad…radical.
Andrew Mason: Radical!
John Saddington: Yeah, radical is kind of like an intelligent way…or like a…you have to say, “Rad.”
Andrew Mason: Rad?
John Saddington: Like put it like, “That’s Raphael rad.”
Andrew Mason: The painter?
John Saddington: Like the Ninja Turtles are rad.
Andrew Mason: I was never allowed to watch the Ninja Turtles growing up. Okay, Sam says, “For a group of guys who consistently poor out rad content, how do you balance content generation with research and looking for content? In other words, how much time do you dedicate to scouring the web versus what amount of time do you spend writing?”
John Saddington: I have a very particular daily schedule in terms of how I go about writing content. I spend a lot of my time in the evening doing a lot of my research. The best content, especially in terms of technology, is actually written at night if you’re in the U.S. And some of the most advanced technology and, of course, the coolest stuff comes out in other parts of the world and not the U.S. Also, throughout the day, I’m collecting content. I use Evernote, and so actually, the majority of my time is in scouring the web, in doing the research, looking for content, and collecting content.
Andrew Mason: That’s good. You create so much content. One of the things I think people are probably wondering about is how much sleep do you get?
John Saddington: Sleep is…sleep is a spiritual discipline, and so for me, I don’t sleep at all. I’m just kidding. Actually, I have to…I really, really try…now, this is something I’m getting better at…but I really try to go to bed at a decent hour…around 12 midnight. And what I have done is just I have shifted things. And so I’ll wake up a little bit earlier.
Andrew Mason: Good stuff. I need to sleep more. And then to the second half of his question, he was asking, “Are there areas where…just there is a post that just doesn’t fit in any of the properties, and do you see value for anything additional?”
John Saddington: I think one of the things that we haven’t done well enough that I really want to spend a lot more time is I’m a software developer and by trade, and you don’t really see a lot of software development-type posts or even specifically snippets of code, and so that doesn’t necessarily fit on ChurchCrunch. So perhaps, we’ll create another property or something like that, and we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure the readership stays high and people feel like they’re getting a good fill every day.
Andrew Mason: Good deal. We have one more question I’m going to through at your way, Tom. It’s from Marcus Williamson, and he says, “What inspires each of you in the 8Bit world? Are there any websites, magazines…what types of things do you draw inspiration from, dude?”
Tom McFarlin: I’m a software developer, so most of what I work on is at an architectural level. I don’t do a lot of user-interface design, layouts…things like that. In my nine-to-five, we have a lot of those designs passed down to us that we just simply implement. In the cases where I am doing some type of, you know, user-interface component or some basic design work, I used to derive a lot of designs just from looking at other people’s websites. As I have gotten older, I have begun to kind of derive some inspiration from other forms of media…maybe something that you would see in a magazine or something. You might even see a billboard on the highway.
There have been times where I have noticed something about, say, like a television commercial. You know, there is…and in terms of inspiration, maybe it’s something as simple as color schemes. Maybe it’s something like fonts. But maybe it is something like layouts. But I would say that I know what my limitations are in terms of design so I try to just work within those boundaries. You know, I don’t try to pretend to be something that I’m not.
Andrew Mason: Absolutely. I have actually just talked to somebody today about seeing something that takes teams of people to create. And biting off more than you can chew, especially if you’re a one-person design team, you know, working for a limited amount of time and trying to pull off something that you see, you know, huge Hollywood agencies do. Good stuff.
And thank you, John. Thank you, Tom, for your time. We really, really appreciate it. We know you’re busy guys. And guys if you leave a post or a comment below, we’ll do our best to answer it via audio, video…rich media of some sort…ASCII art.
And now we get to interview…I am so excited about this…Adam Kring is one of the motion graphic designers in NewSpring Church…does some amazing content, helped work on a Zac Smith video, which we’ll get to hear more about in a little bit. This guy’s story is crazy and actually has changed people’s lives. But Adam, we’re so privileged to talk to you today, man. How are you doing?
Adam Kring: What’s up, man?
Andrew Mason: Not too much. We’re recording this right before Memorial Day. It probably won’t release until afterwards. But dude, Memorial Day, do you have any plans?
Adam Kring: Yes, yes, Memorial Day weekend 2010, my wife’s birthday is that day.
Andrew Mason: Oh.
Adam Kring: So we will be honoring her and showering her with love. And by we, I mean I am going to, so we have some getaway plans for the day…going to go do some hiking and stuff. It’s going to be awesome.
Andrew Mason: Now, tell me this…have you ever tried to combine Memorial Day weekend with the anniversary and had some sort of like patriotic anniversary? Or…
Adam Kring: I haven’t in a while. I used to go to those Memorial Day parades growing up, but not it’s…since I have her in my life, it’s kind of…it’s good just to kind of focus on her. You know, we’ll…I’m certainly absolutely and 100 percent grateful for what everybody who’s ever been in the service has done for our country. I mean, talk about being indebted to somebody, but I certainly look forward to making that day all about her.
Andrew Mason: No, I get the whole, you know, honoring veterans. I am all about that. But back in the day, for our family, it was just…it…we ate burgers on the back porch, and that was it. And if the air was just right, maybe…maybe…light off some firecrackers.
Adam Kring: See, I grew up in Michigan, and they have this strict law of no fireworks, and they’re pretty harsh, and so…in terms of enforcing it…and so the best we got were the little like pop rocks, I guess, which you could throw at the porch, you know…kind of a little pop.
Andrew Mason: Yes…sweet, dude, well, let’s hit the nitty-gritty. This is the reason we’re here. Tell everybody a little bit of your story…how you got to where you are today, specifically in NewSpring, and then also, you know, learning motion graphic and doing design work and stuff. Just give everybody a feel for how your story landed where you are now.
Adam Kring: Sure. I came on staff at NewSpring at…near the end of 2008, and I’m really…that in itself was just an act of God. I lived in Michigan for pretty much my entire life, and I just…someone was like, “Hey, NewSpring Church is looking for a mo graph designer.” I was like, “Cool, what’s a NewSpring?” Hadn’t any idea about who they were, got down here and interviewed, and was just blown away by what God was doing and just looked forward to, you know, possibly getting involved.
And so I got hired there in November, and I have been here, I guess, a year and a half. I work with an incredible team. My boss, Ken Wilson, you know, just does a fantastic job of building into us and just, you know, kind of providing a great direction for where our team’s going as it relates to like NewSpring and in how we can serve the vision of the church. So you know, everything we do revolves around that, and I just look forward to coming to work every day and just building into that vision and supporting that as much as possible.
Learning mo graph, man, I bought a student version of After Effects probably like in 2007, you know, a few years ago and split the cost, even, with somebody else because two licenses came with the thing.
Andrew Mason: That is awesome.
Adam Kring: And so like I figured, Well if I can swing half of it and he can swing half of it, then we can like both…mutually beneficial. So we went down to the college shop and bought a copy of it and just was so excited and just started watching tutorials and had no idea what I was doing, and I still hardly do. But it was exciting, and we were young, and we were alive. And so that’s when I started into…I guess you’ll call it the motion graphic side of things.
Andrew Mason: Okay, now this is a very important question…as far as operating system goes, Mac or PC?
Adam Kring: I was a PC user until 2004 when a friend of mine introduced me to Apple Final Cut Pro, and I was fed up with my Premier system. I had this big, black video box that I bought from somebody, and I was just done. It was running on Windows 2000 if that brings back any memories for anybody, and from that day forward, I started saving my pennies for my first PowerBook G4 so it could run Final Cut.
Andrew Mason: That’s good. I didn’t tell you this, but that was actually a secret test. And you my friend, just passed.
Adam Kring: Good, good, good.
Andrew Mason: I think maybe a question that a lot of churches are wondering is…I don’t have anybody in media at all. I’m just getting started. What advice do you have for churches that are just getting started in visual media, and they’re just getting their feet wet with this whole thing? Where do you even begin with all of that?
Adam Kring: I think the biggest thing that I could pass to somebody else is…don’t be afraid to fail. I think in NewSpring’s beginning…you know, NewSpring’s been around for a little over 10 years now. That was one thing that my boss, Ken, was allowed to have happen, you know. NewSpring failed with a lot in a lot of stuff that they did, but they also learned a lot more from failing as opposed to always getting it right.
And so taking risks and taking chances in, you know, some of the most ridiculous and unpredictable ways may end up paying out in dividends way more down the road than at that second. I think one thing that is kind of a caution, almost, is there are a lot of free resources that are available out there these days via churches. I know NewSpring, ourselves, we provide a lot of free resources for churches…LifeChurch obviously with their OPEN program. I know…you know, Elevation…there are a lot of churches that provide a lot of packaging, sermon material…all that stuff.
And I think one of the big fears I have is it’s not setting the church up to continue to kind of learn and figure out how to do things and be creative on their own when, you know, you’re just kind of borrowing ideas. That’s fine, but you really aren’t allowing yourself to grow as an artist by continually doing that. So that’s one of my bigger fears…is that might happen more with smaller churches.
Certainly, not all small churches have the resources, you know, to have seven people on staff or even one person or even lucky to have a video volunteer. I get that. But I certainly would encourage people who have the capabilities and have the…you know, the brains, the creative brains, to go out and try something and have the option to fail, just to take the easy way out.
Andrew Mason: That’s good. What about the person who says, “You know what? I don’t know how to be creative because Sunday is always coming. I’m always in a production mode. How do I separate that and actually keep fresh eyes?” I mean, where do you go for fresh perspective to keep, you know, your creative juices flowing?
Adam Kring: Well, there are a couple of things you can do. I’m always a big proponent of finding a community to get yourself plugged into, whether it’s like you and me…you know, like we hang out and talk and, you know…or share stuff over Twitter or whatever or anybody who has an online relationship. And that sounds kind of weird…online relationship. But you know, if you don’t …what I guess I’m trying to say is if you don’t have that around you, go and seek it out. There are a lot of vehicles that can do that these days.
Vimeo, which is an online player, vimeo.com, is a huge resource that I find where I can share ideas with others to engage with what other people are putting out there and learn from. There is a lot of opportunity in that. You know, I have sent some messages to some people. You can kind of message with people, ask ideas, throw ideas around, ask questions, you know, learn about techniques. A lot of people are just throwing up some incredible content on there these days. And you know, I really think it’s like kind of an emerging resource for creative artists to go and check out, you know, even if you’re not putting anything up there yourself, just to see what other people are digging into.
Fubiz.net is another place. And that’s a French site, and so you may have never heard of that. But it’s…you’re going to have use your Google translator to translate the site, but that just another incredible resource that I like to tap into. It’s a blog. Motionographer of course, Art of the Title Sequence, you know, there are a lot of great tutorial sites out there. I don’t usually hit those as much anymore.
But I think the biggest thing for me I like is just still photography, especially on the video side of things because, you know, photographers can capture an incredible amount of like…they just have an incredible artistic eye that, you know, video people don’t always see. And so sometimes, if you can emulate what a photographer has captured, oh, my gosh, that blows my mind!
Andrew Mason: I have heard people who actually say that digital photography makes people lazy because there are not a limited amount of shots or a limited amount of film, so you just hold down the…you know, the take-a-shot button, you know, until something good does come out.
But let’s switch gears here a little bit, and tell me about the Zac Smith video for people that might not have heard his story or what it’s all about.
Adam Kring: Zac was NewSpring’s IT director. He was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2009 at 30…I think he was 32…32 years old at that point. And it was, you know, right away just not a good situation. And so initially, we did one video with him for our FUSE student ministry where he ended up actually writing a letter to himself, you know, at…set like…kind of portrayed like at 17 years old…If I could tell you anything right now, what would it be? And so that kind of set it up, and you know, it had like a really huge impact on our student community.
And so back in February, you know, Zac was still fighting his cancer, and so our senior pastor, Perry Noble, decided that, hey, he wanted to incorporate Zac’s story as a part of an upcoming message that he was teaching. And so Zac and I got back together and huddled together, went out, and we went and shot it. And what has happened with his story since has just been anything short of blowing my mind. We get a lot of calls from churches who have been impacted by it and want to show it, individuals who are just, you know, overwhelmed.
Adam Kring: Adam, let’s go ahead and play a little clip from the video just so people get an idea of what’s being talked about and what Zac’s story was.
Zac Smith: The Bible says in Matthew 7:11 that God gives good things to those who ask. God cannot give me a bad gift, and it is through that lens that I can say that cancer is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am a better husband and a better dad, a better boss and a better employee, a better friend, and a better follower of Jesus. And through cancer, God has shown me some amazing things about Himself. Those are indeed great gifts.
I still have questions about cancer…why it went away and why it came back. I do not understand, but I can now that God is in charge. I am praying for God to heal me. That is my desire. I want to walk my daughter, Lizzy, down the aisle. I want to watch my sons, Jake and Luke, become men. I want to grow old with Mandy, and I want to live my life with my friends here at work, but I may not be able to work for very much longer. And I may have just celebrated my last Christmas with my family.
This I do know…if God chooses to heal me, then God is God, and God is good. If God chooses not to heal me and allows me to die, God is still God, and God is still good. To God be the glory.
Andrew Mason: Man.
Adam Kring: Zac passed away just a few weeks ago when he was…he was 33 years old. And since he and I did his story, it’s just been nothing short of blowing, I would say, both his and my minds in just how his faith has impacted thousands and tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of people all around the entire world.
You know, we get messages and emails sent to him that, you know, he shared with me, and I shared with him of just, you know, people who just have been so moved by his faith in…and if you haven’t seen it, I would encourage you to go watch it. It’s only four and a half minutes long. And I know you can talk to this, Andrew, that you know, it just blows your mind, the type of faith that he had during, you know, pretty much kind of odds that would just beat you up every day if you think about it.
Andrew Mason: Oh, yeah, it’s a gut check when you’re, you know, you’re ticked off because the drive-throughs taking, you know, too long, and this guy has an amazing attitude when 90 percent of the world would be questioning or mad at God. It completely makes you reevaluate your priorities and what you think is important. And speaking of that, I mean, this really helps when you’re working in church world on technical stuff, and you think you’re just working on another video, or you’re just thinking, You know, I’m just writing code, and who is this really impacting? What’s this really for?
Adam Kring: I think of a good…and it’s actually…now that you pointed out something that I was trying to keep in mind…is you never who’s watching…ever. You never know who’s watching what you’re doing, and it’s just something that you should always keep in mind in striving for excellence, you know. You don’t know what that person’s story is that day who came to your church, and you don’t know how that’s going to affect them. And at the most, it might just plant a seed, you know. God speaks about in the Bible that His Word will not return void. And if so, if you’re spreading the gospel via the vehicle of video, you know, what you’re working on is not going to return void.
Andrew Mason: One hundred percent agree with that…Adam, I think that’s where we’re going to leave the interview. Thank you so much for your time. I really, really appreciate it.
Adam Kring: Yeah, man, thank you taking for a couple minutes and just, I guess, listening to my ramblings. I really appreciate you…to, you know, listening to me.
Andrew Mason: Definitely. Guys, you can search for Adam Kring on Twitter and on Vimeo. You’ll see both of his accounts there, and check out NewSpring.cc to see some of the latest stuff that he’s had a hand in, in working with.
And remember, it is just not editing video. It’s not just writing code. You’re not just moving chairs around or running cameras. It is all for something greater, and it’s a means to an end to bring kingdom of God to earth.
So we really appreciate your time. That’s all we have for today. Leave a comment or a post below. Let us know what you think. Or if you have any questions or feedback or anything like that, we’d love to hear from you. And we’ll see you right here next time for the 8BIT Podcast.