Monday, March 28, 2011

A Filmmaker's Dilemma - What to Cut?

We are busy putting the final touches on the Hitting the Nuts DVD. (It comes out April 15th.) As a result, we have been able to resurrect a few of the scenes that did not make the final cut to use as DVD extras. The first cut of the movie was over 180 minutes long. The final cut is under 100 minutes. We removed enough footage to make a second feature film during the editing process. Some very funny stuff landed on the cutting room floor. Most scenes were deleted because they didn't move the story forward. They may have been hilarious and well acted, but they didn't help get us where we needed to go.

Today we released on youtube one of the deleted scenes that will be on the DVD. It is one of my favorites. It features my friends Matt Donnelly and Nick Ghizas playing father and son, "Dirty" and Josh Rivers. If you aren't aware, this entire movie was improvised. There was no pre-scripted dialogue. It all happened in the moment. To me, this is comedy at its simplest form: two selfless improvisers setting the other up for success. I hope you enjoy it:

For more information on Hitting the Nuts check out the official site at

Sunday, March 27, 2011

An Open Apology

This post has a way of re-appearing on this blog every so often. It has been a working document for 13 years now. I read this apology at The Vineyard this weekend and many people requested that I post it online. It is meant for those of you who have been hurt by Christians and the Church. I hope you are able to receive it as an honest apology:

I ask your forgiveness for the ongoing corruption of the church at large since the early days of the church, for I believe that it is a sin to use the church for personal or political gain.

I ask your forgiveness for every boring church event, church service, or sermon since the creation of the world, for I believe that it is a sin to bore people with really good news.

I ask your forgiveness for the silence of a significant percentage of the European church during the Jewish holocaust and of the American church during the years of slavery, for I believe that it is a sin for the church of God to stand by while innocent people die.

I ask your forgiveness for the unimaginable violence done in and through and with the blessing of the church throughout history, for I believe Jesus died once for all of us to put an end to violence.

I ask your forgiveness for the weight of rules and legalism that has shackled the church, making it oppressively fear-based and guilt-centered, for I believe that it is a sin to deny people their freedom in Christ.

I ask your forgiveness for every power-crazed political zealot who has ever advocated hatred against people in the name of Christ, for I believe that it is a sin to judge in the place of God.

I ask your forgiveness for every sidewalk and soap-box preacher who has so much as cracked upon a Bible with anger or pride in his heart, for I believe that it is a sin to misrepresent the character of a loving God.

I ask your forgiveness for every cult leader and extremist group leader who has ever led people astray in the name of Jesus, for I believe that it is a sin to desire the position of Jesus as the head of the church.

I ask your forgiveness for every pastor or priest who has ever served the church to get money, fame or sex because I believe the church is Jesus’ Bride, not some random guy’s mistress.

I ask your forgiveness for the millions of men in the church who have somehow stretched the Bible to validate their own sexist views, for I believe that it is a sin to dishonor a woman.

I ask your forgiveness for the thousands of church splits and denominational factions that have ripped the body of Christ in every direction except heavenward, for I believe that Christians loving and forgiving each other is the best way to show people who God is.

I ask your forgiveness for the thousands of churches who are set up as extravagant social clubs, for I believe that it is a sin to ignore the poor among you.

I ask your forgiveness for every misspent dime that was ever placed in an offering plate, for I believe that it is a sin to waste an old lady’s tithe.

I ask your forgiveness for the prostituting of the American church and the American church leader to the American dream, for I believe that it is a sin for the church or her leaders to love money more than God.

I ask your forgiveness for every self-centered, self-proclaimed “miracle worker” who has sold people counterfeit hope and light and fluffy theology for $19.95 plus shipping and handling, for I believe that it is a sin to spit in the face of God.

I ask your forgiveness for every sin of every priest, pastor, minister, reverend, teacher, elder, deacon, pope, nun, monk, missionary, Sunday school teacher, worship leader, and for every Christian who has ever come into your life for any other reason than to love you. If any of us came to you and hurt you, we are the ones at fault. On our behalf, let me say that I am very sorry. It’s not who we are supposed to be.

And lastly for me. I am no better than the rest. I am no role model. I’m misguided. I get confused a lot and I have hurt people in my misguided attempts to be “Christian.” I have not always loved God or the people around me. I am ashamed of me much of the time. I am ashamed of my people who have hurt you.

But I am not ashamed of the gospel. I am not ashamed of the good news that God has come near to you and is right now available to you through Jesus. I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is power from a loving God who can save you. He can save us all, even us Christians.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hitting the Nuts Released!

Hey everyone...just a quick note to let you know that my movie, Hitting the Nuts, is now available for pre-order on DVD. It comes out April 15.

If you don't know about it, read this recent blog.

If you've been waiting for it, head over to our newly designed website at to see the first four minutes for free and reserve a DVD. (This is just a limited initial run of DVD's for our fan and supporters.)


Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Open Journey Starts...Now

Those of us at Vineyard Cincinnati, along with six or seven other churches in town, are beginning a six-week spiritual journey called "Open" today. The idea is that many of us our living closed off lives. That we all have a story, but usually keep it to ourselves. But your story matters. Hearing your story, especially your spiritual story, is key to your friends processing their own story. Those of us who follow Jesus understand that our story is not our own. It is rooted in the bigger narrative of Israel, Jesus and the Church.

If you are part of The Vineyard, you need to do three things to go on the journey.

1.) Come to the weekend celebrations at Tri-County or our new MicroChurch in Hilton Head, SC. The weekends celebrations will propel you onto the next step of the journey. If you absolutely can't make it, catch up by watching the teaching online at

2.) Get in an Open group for the next six weeks. It is in the group experience that real life change can occur. If you aren't in a group yet go to this page and get hooked up.

3.) The last thing is the online personal guide. This is 30-60 minutes of weekly "homework." It is the alone time that you spend with God. It's a great, free tool to help you open your heart and life to the gospel. Go now to and get started! You will want to do week one of the personal guide before going to your first group meeting.

If you aren't a part of one of the churches participating, you can still join us. Watch the videos online and do the personal guide where you are. If you want the small group curriculum email us at VC and we'll hook you up with the e-file. (If you are a church leader and want to do the journey at a later date, we can give you all of the materials for free.)

That's it. I'm personally hopeful and a little nervous about where all of this will take me. It's going to involve some risk and vulnerability. But on the other side I am going to be more open about what is most important to me. I hope you will join me in the journey.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hitting The Nuts on DVD!

I have some exciting news about my movie, Hitting the Nuts. I will paste it below after a short disclaimer.

This blog has been my companion and voice to the world for nearly ten years now. I have had a variety of jobs and activities through the years - reflecting upon all of them in this online journal. This movie, Hitting the Nuts, began as a script way back in 2006. At that time I was living in California and working as an actor and improviser. It has taken five years to get it to DVD. And to be honest, it has felt that long! I'm proud of it. It is funny, which was the first goal. And it has a heart.

I want to make it clear that it is not a Vineyard project. It began before my time at the Vineyard and was finished in my spare/vacation time. It's PG-13ish and reflects the sorts of movies that I enjoy to watch. It is not a "Christian" movie, but rather a stand alone piece of comedy. The comedy and content is reflective of the sort of material you would see on Saturday Night Live or The Office. If that stuff bugs you, you may want to pass on it.

With that disclaimer, if you'd like to get the DVD I have pasted the official announcement below that was just posted on

Hitting the Nuts on DVD for Limited Run!

March 11, 2011

We are excited to announce that Hitting the Nuts: The True Story of the Scott County Series of Poker will be released on DVD April 15, 2011. This is an initial limited release of the movie for our current fans and supporters. This is the first step of a larger distribution plan that will include digital downloading, Pay Per View and other options in the summer of 2011. However, getting the DVD now is the only way to see the movie until then.

For those who have been supportive of Hitting the Nuts since its conception in 2006, we will be offering pre-orders of the DVD for $11.99 plus S/H. After April 15th, the price for the DVD will be $16.99 plus S/H. Pre-orders may be placed beginning next Wednesday, March 16th only at the official website: The site will re-launch that day with a new design.

This is our first step to get this hilarious, multi award-winning comedy to the world. We’d love you to be among the first to see what we truly believe is on the verge of becoming the breakthrough independent comedy of 2011.

We’d like to again thank the Cincinnati Metro area for all of the support we have received. Rebel Pilgrim Productions has never doubted the decision to film in Cincinnati. We will be shooting our next movie, A Strange Brand of Happy, there in September of this year. We are proud to announce that we will be having our official DVD Launch Party in Cincinnati on either April 14th or 15th at an undetermined venue. We will post the details as we know them on our official Facebook page at and on our official Twitter at @HittingTheNuts. We will also be giving away free HTN DVD’s and T-shirts beginning today on both Facebook and Twitter.

Beginning March 16th we will release a new promotional video showing the first few scenes of the movie for free. It will be on the official site and all of the social networks.

Retailers wishing to buy the limited run DVD’s in bulk may do so while supplies last at a negotiated rate. Please email the company at

Thanks again for your support.

Joe Boyd,

Rebel Pilgrim Productions
Producer/Director, Hitting the Nuts

*Hitting the Nuts is not rated, but would likely be PG-13 for some crude humor and mild language.

Friday, March 04, 2011

The Open Journey.

This weekend at The Vineyard we will start a spiritual journey called OPEN. I'm excited about it. I think it will be hard for many of us. It will stretch us. In the end, I am pretty sure it will change us. If you are in the Cincinnati area, come this weekend with an open mind. (And show up on time. We are doing things a little differently.)