Visual Storytelling for the Deaf

This past weekend, I competed in an event here in Austin called Create for the Kingdom. It’s a weekend-long hackathon and film challenge geared towards Christians wanting to use their talents for good. Apps and films were created to change hearts and solve problems relating to foster care, human trafficking and persecuted Christians, to name a few.


The Team: Lauren Quigley, me, and Brandon Reich

The task my team tackled was to create a Christian resource for the deaf community. The fourth largest unreached people group, the deaf have a great need for the message of the Gospel in a form they can understand. So we set out to create a purely visual retelling of the prodigal son story as a way of demonstrating God’s grace, love and forgiveness. It was a huge challenge, but great experience in visual storytelling. We wrote, shot and edited the film all in one weekend starting late Friday night and submitting it by 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. Our actresses were incredible as well, dropping everything to film with us when we called them out of the blue on a Saturday morning.

This was the first time the event had included a film category, so there were only a few other teams, but it was still an honor to win the prize for Best Runner-Up! We even won a giant check! Speaking of checks, check out our film below!

Gate37: A Website for Third Culture Kids

As I mentioned in a recent post, it’s one of my dreams to tell stories that resonate with Third Culture Kids. Turns out, there’s someone working on a similar dream in the form of an online publishing house. Gate37 aims to publish content created for and by Third Culture Kids, giving them a place online where they can truly belong. Intrigued, I reached out to founder Nasri Atallah and sent him the link to my short film inspired by the TCK experience. In the end, he agreed to feature it, along with an interview with me about how culture influences my creative process. It’s so exciting to meet people with such a similar vision, even though they are miles away! Anyway, check out my interview and the rest of the site by clicking the image below.

Bloody Guitar Strings

I went to my first concert this week! This summer I discovered a new band and was thrilled when I found out they’d be performing in Austin! It was incredible to experience Sir Sly in person. Live music really is a whole different animal. The tour is with two other bands as well: Wolf Gang and Secret Someones. It was cool to hear them, too!


The dedication of each of these bands made a huge impression on me. After the concert, I ran across a tweet by Gavin Slater, who plays guitar and keyboard for Wolf Gang (see left).

Wow. It reminds me of an article I read last year: Find what you love and let it kill you

Anyway, just wanted to share a little inspiration for your Friday. 

Have you been to any concerts this summer? 

Introducing The Process

My brother, Lucius Patenaude, recently started a collaborative blog created for and written by young professionals, artists and dreamers. It’s called The Process and it’s hosted on I’ll be contributing on occasion, so check out my first post that went up today! Click on the image below for my piece on practical dream-chasing.

Short Film Friday: Prospect

Well, I missed quite a few Fridays there. I apologize. But today we’re back with an awesome sci-fi adventure directed by Zeek Earl & Chris Caldwell, which premiered at SXSW just this year.

Vimeo summary: Prospect is the coming-of-age story of a teenage girl on a toxic alien planet. She and her father hunt for precious materials, aiming to strike it rich. When the father is attacked by a roving bandit, the daughter must take control.

Why I love it: The production design in this is incredible, especially the design of the space suits. The sound design does a great job of evoking an alien planet, too. On top of that, it has a compelling story that leaves you wanting more.


Thoughts on Childhood Creativity from the Editor of Rattle Poetry Magazine

I follow Rattle Poetry Magazine on Facebook and Twitter, and every once and a while, the editor of the magazine will post his thoughts on poetry. Today he responded to some criticism he had been seeing for poems in the Rattle Young Poets Anthology. It’s a powerful anecdote on the importance of adults believing in the budding creativity of children.

People keeping doubting that the young poets have written these without help. It’s such a weird comment to me—why care one way or the other? What percentage of the adult poems in Rattle haven’t had help from workshops or teachers or friends? I have no idea, because I don’t ask, because I don’t care. But I assume the majority of poets in every issue have received some advice, if not a great deal of advice.

When I was in Boy Scouts there was the annual Pinewood Derby—you get a hunk of wood, nail on some wheels, and race them down a sloped track. I didn’t have a helpful father to graphene the axles or front-load the weight on a jeweler’s scale. That’s what it took to win. But there was a prize for best-looking car, and I dedicated myself to that darn thing. I carved out a rear spoiler and spent days sanding—days—my knuckles bled. I painted it silver and the wood looked like polished metal. In my memory, anyway, it was gorgeous, and I’d done it all myself. I wanted that best in show ribbon. After admiring my car and moving on to the next table, I heard one judge mutter to the other, “His father did it.”

I didn’t win the ribbon, and I’m still pissed. I can still hear that voice in my head.

The next year I just hacked my car into a roughly aerodynamic shape the night of the derby and left the wood bare. The year after that I was done with Boy Scouts forever.

The point is: Just enjoy the poems. Maybe some of them had help, maybe none of them did—who cares? These are kids expressing themselves through wonderful poetry. It’s great for them to write, and it’s great for us to read, so just enjoy it.

Ed Sheeran in the Live Room

I ran across this video today and all I can say is WOW. Just watch Ed Sheeran do his thing and you’ll be sure to walk away inspired to get to work on your passions. That’s the kind of hard-earned skill and joyful enthusiasm I want to demonstrate every time I sit down to write.