Monthly Newsletter
- September 2018 -

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

"Kneeling Angel" by Michelangelo

I had been standing ten or fifteen minutes watching scenes from a low-budget Christian film when, finally, the director turned to me and said proudly, “We shot the whole thing in eight days!”

I nodded politely. I didn’t have the heart to tell him, “Yes, and it looks like it.” What virtue is there in speed unless matched by quality?

During a good part of the 1990s, I was a bi-lingual producer at CBN International, where I had the opportunity to create television programming in many countries. These productions had their limitations.  We typically traveled three to a crew: the producer/director (that was me) and two cameramen who alternated between running camera and recording sound. Budgets were never flush and the shooting schedules were demanding.

One of my favorite cameramen at CBN was Randy Thornton, a talented videographer with a good sense of humor. Already an established veteran when I came along, Randy had a few words of advice one day for the “new kid on the block.”

Randy Thornton - Videographer

We were shooting in a remote part of Guatemala, and I was pushing Randy and the other cameraman to get just the right shot in just the right way. Randy turned to me with his camera perched on his shoulder and said, “Cris, these are your choices: good, fast and cheap. But you can only pick two!”

Hmmm… Well, let’s see. Where does that leave us?

Good + Cheap = Not fast.

Good + Fast = Not Cheap.

Cheap + Fast = Not Good.

I settled somewhat uneasily on the first option – good and cheap. Why? Because I couldn’t bear to produce anything that wasn’t good. And cheap because I had plenty of that! In some quarters, it's called "sweat equity."  So, get the midnight oil ready, Cris (I said to myself). You’re going to be spending many, many hours in the edit suite to make this production look as good as you possibly can, and no one is going to pay you extra for your efforts.

The same paradigm has pretty much defined Messenger Films over the years. We don’t operate with Hollywood-sized budgets and this has necessitated clever use of existing resources plus a willingness to take the time to get it right. This isn’t something they teach in film schools by the way. There’s no point in teaching it. You will either spare no effort in pouring your heart and soul into your productions, or you will not.

Take a look at Michelangelo. He spent four years painting the Sistine Chapel, and three years sculpting David. If he sought anything less than perfection during that time, I’d like to know what it was. According to his biographer, Ascanio Condivi, he read and re-read the Old Testament while painting the 343 panels of the Sistine Chapel, drawing his inspiration directly from the Word of God.

The Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo had this to say toward the end of his life: “Many believe – and I believe – that I have been designated for this work by God. In spite of my old age, I do not want to give it up; I work out of love for God and I put all my hope in him.”

And to that I say amen and amen.


By the way, here’s what we hope to do over the next several years at Messenger Films.  Please take a look.

 The Future of Messenger Films

Watch the film SABINA K. on Amazon Prime! 

For English subtitles, press the * button as the movie begins to play. 
Visit our Website
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Cristóbal Krusen is a filmmaker and author. He founded Messenger Films in 1988.

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Messenger Films
1414 W Swann Ave
Suite 100
Tampa, FL  33606

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