I got up at 5:30 this morning to go volunteer at Port City Community Church.  I guess I’ve been doing that for about three years now (Really – wow!) but this was the first time I’d done it in the new church building.

When  the church was held at Roland-Grise Middle School there was equipment, props, info booths, video stuff, lighting rigs, video screens and all sorts of other things that needed to be set up, so volunteers arrived at 6am to get things ready for the first service, at 8:30.  Since none of that stuff had to happen anymore I wondered about the need to get there so early.

Well, we started off with a production and band meeting then broke up into different groups- the band, the sound people and the video people, and had mini-meetings.  Then we had a full rehearsal, and that took up a big chunk of the time.  It was useful, too.

I spent the rehearsal time familiarizing myself with the switcher board.  It really wasn’t too difficult to get used to, but there were a few extra things the technical director, that’s what I was doing, had to do that didn’t have to be done before, such as controlling when slides were shown or titles or notes or passages in the bottom third of the screen.

The biggest change is that the director position was split into two people now.  Previously the director would direct the cameras, call the shots and work the switcher board.  Now the director was directing the cameras and calling the shots and the technical director, well, I already said what the technical director does.

The director today was Matt Davis, who I actually had shown the ropes as far as directing goes.  It looks like the director now also gets a packet of info about the service to make notes in, which is a great idea.  I felt that Matt and I got into a pretty good rhythm as far as him calling the transitions and me making them.  He started off doing a sort of chopping hand signal when he actually needed the cut, and once I got an ear for the beats he was going on I think it went really well.  The only issue we ran into was a couple times when he would say “dissolve” and still do a bit of the hand chop.  It made me have to stop and think whether to go with the signal my eyes or my ears picked up, but that got better as we went along.  I made a couple goofs with the things that were new to me, but the music, which is the main challenge of the job, went well.

To be honest I was a little apprehensive about the whole thing at first, but it was just a matter of pride.  As I said, I’ve been volunteering with the PC3 production team for about three years now.  I started off on the cameras (when we only had immobile, studio cameras) and moved on to directing at some point and had been doing that ever since.  I felt a little taken aback that I was asked to be a technical director instead of directing, as really all it boils down to is hitting buttons and flipping a switch.  But I said a prayer on the way to church this morning that I remember why I volunteer, which is to serve, and to keep a servant’s heart in the matter.

And you know, it wasn’t so bad.

I do still worry some that I might get tired of it.  I like to do creative things.  Finding camera shots, that’s creative.  Choosing which shots will look best when, that’s creative.  There’s no creative input that can be given when you hit buttons and flip switches.  But again, I’m there to serve.

Backing up a bit, the volunteers were asked to park in the woods.  I didn’t know that didn’t apply necessarily to people who didn’t have SUVs.  I was worried that my little 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme might get stuck back there in the mud and mulch, but it got in and out of there okay.

Matt’s wife, Melissa Davis, was also in the production room, working as the shader.  It was her job to make sure the colors matched in the different shots.  Before the service a video was played and in part of it the intro for the sersies Pursuit was shown.  In that one, Matt is one of the people who kidnap Wisdom and Melissa is the person in the front seat of the kidnappers’ car who tries to persuade the hero to give up his pursuit.  So I was a little nervous that they might kidnap me.

So things went pretty well.  I saw a lot of people throughout the day.  Kyle and Lorin Van Zandt were volunteering as greeters, and I saw them when I went outside to try to get some cell phone reception to call Amanda to get her to bring me a jacket.  (That production room is cold!)  I missed her by a minute, apparently.  And my phone never did get reception until I turned it off and back on again.

I saw Amanda and Karen, of course, as well as Chris Burfield and David Sapp at the 8:30 service.  I talked to Blake and Stephanie Konny after the 10:30 service, as well as Wayne Harris and Dave Clawson.

One thing I didn’t like as much was that there didn’t seem to be any time to really spend with many people between services, and I’m not sure why that is.  Maybe it’s because we, as directors, have to spend the full sermon paying attention now and can’t really talk as much to other people who are hanging around, or just the fact that the camera operators can’t get to the production room as soon as they’re done with their jobs now, or since we’re not located backstage but instead in a room on the balcony we don’t get Mike Ashcraft, the preacher, or other people just stopping by to chat.  There’s also the matter of lunches.  Due to the lack of one large room for eating, lunches are split up between three different areas and even though the segregation isn’t enforced, you have video people in one spot, audio people in another and the band in yet another.

It’s not that church is supposed to just be social, but I think some of the new things have taken away some of the fun social aspect of volunteering.

On the plus side, when the service was over we were finished and free to go.  I spent a little bit of time talking to Nick and Amy Warkentien and Matt and Melissa, but the last service was done at 1:30 and even with the hanging around and talking I was pulling out of the parking lot at 2:00.

I called Amanda (after turning my iPhone off and back on since I still didn’t have any service when I left until I did that) and she said Paul Ayers had called, so I called him and missed him, but he called me back as I was pulling up to the house.  Amanda and I were going to go out to the beach, along with Michael who was there (he’d gone to the 10:30 service), and we invited Paul and Kim to meet us out there if they wanted.

Karen had taken Amanda and Michael shopping, since it was tax-free weekend.  They’d gone to Old Navy and 17th Street, a surf shop, to get Michael a rash guard and some trunks.  All the surf equipment was tax-free too, since it’s sporting equipment.  Guess that means he’s serious about surfing now, huh?

After Karen left (and took the pressure washer we hadn’t gotten a chance to use yet) we headed out to 17th Street because Amanda had wanted to pick up a new rash guard for me and between her and Michael and Karen they couldn’t pick out which one to get me.  I liked both of the ones they had picked out, but I ended up getting another one entirely because a) it was very colorful and would make it easier for Amanda to spot me and b) it was about half as expensive as the others.

You know what I like about rash guards, one of the things that makes me choose one over another?  They look like superhero outfits.  I’m sorry, but that’s a big reason I like them.  I get to dress up like a superhero and not be thought odd for it.  That’s why I don’t like the plain, solid colored ones as much, but I do like the ones with seams going down the torso with different colors on the chest and the outside of the seams.

Yes, I know I’m a nerd.  And you know what?  I can’t wait to get a wetsuit.

You know, it turned out to be a good thing, getting a new rash guard, because last week when I’d gone out we threw my other one in the trunk wrapped up in a wet towel and though we brought it into the house it was never laid out, so it was a bit smelly.

We eventually got out to the beach and met up with the Van Zandts and the Boscaljons, who were out there with Nan’s daughter and Kristen Philips’ brother.  Since Michael and I took out some boards Barry decided to come on out too.  There wasn’t much going on out there but Barry convinced us to go in anyway, so a bunch of us- me, Michael, Barry, Kyle and Lars, all went on out and after a little bit we did start catching some waves and had a good time.

We were probably out there an hour or so when Paul Ayers appeared in the water next to me.  He and Kim had come out with little Peyton.  After a little bit everybody but my crew and the Ayers took off.  They’d been out there for quite a while before we got there.

We saw Anna walking down the beach so Michael and I thought it would be a fun idea to run up behind her and scare her.  When we did it I just tapped her on the shoulder but Michael, forgetting that she broke her back two years ago, gave her a bit of a shove.  She’ll probably have to go to a chiropractor now.  No, I’m kidding, but once Michael realized that he shoved her a little hard he felt a bit bad.  We sat there and talked, the three of us, for a while then Michael decided to walk with Anna and I went back to everyone else.

Peyton was trying to eat Kim’s glasses.

We headed on in after a few more minutes.  Since Anna and Michael weren’t back yet Amanda carried the Banana, the big yellow surfbaord that Michael was using, back in.  I think that’s the first time she’s ever carried a surfboard.  The Banana is pretty big, so I was proud of her.  That left me carrying Big Blue, my preferred longboard, along with a chair strapped to one shoulder and a beach bag on the other.

After we got home we ate some leftover salad then Michael took off and we went over to see Nick and Amy Warkentien.  We chatted with them a bit, Amanda looked at a book they have and then we watched Walk Hard.  It was a pretty silly movie and we all enjoyed it.  Well, I’m not sure if Amy liked it much- it might have been a little too silly for her, but Amanda, Nick and I liked it.

Zach Dotsey