Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Adele Park's Review of Prophet's Prey by Sam Brower

Prophet's Prey by Sam Brower is one of the most riveting books I've ever read 

I've been fascinated by the polygamist sect living in Colorado City/Hilldale ever since I moved to Southern Utah. It seems incredible to me that this Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) can commit so many atrocities against their own people with few, if any repercussions.

While it's true that FLDS leader Warren Jeffs is now serving a life sentence in Texas for the sexual assault of two children, he wasn't brought to justice until many years after his numerous crimes. In addition to raping and molesting countless boys and girls, Jeffs proved himself to be a criminal with an unusual taste for cruelty. Brower's book goes into explicit detail about the heinous acts Jeffs committed against his family and community.

The saga involving the Jeffs reign as leader of the FLDS occurred over a very long period of time. Bower brilliantly describes what he uncovered during a seven year investigation into the activities of this group. The story involves a wide range of victims, locations and circumstances. It would be easy to get confused by all the moving parts, but Bower lays out the story on a chronological time line which the reader can readily follow.

One of the important points Bower makes throughout his book is the the issue of complicity. How is it that the FLDS can operate in the open, breaking countless laws and still not be held accountable? As a voter in Utah, I have watched three Attorney Generals do little, if anything, to protect the victims in the tragedy that is continuing to this day in Colorado City/Hilldale. Brower's account of the Child Protective Services Department in Texas was especially appalling. After raiding the FLDS compound in Eldorado, Texas, the agency took custody of 463 children which they believed were being abused. Even though 18 underage girls were pregnant as the result of spiritual unions with much older adults, the CPS of Texas returned these children to the cult.  

Brower's book also details the numerous court proceedings involving Jeffs and his followers. To the shock of many, justice wasn't always served. Jeffs was convicted in Utah of being an accomplice to rape in 2007, only to have his case thrown out on a technicality three years later. Fortunately, Jeffs was extradited to Texas before he was freed, and subsequently convicted on two counts involving the rape of a child.

Sadly, even though Jeffs is still in jail, he continues in his capacity as the leader of an estimated 10-thousand FLDS members. It's shocking that the people who have been victimized by this man continue to acknowledge him as their prophet.

I have read many books on the subject of polygamy, but somehow Brower's book escaped me until it was turned into a film which debuted at the Sundance Festival this year

I have awarded Sam Brower and Prophet's Prey five stars on my Goodreads Page

I commend Brower not only for his excellent and detailed account of the FLDS activities, but also for his efforts to try and make the perpetrators accountable for their actions.

Here's where you can buy your own copy of Prophet's Prey by Sam Brower:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

“Gadzooks!” (Archaic – a mild oath, an expression of surprise) by Ned Cordery

Today I'm honored to feature a piece written by Ned Cordery which describes a wild and crazy video shoot he participated in on January 31, 2015. The purpose of the shoot was to gather footage for a series of Facebook ads for the Quirky Audio Book Series. Although this was a small time production, we had a Major League Staff, starting with Ned working as our photographer and Mary Cordrey, Ned's wife, serving as his assistant. Rounding out the crew was Garry Morris who directed the video, Michael Park, Key Grip, Jim Park, Equipment Assistant, and our fabulous Cast: Steve Campbell, Kristin Hunt Treyson and Tori Park and Jessica Henrie. The photos for this article were taken by Mary Cordery.

Tori Park, Kristin Hunt, Steve Campbell, Adele Park, 
Jessica Henrie, Treyson Park,  and Garry Morris

An odd title for a piece on film making but the title of an audio book written, directed and recorded with a team of actors by Adele, a very talented lady winning awards for her very original audio books. She promotes them with short visuals on YouTube, Face Book and Reddit. “Gadzooks!” is the latest in her series that follow the hilarious adventures of a polygamous family and its neighbors in the fictional but easily recognizable Zion Flats. Adele planned a campaign with short video pieces timed to calendar events; St Patrick’s day, Easter and activities including tennis, cycling, riding scooters and off road vehicles in the desert. All topped off with a failed wedding ceremony to a very dubious bride. A team of actors hired and local Director, Garry, to lead the effort, I was shooting using the Sony NEX EA50 and my wife Mary provided stills and sound for the two segments where there was to be a short piece of dialog. All this to be shot in one day; I read the scripts and my immediate reaction was; impossible! I met with Adele; she wanted me to shoot and deliver the clips and she would edit them using iMovie, an early version that would not accept AVCHD (.m2ts files) but would accept .mpg4 files. My camera will not shoot .mpg4 so I would deliver the camera files and she would then transcode them using a stand- alone utility program.

The shoot day dawned and it rained all day; no activity so all set for the next day with the assurance that the weather would clear. It did, and we started shooting the cycling sequence in a local park under cloudy, morning skies. Garry set a brisk pace; rehearsal, shoot, was that OK? Then next shot. Meanwhile the light was going up and down as the clouds cleared from the sun and then obscured it. There wasn’t time to wait for the light to stabilize so I was kept very busy watching the exposure and white balance. The base sensitivity of the camera is 160 ISO but I was at times using 400 ISO and then using 160 ISO with a Neutral Density filter, one of the drawbacks of this camera is that it has no built-in ND filters so it is a matter of attaching a filter to the lens. I like to shoot exteriors at around f 5.6 which seems to be the “sweet spot” of many lenses. I used the Sony 18 – 200 E-mount zoom lens which gives excellent results across the full range of focal lengths. I was fully occupied making sure that we got decent quality images and I was happy that it was just the ambient sound most of the time and that didn’t matter as much of it would be removed.

A number of sequences in the park involving costume changes, scooters, tennis and games, all at a breathless pace. Adele’s husband Michael worked as my assistant as we moved from location to location, I was very grateful for his hard work. A short break for lunch and then the wedding sequence which went from exterior to interior in one continuous take so the interior had to be lit to match the exterior. I did this using daylight rated fluorescents but to add to the difficulty the wedding party stood in front of a giant window so they were brilliantly back lit and I had to frame so that the reflection of the lights was out of the picture area.

We left for the desert. The sun was now low in the sky and the red rocks turning even redder as the color temperature went down and the shadows lengthened to the point where it was difficult to keep the crew shadows out of shot. We shot riding in an all- terrain vehicle; an argument amongst the polygamists, a picnic, the “bride” climbing a rock. The sun set and we staggered away exhausted; the shoot was a wrap. We had shot everything Adele had listed and just hoped that it looked OK.
Everything was recorded to a 32 GB Class 10 SDHC card which was downloaded to two external hard drives for security and the card stored until the project was completed. The shots looked fine, a few needed a little color adjustment and I felt there were not enough close-ups to help with the edit; we had fallen victims to the pace at which everything was shot. I was to load the clips on to DVDs as data files and as I am now using Vegas Pro 12 as my edit software was able to transcode all the clips to .mpg4 saving Adele the additional task of transcoding. I delivered the DVDs, Adele called; she is happy with the results and by the way is also a skillful editor.

To see the results visit:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Gadzooks! Named as Finalist in Audies Competition

What happens when assisted suicide and cosmetics collide? Find out in Gadzooks! A Comically Quirky Audio Book by Adele Park. Named as a finalist in the Original Work category of the prestigious Audies Competition sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association, Gadzooks! keeps listeners laughing with quirky humor done up polygamist style.

Take a peek into Quirky Polygamist Country:

WHEN ASSISTED SUICIDE AND COSMETICS COLLIDE . . . Gadzooks! A Comically Quirky Audio Book is about a polygamist woman who sends a succession of husbands to heaven in a hurry. Using a cast of nine actors who tell the story in funny, first-person narratives, Gadzooks! takes the bus all the way to crazy town where listeners meet characters like Scottie Sphincter, lead singer of a band called The Rectal Surgeons, and Blue McKenna, a kooky pot grower.

This is Park's second production to be honored as a finalist in the Audies Competition. WHEN RADIO AND POLYGAMY COLLIDE . . . Jitters-A Quirky Little Audio Book, written and edited by Park, won an Audie for Multi-Voiced Performance in 2011. Often referred to as the “Oscars of spoken word entertainment,” the Audies honors the nation's top authors, narrators and publishers. This year's winners will be announced May 28th in New York City.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Video Shoot for Quirky Polygamist Campaign

Video Director Garry Morris with Adele Park

It seems everyone is on Facebook these days, so I decided that might be a good place to advertise the Quirky Audio Book Series.  Never one to do things the normal way, I came up with a Quirky Polygamist video campaign.

Jim Park, Garry Morris, Ned and Mary Cordrey, and Michael Park

A team of 11 people came together for one crazy day of filming.  Thanks to Garry's excellent connections, we were able to get Ned Cordrey and his wife, Mary, to do the filming.  Ned is very accomplished in his field, so I was thrilled to have him work on this project.

Treyson and Tori Park, Steve Campbell, Kristin Hunt and Jess Henrie

Not only did I somehow manage to land a top notch Crew, but our Cast was fantastic as well! This group worked together like a well oiled machine, rolling out one wacky scene after another.

We'll be running a new ad every three weeks on Facebook.  You're invited to keep up with all the adventures of the Quirky Polygamist

Don't forget to "Like"Gadzooks on Facebook