As my crew and I head towards our production start date on LOVE COVERS ALL in just a few days (Sept 3rd), I wanted to share a few words with those who want to be filmmakers and those who enjoy what filmmakers make. Like any art form, it comes at a cost. The context may vary, but hear me now, the cost is high. Filmmaking is like boxing, there’s no victory without bruises and bloodshed. The last few weeks have been some of the most stressful I’ve had in a long time. On the flip side, they’ve been rewarding, and I’ve seen God do some amazing things. I’m starting to see the thing I’ve been striving for since I first began the script over a year ago…fruit. I see God’s hand on the project more and more as we’ve secured locations like our gas station, locked down cast members we weren’t sure we’d get, found more crew when possibilities fell through, secured a new and final title for the film after tons of headache, etc. I’ve also seen fruit from those who have read the script and saw its potential. I’ve seen God work in me and help me to be better as I wrote it, and I’ve seen the wisdom in getting counsel from many people over the last few years with more experience then myself. Everything I’ve learned since the last film (and some of what I had learned before it) has been poured into this one intimate story. Is it perfect? No, no film is. Do I think God can bless our feeble efforts and impact many? Yes I do. I saw it happen with STANDING FIRM, and I look ahead with optimism (something that comes unnatural to me) towards whatever God has in store for this film.
We have a difficult schedule ahead, and there is much yet to be done. Everything on this production has seemed so fragile every day. As I’ve matured in my faith, I’ve kept my eyes open for God’s handiwork as best I know how. When things seem awful people ask “Where are you Lord?” when they don’t realize he’s been there the entire time. My wife can attest to the fact that filmmaking has been the greatest tool God has used to sanctify me. Besides my family and my church it is my greatest human joy, and my greatest curse. It gives me great happiness and causes me great pain because it tests me. Like a feisty child tests his parents, so filmmaking tests me. God was wise to make something I love so much so costly to me. As the last few weeks of pre-production has proven, filmmaking is fragile. Anything can go wrong at any time. There is no certainty. We point to many things as vehicles for sanctification. Marriage for instance, parenting, friendships, finances, etc. For me personally, filmmaking goes in that list. Although I’ve had my times of doubt, wondering if things going wrong was God’s way of saying “you’re not supposed to make this movie,” I’ve come to realize more and more (and when we start shooting I will understand it further), that God has kept this movie fragile for my benefit. What faith would be needed if all the pieces fell into place?
There’s an element of blind faith that comes with filmmaking. We start shooting Sept 3rd and don’t have the RV vehicle we need as a prop to begin. Yes, our start date is close. Now would be a great time to be freaking out. But you know what? I’m not. Just as I moved forward with faith in raising the funds and writing the script, just as I brought down crew members to start pre-production before securing a single location, so we’re moving towards our start date without every single “I” dotted and “T” crossed. There has to be an element of faith here. It’s wonderful being in that place, and terrifying at the same time. Completely dependent on the Lord for what you’re doing to be possible. How do you think Noah felt to be instructed to build an Ark in the middle of nowhere? It must’ve seemed ridiculous. There was no rain to see. He had to complete the Ark in faith before God brought the rain to the earth. Although as a man it can be frustrating not being able to see around the corner, it gives God a wonderful opportunity to shine and make his love known to his children. It lets God be the hero, to be the one in the place of honor and power. Without his leading, this movie wouldn’t exist, there’d be no script, there’d be no crew, there’d be no cast, and there’d be no locations to shoot at. Even with so much rain in GA this year, I’m moving forward trusting that we won’t get rained out. I can’t know for sure that we won’t get drenched, but I can never know, so we move forward with confidence that no matter what God is going to get us to the finish line.
I’ve felt very ill today, thinking about the road ahead. There are 10,000 decisions to make every day as a Director. Even when on-set with things going great, it’s not till you get home in the editing bay that you see what you really have, if you really got that great moment or take you thought you did. That’s a scary thing, but it all requires faith. Few of you may understand, but filmmaking requires more faith then almost anything I’ve ever done in my life. Only being married and being a parent have compared so far. Please pray for everyone involved in this movie. We all have a lot of work ahead, and a lot of night shooting and long nights. Pray for my crew, some of whom are away from their families and will be giving so much of themselves to help tell this story. Pray for my wonderful cast, who have to bring the script to life day in and day out. Actors are the greatest special effect a director has at his disposal. They help bring the magic and they need God’s blessing. Pray for the story, that it would impact people all over the world! Also please pray for me, that I would have the stamina and the strength to creatively guide the film to a wonderful result. While me and everyone else involved is bound to receive many bumps and bruises along the way, if we succeed, the reward in the end is far worth the price. We can’t quit. We won’t quit.
Hands to the plow,
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6