From the Perspective of a Filmmaker’s Wife – Part 2

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If you missed Part 1 of this series, read it here first!


Teamwork: Brett + Christina = Brettina

Brett and I are opposites in most everything. I’m the nerd and he’s the free spirit with our money (according to Dave Ramsey). I use my left brain and he uses his right brain. I’m type A; he’s type B. I’m organized and realistic; he’s random and spontaneous. I cannot relax; he always relaxes. I’m an early bird and he’s a night owl.  My life motto would be, “My calendar is my best friend; his would be, “What’s a calendar?” I think you get my point.

It truly is funny how opposites attract and even more amazing that we can even live in the same house. Oh, we have had quite the arguments over our differences. That’s for sure. Me, being a little A LOT controlling…something God has been teaching me to let go of the past 6 years of our marriage. And we definitely are rubbing off of each other; I’m staying up later to relax and he’s living by OUR calendar. Yet, by God’s grace and plan for putting us together, it’s amazing to see how God has used our differences to work together to further His will.

In relation to the production of The War Within, our talents and abilities were used in quite contrast. Brett was in front of the camera, directing the cast and crew, and calling all the shots. His right brain and “creative juices” were flowing at full blast.  I was no where near the camera, the editing process, or anything creative.  My left brain was on high alert with organizing everything and anything, most particularly the shot order. Brett gave me the shots that needed to be filmed that day, and after assessing the camera angles, equipment needed, and time allotment, I put them in the order that was most time and work efficient.  I loved it. Give me something to organize, and I’ll have that smile and look on my face where my “organizing juices” are flowing freely!  Then on the set, I was always a step ahead of everyone informing the cast and crew what was coming next.

Teamwork


Envy: “the feeling of wanting to have what someone else has”

To be completely honest, I had bouts of envy throughout the production. Everyone admires and praises the people in front of the camera, but what about the people behind the camera? When I would tell people outside the film project what I was doing, specifically that I was a producer, a common statement I received was (as they laughed), “What does a producer do? I’ve always wondered.”  My response was, “What does a producer NOT do?” Ok, maybe that was Emotion’s response, but I was polite in my reply.

I told Brett my struggles and he helped me through it. After all, there would be no “in front of the camera” work if there was no “behind the camera” first. It was definitely one area that Satan was trying to make me feel less superior than Brett. He also was distracting me from the reason why we were making the film. Here I was moping that I was not creative and talented in acting and filmmaking, instead of focusing on the fact that God gave me specific talents that are just as important in order to complete the film.

Hollywood and our culture has put actors, singers, dancers, even inventors and pretty much anything in the arts on a platform, literally. I mean, they don’t have an American Idol for organizers do they?   (Well, maybe they have shows for those people on HGTV or TLC but surely not on prime time ABC).

Another question I received throughout production, and if you didn’t ask me, you most likely were wondering it: what was it like for me to watch Brett acting with another woman as his on-screen wife?  At first I wasn’t bothered at all. I love Rebecca, the actress who plays Brett’s wife. She is so joyful and Christ shines through her. We instantly became very close friends.  I wasn’t around for the touchy/feely/emotional scenes they had together. One, because I had a 9 month old to take care of so I wasn’t on the set 24/7, but also because Brett and I talked about it beforehand and thought it would be best for us both not to have me around so there wouldn’t be any discomfort. Of course I had no fear that they would become one of those acting couples like happens in Hollywood. After all, there were about 30-50 people on set making them accountable! Ha!  What happened though is that I became envious of Rebecca because deep down I wanted to be her. I desired to be able to act so well that I fit the part of Amy and play Brett’s wife. I desired the admiration and praises. Again, Satan knew my weaknesses and was aiming his fiery darts perfectly. I had to resist the devil so he would flee from me. The Lord had to humble me throughout the process. He has given each person unique talents and abilities to complete His will and further the gospel.  He’ll only use those who are humble but not proud.

As we close this chapter of filmmaking, we look forward to the next chapter. (Brett and his dad are currently writing the next script!)  We now know that we must be obedient always, no matter the cost. We will continue to have faith as He leads us once again into the unknown.  And if we don’t use our talents, then God will take them away, or we might be swallowed by a fish.  So if that means that my name and face will always be behind the camera while Brett is in front, then Lord let it be done. After all, Brett and I work the best as a team; two opposites coming together to complete what God has called us to do.

I can’t wait for the next film production! Well…maybe I can wait a little longer…

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From the Perspective of a Filmmaker’s Wife – Part 1

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Brett barged through our apartment door slightly out of breath. “I had a vision,” he tells me.

Hmmm. Like Paul had a vision of Jesus on his way to Damascus? I thought.  Brett was coming back from dropping off a Redbox DVD at Walmart before 9pm, which was located next to our apartment complex.

I guess Jesus can reveal himself to us anywhere.

“Ok.” I said instead of revealing my thoughts.  When Brett has his “creative juices” flowing, as he likes to call them, it’s better for me to sit back and listen.

“When I was running to Walmart, I had a vision of Heart running down a hallway.  And then Emotion levitating in the air!”

“Ok.”   Brett has that slight smile and look on his face when I know his right brain is racing a million miles a second. His eyes are wide and he looks at me aching for approval for his creative idea.

He had just recently finished editing The Board, and he was on to the next idea.

I let his “creative juices” flow freely, and now over 5 years later, I’m sitting in front of the TV watching the character Memory, instead of Heart, running down the hallway of the soul, opening the door of Mind’s Theater, and lo and behold, Emotion levitating in the air screaming.

For those who do not know what I’m talking about (although I’m pretty sure you do if you have been paying any attention to our lives the past few years), this is a scene from The War Within.  And now (finally) it’s finished and you can purchase your copy here!

For those who have been paying attention to the production of The War Within, you may be asking, “What took so long?”  Yeah, I know.  Why did it take so long to get here?  Well, for all the reasons it’s taken 4 years from the first draft of the script to the final copy of the DVD in our hands, it sure has been a learning experience.  This was our first endeavor creating a feature film, and the Lord wanted to not only teach us about faith, but also all the do’s and dont’s of starting a non-profit film company, House of Grace Films, and producing a film.

Brett could probably list a thousand lessons that he has learned as Executive Director of HG Films and being the writer, director, producer, editor, AND actor of The War Within, but I thought I’d sit down and write some lessons from my perspective. You know…the WIFE of an Executive Director and director, producer….etc…


Obedience: “O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E…Obedience is the very best way to know that you believe! “

It was only a couple weeks before we were married when Brett got a job. He applied for several jobs: a TV station in Illinois? Door closed. A video editing company in Fishers, Indiana? Door closed. A biblical church in Jacksonville, Florida? Door closed. A mega church in Texas? Door closed. The Indianapolis Star as a photo editor?  Door open – at least part way, since it was only a part-time position.  Brett had all this talent as a filmmaker, yet he was working part-time editing pictures.  Why Lord? And of course to widen the blow to his ego, his wife, me of course, was the main provider. Not the way we had in mind starting our marriage.   And THEN, after about six months he was let go because they couldn’t afford the part-time employees.  Again, why Lord?

Well, because God then opened the door so wide that in the next 20 months he was able to start House of Grace Films. During that time, Brett and his dad started the writing process of The War Within.  If we were in Jacksonville, Florida (which was a high possibility) or in Illinois, or if he had a full-time position somewhere, anywhere, HG Films may not exist and The War Within may not have happened by now.

From the moment Brett finished The Board, he knew his mission in this life: to preach the gospel through filmmaking. During those first couple years, we had more questions than answers. There was no money to start a film company and not a lot of knowledge, but God told Brett this is what His will was for him, so he obeyed.  Brett could have fervently looked for a job anywhere in the country after he was let go from The Indianapolis Star, but he didn’t. He actually started his personal business, Timeless Pictures, filming weddings to make some money. But other than that, we had peace that God had us right were he wanted us. Even if that meant I was the main provider, and we didn’t have a lot of money to buy big toys, big houses, big cars, big adventures like our American culture says we must have to be happy. (In fact, we paid off all our debt – $18,000 from my school loans – by the time Brett started House of Grace Films. I believe this was possible by God’s grace and because we were obedient to God).

Brett was obedient to God’s calling and as a result lives are changing by the power of the Gospel through his films.  Are you being obedient to the mission God has called you to do on this earth?


Faith:  “Mind, where is your faith?”

This is a line that Heart asks Mind in the film. And it’s a question our own hearts should be asking.  Where’s your faith? What’s your faith in?  government? a president? our military? money? a great career? your spouse? your obedient kids? None of these things would have helped us get to where we are today.  All of those things are like a vapor. Here and then gone.  But God is eternal. He’s the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  He’s the one who helped us raise over half a million dollars to make this film. He is who Brett and I had to get on our knees and cry out to when we had no idea what we were doing.

I’ve heard Brett and his dad talking recently about how if someone told them at the very beginning all that would have happened to get the film completed, they probably would have given up from the start. There was no way they could raise $500,000…get all the hundreds of people to volunteer…work all those hours upon hours…

This is why God doesn’t tell us everything we are going to go through ahead of time when He asks us to do something. Many of us would say, “No way, God.” Like Jonah did when God asked him to preach repentance to the city of Ninevah. And you probably know the story… Jonah got swallowed up by a fish and was spat out 3 days later.  No, thank you. Maybe it is best we don’t know and we immediately obey God’s calling.

As I said above, Brett has been called to preach the gospel through filmmaking. He had no idea what he was doing at first, and that’s why we had to have faith that God would work everything out for His good and His glory. And 4 years later, we are starting to see the fruit of our faith and obedience to God.

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