Every one of us wants to work on big, prestigious films. One of my favorite moments in 2013 was opening a group of audio files, pushing play, and hearing John Rhys-Davies start talking through my speakers! How cool is that! It is easy to place one movie, one director, or one actor above another. Combine with the common tendency we all have to think too highly of ourselves, and the resulting cocktail is positively molotov.
To the one making the project, nothing is really small. To the one on the journey, each step is an accomplishment. Our character is proven when we reach out our hand and show respect to other people on this rickety ladder we call filmmaking. Sometimes we think we are reaching down, but we are actually being pulled up.
In 2012 I made the mistake of pre-judging a film. I didn’t like their poster. I didn’t understand the title. I didn’t recognize any of the people working on it. So I quietly filed the project in my “not interested” bin and dismissed it from my thoughts. I am glad that I had the sense to keep my mouth closed. (Thanks Mom and Dad for that training!)
One Saturday in August of 2013 I was scheduled to drive through Cincinnati and, as I often do, I called up a contact to see if we could grab lunch. Instead he invited me to a studio open house for a movie set to began principal photography. The result sounds like one of those over the top Facebook headlines:
“We followed the GPS to the middle-of-nowhere. What we found. Shocking!”
But it was shocking. Honest!
Henline Productions was about to film Polycarp: Destroyer of Gods. A massive amount of work was already evident. Their passion for the film was palpable in every costume, prop, paving stone, decoration, casting decision, and call sheet. I ate humble pie, introduced myself, and offered to help in any way I could. At the time I didn’t expect to hear anything. It seemed that the Henlines had every base covered. Besides, I didn’t think I deserved a call.
Several months later, the call did come and I had the honor of joining this group of people:
…plus many others making Polycarp come to life. The film has gone on to win awards and lead people to Jesus. It was a life-changing film for me as well. The Henlines are honest, sincere, generous, and hardworking. Garry Nation (aka Polycarp Himself) is a wonderful man with a great sense of humor. Ben Botkin is an amazing composer. Rusty Martin, Rich Swingle, Stacey Bradshaw, David Cook, Justin Lewis, and many others came into my life because of this remarkable project. Several of them are becoming fast friends.
And I almost missed it all.