Introducing this year’s first UNDERGROUND session, CWVFF Event Coordinator David Cook explained that the purpose of the UNDERGROUND is not to host a typical panel lecture, but to foster conversation and dialog among everyone in the room. “If you’re not in the first two rows, move up,” he encouraged, then led the room in prayer.
Nathan Jacobson moderated, with George Escobar, John-Clay Burnett, Judd Brannon, and Stacie and Joseph Graber leading the discussion.
Each panelist briefly introduced themselves, and then plunged into the topic: “Counting the Cost”, discussing the balance between regular life and film work, full time vs part time filmmaking, and knowing what you are called to do and what doing it looks like.
“We live full time lives… As disciples of Christ we are always on duty.” Joseph Graber reminded us. They pointed out that God does not waste your time. If He calls you to do something, it will equip you for what He calls you to next. Trust that He is faithful, and knows the best timing. Let God open the doors.
George Escobar asked the question, “Where are you serving?” If you are so focused on the goal that you won’t follow God’s process, you are not glorifying Him with the humility of a servant heart.
Another common thread was the importance of prioritizing your family over filmmaking, not letting film overwhelm you as the expense of your family.
The panel shared their struggles in balancing priorities, and practical ways to be intentional about preserving those relationships.
Joseph and Stacie Graber advocated taking time off after each project to rest and focus on reconnecting with your spouse and children.
Judd Brannon shared how his wife and two sons worked on the crew during the production of Champion, but also brought up the fact that during post-production, his wife was just as much involved in the filmmaking process just by working extra hours caring for the family to free him to do his work.
Others in the room also shared from their personal experiences throughout, and asked many questions, participating in a dialog that discussed the definition of one’s calling, the importance of humility, being a communicator of gratitude, and marriage within the film industry.
Finishing out the topic of following God’s plan for us, the panel reminded us that it is the Lord who directs our steps. One at a time. God doesn’t ask for a leap of faith, just a step. Our part is obedience. Nathan Jacobson stated: “The future is not our responsibility. It’s God’s… Our responsibility is to make the most of the present.”