Panelists: Paul Munger, Benjamin Botkin, Travis Palmer, Marcela Shaw
Moderator: Matthew Shaw –
The second UNDERGROUND discussion, moderated by art director Matthew Shaw, focussed on honoring God in the process of filmmaking. After an opening prayer and introduction, each panelist gave brief opening remarks on the topic.
Matthew brought up that the greatest commandments are to love God and others. “The making of the movie is more important in your personal life than the movie itself,” he said.
“Be willing for God to change your timeline,” his wife Marcela Shaw, production designer, advised. “Be willing to be flexible. Follow God, don’t lead.”
Filmmaking veteran Travis Palmer reminded the group that God is the God of ‘I Am’, and encouraged us to seek Him in the present, for each next step.
Ben Botkin, composer, read from Colossians 1:13-19, which speaks of the preeminence of Jesus Christ, and that He is the center of everything, not on the periphery. “In filmmaking, and all of life, we need to be seeking and reflecting Him.”
Director Paul Munger told us, “One of the things that is overarching for me is His sovereignty. We bring our stories in the light that reality.”
We discussed practical tips for making sure one’s set processes are honoring to God, talking about the importance of forgiveness, grace, and unity, and how to maintain your integrity.
Travis Palmer shared stories of how he went to great lengths during years of working on secular sets to guard his eyes and heart, and his opportunities to minister to those around him. “Even if you’re not at the top of the chain, that doesn’t mean you don’t have influence,” he told us.
“Live in the awareness that God’s eye is upon you and strive to honor him.” Paul Munger urged.
Marcela Shaw spoke of her first experience as a PA under a non-believing boss, and being promoted because of her work ethic. “People watch you doing your job,” she said. “What you do affects the person next to you.” Her husband Matthew quoted a saying they share, that “God is our promoter.”
From there questions lead to a discussion of the hiring process.
Paul Munger advised beginning with prayer. “Look for those with integrity, who will follow direction, and can take rebuke humbly,” he added.
Travis brought out the fact the the word ‘integrity’ is related to ‘integer’. “Wholeness. I’m looking for whole people.” Respect and honor for others is a good indication of a person’s character, he added, and reminded us exercise integrity ourselves in the process.
We also spoke of the most overlooked departments in the industry, and the need for patience and understanding in each relationship.
“Don’t let your passion for your project blind you to the people on your team.”
“Your movie may not make it, and may never change lives, but the way you interact with your team can impact them in life changing ways.”
And, “People matter more than the project,” the panel told us.
The remaining conversation covered examples and advice about the practical uses of prayer on set. Panelists and attendees shared personal experiences and answers to prayers.
Personal, departmental, and prayer of all the crew together. Daily and at the times of crisis. When you get stuck, stop the crew and pray together. Then get back to work and watch God move.
Prayer is effective! Do we believe that truly? Or we asking Him only as a last resort? Paul Munger explained: “Prayer is bringing God our needs and giving them to Him, and trusting Him with it all. Our total dependence is on Him. Pray boldly, and leave it with open hands, trusting Him with the results.”
Phil. 4:6-7 tells us to make our requests known to God, and that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds. “If in doubt, seek wisdom. And if you don’t have peace, don’t do it.” Travis Palmer concluded.