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Stephen Kendrick – The Filmmakers Guild: Main Session

By March 12, 2019 No Comments

The Unbelievable Power of Unity

“There’s almost nothing we can’t accomplish when we work together,” proclaimed Stephen Kendrick, Producer with Kendrick Brothers’ Films, who wrapped up day two of the Christian Worldview Filmmakers Guild.

He opened with scripture from Psalm 133:1, “How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity.”

Kendrick reassured the filmmakers gathered here in Tennessee that if the Lord is in the boat with you, even through the storm, He’ll be with you. He pointed out scripture tells us in Ephesians 4:3 to make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit and that includes on the movie set.

“I’ve heard of multiple Christian movie sets where there was fussin’ and fightin’ going on,” Kendrick related. “You don’t tend to sense the presence of God in that context.”

Filmmakers were treated to an inside look on how to maintain unity on a movie set as Kendrick shared how the Lord has directed them, through scripture, on their own sets.

What we use to keep our crew unified:

  1. God’s example in the trinity.

“If you want to have unity on your set, it begins with you alone,” Kendrick pointed out. It’s only when we submit fully to Him in total surrender that unity can blossom.

I John 1:7 says, “When we walk in the light as He is in the light, we will have fellowship with one another.” Fellowship with others starts with our own relationship with the Lord first.

“It begins with you and the Lord. If you’re not right with the Lord and you’re walking around with bitterness in your heart and pride, you are a catalyst of disunity everywhere you go,” implored Kendrick.

  1. We pray for one another.

Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Unity trickles down to the crew and producers.

“Me, Alex, and Shannon are already unified and prayed up.”

First, they meet with heads of departments. Then, they do boot camp, where the goal is to get everyone on the same page and get unified.

Then, every day on the set, they feed the crew breakfast. They actually pay them for 10 minutes to not do any work. Have a devotional time, team time, every day for 10 minutes.

“We’re going to encourage the crew. Speaking to everyone on the same day,” he explained.

On many movie sets, people are disjointed. Oftentimes the crew don’t even know each other. One department has no idea what the other is doing, and some don’t even know what the movie is about. The atmosphere on the set is often cut throat and stressful.

Kendrick noted how after this day set aside as boot camp, the crew now becomes friends who know one another and know how to communicate with each other.

Purposes of Boot Camp:

  1. To prepare, equip, inspire, and unify the crew (on day one).
  2. Explain movie’s vision, story, purpose and why it matters.
  3. Introduce all cast and crew to one another.
  4. Establish our systems, values, ground rules (when we hurt one another, like Matthew 18, talk it out in love).

“We follow scriptural guides not union rules,” said Kendrick.

  1. Dedicate entire production to God from the very beginning.

The Kendricks share stories about the movies they’ve made in the past and what God has done with them in order to build excitement for the potential of what God can do through this new project.

Consider the Cost

Quoting another film, Spiderman, he reminded filmmakers that ‘with great power comes great responsibility.’

  1. Potential impact is massive. (Eph 3:20)

Every movie teaches theology. That movie is communicating something about God, and about people, and about life, and about relationships. A movie without God in it is an atheistic one that basically assumes that God doesn’t exist or that there’s no consequences for sin, and that’s a bad line to communicate,” stated a fiery Kendrick. “People are going to make decisions about God, and marriage, and family, and about their futures based on what they see in our films! They’re moved emotionally. Are they gonna go apologize to their wife like Kirk Cameron in Fireproof or are they gonna cheat like the guy in Dr. Zhivago? We want to be leading them to the Lord.”

  1. God will judge us with a higher standard. (James 3:1)

You will be judged by the theology you put in your movies.

“If you put a stumbling block in your movie, that’s leading people astray, leading people to sin, you are gonna be held accountable for that. Do you realize that? You’re gonna stand before God!,” Kendrick emphasized. “There needs to always be a sense of the fear of the Lord and a  trembling that the decisions we make on set or write in a script can influence people around the world (whether legally or illegally).”

  1. We will have to die to our pride, plans, and glory.
  2. The devil will attack us at a greater level.

“We warn our crew up front that we’re stepping in the devil’s playground and we’re gonna to take back ground from him and he ain’t gonna be happy about it,” Kendrick declared. “Cuz’ we’re going to war with him. So you must walk by faith. Be sure you want to do this before you sign up for it.”

  1. We must walk by faith, prayer, and obedience.

Separated from your family, moving heavy equipment around at brutal hours, and being attacked by a real enemy. We have to count the cost.

Movie production is like:

  1. Going to war – separation from family, regular life, brutal hours, great sacrifice, attacks from Satan.
  2. Work on a farm – tons of boring hard work up front, months of waiting, hopeful harvest later.
  3. Like following the weatherman – constant change
  4. The links in the chain – everyone is resting on you (one person can speed up efficiency and one person can slow the whole thing down).

Share movie theme:

Explain the identity of the main characters.

The Cast of the Movie

Introduce the cast, cheer for them, pray over them (health, marriages, inspire them, anoint them, encourage them).

The Crew of the movie

Start with department heads, then they introduce their crew under them. Pray over the crew.

Team dynamics

Vocabulary, set order, values, ground rules

Play a game

Kendrick then led the audience in a round of Who wants to be a movie maker?, patterned after the tv show Who wants to be a billionaire? He asked insider questions like what is a honey wagon or call memo and slowly whittled down the audience into a handful of pros who kept getting the answers right. Of course, this was a fun way to communicate movie set basics to help newcomers get acquainted with proper jargon and good methods of keeping a set and crew organized.

Team Dynamics

Talk about the filming order.

  1. Block
  2. Light
  3. Rehearse
  4. Shoot

Blocking is determining where the actor is going to stand, and he/she is not yet in wardrobe or make-up. Lighting is when the lighting department sets up light, dollies, etc. A few minutes before completion, the actors are alerted. Often will bring in stand-ins to test lighting before the actual actors enter the scene. Rehearsing is when the actors rehearse in full make-up and wardrobe.

Shooting is when the scene is shot with the actors in place and silence in region. Room tone is recorded on sight. Then, the process is repeated until it’s filmed to the director’s satisfaction.

Kendrick wrapped-up highlighting Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans,” as well as Romans 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” These scriptures remind filmmakers that when they’re faithful to commit their plans to Him and wholly surrender to the Lord as living sacrifices, there is no limit what God can do for His Kingdom work.

Written by Terri Hall

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