Brett Varvel, Travis Palmer, Andrew Bartlett, John Doryk
The third UNDERGROUND discussion took place on Friday morning at the Christian Worldview Film Festival. Brett Varvel, director of The War Within, served as moderator. He was joined by Travis Palmer, a 14 year filmmaking veteran. The other panelists included Andrew Bartlett, the founder of the Midwest Christian Filmmakers Academy, and John Doryk, a composer / sound designer.
The first question was: what does practical application of Christianity on set look like? “Being an ambassador doesn’t mean just being salt and light to the lost, but also to your brothers and sisters in Christ,” said Brett Varvel. Andrew Bartlett advised checking with the crew daily to make sure everyone is on the same page and doing well physically and spiritually. “It’s about people over process, not just the end product,” he stated.
When asked how to avoid a critical spirit, John Doryk recommended being critical of your own work first, and most often. “Don’t look just for the flaws,” Mr. Doryk continued. “Tell them how to improve instead of just what’s wrong.”
God brought Travis Palmer to the Christian Worldview Film Festival through a documentary, “Where Was God?” “I’d never seen so many Christian filmmakers who loved the Lord and were good at what they did,” he said.
Mr. Palmer shared a deeply personal time when he wasn’t feeling worthy to perform the task before him. He felt God saying, “Travis, you’re not worthy. It’s My worthiness in you through my Son Jesus Christ. You know me as a Father and that’s what I want you to communicate.” He added that humility is paramount in being a Christian filmmaker.
Brett Varvel also shared a testimony in response to the question of what to do when you don’t know what to do on set. “My pride wanted me to do it myself. I hit a brick wall and I had to do what I didn’t want to, and ask for help.”
Mr. Doryk talked about his time on big commercial sets. His fellow crew members said things like, “You’re always there, you work really hard, you’re honest, you serve, so that’s why we figured you’re a Christian. Are you?” He said yes. They said, “Cool.” It eventually led to conversations with people who would ask why he believed what he believed.
The next UNDERGROUND discussion titled “The God Factor,” takes place Friday afternoon.