Feature Filmmaker

Ep. 64 - Christmas and Filmmaking

December 23, 2021 Anna Thalman
Feature Filmmaker
Ep. 64 - Christmas and Filmmaking
Show Notes Transcript

At this time of year, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. What does Jesus Christ have to do with filmmaking?

In our experience, a lot!

In this episode, we share a loss we experienced 7 years ago and how in the end, the lesson we learned is worth so much more to us now than what we lost.

We share how our belief in Christ helped us with our feature film.

We also teach you how you can experience more internal peace even during turbulent times.

Learn about the Film and Family Program:
www.InvisibleMansion.com/FilmandFamily

Make Your Feature Film (Free Step-by-Step Guide):
www.InvisibleMansion.com/FreeChecklist

Kent Thalman:

Hello everyone. And welcome to our special Christmas episode of film and family. This is being recorded the day before the day before Christmas and will be released. Um, right on Christmas Eve. So Merry Christmas to everyone who's listening and happy holidays to anyone who celebrates whatever you happen to celebrate during this time

Anna Thalman:

of year. Yeah. We want to talk about Christmas, and filmmaking, and those might not seem to have much in common, but if we go back in Christmas movies, there are a lot of Christmas movies

Kent Thalman:

so if you have any favorite Christmas movies, just to start with, please email them to us@filmsandinvisiblemansion.com because I'm always looking for more good ones

Anna Thalman:

and are looking for a good one. It's a wonderful life. As a classic,

Kent Thalman:

most people have never heard of it.

Anna Thalman:

We just watched the. Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart.

Kent Thalman:

It's like this. I want to actually, most people have not. It's, it's got really, you know, old dated 1999 television special effects, but there is no greater screws than Patrick Stewart. Surprisingly, he is quite remarkable. Basically an adaptation of a one man play. Did he? Um, anyway, anyway,

Anna Thalman:

so the other thing that we celebrate at Christmas besides movies is the birth of Christ. And, what does Christ have to do with film? We actually have found that he has a lot to do with film for us. And we've learned a lot about him through our experiences with film as well. And we want to share one of those experiences with you today that. Man. It's a good story. We love telling the

Kent Thalman:

story and we love it too much. Many of you may have heard it before. It's possible, although our memory's failing us that we've recorded it onto another podcast

Anna Thalman:

episode, we did, it was a year ago.

Kent Thalman:

So we. Saw a post. Our friend told us about a social media post by Jared land. Who's the president of red. This is what there was several years ago. We were, we were, yeah, something seven years ago, I think. And we were still in school. Very poor. Yeah. Four then we are now. Jared land posted that. Anyone who could remake this obscure German music video in 4k or higher resolution could be entered to win, a red dragon, which at the time was valued at around $60,000. Oh, how things have changed and, We basically saw that and being the poor college students that we were, we thought that sounds like that sounds great. And we'd just been doing, homework assignments on shot for shot, recreations of scenes and films and stuff, just to kind of experiment. Copying exact focal lengths and all that stuff. And we thought, well, we've definitely got the skills to be able to perfectly recreate this music video. And, you know, it's not that hard to find cameras that shoot 4k anymore. And so we set off to do this thing and very quickly realized, well, we'd come into it a couple days late. And it was to. Midnight on Christmas Eve and

Anna Thalman:

you know how Amazon gets around Christmas. It's hard to get stuff on time. So we were looking at, can we get the costumes on time? And it's going to cost us a few hundred dollars. And do we really want to spend our Christmas Eve this way, making this little random video. And we started to look at other people's entries and we were like, oh, these are pretty good.

Kent Thalman:

Like, if we had time, we could do that. Well. Or. But we don't have time. And the costumes might not get here on time and we're going to stress about this all Christmas Eve. Let's just spend it with our family.

Anna Thalman:

Yeah. We're like, we don't want to ruin our Christmas and spend hundreds of dollars and not win and just have this random video that we made at the end of it. So we ultimately decided not to do it, although we were. Investigating what it would

Kent Thalman:

take. Yeah. And in the end we had a great Christmas and everything was fine. And a few days later the winner was announced, which turned out to be the Jared land, decided to give a red dragon. He must've really been trying to get rid of inventory at the end of the year to every single person who entered anything. And some people had. Drawings on lined paper, pictures of drawings, online paper, they are, they got a red dragon at the end of the year for their Christmas. And we who did not submit anything, got nothing 60 people submitted. When you think about how many people follow read, and probably saw that post on Instagram, how many people do you think actually saw it? Probably thousands. Yeah. It's 60 people submitted and he gave away 60 red dragons. That's kind of astonishing to me

Anna Thalman:

still. And I bet that most of the ones who didn't submit were thinking something similar to us, like it won't be good enough.

Kent Thalman:

And afterwards they were probably thinking something similar to. Oh, if I had only just tried something, even if it

was

Anna Thalman:

submitted would have been good enough. Anything. Yeah, he just said, if you submitted, you got a camera.

Kent Thalman:

So many weeks later, I was actually sitting in church and thinking about this experience, which I was still feeling a little sad about. And it was just, it was interesting. It was interesting that I noticed that when I told my parents and family about it, Dave. We're usually like just instant heart sunken, you know, like, whoa. Oh, that's the worst. It's got this great twist ending. Hmm. And, I was kind of feeling bummed still and it just kind of hit me isn't that kind of what Jesus Christ tells us, right? He's like, just put your faith in me and do your best. You don't have to be perfect. So other people might even do better than you, but in the end, the payment is the same for everyone. Just give it your best shot. Just try, just try, you know, it's not even, he

Anna Thalman:

says, I'll be your judge. I will know if you're trying to follow me or not. And if you are, then you can have everything I have to give, which is, more than we could ever obtain on our own. I just think this applies to film for you, whether or not you believe in Christ, which we'll be talking about Christ in this episode. But I think there's an important lesson there. To be gained about just giving your best and trying and moving forward and not letting that thought ever stop you of, maybe it won't be good enough. Maybe I won't be good enough, whatever efforts you can put forth towards your goals, which is maybe making a feature, maybe making a family, maybe just to be a better person, maybe to achieve something else that you're working towards a degree or whatever. Give forth your best effort and move forward and eventually will be enough, especially with Christ's help. I don't know, I just think that's like such a profound lesson that we learned in kind of a hard way, but it stuck with us these seven years.

Kent Thalman:

And it reminds me of something that Todd garner says on his podcast. I'm the producer's guide. He's the producer of movies like triple X. ProHeart run a bunch of movies. And he had a guy, on his podcast who makes a lot of faith films, really huge producer actually. And he said, I don't know if Todd Garner's even like a believing Christian or whatever, but I thought it was interesting because he said isn't all filmmaking, faith filmmaking. He said, not necessarily that that's the genre of the movie you're making, but that you have to wake up every day and your job as a producer, basically. To carry around this idea and be told all day long, but it's never, ever going to work. And your job is to just keep believing in it, keep pitching it and keep moving forward. And it's kind of funny because I mean, that's what they do for a living and they've seen it over and over and over again. Eventually these movies do kind of come around and get made. Some of them, some of them don't, but most of them, you know, like you, you push it hard enough long enough. And it gets made the people who don't make it are the people who give up the people will just kind of quit on the project or whatever. And so it just, I think that's really interesting that all filmmaking is faith filmmaking you really just got to those doubts sometimes come from other people, but they often come from usually inside our own self.

Anna Thalman:

Yeah. And it's like, what do you have faith in? You have to believe in what you're doing and that it will pan out. And then. I like to think of it as there's no such thing as failure, you're either failing or sorry. You're either succeeding. You're either succeeding or you're learning. And the lessons I think are worth even more than the loss. In this case with the camera, the lesson we learned was worth more to us than this 60 K

Kent Thalman:

camera red came out with a better camera, the cost to attend to the price brand new anyway. I agree with you is to my point is cheaper, but lessons don't even

Anna Thalman:

before that time, we applied that lesson to the next competition that we thought we could enter. And we said, we're just going to try. We're just going to enter. And we won $10,000 and that funded our move to Georgia and that kind of kicked off. Our career in a good way,

Kent Thalman:

in some ways. Yeah. And I mean,

Anna Thalman:

and we've applied it again. I don't think we would've made this feature film. If we hadn't learned to overcome that thought of maybe it won't be good enough and just say, we're just going to make some. Who cares if it's not good enough, eventually it will be good enough if we just keep trying and we keep moving forward. So I think that lesson, which we're sharing with you for free Merry Christmas is worth way more than the red and, the loss that we experienced, even though at the time, it felt like a major blow

Kent Thalman:

it's true. And it's still. It's hard to believe sometimes that the things that we think we need, aren't actually what we need. There's so many of these things that we sit around in life waiting for, or hoping will come to us somehow, like money or connections or big opportunities, whatever we think that is or whatever we think that looks like. But really. Almost never are those, the things we actually need. Usually what we need is to learn some sort of thought or lesson or idea and believe it. And we usually can only learn those things through failure or intuition, and we put them into practice and, you know, they don't work if they're true. And, and so, often the next steps are still in front of us. They're not in anyone else's court, usually the next step is in our court and we just need to take that next step. Instead of waiting for someone to give us a bunch of money, we still need to like write a screenplay. Like, you know, it's like, you know, almost, always every step of the way I find, how is this ball still in my court? What can I do? Depressed forward with this rather than sit around and wait, and exercise faith and, and move forward. Usually results in progress.

Anna Thalman:

Yeah, I love that. I think one other thing we wanted to share with you this Christmas is another way that Christ has influenced us with filmmaking. And that is in relation to his title as the prince of peace. And he has many titles and he's helped us in many ways, but this one. I think is very fitting for filmmaking because in this industry, we experienced a lot of stress, a lot of pressure. People are notoriously, struggling with their personal lives in our industry. And I think we could all use a little extra piece.

Kent Thalman:

Well, and the mantra is, is that, I don't know, mantra the saying that the word on the street is that, everyone in LA has a shrink, right? And there's no, there's nothing wrong with that. But the point is, is that, it's an indicator of the demand that people have for wanting to feel, Piece, right. They want to feel some sort of stability mentally, emotionally. And, and yet it's an interesting title, right? The Christ goes by prince of peace and people, a lot of people know this, but in Jerusalem when Christ was born and they were all waiting for a Messiah or someone who is going to come and sort of redeem Israel, what they all thought that meant was. He was just going to come take out the Romans and give them peace. Right. Because they were basically, they were owned. They were occupied by Rome and they really, really did not like that. And they wanted the Romans out and they thought that that was the piece that he was going to bring. And so a week before his crucifixion, he enters into Jerusalem and people were shouting save us now. Right. And, and

Anna Thalman:

laying their clothes down for him to walk on and, and, hailing him as their promised to save.

Kent Thalman:

And then a week later they were crucifying him and it's because he wasn't bringing the peace that they thought that they wanted. Just like we said, like sometimes we think what we need. In our lives, our opportunities or money or something. Worldly security. And when that doesn't happen, we start to get angry and get impatient with ourselves, with God, with people around us, our families and life starts to get very, very hard. When we think that what we need is actually something that we don't need. And when what we actually need is something that we're ignoring or neglecting.

Anna Thalman:

We usually think we need something, material, something physical, and what we actually need are. Things that are not visible, things that are invisible. We need peace. We need knowledge. We need meaningful things to say, and to share, we need significant relationships and what the people needed was a kind of peace that was not universal. Governmental peace. The peace that Christ brings is personal. And it's a personal piece regardless of circumstance that we can have no matter what's going on around us. Even Christ disciples, who were his followers and understood a lot of his teachings, even for them, Christ did not bring peace

In the way that they expected.

Anna Thalman:

And he comforts them. You can read about this in the Bible in John 14 and says, I will not leave you. Comfortless I will come to you. To them. It might've seemed like he did leave them. Comfortless when he was crucified and, and was in the tomb for three days before he came to them before he was resurrected and he told them peace, I leave with you. My peace. I give unto you not as the world given, give I unto you, let not your heart be troubled. Neither let it be afraid. So I love that in his own words, I will not leave you comfortless I will come to you. So even when we feel like he has left us, comfortless he hasn't, he will come to us and he leaves his peace with us. Not as the world giveth give I unto you. So his peace is. Not the kind of peace that the world promises like, oh, if you buy the stuff, then everyone will love you and everything will go great. And you'll have all your wildest dreams. That's not the kind of peace he gives us.

Kent Thalman:

Well, it reminds me of, uh, you know, the scripture that says that if we put the kingdom of God first that all these things will be added unto us. And I don't know if that means, like all the things that we hope and dream for a mansion and a beautiful spouse and kids that do everything we ever tell them and, you know, like whatever. But it does, I think mean that when we put first things first, everything else. Works out, you know, you'll have what you need in all those other categories. It won't, it will never not be enough.

Anna Thalman:

We experienced that with are first feature film. It was very difficult. The process was very difficult. We were not prepared. There were so many things that we didn't know. And we went into it with those creative constraints and with our own constraints of knowledge and we did our best and our best was not very good to start out. And yet we were trying our best and we were praying for help. Every time we filmed every morning, we started our day with prayer, with the whole cast and crew, and we really have felt as we see the film come together, that he. Made up the difference and it's not a perfect film, but I'm really proud of how it's coming together and it's, it's working and people are watching it and responding to it. And I think sometimes your best is enough, especially when you have help heavenly help. And at least in this case, it was exactly what we needed to go through. We needed to learn the hard lesson. Those are very valuable and now we share them with you and our program. And I think will help so many people to not have to learn those lessons the hard way. And so that's valuable, but also the film itself, is going to come together and, and it's because of his health. We can't say that it wasn't a miracle that things worked out the way they did, because it

Kent Thalman:

really was, it seemed so much like the whole time nothing was working out, but in the end, it's all getting done and it's all coming together and it is becoming, like you said, what it needs to be, which may not be what we thought it would be. Oscar sweep. You know, making it rain endeavor, but it will be what it needs to be. And here's the thing, just like the red story and just like everything else we've talked about with Christ. If you just don't do it, we could have just not done it. We could have avoided all the failure and all of the struggle of making the first feature film. And that's why that's one of the biggest focuses of our podcast and of this program, is making a first feature film. Nothing can happen if you want a feature film career until after that step happens until after you actually start doing it, you know? And so like, what is your first feature film need to be? Well, it needs to exist, first of all, it

Anna Thalman:

needs to be a feature in T you guarantee that your efforts will not be enough if you take no effort. Yeah. If you don't actually make the thing you're afraid of is that it won't be good enough.

Kent Thalman:

It won't get into any festivals if you don't make it, it won't. No one will notice it. If it's not male, never

Anna Thalman:

learn the lessons you need to, to improve and get better. We do this because we're afraid to fail, but when we're afraid to fail, we actually do fail. We fail in advance because we don't even try. So we want to encourage you to take this mindset and change the way you look at your film career and your life, and try to. Just try it. Just try.

Kent Thalman:

Yeah. And, and honestly, in the end you don't really have probably a huge reputation as a filmmaker anyway. So even if it's like the worst movie ever, no one has to know. You don't have to, you, you don't have, you don't have a reputation to blow and ruin. You know, some filmmakers might have when they are really, I'm not going to name any names. I was going to give some examples, but I just don't think that's very in the spirit of Christmas, but we can think of some, I think, where it's like that filmmaker had this glittering Lee promising early career, and then they made some films and it was like, what happened? And, and you know, what. Even those guys have bounced back and they're still find it. They're still working in the industry and making plenty of money. And as long as they, you know, didn't do anything scandalous in their personal life.

Anna Thalman:

I also just want to say just in the way, how people, didn't just how in the same. I'm

Kent Thalman:

trying to do great. Just get it out. Don't say it. It'll never be

Anna Thalman:

in the same way that Christ didn't bring peace. And the way that the people expected. I think in our personal lives, it's still, isn't always the way we expect. He's not always going to answer our prayers and make things miraculously work out in the moment or give us the money or the opportunity or connection that we think is the way, but he does answer and he does help and it might not be how we expect. And I love peace, that emotion, I think as much as I believe that emotions come from thoughts, most of the time, I actually think that peace is a gift that Christ gives us. And it's a unique emotion because it can accompany any other. You could be feeling sorrow and have peace, or you could be feeling joy and have peace. And I've experienced that. I've experienced that personal peace even during extremely difficult times in my life. And I know that it comes from him, so it doesn't mean that he'll take the trials away or the burdens or the obstacles away, but he will help you get through. And he's a gap filler. He makes up the difference. Just like we talked about with the red camera, all we have to do is submit ourselves. All we have to do is, is put forth some effort and he makes up the difference. So I love that. As long as we do our best, he will do the rest. And we want to invite you this Christmas to let him into your life and do your best and move from.

Kent Thalman:

I agree with that and hope you have a wonderful Christmas and also keep your eyes peeled and your ears perks for news regarding a window of opportunity that is opening in the next week.

Anna Thalman:

Yeah, right before the new year, the film and family academy is opening its doors again. So if you want to make a feature film this next. Check that out and, and that'll be ready for you.

Kent Thalman:

Awesome.