“Out of Character”

What do Pharaoh, a saloon girl, a pirate, a fairy princess, and Caesar have in common? They are all wait staff at The Time Warp, one of two fictional restaurants in the short film “Out of Character.” When the costumed actors gathered for filming, it looked a bit like a Halloween party – except for the lighting trusses, overhead microphone, camera, and other scattered equipment.

We were at a different location each of the two shooting days, so each morning we carted in equipment, plus meals and snacks for up to 30 people. While the actors got into costume and had their hair and makeup done, the tech crew got set up. Then each scene was shot multiple times from multiple angles, and for each camera angle, the lights and microphone had to be reset. By the time everything was packed up, it had been as a 14-hour day.

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg! Work started months ago, with hours upon hours spent writing and editing the script, lining up the tech crew, auditioning actors, and planning the logistics of the shoot. And work is still continuing now with post-production tasks like video editing and composing background music.

All this for a finished product that will take less than five minutes to watch.

That’s an awful lot of work for less than five minutes! But it was worth the time and effort. This film will be one of several used as discussion starters for a new Bible study series by Steve Douglass, the president of Campus Crusade for Christ. Like the parables of Jesus, the films will tell stories that illustrate spiritual truths. They will help college students around the country (and maybe the world) engage on a heart level with the Scriptures in each lesson.

I really enjoyed working on the shoot (I ran errands and helped prepare and serve meals), and I look forward to helping with future films, along with my usual training duties. One thing’s for sure: when I watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” this Christmas, I’ll have a much greater appreciation of what it took to produce what I see on screen!

Thank you for your prayers and partnership!

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