Try and Try Again: The Story of the Lost Son



This video was birthed in one our late, Tuesday night creative meetings. When we knew that we wanted to use the “prodigal son” theme in the service, we knew we needed a way to introduce it. The first half of the message would be about Jesus and the resurrection and the second half would be about the story of the prodigal son. This video was the connector, to turn the page so to speak.

When initially coming up with ideas we had ideas of using a “son” and running home to the  “color dust party” that would be in the last video of the service. Although, we thought it could work, there was a 20 minute gap between this video and the God’s Great Dance floor/Color dust video. So connecting the two would be very difficult. So we decided to keep it simple. The original idea was to then have 3 different people reading the story, in a dark room with one harsh light on them to make it look epic (Similar to the “I am Second” look).  The idea was that having 3 different people that are different genders/ages means that they would read the story a little bit differently, each adding emphasis to the parts that stuck out to them the most.  At the time it seemed good enough so that was the plan. Once we found our 3 people (which we specifically chose for the video) we planned to shoot.

As a director, excellence is one of my values. So doing an “easy shoot” where each person would come read the story at a singular location with the same lighting, sound, and camera set up was safe… but it wasn’t excellence. It was too easy and I knew it. So last minute I decided to take the shoot out doors. 

This meant finding locations, figuring out how to do audio, and scheduling times to meet up with tons of camera gear. Not only that, but the weather had to play along as well. 

Taking this risk was scary and the project started off with a big defeat. My very first shoot for this video was with Paul Savage who was perfect for the “father figure” that we were looking to have in the film. I drove around the day before and found a beautiful location near 30mile road and Romeo Plank (almost 15 miles from Heritage SH Campus). When I saw it, I knew it was perfect, so I called Paul and set up a shooting time for that week.

After making the 30 minute trek out to the location, I set up all my gear and got ready for Paul to arrive. When I started setting up I knew that it was a little too windy but I figured that it would pass. It didn’t. In fact it turned into a full out wind storm. When Paul showed up after driving all the way there. (and getting his car filthy from the dirt roads) I had to inform him that we wouldn’t be able to shoot that day. It felt like defeat. It felt like my dream of shooting in beautiful outside locations was slowly being destroyed by the reality of the bipolar Michigan weather. 

The next time we shot, I came prepared. With a wind sock. Not a fancy “made for microphones” wind sock. But just a sock. From my sock drawer. I didn’t know if it would even work, for a lot of the shoot I felt that it might not be good enough.  But when I brought the audio into the editing process I was relived to find out that although we had wind during that second shoot, my audio was clean. PHEW!

The rest of the shoots went surprisingly well! Although we had to go inside for the shoot with Ashley Savage, (the perfect young mom for the video) her living room was a perfect location and showed who she was perfectly. The shoot with Bobby (The young “son” in the video) went surprisingly well for being outside, and with that location… how could it go wrong?

After getting all of my footage and loving it, the editing process was fun. I usually take hours and hours finding the right song, but when I went to The Music Bed it was the second song on the list. And it fit perfectly. (The song was “Father’s Heart” by Tony Anderson…fitting right?)

I spent a lot of time with the audio, experimenting with surround sound and adding fun effects like the sound of birds and crickets chirping. But when I got that figured out, I did my color correction and there it was. My finished piece. And I was proud of it too. I didn’t take the short cut. I didn’t take the easy route. I pushed myself and thats what makes my job fun. Failing, but getting back up and proving that I can strive for excellence. Although I’m still learning and have a far way to go, this is a step on the path away from mediocrity and towards excellence.