Brian Yarbrough is writer, director, and producer with True Exposure, a production company that uses classic techniques, mixed with today’s technology to produce relevant films for the emerging generation. To date, they have produced several short films including Fire Team which can currently be seen on the Victory Channel via ROKU and The Wexler Chronicles: Goliath just released on DVD.
What is your filmmaking background?
I started while in the Air Force making a documentary about my squadron. Of course I couldn’t just do pictures and video with a voice over. I talked the office staff into lip-synching “On Broadway” – the Muppet version – for the video and had a few other gags throughout.
Following that I lived in LA trying to live the dream. I was a Production Assistant on films like Dorothy Dandridge and on production teams for films done by AFI. I had fun producing a commercial for The California Lottery, but never felt satisfied and knew I needed to seek out better opportunities on my own.
What inspired you to start making Christian movies?
I worked on a few films where I thought the story wasn’t quite right. I felt God had given me the talent for telling stories, and I wanted to tell stories of which He would be proud. Doing that, making God-honoring movies is my greatest goal. I’ve been honing this gift ever since. I really love old movies and found that I can relate to their classic story-telling style. Directors like Curtiz, Huston and even Hitchcock knew how to tell intriguing stories without all the sex and violence we see today.
Walt Disney once said “I don’t make educational movies and hope people are entertained, I make entertaining movies and hope people learn.” I like that philosophy. I feel that if I entertain my audience they will allow me to teach them about God and His principles; lessons they may not get elsewhere.
How did you get the idea for The Wexler Chronicles: Goliath?
One year while living in Glendale, CA we were doing VBS with an archeology theme. To advertise, I created this character and we did a serial each Sunday. I really fell in love with the character. I think every Christian, just like Wexler, wants be able to find or show doubters, atheist and agnostics alike irrefutable proof of God’s existence. We want that moment where we slam something on the table and yell ‘ah-ha!’ The truth is we already have that proof. It’s our testimony. Wexler wants that so bad he is willing to steal, fight and lie to get it. It’s that fight that drives the story.
I wrote the story about ten years before we filmed it. I had just finished Fire Team and was looking for the next project. I really wanted to do a feature length film. I could hear the script calling to me but I knew it had problems, would need sets to be built and I didn’t believe I could get the budget. So I searched for other ideas, but no matter how much I tried to write something I kept feeling that Wexler was the film.
One night it came to me how to fix the big issue and I set out to do a page one rewrite and the rest is history. There really is so much that happened with this film that actually proved the theme of the film. My Assistant Director and Director of Photography, both volunteered to travel across country on their own dime to help me. Financing for building the temple came from a source I didn’t know at the time. I don’t think he knew who I was, he just liked the idea. There were just so many blessings like these throughout the production.
What was the greatest challenge with producing the movie?
I think everybody would say money so we’ll just move past that one. The biggest overall challenge was to produce a film on a really tight budget that need an airport, a temple and desert while filming in Georgia. God provided for all those challenges. I remember going to the local airfield to ask about using one of their hangers. While talking with the operator I pointed to some old, unused ones toward the back. She thoughtfully paused then asked, “how ‘bout this one?” She opened a door to a hanger with all these old planes and stuff. I thought, God, you are awesome!
What has been the response to it?
During the run up to making this film a friend cautioned me that I wouldn’t like the end result, but I knew it was God’s calling to do that film at that time. It’s the beginning, not the end, I told him. The film has done some amazing things. I’ve witnessed it stand up to some higher budgeted films and bring in new funders who understand my vision.
I think the most exciting thing it did was bring in close to $1000.00 on its premier night to help build a Children’s Worship Area. It was far more than expected. The message of the film seems to have gotten through as well. As people comment on the story, a line keeps getting repeated, “You don’t prove God through old trinkets and relics. You prove Him through your past, the artifacts of your life.”
What other projects do you have in the works?
In April we are filming Sinking Sand, a suspense/thriller about a wife who murders a blackmailer to protect her husband’s flourishing law career, and now has to watch as he prosecutes another woman for her crime. This is a throwback to a Hitchcock type of suspense. Will she tell? The story conveys the truth that when we don’t follow God’s plans things can get pretty hairy. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Just like David, King Saul and Solomon, we too know we should lean on God and trust His plan for us. But we don’t so we fall short of His glory.
In the film, Brooke (played by Jenn Gotzon), knows the right thing to do, but will go to almost any length instead of what she should do. Her fear of what could happen if she tells the truth scares her away from trusting. The funny thing is all those consequences she is trying to avoid are happening anyway.
What are your filmmaking goals?
I have goals like being a self-supported production company, basically one film financing the next one. I hate asking for money. I want to be able to support my family while doing what I really love to do. I want to produce quality films and tell great stories. Be the Frank Peretti of the Christian film industry! Those are all great, but really, I think my goal is that when I get to Heaven and stand before God knowing He gave me a talent, a supportive family and the opportunity, He says to me, “good job.” With a fist bump.
We’ve got two other films slated behind Sinking. One is about a man who loses everything to hold to his principle and will not assassinate his college buddy. Following that we will try our hand at a period piece by telling a story from the Revolutionary War. Anyone who wants to know more about us can visit our Facebook page, or our website at www.trueexposure.net. They can also follow us on Twitter @trueexposure.