Looking for a perfect Christmas gift for your favorite filmmaker? You’re in luck. Husband and wife duo Whitney Hill and Andrew Doyle have recently launched a Christian filmmaker product line. Choose from t-shirts and mugs with film phrases and crew positions. And one lucky reader will win a free t-shirt or mug.
When did you discover a love for filmmaking?
Andrew: My love for films started at a very young age. I can remember making mini movie cameras out of Legos and using my GI Joe, and Star Wars figures as crew and Talent. In fact, nine time out of ten, Han Solo was the Director. Something about that black vest maybe.
Tell us a little about your filmmaking background.
Andrew: A close childhood friend was pretty well off. His family always had a video camera. We would film model airplanes crashing, or little skits we would come up with in the basement or outside. That was on VHS. By the time I got into TV & Video Production in High School 3/4” tape and Beta were the hot new things. It grew from there. I have worked on commercials, short films, music videos, and several Reality TV shows.
Whitney: I was privileged enough to pursue and attend college for my desired industry and even receive my bachelor’s degree in filmmaking from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. To be in this industry, that is obviously not needed, but this gave me the time, friends and resources to craft my story, learn skills and define what kind of storyteller I wanted to be.
What film/tv projects have you been a part of?
Andrew: Most of the film projects have all been independent shorts. TV projects include multiple seasons of “Cupcake Wars,” “Sugar Dome,” “Top Chef,” “Pool Kings,” and a home renovation show called “Fix It & Finish It” with Antonio Sabato Jr.
Whitney: As soon as I graduated I was on a multitude of sets from Smurfs 2, Big Brother, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, to Top Chef and the iHeartRadio Music Awards. But I still wanted more. Only problem was, until the Lord chased me down and took me back, I didn’t know what the ‘more’ was.
You’ve each played multiple roles in the filmmaking process. Which is your favorite? Why?
Andrew: For me it really varies from project to project. Some I just like being the Producer and bringing all of the moving parts together. When I really think about it though, my real passion is storytelling so I guess it would be Directing. However, I also really enjoy creating the images as well. I guess a highbred of Director/Director of Photography.
Whitney: My favorite role to take part in is the role of Production Manager or Assistant Director. Having a hand in running the production, the shooting, bringing life to the writer’s story, is simply remarkable! The writers and director know the story they want to tell, all I need to do is help them tell it to the best of our knowledge as a team.
What inspired the idea for Christ-centered tee shirts?
Andrew: The same thing that inspired moving to Atlanta to create Kingdom motivated films. We have a responsibility to share Jesus with our media, and that should flow through right onto set. Even if the production isn’t necessarily a Christian one, having a shirt that professes your faith may positively impact someone on the project.
Tell us about your products.
Andrew: I have designed about 12 different graphics for Christians in the film industry. Some of them are just graphics, and others, like the crew shirts are paired with Bible verses. Whether it is a t-shirt or a mug, they are meant to inspire, profess, motivate, and even help keep someone focused on their craft and purpose.
Whitney: I consider it such an honor to wear my faith! I’m even planning on getting a Christ-centered tattoo very soon, just so I can’t take it off! I look forward to the ministry point that will become for me when people ask about it. And that’s what we want our customers to enjoy as well – wearing a t-shirt or drinking from a mug that could start a conversation – or at the very least, make people notice.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing Christians in the film industry?
Andrew: The greatest challenge I think is to be able to blur the lines just enough so you reach a broader audience. You have to tell your stories so they aren’t completely washed of real life. So many Christian films are targeted to Christians. We need to do a better job of making Christian films that reach the unsaved. Sometimes that might mean going to dark places. Meeting people where they are. Jesus spent a lot of time with “the least of these” and He didn’t belittle their experience or situation. Neither should we.
Whitney: The greatest challenge facing Christians within the filmmaking industry, I believe is being a part of such a “secular entertainment” industry. Keep in mind I originally pursued filmmaking because I was running away from God! And it was the least-Godly industry I could think of at the time. Thankfully God reclaimed me as His after college and now I’m able to use my talent for filmmaking and heart for Christ to serve Him with it all! I’m blessed to be around passionate filmmakers that also pray before meetings, shoot days, etc. It shocked me at first, but God can be in and a part of anything if we bring Him into it!
What advice do you have for fellow filmmakers?
Andrew: Keep pushing. If this is your passion, keep pushing. You are going to hear “No” a lot. Like a lot a lot. If you believe in your project keep pushing it, even if it takes you years to get it made. Also, be diverse. If you are developing shows, don’t just focus on cooking, or home improvement, or comedy. Be diverse. I know a lot of people say, “It’s better to be strong at one thing, than be mediocre in many.” For me, “the strong at one thing” is development. Building the story and characters. That way it doesn’t matter what type of project it is. I look at development like a house’s foundation. It has to be the strongest part. The house on top can be different every time, but the foundation needs to be strong.
Whitney: To remember Christ lives in you constantly. You can’t go anywhere without Him, so don’t try. He is there with you in the meetings, during shoot days, even at the wrap party – so act like it and encourage others.
Bofum Pictures has kindly offered to give away a “His Crew” t shirt to one lucky Faith Flix reader. To enter to win, check out their website and comment below with which shirt is your favorite. Winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, November 30.