There is a pretentious and exclusive air that is usually placed with being a “creator”. In today’s society, everyone is influencer just by saying they are, and everyone with a phone, an idea, and a youtube account is a “creator”. The Irony? The market is so saturated with repetitive content that it’s hard to actually tell to the originators from the fakes. An entire generation seeking to make a quick buck off the free-market that is the creative world that doesn’t always equate to quality but quantity. There are “many” creators but how many of them are actually good? Many “creators” have made names for themselves on different platforms ranging from Youtube to Instagram. Millions of followers. Hundreds of photos. Dozens of videos yet how many of them are actually good? How many times have you been inspired? How many creators have shown you something you’ve never seen before? Or presented it in a way that feels fresh as opposed to being recycled? There is good news though! This isn’t a problem within the Adventist church or is it? Could it be that we’ve hit a creative wall within the four walls we call church? How many creators are in church boards? How many filmmakers are in our pews? Photographers in our praise teams? Graphic designers in our equipment booths? Writers in our Sabbath schools? Could there be a wealth of innovators and originators hiding in plain sight?
I believe so.
I truly believe that as a people who serve the most creative being that we, in turn, should be the most creative people. We should be pushing boundaries as opposed to building them. We serve a God that lives outside of a box and our approach should one that mirrors the grandeur of who he is.
I took the liberty to send out a bunch of emails to different directors in hope that they would offer me the opportunity to interview them and to my surprise, many of them agreed to be interviewed for this series. This series entitled “INSIGHT” will be focused on interviewing creators of different backgrounds but in the first installment of this series, we will be interviewing directors in order to inspire creators to do more with their talents. The hope of this series is that by reading from creators who have gone out and made their dreams a reality, you may do the same with yours.
This is Part 2 of INSIGHT: “A Series for Creators”
Part 2 will be focusing on Jacob Defour.
For those of you unfamiliar with Jacob Defour he is the Jacob Dufour is a multi-award winning Christian actor and screenwriter based in Southern Indiana and managed by Treasure Coast Talent. He is most well known for his work in “Andy’s Rainbow” (2016), “Sinjar: Valley of the Shadow” (2017), and “The Redemption of Benjamin Black” (2014).
Jacob also co-owns and operates Amor Domini Productions LLC, a faith-based film company, and is married to his lifelong friend Rachel Casey.
The following transcript is the interview and answers personally typed out by Mr. Defour
Intro: Please introduce yourself to the readers.
Who are you? My name is Jacob Dufour. I co-own and operate Amor Domini Productions, an independent Christian film company in Southern Indiana.
What you are/have been involved with creatively? We have produced two feature films, “Andy’s Rainbow” and “To Be a Soldier”, and are currently in pre-production for a third.
What do you feel is the hardest part of staying inspired in your craft? The hardest part about staying inspired is probably the foreboding knowledge of how difficult it is to see a film project through. For instance, I may have a good idea for a story, but is it really worth spending months writing a script for it, then a month of filming, and then another few months of editing/music, just so that we “might” get a decent distribution deal out of it? It’s a huge gamble of time and money, and having all that stress looming over you can really have an impact on your inspiration and creativity.
When you first started exploring your talent what was your biggest obstacle? When I first became interested in filmmaking, I was about 8 years old. My friends and I would make these horrible short films, usually with no storyline and loaded with grade school bathroom humor. It wasn’t until I was 15 that my father Adam and two of our friends (who now make up Amor Domini Productions) decided to get into the Christian film ministry/business that it became anything more than just a hobby. The biggest obstacle was and still is today, a limited budget. It takes a lot of money to make quality films, and that has always been something we’ve struggled with.
How did you get over that obstacle? The only way we’ve been able to make the films that we’ve made, and the only way we’ll be able to make this next feature, is through nothing short of God’s provision. 1 John 5:14-15 says that “this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” We figure that if God wants our films to be made, He’ll make a way for them to happen, budget or no budget. And so far, He has not disappointed.
What’s your advice for people who want to start film-making? My advice for people who want to start filmmaking? … Don’t do it. Haha. No, I’m kidding. I wouldn’t trade the past several years for anything, but it has been hard. My advice to anyone who wants to get into it is, make absolutely sure that it’s what you want to do, and make sure that it’s what God wants you to do. And be prepared for it to completely take over your life. Also, don’t hire the producer’s reps. Even in the faith-based world, I have yet to meet an honest producer’s rep.
Name me your biggest creative failure and what you learned from it? Our company’s biggest failure has probably been settling for a sub-par distribution deal. Make sure that you always exhaust your options before settling. It could mean the difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What’s the worst advice you’ve heard in your field and why? The worst advice I’ve ever heard… I don’t know. Probably “trust me”. Even in the faith-based world, there are tons of scavengers who are just out to make a quick buck off you and your labor of love.
In a world where creatives have so many platforms to succeed, why has the Christian world fallen behind? What’s the solution? Probably because for the most part, Christians seem to be really afraid of new stuff. Which I get to a degree, of course, there are many things changing in our society that are obviously very wrong and unbiblical. But many Christians take it too far, where they get stuck in their comfort zone and traditions. For instance, several Christian groups abhor rock and rap music. To them, any music with drums or electric guitars is the devil’s music. By being weighed down by their traditions, these Christians are missing out on massive potential of spreading the Gospel through music ministry. Just because they’re afraid to try new things. Until recently, most Christians have been the same way about filmmaking. They just didn’t want to step outside their comfort zone.
What is your advice for young aspiring directors, writers, content creators who want to make relevant Christian content but don’t feel supported? Find support. If your own family, friends, and church won’t support you, then first you should probably find new friends, and dare I even say a new church. Whatever you do in life, as long as it is not against the word of God, your church and friends should support you in it. If the people you are surrounded by are tearing you down and not encouraging you to do the Lord’s work, then you need to be around different people. There is also a huge database of fellow Christian filmmakers on different Facebook groups that you can get support and encouragement from. Bottom line, don’t give up just because some people are unsupportive.
What’s the most underrated part of God’s character that to you as a creator is important to you? That’s a tough one, but I’ll go with the first thing that pops into my head. Honestly, salvation. The actual Gospel. Believing on Jesus Christ and accepting His free gift of salvation. Many Christian films shy away from the Gospel message because they are afraid it will take away from the artistic quality of the film if they include it. As a result, most faith-based films have become lukewarm and not nearly as powerful (and important) as they could be.
What the biggest obstacle for Christian Creators in this generation & What needs to be done to overcome that obstacle? Going back to question #8, the biggest obstacle for Christian creators nowadays has got to be a lack of support from other Christians. I know Christians who have driven 45 minutes to the nearest theater to see the newest Deadpool movie on opening night, but they won’t come to a local showing of one of my movies. Christians have GOT to start supporting each other, not just throwing money away at Hollywood’s giant money making machines. If we don’t support and help each other, we are stunting the furthering of the Gospel to those who need to hear it.
Points to Highlight:
Find Support. Mr. Defour highlights the importance of finding and having support. Many times the very thing stopping you from going out and creating is the people in your circle. Maybe you’re scared of what they’ll say or maybe you’re like me and never really had the confidence to go out on a limb because of what others might have said. Ignore all that. Support will find you when you truly seek in the right places. Find it and hold on to it even if it means leaving your current circle of friends.
Step outside your Comfort Zone: Nothing great has ever been done from the safety of a comfort zone. Being a “creator” isn’t about the title. It’s about the courage to take a risk.
“Just Start”: Stop making excuses and waiting for the right moment to start on your dream. The best time is always in the present! Start now!
We hope this interview helps inspire you in some way, shape, or form as a creator to do more and be more! Special Thanks to Jacob Defour for his time. If you want to know more about his work, you can visit: https://www.amordomini.com/?fbclid=IwAR3Ndc4EZbR-fz4vkcZ2R5oKkDxWpJuqAq-If you have any questions you would like to see asked in the future or people who you would like to be interviewed for the series email me at firstname.lastname@example.org If you missed part 1 and wish to read it the link is here:http://thehaystack.tv/dee-knight-insight-part-1-a-series-for-creators/