Easter Short Film - Production Story
"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Hidden Treasure"
In Matthew 13:44-45, Jesus tells his listeners that the Kingdom of Heaven is so valuable, that to attain it, is worth giving up everything else.
That was the premise for this short film, The Hidden Treasure, that we produced for this past Easter Sunday.
Originally, we planned on making a short bumper video composed of super generic shots through an empty field while Scripture came across the screen. It was a placeholder for just reading the passage on a still background, but still, it felt like producing it would be to miss an opportunity.
Rachel and I met about this video 4 days before Easter, and I told her my frustration with the concept. "What if we told the story of a kid in a toy store who sells all her other stuff to get the one toy she wants the most?", suggested Rachel. It was genius. The lightbulbs ignited, and within half an hour, we had a story that we loved.
The story evolved to a young woman who stumbled upon an expensive object that connected her to her beloved mother. The mother and daughter are separated by some untold, terrible event - and this object brings some connection back to them. So the daughter sells everything she owns to buy the object, and it is worth it.
The parallels are direct to the brokenness of humankind's relationship with the heavenly Father, the costliness of "taking up our own cross," and the worth of being reconciled to Jesus.
Jesus is worth giving up everything.
We left the meeting and within the next hour, I told four people our new story for this video. Three of them cried. That's when I knew we nailed it (oh and the person who didn't cry? Pastor Ben Shoun, haha).
We called a friend of ours, Demi, who was a production team member from Bethel Church, and asked if she would act the part of the young woman. We spent the rest of the afternoon storyboarding, securing our shooting locations, and buying/building our props. We filmed the entire following day.
Demi's performance was amazing. She was so easy to direct and from the word "action," she became the part. And my wife, Jill, became not only our production assistant, but she also shot quite a bit of the footage. So proud :)
For the audience, the connection between the young woman and her lost mother would be a single black-and-white photograph. Demi provided us with many photos of her and her own mother from many years ago, and I photoshopped the necklace into one of them. I love this photo's role in the video. It conveys so much emotion and story for the audience to fill in themselves.
This video is not our most popular (at least not by plays), but for me, it's perfect. The wonderful story, the teamwork that so cohesively produced it in such a short time, the acting, and the emotion have made it one of my favorite videos we've ever made.
Hope you enjoy!