It was Friday Afternoon and Jesus is Dead. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be… the Hope of mankind overcome by powers of hell… by the shadow of a grave. But, instead of killing the Messiah, the cross has become a canvas for salvation. The hole that was meant to serve as an instrument of shame and death was instead filled with an instrument to bring healing and new life. That’s the way God is! Nothing is impossible with Him. He takes what is evil and turns it for Good. He has the power to take our graves and turn them into gardens. Check out this popular new video made in collaboration with Media That Matters to hear the Good News!
We asked Scott Trapasso, the director of this video, from Media That Matters, a few questions about the process of putting this mini movie together. Here is your inside look at Graves Into Gardens Spoken Word:
Q: Tell us a little bit about you and your team. How did you got into making videos for the church?
A: For as long as I can remember I’ve always been passionate about creating content for the local church. I can remember working at church early on in my career and thinking about all these crazy ideas we had, but then never being able to execute them due to budget. So when I did make the decision to start producing the odd church video, here or there, I always was passionate about creating content that was high-quality content, the type of content I could’ve used back when I worked for a church. Every project we work on, I try to picture how it could be used in my current church setting; when would I play it in the service? How long should it be? etc. I think more times than not, the ideas that get me really excited are the concepts that I don’t see anywhere else. So, I love creating content for the church, it’s what really excites me.
Q: Your recent collaboration with Playback Media, Graves Into Gardens Spoken Word, has such a powerful message and has been well-received by many. What was the inspiration behind this video?
A: This most recent collaboration, “Graves Into Gardens” was birthed out of the idea about the hole that was dug to hold the cross. My Pastor and I were talking about that one day and the idea that the effort that someone would have had to of gone through to dig that whole, set up that cross, and prepare the place so that they could destroy “Jesus”… only to have that whole idea backfire and the hole and that very cross become a symbol of hope, peace, resurrection, and new life…. It just sort of stuck with me. I love a good underdog story… And the story of the cross is the ultimate underdog story. The story of that hole and the cross, how it was made for death, but now instead brings new life… I thought that was a strong creative narrative that needed to be brought to life.
Q: What did you struggle with while making this video?
A: Ok…. Did we struggle while making this video??? hahaha… you better pull up a chair… cause this gonna be a good one. The short answer. YES, but here’s the longer version. This piece was originally supposed to be filmed on March 14, 2020… and in case you’ve forgotten that’s the day the world really shut down. We had completed the script, done the casting, booked locations, locked in our crew, etc, and then bam… COVID. So this idea really got shelved for a long time. Then in the summer of 2020 I had a conversation with my good friend Luke from Worship House Media about some new content and shared with him our original concept, and he really encouraged me to take that shelved idea off the shelf… dust it off…. And try again. So we did. In the fall of 2020, we restarted the project, adjusted the script, scouted new locations, found NEW talent (Matthew, our spoken word artist was never the originally cast artist), and we locked in a production date of Dec 1st 2020.
And then, Winter. So I live in Canada, which is a beautiful place…. Except sometimes it snows….. A LOT. The day of our production we woke up to about 2 feet of snow, and the night before it had rained about 30-50mm. So imagine a beautiful snow-covered forest that holds a foot of mud underneath it. It. was. a. disaster. We had 60-foot lifts that were stuck in the mud, and then tractors that were trying to pull them out that were also stuck in the mud. We had a landscaping company that had brought thousands of feet of fresh green sod to our location, only to not be able to load it into the forest except by hand… and if you’ve ever laid sod… that’s a lot of work. OH.. and this is during COVID… when you need to social distance, wear masks, sanitize… etc. We had been on site for about 6 hours and still hadn’t rolled a stitch of film. This was the first time in my professional career where I was certain this project was not going to happen, and that I was going to have to cancel our entire production. Amidst all the chaos I took a short walk out of the forest back to our basecamp and just stood there for a moment, gathered myself, and prayed. I walked back to our set (a.k.a mud pit) and gathered up our entire 20 person crew. I explained that we were going to totally change the creative, the lighting set up, etc, and try one more thing. If that didn’t work, we were all going home. Our team rallied. Our changed lighting setup worked, our talent (the incredible Matthew) delivered exquisitely and quickly, and things just started to roll.
We shot this piece in reverse order, so we shot the forest scene first, and then the graveyard scene last. We had a company come in and dig giant holes in the forest for us the day before our shoot day, those were now literal mud pools and totally unusable.
It just so happened that right beside this forest was a tiny old church with a graveyard beside it, and we instantly pivoted our entire concept AGAIN and shot in the nearby graveyard.
Needless to say, the shoot was the most difficult of my career, and I’ve never had to pivot and problem-solve like that ever before. I’m so grateful for my incredible team who pulled off the impossible that day!
Q: What do you hope churches will get out of this video?
A: At the end of the day, I really hope churches and more importantly the people in those seats, or behind those screens (#2020 & #2021) will be inspired with a message of hope. I pray that the idea that God can take ANY situation and turn it for goodwill resonate with people’s hearts and that people would know that God can take your graves (whatever that may be) and turn them into gardens. This past year has been tough… on everyone, myself included. We all are struggling with something, but I’m hoping we can see the silver lining, and that we can rest in the fact that we serve a God who can take a year like we’ve had… and turn it to glorify him! We don’t serve a dead God, we serve a God that is alive and a God that took the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and turned that into eternity for you and me!