Today was a full day on the set of the Sherwood Pictures’ film Courageous. Media and ministry personnel were treated to seven different clips from the film this morning. The clips introduced viewers to the various characters in the film and brought those in attendance to both laughter and tears. With each successive film, Sherwood Pictures has increased its budget. That’s evident with “Courageous.” It’s the best looking of Sherwood Pictures films, and the quality shows.
Today, guests were treated to a real treat. We had the opportunity to serve as extras in two scenes that were being shot - one a funeral scene, and the other a 5K father-son run on the Oak and Spanish moss-covered streets of Albany. I had the opportunity to serve as an extra in both scenes, having been personally arm-twisted into joining the run by none other than the film’s writer, Stephen Kendrick. A number was hastily pinned and duct-taped to my shirt and I was off running during four different takes of the race.
What was fascinating to me was the tremendous amount of time that it takes to set up a shot (hours), establish the lighting and the look that the cinematographer wants, before what often ends up being a very brief scene (just minutes). It involves a lot of hurry-up-and-wait and wait, and wait.
In interviewing both Sherwood Baptist Church senior pastor Michael Catt and director and actor Alex Kendrick, they told me that Sherwood Films doesn’t choose actors based solely on talent, but on those who believe in and live the film and church’s mission, even after the filming is done.
The most touching thing that I saw today on-set demonstrated the power of having actors who walk the talk, especially Alex Kendrick, who portrays Adam Mitchell, a sheriff’s deputy in Courageous. Kendrick has had acting roles and/or leads in all of Sherwood’s previous films.
During the filming of the 5K run, men and boys were running down an Albany street at the start of the race. During the second take, a young boy of about 11 fell, skinning both knees. The adult male who was running behind him was able to avoid trampling him, and other adults came to his aid and helped carry him to the boulevard to provide first aid. The boy was in tears, and a volunteer applied some cool wet wash cloths to his knees.
As the actors and extras returned to their starting places for the next take, actor and director Alex Kendrick noticed the boy on the boulevard and went right over to him, placed his hand on his shoulder, and knelt down to talk with him. Kendrick wasn’t concerned about the next take, but wanted to make sure that the boy was okay before the shooting continued. He spent several minutes with the boy, talking with him, making sure he was okay, and providing counsel.
It was a clear example to me that this isn’t just any movie set. This is a set where the Christian community truly cares for one another. It was a small glimpse into the world of Sherwood Films, and I feel very blessed to have been given a glimpse through that window today. God is blessing the work of these filmmakers.
Stay tuned… tomorrow we’ll be seeing what Sherwood Films has done with the money they’ve made, by giving back to the local community.