National Catholic Register


Southern Hospitality on the Movie Set

BY Tim Drake

| Posted 6/10/10 at 1:20 PM

Todd Stone

Yesterday was our last day on the set of Courageous. The day began with a tour of the Sherwood Sports Park, a 80+ acre outdoor park that Sherwood has been constructing for the community. It includes soccer fields, a fishing pond, equestrian center, baseball fields, volleyball courts, tennis courts, a football field (where Facing the Giants was filmed), and more.

When I asked the filmmakers how they use the money they make from each film, I was surprised to learn that they do not roll any of the money made from a previous film into their future films. Each film is the fruit of prayer, and so they consider the money made from each film a gift of God to be used for outreach. With the money from their previous films they’ve helped to get churches started in Baltimore and San Francisco, they operate a crisis pregnancy center, and provide food and clothing for the poor, and they’ve created this sports park to be enjoyed by not only their own members, but other churches, and the larger Albany community as well. At the center of the sports park stands a 110-foot cross, adjacent to the fishing pond.

After touring the sports park, we spent the afternoon outdoors while the filmmakers shot two scenes – one of the character Adam Mitchell and his daughter parked outside of a bank, and the other of he and his daughter dancing in the parking lot.

For those who have never been on a movie set before, there’s a lot of waiting. It took the crew about 2 hours to set up all of the equipment – the lights, cameras, filters, booms, screens. Then, they spent about an hour shooting and re-shooting a scene that didn’t even last a minute in length. They shot it at least 10 times.

While we waited, we were on the receiving end of genuine Southern hospitality. We were served sweet tea, watermelon, and lunch. At one point blogger Chris Faddis and I needed to use the restroom. We were directed to the nearby Flint Community Bank. Standing inside the bank waiting, a man walked by us and said, “I hate to see a man wait.” He asked us to follow him up the stairs, where he led us to a large office with a private bathroom.

Afterwards, we learned that the man was M. Scott Tomlinson, president of the bank, and a bi-vocational pastor of an evangelical church. Not only had he allowed us to use his private bathroom, but he also told us about their support of Sherwood Films. He told us that his colleague gives a copy of “Fireproof” out to every couple that gets a new mortgage through the bank.

It was impressive to see how a community such as Albany pitches in together in support of the church’s movie-making efforts.