Eyes on “This Is The Place” TV Series

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Yesterday, I came across the blog for “This Is The Place” courtesy of Google Alerts. I was very intrigued by the line of thought and discussion taking place on their blog and felt it beneficial to direct some traffic in their direction. If these young masterminds can pull it off (and with heaven’s help they just might be able to) this blog which is chronicling their pre-producdtion/ development/ production process will become an invaluable resource down the line.

Yesterday, I came across the blog for “This Is The Place” courtesy of Google Alerts. I was very intrigued by the line of thought and discussion taking place on their blog and felt it beneficial to direct some traffic in their direction. If these young masterminds can pull it off (and with heaven’s help they just might be able to) this blog which is chronicling their pre-producdtion/ development/ production process will become an invaluable resource down the line.

Far from an authority on anything related to the project, from the overview that I’ve been able to gleam from their blog, the storyline runs the perspectives of LDS members who are part of a community in Colorado, their highlights, struggles, challenges, etc. Casting has already begun which in my mind is a fairly strong indicator of how far they’ve come in getting the series up and running. 

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the creative minds behind this endeavor: Todd Bay and Chris Larsen. I don’t know either of them personally, but I’m glad that they are working together as a team on this project. They seem to be bringing some collective industry experience to this project and have some strong ties with L.A. production houses.

 Perhaps, it’s the whole missionary working with a companion mentality, but I would submit that there are strategic strengths in working together as a partnership. From the engaging, collaborative process, to having someone to bounce our off the wall ideas off of, there is strength in a filmmaker companionship.

The genus of working together as a team is in the bringing together of two individuals with similar visions and similar values to be able to hash out ideas into concrete scripts and productions. It allows the individuals who approach such a partnership to distinguish between a really good, genuine idea and the rest of the rubble that flows through their creative minds. There is a strong sense of trust in such a companionship that allows ideas to flow freely without fear of inappropriate disclosure or poor judgment. 

Returning from that small tangent, there was one interesting thought that stemmed from a post on July 6th at the “This Is The Place” blog. The idea is one that is so frequently posed in the world of media entertainment backed by investors. The issue on the plate was how the storyline had evolved from the original concept and how it seemed to be catering too much to the powers that be (investors, studio heads, etc.) instead of to their intended audience. The resolve of the filmmakers by the end of the post seemed to be to revert back to the original concept, as that is where their “product’s” strongest potential lie. 

There was a huge hesitency on Chris’s part to reduce their work to the level of calling it a “product” and to have to consider the financial implications of their decisions. (This is part of what made this such an interesting read– the internal struggle that they are dealing with.) I earnestly feel that they are doing the very best they can to walk that tricky tight-rope in order to make their series a success, both in veiwership and in authenticity.  I hope for their sakes that they will be able to look back at the decision to revert back to the original concept as the saving point in their series’ production. 

I sat on the receiving end of such a decision that was made in the exact opposite direction several years back when my partner was unabel to defend our project’s original concept before an investor.  At the time, there was a strategic decision to go more mainstream with our animated series of stories from the Friend magazine and lose all references to anything LDS. I left the company at that point, and received rights, without funding, to finish the project to completion later on. The company eventually dissolved being unable to compete in the much larger arena, never seeing a return on the investment. 

The point in sharing this account is to illustrate that the decision to please investors, studio heads, or anyone else who is attempting to protect their pocket books, will inevitable result in a product that is too bland and unengaging. Investors should be weary of any media producer who isn’t passionately engaged in their story, with an audience’s best interests at stake.  In other words, a media producer who cannot defend their convictions is not worthy an investment to begin with.

That’s how I perceieve it. I wonder who else might have an opinion on this topic? At any rate, I think Todd and Chris would be appreciative of all the extra prayers and encouragement that anyone remotely interested in this type of series could offer. To learn more, visit their blog at: http://www.thisistheplace.tv/.

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Brent is married to a very supportive woman, is father of a large family, and went into business for himself in 2006.

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