Bringing the Friend Magazine to Life

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I sat in the board room of the SCERA Theater in Orem as a part of the volunteer staff for the LDS Film Festival which was underway. In walked two representatives for the LDS Church’s audio/visual department to speak with other filmmakers present, acting as recruits for their burgeoning video projects. After a lengthy discussion, they then turned to me and asked, “And what do you do?”

Reluctantly, I began to talk about this half-finished animation project taken from the Friend magazine that I had been sitting on for the last four years. I began showing unfinished clips from “A Gift for Kathryn” to the lead recruiter. His face lit up and exclaimed how it looked just like the Friend magazine! I gave him a little more of the back story and then explained where I was going with them.  We exchanged contact information and he told me to contact him if he could be of any assistance.

A year or two later, with “The Decision” under my belt, I did just that. He put me in contact with another manager in the Church’s A/V department and a visit was arranged. At that visit, “The Decision” was presented and given a warm reception by the attending manager.  This was encouraging. However, as a service organization, the A/V department almost never suggests unsolicited content to the other side of the table. That this manager did take my project to the table was notable, but I honestly couldn’t have expected it to go much further, which to my knowledge, it hasn’t.

The more that I consider it though, my project to take stories from the Friend magazine and turn them into cartoons falls more in the realm of the Nashville Tribute Band or Mark Marby’s Reflections of Christ photo collections. (Not that my skill or craftsmanship is anything in comparison to the two aforementioned.) It’s in the commercial realm.

So instead of being handed a golden ticket, I am left to fight out some way to produce a handful of wonderful stories that will prove to be delightful entertainment as well as meaningful family lesson material. Yet, as others have witnessed, I too must confess that there is a Power and Strength pushing me forward to do what I am doing, and because of it, I have access to strength and resources that are not of this world.  I’ve produced one, half produced another, and am waiting for author releases to begin work on several other short stories. In the end, I hope to have a broad collection of powerful short stories available, spanning key topics of the gospel of Jesus Christ from the perspective of the children.

Follow Brent Leavitt:

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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