This first entry is a long one – subsequent entries won’t be nearly this length, but indulge me a lengthy introduction of the new season I’m about to enter.
Over a year ago, in February 2015, I was at a point of finally giving up on my passion for creating films.
I had spent 14 years pursuing the craft, and while I had become very proficient at producing low/no-budget pieces, and had even got a long-standing job making media for my church, Vineyard Boise, nothing I created brought anything back to me other than debt and disappointment. As I had turned 30 years old six month prior, I felt that perhaps it was time to wake up and realize that what my heart had fought for for so many years just wasn’t meant to be.
But the dream wasn’t done with me.
One early morning that February, I woke up from the most vivid of images – a picture of my church’s bulletin, with an announcement headlined with the following: “This is Brandon’s last year at Vineyard Boise.” It was a still image, framed tightly around the headline, and the article text beneath it was out of focus and cropped out.
“But if I’m not here, then where am I going?” I asked myself and prayed to God.
Married and with one daughter, I wasn’t favorable towards the idea of stepping out of a secure, for-sure job with no clear direction – and I knew my wife wouldn’t be, either. As perplexed as I was by this, I e-mailed my pastor (also my boss) about it almost immediately. You might say that’s not the smartest move for job security, but I had become so deeply entrenched in the staff and the community of the church that this would not be a small thing for more people than just our own family. He and I processed it, and then we tucked it away.
Until another dream hit less than a month later. I won’t go into the specifics of it, because much of this dream has now come to pass a year later, and I know now it was all about a very personal yet crucial interaction I was to have with someone – so important that I was informed about it (unknowingly at the time) a year in advance.
But the end of this dream I’ll share – after the crucial conversation’s conclusion, I’m swept away from the place where I’m at, and I’m on what looks like the back of a sound stage. It’s all black, there’s one singular film set chair turned away from me, and sitting in it, looking over his shoulder at me, is an iconic Hollywood actor that I will refrain from naming here. (Reason being, I have been learning not to take these dreams lightly as metaphors – so if I end up working with this gentleman someday, I don’t want to weird him out.)
Another month or so went by, and a third dream occurred. Again, I’m sitting in church, next to my wife, and a woman that used to work on staff with us is at the pulpit, giving this announcement: “We need to find Brandon and Rachel new jobs, and they’re moving to Kuna [small city in Idaho].” I woke up from this perplexed all the more – why would I be moving to Kuna if I’m going to be working with [insert actor’s name here]. Why would he or anyone else in Hollywood be in Kuna? Isn’t that kind of backwards?
One more dream hit me towards the summer. I’m hovering through a two-story house. There are televisions everywhere, and the carpet is flowing red velvet. I sense/think as I’m walking/hovering through this house that it “once belonged to prayer warriors, and now it is mine”. I end up in a bedroom with a bunk-bed, and my Dad (who is also on staff at Vineyard Boise) is hanging out with me in the room. We’re chatting, and then he says, “I’ve got to go to work.” I stand and say, “I’ll go with you” – but the tone wasn’t like I was also going to work, rather more like a kid tagging along with his Dad. The dream continues, and I’m at a park, and the church staff is hard at work setting up BBQs to feed people. One staff member approaches me and asks, “Are you going to help us?” And I shake my head and say, “No. But I’ll film it.”
This dream resonated with me in a few ways – obviously there was reference to a new house and “filming things”, but the biggest thing that struck me was the bunk-bed. We only have one child, though we have been trying for years to have another, and have received many prophetic words that another is coming, a “War Eagle” who will be a “Prophet”, who will make our lives very difficult (love those kinds of words!). So to see the bunk-bed there, but empty, was an eerie experience upon reflection.
This was the end of the “big four” dreams I experienced, and the remainder of 2015 was a process of walking out what exactly these experiences were saying to me. I saw a lot of things move and shift in my job at Vineyard Boise, a lot of confirmations. Exciting new developments that could only even be talked about seriously if payroll was available to be freed up (we are a non-profit after all). While I didn’t receive direction through that for myself, I saw these developments as further indicators that God was in fact using this for His larger purposes.
During a moment of worship on a Sunday morning, I felt a moment of clarity regarding “Kuna” and the actor I saw, in the form of a whisper on my heart: “Film ranch in Kuna. Content provider for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other online platforms.” A few days later, this phrase came to me: “Boise-based, not Boise-bound.” In other words, the Boise, Idaho area will remain my home, and my base of operations, but my primary focus will be much broader.
In all of this, I received word after word from others praying for me, both encouraging me to think “bigger”, always bigger, and yet to stay focused on the present. “Take care of My church through this transition, and I’ll take care of You,” was a whisper I heard regularly. I was not to focus on engineering my exit, my next job, my big vision, but to honor the season that was coming to a close with my full attention.
Now, we come to March 2016. The “last year” has transpired, and while I remain at Vineyard Boise for a few more months in my present capacity (May/June is the tentative transition timeframe), and then remain a part-time contracted video producer here through December, the new year has begun. I’ve felt it quite sharply shift within me, as the numbed passive wait for the future has suddenly transformed into an adrenaline-heightened anxiety of getting ready to leap.
Into what? Where? I see the end destination, this connected-to-Hollywood-in-Kuna film ranch. I see the purpose, the why, that goes far deeper than simple media creation (I’ll get into this much later, but suffice it to say, I’m not interested in creating “Christian content” that “sends Hollywood a message” as much as I am stretching out into the fuller world of media production and meeting creatives, high and low, where they’re at).
I see the other the side of leap, but surely this will be more than one step. Surely there is a path masked by the shadows of a gaping chasm. 2015 was The Year of the Dream. 2016, I believe, will be The Year of the Chasm.
And so I step forward. Researching. Reading. Studying. Preparing. Praying that whatever comes, it comes in May/June, but trusting that His timing is better than mine.
A film ranch. In Kuna. For all online media platforms.
Here we go…