The Exponential Process

The morning of the Exponential shoot I walked into the studio to find multiple bottles of vegetable oil, an assorted rainbow of options of acrylic paint, gallons of paint stripping chemicals, and way too much glitter, sprawled out on a series of tables. Above this, was a our expensive camera hoisted 8 feet in the air with the lens pointed at a small clear petri dish on a table below. This was the beginning of our latest creation.



Our team was tasked to create an opening video and four session intro videos for the largest church-planting conference in the U.S on what it means to “dream big.” So in our initial brainstorming we asked, what does it look like to live a life of no fear–of no limits? While a variety of ideas and concepts were pitched, each strong and exciting, we landed with a concept set in the most limitless place we could imagine–outer space.

Because we didn’t have budget(and courage) to, ya know, fly to outer space and film, we knew our visuals were going to need to be more abstract, so we planned to write a voiceover that communicated the story in more concrete terms. Once we got our voice and rough visuals down we went into production. We wanted to recreate the grandness of deep space(in our very much Earth-based studio) and didn’t know exactly how to achieve the look we were going for. We did some research and with hours of experimentation, we mixed oil, paint, and glitter in a petri dish and filmed on a macro lense to capture up-close, detailed shots of the recreated cosmos.


The interesting thing about this was that with a theme like Dream Big, we could have immediately gone with a concept that involved massive production with tons of locations, setups, and actors, but instead we approached it with constraint and experimentation. I feel that pushed us as a team, and myself as a director, to communicate strong visuals and a compelling story much more than doing a larger production would have and I hope our end result reflects that as well.

There were a few moments in the making of this where I stepped back and thought, is this working? Is this even good? Why would 5,000+ leaders with an average age much older than anyone on our team want to hear from us on what it means to dream big? But here’s what I discovered through all of this, you can either let doubt crush your confidence and crumble your dreams or you can let it keep you humble but also be the driving force for curiosity.


And without curiosity, you’ll never take risks.


Doubt pushes you to ask, what if this doesn’t work? That’s a huge risk–not only to create a compelling work of art for yourself but also in delivering a piece that is a win for the client. It pushed us to experiment and create something that communicated this; there is an invitation for each of us to dream big but it is up to us whether we respond with crushing doubt or humble courage. We look back and realize that the art we were creating to teach others about dreaming big was teaching us as well.





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