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John Moore Interview

by Kyle Prohaska

"I'm just thrilled to see where all this goes. The Christian film industry, that is. To see what happens in the world of independent media; and the interdependent Christian film community. I think we have a lot to prepare ourselves for."
-- John Moore


John Moore co-founded HeuMoore Productions with his friend David Heustis. HeuMoore Productions is dedicated to creating films that glorify Christ and spread a message of truth.

Their films A Lifetime of Childike Faith, Heartstrings, and The Widow's Might are intended to be wholesome, Christian entertainment that the entire family can enjoy and learn from.

The Widow's Might won the 'Audience Choice' Award, the 'Best of Festival' Award, and runner-up for 'Best Feature Film' at the San Antonio Christian film festival (and also won its makers $101,000 in prize money!). This marks the second year in a row that HeuMoore came home with the Audience Choice award.

Visit the HueMoore Films website!

Kyle: When was it you realized that film was the direction God was calling you?

John Moore: There was never a definitive moment that I realized film was the direction God was calling me; I've felt called to storytelling my entire life, and when David Heustis and I started hanging out in 2003, filmmaking became a more obvious direction. David forged the film company name 'HeuMoore', out of our last names, with the clear play on the word 'humor'. It has been a roller coaster ride ever since.

Your first film Heartstrings won the Young Filmmakers Award at SAICFF 2007, what was that like?

Refreshing and horrifying at the same time! On the one hand, we were glad that our film connected with the audience on a basic level; that in spite of the technical weakness, they loved it. On the other hand, we were horrified, because we had only spent a few weeks on Heartstrings before the festival deadline, making it one of our weakest productions, technically. We never realized it would receive that kind of acclaim and recognition, or we would have started sooner.

Your new project The Widow's Might, seems to have struck a chord with the viewers at this past SAICFF. What are you feelings on that week, the awards ceremony, and taking home two awards in one night.

We're all walking on the clouds here at HeuMoore. From the writing and storyboard team to the color grade and edit teams, we were all on the edge of tears that night. We again connected with viewers in a way that we never expected, and completely blew us away. We were so thrilled by the audiences reaction to our work, and so inspired to move forward, that it is beyond words to describe.

The Widow's Might PosterHow did the idea for The Widow's Might come about?

Many long hard hours around a legal pad. Back in 06/07, David and I compiled about 36 ideas for Siblings short films in a list, and planned to produce about 6 of them as short films for DVD release. However, we never pursued that direction. Instead, we ended up producing Heartstrings in 07, and in the beginning of 08, combined several of our favorite ideas from int2the list into a feature film idea, and The Widow's Might became a screenplay.

Who is David Heustis and how did you two meet?

We attended a home fellowship together in Alaska, and he and I became friends there. Prior to that, his family had nearly drowned by falling into a hole in our iced over lake, 'Big Lake'. My Dad was part of the rescue team that pulled them out. So when we started having a church service in our home, his family started attending. We clicked right away. When our family moved to Texas in 04, the Heustis family followed shortly after.

What was the hardest thing about making The Widow's Might?

There was no individual element that we ran into; it was mostly the sheer size and intensity of the project for all of us. We had never experienced a project with that many details to handle. And there were a lot of details, let me tell ya! If there were one element to be pinpointed, it would be getting the extras together for the shoot. Thankfully, we had several people who were really active in their communities, getting the word out. But we would have been sunk without them!

What was the easiest part in creating the film?

I think the easiest part was the writing process. That's always been very natural and very easy for us, and the creative side is always fun. In the scripting world, there are no boundaries, no extra costs for including props or story elements. It's there that the philosophy of the story and the production are put to paper; and it's there that the film can be destroyed by carelessness. It's dangerous, but ultimately, a lot of fun.

James Burgess did an excellent job shooting The Widow's Might, what was it like working with him and how did you two meet?

thewidowsmightbanner

Mr. Burgess and us met through ChristianFilmmakers.org, and Nathaniel Bluedorn. James had just moved to Texas, and was looking to hook up with filmmakers in his area. Nathaniel Bluedorn, the founder of CF.org, connected the dots. The rest is history.

What was the basic Post-Production process in shooting on the RED, and what should other interested parties know about using such a new technology?

Our workflow was the Cineform/Adobe workflow, and despite the kinks presented by Windows, it was a pretty good workflow. Convert the RED to lossless Cineform files, edit and color grade in Premiere using Color Finesse and Magic Bullet. Color Finesse for the first correction pass, Magic Bullet for the grade and power windows. We're still working on the film now and enjoying the process. Soon the Cineform tools will be available for Adobe CS4, which will really make the workflow far better from a professional standpoint. I believe it will surpass Final Cut Pro with no questions asked.

The music in the film is excellent, what was it like working with your composers? Also what about the songs, did you have lots of help writing those?

The songs started with the intention; we knew what the basic movement and thought was supposed to be from the different songs, and their context in the film. From there, my Mom would write the lyrics, then Hein would spin a fantastic melody and composition around those lyrics. David Gilchrist came in later, for the subscore and background melodies that were heard throughout the film. Working with David is much different than Hein; David absolutely wants to know technically what the scene calls for and what adjectives should describe the scene, and which movements should be used in specific scenes, where Hein likes to feel the scene out based on the context in the film. They're two totally different processes that worked perfectly in their respective scenarios, and I can't wait to work with them again!

John MooreWhat was your most treasured moment on the set?

There were several fun moments; like when Cameron Heidrick and I did the long take on the porch arguing about the festival; the time we shot the scene with Angela singing along the fenceline, and the focus pulled perfectly along the near one minute shot; the time I sat alone in the moonlight writing about how my Dad moved the project forward in such a special way; and eating pizza at Lee's during the first days of filming. The whole journey was a treasure to me.

What do you find most enjoyable about the filmmaking process? Writing, Shooting, Editing, that first viewing? Anything in particular?

Writing. Without question the writing process is the most enjoyable. Shooting can be fun, editing is a hassle, the first viewing is terrifying; but writing is enjoyable in every way.

If you could tell the other filmmakers out there one thing, what would you tell them? Feel free to run wild here, this is your opportunity to make a comment that really counts!

I would tell them to get it right on paper. Don't jump the gun and move on until you've got your paper right; the script, the storyboards, the marketing plan. Those are all paper documents that have to be strong; then I would tell them to make sure that their script isn't just done; that it's fantastic. That you know when you give somebody the screenplay, they will be moved to tears. That's the green light for us at HeuMoore; when people cry reading the script, we've got it.

What were the benefits of working with family and close friends on this production as opposed to doing it some other way? How did that affect things?

Family knows when you're hungry, cranky, tired, frustrated, bored, and joyful. They know without it being stated what is wrong on set, what needs to happen to fix it, and how they can help specifically. A family is so tightly knit, words are almost unneeded to communicate things. Because they know each other; that can be both a blessing and a curse, but we found it to be exclusively a blessing on the set of The Widow's Might. And what's better, all of the families involved became one giant family of families. It was really great!Widow's Might

What are you plans for The Widow's Might? Will you be attempting for a Theatrical Release of some kind or is mass DVD sales your main objective? As we all know, theatrical is a tough area to break into, is DVD more practical?

We're still praying and waiting to see which direction God takes the film. Without question, he has shown himself a perfect guide to us along the production, and we're sure he has a plan for us now.

What is in the near future for HeuMoore Productions?

Well, we hope to finish up The Widow's Might; tighten the edit, finish the score, finish the color grade and sound mix, and then move forward to our next project, which will be announced March of 09.

I think lots of people out there want to know, what are you going to do with that prize money!

Ha ha, I know that's an often asked question, but the answer isn't as exciting as many hope. The money goes back to the investors in the film. Thankfully, these men are all Christians who believe in the filmmaking cause, and are eager to see us make another film. So in a way, it goes into our next project.

Any last comments or words you wish to share?

I'm just thrilled to see where all this goes. The Christian film industry, that is. To see what happens in the world of independent media; and the interdependent Christian film community. I think we have a lot to prepare ourselves for.

Watch the trailer for The Widow's Might:

 

Kyle ProhaskaKyle Prohaska is the CEO of Praise Pictures and the writer/director/producer of their first feature film Standing Firm. Find out more about the film at the Standing Firm website. Starting at the age of twelve up until the present, Kyle now has almost a decade of experience in almost every well known piece of video/image related software and web creation techniques. He is also the founder of the website Christian Film Trailers.