On April 29 the first episode of the new Harvest Film Series was unveiled on harvestseries.tv. The film features Dave Wirgau teaching out of Isaiah 55 on the power of discipleship. It was made by the talented filmmakers at Frame, a Tallahassee-based production company headed up by my friends Bryan Zhang and Patrick Gines, graduates of the prestigious FSU Film School.
I want to tell you the full story behind the project by answering some of the most common questions I’ve been asked.
Since when did you become a film producer?
Throughout 2012 and January of this year Bryan Zhang freelanced for me to produce a handful of short film for the FSU Navigators and an online discipleship initiative I’ve been spearheading called Florida Navs. My ministry supporters funded the production of the fourth installment of the Generations series, an introductory video for the FSU Navigators ministry, a video that shared Kyle Kozloski’s ministry vision, and an interview pitching a summer mission trip to Japan. I love how each of these projects turned out. Bryan and I both dreamed of doing something bigger and more elaborate, but I simply didn’t have the ministry funding to pull it off.
That all changed in January when a couple in my church made an incredibly generous donation to my ministry, the largest one-time gift I’d ever received. Suddenly we had the means to craft something amazing.
Who had the idea for Harvest?
In early February Bryan came to me with the idea for Harvest. He told me a story from when he was a college student just getting involved with The Navigators for the first time. He was a little confused about what discipleship was all about, getting pieces of the puzzle from a lot of different sources. One day he asked Dave Wirgau for his take. Dave was able to clearly and succinctly explain the concept, but more than that he showed Bryan how his life could be passed on to another person. Bryan wanted to capture Dave’s vision-casting and share it with others.
I felt a sense of urgency from the start. This film needed to be made. Moreover, the timing couldn’t have been better.
Who is the film’s target audience?
Perhaps providentially, Dave had just been the keynote speaker at the annual Ignite conference for all the collegiate Navs in Florida. I wanted to capitalize on Dave’s appearance by releasing Harvest before the end of the spring semester to an audience who had been impacted by his teaching just a few weeks prior.
Without doubt, the film was made with collegiate Navigators in mind. Had I not thought it would serve them I would not have agreed to produce it. Ever since I started building the Florida Navs platform I have been seeking to deliver content that would foster the growth and perseverance of disciples and disciple-makers. I believe Harvest is the perfect example of how that goal can be achieved.
But I’m thinking bigger than that. My desire is to produce a series that could benefit any group of Christians wanting to learn more about discipleship. Once all five episodes in season one are created I would love to see church small groups using Harvest as the basis for a discussion series. I have such high hopes for the impact Harvest could have.
Why doesn’t Dave ever mention The Navigators in the film?
From the start Bryan, Patrick and I agreed that this film would not be about The Navigators making disciples. None of us wanted Harvest to inadvertently communicate that discipleship is “a Nav thing,” that a person needs to be a Nav in order to be a disciple-maker. In short, we sought to cast the vision of discipleship and not the vision of The Navigators.
But that’s not the only reason for the omission. Frame sought to maintain certain rights to Harvest and knew that including anything that could be considered Navigator intellectual property would make that very difficult. After several weeks of communicating back and forth with their corporate affairs staff we reached an agreement that satisfied all parties. (These negotiations did have the unfortunately side effect of delaying the release of the film until the end of April.)
Do you intend to sell copies of the film?
Eventually, yes, we would like to sell Harvest both as individual episodes and a collected series. Trust me, no one is going to get rich off this thing. In fact, as it stands under our current agreement, I won’t see one red cent of whatever the film ends up bringing in (if it brings in anything at all). Since the film was produced using money fundraised through The Navigators all proceeds will go to them. They have graciously given me some say over how those funds will be used. I hope to kick some of the earnings to Dave and some toward the production of future films.
I’m tossing around the idea of selling the HD version and giving away the SD version, possibly in the form of a podcast. I’ll keep you posted.
When will you release episode two?
I get asked this all the time, and that’s really encouraging to me! I am in the process of fundraising to produce episodes two through five of Harvest. The goal is to film Dave’s teaching for all four of those episodes all at once, then film content for the “B story” of each episode as funding becomes available. As of the writing of this post episode two is in pre-production, but I do not have the necessary funding to go into production.
How can I financially back the Harvest film series?
It’s easy to make a contribution. Just visit this website and make your donation.
Insert your question here.
I’m happy to answer more questions if you have one. Just leave a comment below. Thanks so much for your interest in this project. I’m excited to see what God does next.