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    January 7th, 2012 @ 12:16 am by admin

    Approximately one year ago I looked at the calendar and realized I was going to turn 40 within a couple of months (on February 24, to be exact). After years of working as a screenwriter-for-hire (and before that as a writer and editor-for-hire in the world of publishing), I decided it was finally time I took the plunge and pursued my dream of writing, producing and directing my own film.

    At the time, I had two potential projects on the table. Hellbound? was one of them, of course. The other was a coming-of-age drama called Dealey Plaza. Both projects had been rattling around in my head for a few years, nagging me with guilt for neglecting them. But which to choose?

    It didn’t take me long to decide on Hellbound? It was a practical decision, really. When I first started out as a screenwriter, I never dreamed I’d be working on documentaries. But as the years went by, that section of my resume continued to grow, so I decided it was my best opportunity for success. Not only did I feel a lot more confident about my ability to pull off such a film, I suspected potential investors would feel the same. It would also be a lot cheaper to produce.

    So with those thoughts in mind, I resolved to do at least one thing each day to make the project a reality. Soon, one thing turned into two things and more until I had incorporated my production company, created a budget and business plan, contacted potential interview subjects and pulled together a crew–all without any money in sight. It was a scary time, but somehow I just knew things would come together in the end.

    Less than two months later I was having coffee with Peri and Brian Zahnd and a number of other people when Peri happened to mention the furor that Rob Bell had kicked up over the weekend with the trailer for his upcoming book about hell called Love Wins. I was mortified. Could this really be happening? Here I thought all of the forces in the universe had aligned themselves behind my project, and now Rob Bell was going to steal my thunder?

    I couldn’t wait to get home and read about it. My main concern was that Rob’s NOOMA video series was famous, so if he was writing a book about hell, I could only presume he was also working on a film.

    As the uproar continued over the next few weeks, I waffled between elation and despair. Suddenly, hell (and Rob Bell) was all over the news–on the cover of TIME magazine even. Everyone who had a dog in this fight was coming out of the woodwork. That was a good, right? For one thing, it made my research a lot easier. I also knew it was just the sort of buzz that would get investors excited. But a lingering fear remained. Was I the only person out there planning a documentary on hell? All I could do was hope.

    Thankfully, we were just finishing up the key artwork for our poster, so I threw together a quick web site and issued a press release announcing our film. We still didn’t have any money, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to mark out the territory.

    Over the next several weeks we continued to move forward with the project as if we had our budget in place. As our list of confirmed interview subjects grew, so did my anxiety. My worst fear was having to email all of these people and tell them the film was off. To avoid such a situation, I was even willing to shoot the first leg using a personal line of credit, cut the footage together into a trailer and then use that to entice investors on board. But I didn’t feel at all settled about that idea.

    Then in early May, my friend Brad Jersak connected me with a friend of his who might want to help finance the film. It seemed fitting, seeing my experience editing Brad’s book Her Gates Will Never Be Shut: Hope, Hell and the New Jerusalem was what gave me the idea for a documentary on hell in the first place.

    I called up the potential investor (we’ll call him Dave, because that’s his name) and arranged to meet him the following day. We didn’t meet for long, but he verbally committed to funding not just part of the project but the entire thing!

    I couldn’t believe it. After months of hoping and years of dreaming, it was finally happening. Less than a month later, I had the first installment in the bank and we were off to Copenhagen to shoot our first segment at Copenhell.

    One year later, I still have a hard time believing all of the great things that have happened on this project. Funny thing is, not much has changed since last January. I still wake up each day focused on moving this project one step closer to completion, because that’s the only way this dream will become a reality.

    Which makes me wonder why I’m taking time away from editing to write this blog post… But hey, if my story inspires you to pursue your dream, it’ll be worth it.

leave a comment on this post (7 Comments)

  1. I want to meet Dave….(sigh)…

  2. Pingback: Hellbound? Hard to believe it's already been … – Hellbound the Movie | megavideo

  3. That would be great. How about you guys and Brad organize a speaking tour of the Pacific Northwest for fall 2012?

  4. Kevin,

    Wow, I’m inspired. In a much smaller way than your own, I wrote a story for my family which evolved into a larger project than I anticipated – a screenplay. I felt excited much the way you did only on a smaller scale because for me, it speaks volumes about how I see God, atonement and love.

    I recall your interview you mentioned after reading Jersak’s book that you had this deep inspiration boiling down deep – that’s how I felt. I’m pleased to have finished it and hope someday my family will be able to read it without name calling. Sadly I can’t share it with them at this time because Ad Hominems is exactly what will follow.

    So for you to get this project done is more than I could ask and is in part, silly as this may sound, an extension of me. It means a lot to me that you get this done and that it’s done well. My prayers are with you and thank you for all you’re doing.

  5. You are planning to release this film in theaters, or will you be doing a screening tour. If the latter, I’d love to have you come to my area here in Charleston, WV and screen the film, whenever that time comes. I might be moving, so wherever i am, ill definitely work on helping in any way i can. So stoked for the film! If you need any help, want a social media marketing dude, a sidekick freelance filmmaker for the tour, whatever, let me know! I’d love to be a part in any way.

    • Thanks, Stephen. We’ll be posting more details on our release shortly. Would love to get you involved somehow. So were you with the Sex+Money tour? I see we have several mutual friends on FB.

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