The Unfortunate Dating Diaries concept was created by a brother and sister duo (Lance and Renee).
Our Motivation for Trying Indie Filmmaking
You don’t make it very far into most films or even TV shows before you run into sensuality/sexuality, crude joking, God or Jesus’ name taken in vain, cussing, or other forms of perversion. Watching Hollywood or major studio produced videos and films is becoming nearly impossible to do in good conscience as a Christian, and it’s not just Hollywood as a majority of independently produced projects include the same type of content. On top of that most movies/videos are presenting messages that are deceptive and not true.
So, our motivation really came from a desire to go against the status quo and make content that is presenting biblical truth, with an aim to please God first and foremost, not the masses.
Advances in Technology
Advances in technology have allowed almost anyone the opportunity to affordably create better quality videos, if they truly want to. Not saying it won’t cost some money, but if you are frugal and wise you can come up with the necessary pieces without having an insane amount of money. Now that doesn’t mean that you will be able to make something comparable to the Hollywood standard. When you don’t have the same marketing and production resources that Hollywood and major studios have, you can’t expect to create a final product that can compete with them. But our purpose is not merely to create something entertaining, which would simply be an attempt to compete with Hollywood. Rather, we aim to create the best quality videos we are able to, that share honest and relatable truths based on God’s Word, and that entertain while maintaining purity and decency. We do not want to compromise our faith and values in order to try and make a buck. We would much rather create content that aligns with our beliefs and interests, so we can enjoy the process and be at peace with the product we are sharing with others.
Filmmaking is a Process
Having said that, filmmaking is hard work and it is a difficult task to make a quality product. Once you actually try and make a video yourself you gain a new appreciation for what it takes to make a quality product. Obviously, we are not where we want to be as filmmakers yet, but with every project we do we learn and improve.
Below is Our Filmmaking Journey Thus Far
The Beginning: Our First Home Video
It started when we were kids as a fun and creative outlet to do with family. Our first home video we filmed with cousins on a VHS camcorder. We’ve always been drawn to action, stunts, and comedy. And our first video was a combination of all three. All editing was done as you filmed, as you had to stop and rewind the tape to the spot where you wanted to start recording the next scene. If we wanted music in the background of the video, we had to just play music lightly in the background while we were filming the scene. Fun times. After that we made a handful of additional home movies with just family on small digital video cameras.
Trying it For Real this Time
In 2005 we were given two opportunities by two different producers to film a couple of low budget Christian indie feature films. In 2006 we released the two feature films.
Feature Film #1
“God Help Me” (2006) length: 80 minutes
Filmed in 2005. Romantic Comedy Feature Film. Producer spent $14,000 to have his script made into a movie by our family. First time we tried to use a more professional camera and audio equipment. First time we cast actors we did not know. Started filming the summer of 2005 and had it ready to sell the beginning of 2006.
-Was shown in three Film Festivals: Creation Film Festival in Canada, WYSIWYG, Sabbaoth
-Won best film under 25,000 dollars at Creation Arts Fest in Canada.
-Was Dove Approved
-Listed on IMBD
-Was sold on Christian Cinema
Feature Film #2
“Squad 77” (2006) length: 80 minutes
Filmed in 2005. Action/Adventure Feature Film. The script was written by our oldest brother. We flew to Seattle to film movie. Budget of $15,000-20,000. Started filming summer of 2005 a few days after ending the filming of God Help Me. We had it ready to sell by the summer of 2006.
-Was sold to TBN and shown in two film festivals: WYSIWYG, Sabbaoth (Italy)
-Was shown on TV in 11 countries and sold in Christian bookstores nationwide (Parable, Lemstone, Family Video, etc). Also, sold on numerous online outlets Amazon, mtv.com, Netflix, Blockbuster, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc and was carried by DVD rental chains. Press release on Squad 77 showed up on Hollywood Reporter.
-Listed on IMBD
Coming to a Halt
After these two films we filmed various smaller projects: a short documentary for a college cross country team, an MMA event, music video, a no budget feature film (not our finest hour), and a family short film.
Somewhere around 2008 or 2009 we had our camera stolen and also had a toxic exposure to black mold. The struggle with mold illness has been ongoing for over 10 years and we have just recently started to feel well enough to consider trying to make video projects again. So, it’s been over 10 years since we have done anything to speak of as far as filmmaking goes until the Unfortunate Dating Diaries project.