Setting the Stage: Behind the Scenes of a Summit Video Shoot

Post by Jesse Oxford

IMG_7011As filmmaker, I regularly lead teams of people who tackle complex problems behind the scenes in order to tell beautiful stories. When managed well, the climate of a film set is controlled clockwork. When mismanaged, tensions rise – problems multiply – and in the end the atmosphere behind-the-scenes seeps into the picture itself.

This is always a risk. In every single production. Even ones I direct for the Leadership Summit.

Each year that my team is trusted to produce the Summit Promo video, we like to challenge ourselves. This year was no different.

Our plan: Build an art-installation sculpture out of 178 unique polygons. This sculpture would serve as a digital projection background for the promo campaign.

To paint a picture of some of the complexity without getting overly technical: We, first, needed to design a 3D digital model of the sculpture. After perfecting the design digitally we built the 13’ high by 28’ wide physical structure in a studio over 5 days. Then using a complicated projection system called “Pandora’s Box” (I’m not even kidding) we were able to shine animations onto the structure that perfectly matched the contours of the physical object. Basically it allows you to do things like project an image of a car – onto a car shaped object, and it will look like its really driving.

It had all the hallmarks of a disastrous relationship between technicians and artists with competing visions and too little time.

But it didn’t end in disaster. In fact, things went oddly without disruption. Why?

I would say it had something to do with the leadership skills our team has learned from the Summit. Of course he would say that, you’re thinking. Yes – but it’s true. For the last decade, we’ve attended the Summit nearly every year and the skills we’ve gained from the leaders we’ve heard speak have influenced our work in tangible ways.

Thats why I love being part of the Summit community so much. Its not just for pastors or church workers, but for leaders of creative teams like myself who want to use their gifts on behalf of the Kingdom of God in this world.

No matter what project I find myself working on, I can always count on problems to arise. But there is seldom a time when I don’t draw on something I heard at the Summit that is helpful in charting a course forward.

247014_10151622031255491_346853131_nJesse Oxford is Creative Director / Principal at J. Oxford Studios a Chicago-based Creative Agency dedicated exclusively to partnering with organizations that are working to do GOOD.


  1. says

    Jesse, that was beautiful. I love it when art and video can be incorporated into a cohesive creative element. That was a great promo video, and I’m even more excited to participate in this year’s Summit!


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