WP Films Blog

Father of Lights: Behind the Scenes

I always find interesting the ebb and flow of emails I receive or the questions people pose to me on Facebook or Twitter. We have seasons here at Wanderlust, and at first it was people wanting to know why I believed some of the things I showed in Finger of God. Then it was a season of people coming out of the woodwork to thank me for what I’d done. Then it was people wanting to know why I was asking for payment to show Furious Love. Then there was a silent time. But now, the overriding question is very simple, but one to which I currently have no answer.

“When is Father of Lights coming out?”

While I know this will not stop the flow, I at least wanted to explain a little about our process of putting movies together here at Wanderlust Productions, and give you a peek behind the curtain, so to speak, at what we do and how we do it. Hopefully it will help answer the question as to why you have to wait so long.

The first thing you must understand is that Wanderlust is a tiny production company consisting of four people. There is myself, Braden Heckman, Brittney Banks, and Matt Bilen. That’s it. Brittney is the studio manager, bookkeeper, personal assistant, and has a host of other jobs, not least of which is trying to keep three boys from being complete idiots all the time. So when it comes to actual production stuff, it’s three people. Matt is part time at the moment, so now you’re down to two-and-a-half people. Keep that in mind as you read on…

At this point, I am nearly finished with what is called the “rough cut”. For the past month I have been building the movie. It started off as a 2:45 hour beast, which I have since widdled down to around 2 hours. I’ll soon have it just the way I want it, and at that point it will be, in a sense, the movie you will eventually see. But really, that is just the beginning for us. Next comes the time consuming (and for my guys, the really fun) part.

Everyone here will watch the rough cut, and when we’re all happy with every single thing in there, the cut will be “locked”, meaning I’m not allowed to go in an tinker with it anymore. The shots are the shots, and my voice over is my voice over. At this point, my heavy lifting for the actual movie is over, and Braden and Matt take the reigns, while I turn my attention to planning our upcoming tour of the film and putting together the Deluxe Edition DVD.

Matt is in charge of scoring the film, and since these films are known for basically having a wall of sound from end to end, he’s got a big job ahead of him. He basically has to create 2 hours of incredible music that fits the mood and intent of each section. He’ll also need to mix all the sound so the voices are all at the same volume, the music doesn’t overtake the voices, and any background stuff is either minimized or taken out completely. Matt’s the reason the movie SOUNDS good.

Braden takes charge of color correction and any titles that show up in the film. When someone’s name pops up onscreen, he did it. We usually outsource our opening titles sequences to a good friend of our who’s basically a genius, so at this point we’ll bring him in as well to start working on that. Braden will go through the film, frame by frame, and make the colors pop and really give the whole thing a professional sheen. Braden is the reason the film LOOKS good.

At some point, we’ll also need to record our director’s commentary for the DVD, and Braden will then get started on designing the DVD cover, the DVD menu, and other web stuff we’ll need associated with the film. Once the DVD is complete, we’re just getting warmed up. Next up is to finish the Deluxe Edition, which hopefully I’ve finished with the rough cut at this point. We don’t score the extras, but this Deluxe Edition will have an extended Director’s cut of the film, so Matt will have to add some music to that as well. Braden will go back in and color correct everything, Matt will do another sound mix, titles will have to be made, the DVD created, and then that is finished.

We’ll be taking this film out “on tour” so to speak this time around, and will be hitting some major cities across the United States, so I’m going to need to show some leaders the film beforehand to get them on board in helping us take their community by storm and getting the word out. Once we’ve locked in our cities and venues, we then have to kick in the marketing side of things, which is basically trying to get a lot of people to help us make the showing around the country amazing for everyone involved. We’re also hoping to have a companion CD of original and remixed music from bands and artists like Jesus Culture, Leeland, Jeremy Riddle, Barlow Girls, Kim Walker-Smith, Marc Ford (former guitarist for the Black Crowes), Jaeson Ma, and others. So we’ll need to screen the film for them and get them writing and creating songs that have been “inspired” by the film. We’ll need to create the CD, master it, etc…

At THIS point, the first of you will finally get to see the movie, and this will be sometime in the summer. We will be selling the DVD at these events, but it will not be available for the public for another month or two after the tour. We also have distribution deals with domestic and foreign distributors that need to be set up and implemented, lots of legal work to deal with, and about a million other “little” things that we have to take care of that simply go along with running a business. Oh yes, and we need to sleep every once in a while as well.

Remember, all this is done with four (well, maybe three-and-a-half) people! As soon as the DVD is released, we do it all over again with The Greatest Fight, our next film about UFC/WWF superstar Ken Shamrock. When that’s done, we do it all again with our first cartoon, Anointed Fighters.

UPDATE: The cartoon is now available on DVD!

So there is a little peek behind our curtain. Obviously we need lots of prayer during this time, so keep covering us with it, please. We also need continued favor, as we will be showing the film in the Spring to various entities in Hollywood to see if there is anything else up God’s sleeve with this film. In the end, though, it all comes down to whether or not you guys like the movie, and whether or not it pulls you closer to the heart of the Father. We’re going to work our tails off to make sure that happens to each and everyone one of you.

Just please don’t ask us anymore why we don’t simply give these movies away…


  • Libby Kabachia

    I really love your sense of humour Darren!! I am now at peace with waiting for Father of Lights to come out :-). And Anointed Fighters, my little brothers are SURE to love it!! Just prayed for y'all to continue to have your strength renewed and other stuff so you're set, hehe :-)

  • Michael Morejon

    Wow, awesome details. I love movies, but I don't know squat about the process so to read all of that, and that you guys ACTUALLY DO THAT! is absolutely mind-blowing. Can't believe so much work goes into a 2 hour product! Crazy.... Well, I will be praying for you all, your all my family in Christ. I also pray that God will send HELP your way so you can get some more hands on deck over there! Bless God, that's a lot of work for 2 and a half people. Love you guys -Mike from Miami, FL

  • John

    Thanks for all your hard work Darren and crew. These movies mean so much to so many people. Know that your efforts are much appreciated and keep the films coming our way!

  • Scott

    Take all the time you need! Your films are changing lives and hearts, and that's well worth it. Praying for you all!

  • Christian

    Bless you brotha! Your movie is gonna impact a lot of lives. We all just love you and what you're doing for Jesus, and we're so excited. Peace!

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