We have been busy here at the farm setting up in the barn for the premiere showing of our movie Finding Josephine this Sunday night. Unfortunately, with tables, chairs and dinner served, there’s only room for about a hundred people to join us. And for all of us who’ve worked on this movie for so long and are so excited to share it with the world, it’s a bit disappointing. We couldn’t help but wish we had a bigger barn, with more tables and chairs. But after giving it some serious thought, we realized, “Hey, we can have more room!” It turns out that Facebook Live’s streaming ability makes it so our barn can expand to ten, twenty or a hundred times it’s size: with room for lots and lots more seats to the premiere showing this weekend. And so, we’re sending out invitations today to a few thousand more folks… via this blog post and Facebook, etc.
This is a funny thing for me, because I’m not even on Facebook. I mean my blog automatically posts to it and so do the pictures I share on Instagram… but I don’t know how to navigate pages on FB or even how it works. In a lot of ways, Facebook and things like it scare me. Just like it scared Joey. I’m not sure these kinds of social media platforms make life better for us. And so we try to stay off of them, other than to have a one-way conversation where we share our lives and hope that something encouraging to others might come from it.
So to be excited about doing a live-event on Facebook is a bit of a stretch for me. But I am. Really excited. Because it’s become a way to love people greater. To turn our big red barn that seats some… into a massive online barn that seats everyone. And that’s pretty darn amazing.
On December 8th, just over a month ago… we streamed one of our concerts from the barn (for the first time) and people logged on from all over the world to join us for what turned into three hours of stories, songs and sharing of our hearts and lives. And 350, 000 people watched on Facebook… or so I’m told. I could only see 300 faces in the room, but I could feel everyone else who was out there. Leaning in. Listening. Laughing with me. Crying with me. Loving me and my little one and the journey that we are part of.
I’m not much of a business man. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that. I mostly want to share stuff for free. To let people pay what they want for what I’ve created. Or pay nothing at all if their pockets are empty. I keep a stack of my books and our CD’s in my truck, just to give away in case anyone asks about them (I gave the lady at the dry cleaners drive-through-lane a book just last night, when she mentioned that she’d read my second book and was hoping to order my first). I want our blessing to be a blessing to others, period. And that drives the business folks around me a little bit crazy.
It’s an ongoing conversation for us. Me wanting to share things for free, and those around me, saying, “you can’t do that, and still stay pay your bills.” And they’re right, and they’re wrong. For Joey and me, it seems like when we’ve been generous with money… somehow there’s always been enough (usually more than enough). And when we’ve only worried about money and how to keep it or make more… we were always seeming to lack it. I’ve come to realize that it seems to work the same way with time. And with love.
So when I came to our team a few days ago and told them I wanted to share the movie for free with everyone the night of our premiere (not just the ones who got a private invitation), I thought they were all going to roll their eyes and say, “here he goes again…” But for some reason, on this one (the movie), they all agreed with me. To share our film online before it’s available to purchase is the best right thing. To make it so anyone – everyone – can watch the movie and then decide if it’s something that they want to go to Walmart and purchase. Don’t get me wrong, we do need to sell some DVD’s or we’ll be in trouble (it cost over a million dollars to make the movie after all), and since Walmart has been a wonderful supporter of the film and ordered a ton of copies to put on their shelves, I’m sure they would appreciate people coming to their stores in droves to buy one on Feb 5th, the day it comes out. But I don’t want that to be the driving force around people getting to see the movie we made. I want them to see it, period. I know God will sort out the rest.
And so at 6 pm this Sunday night, just after the red carpet (did I mention that our barn will have a red carpet in the lobby and searchlights out front!)…while the barn is full of VIP’s, Kickstarter supporters, close friends, and family… we would love for you and anyone else you know to join us online and watch with us.
As soon as the movie finishes, I’m going to host a live Q&A session from the stage where I answer questions about the movie from folks who are at the premiere and also those who are at home watching.
After five long years of work… I can’t wait to not only share the movie with you, but also share more about how the letters I found when I bought our farmhouse in 1999 went on to change my life, and the life of everyone around me.