The following is an interview with Chad Kapper, the President and Creative Director of StoneKap Productions. For more than 10 years, he has been directing TV commercials, corporate videos and marketing videos. In 2009, he directed the feature film, Sarah’s Choice.
How did you get involved in filmmaking?
I sold my Jeep to buy a video camera in 1998 and started a video production company. I had two clients and one of them was willing to loan me $5000 to make a feature length film entitled “Nine Days’ Wonder”. This film won Best of Fest at the Ohio Independent Film Fest in 1999. I was hooked after that! I learned more from doing that film than I ever could in school.
How did the idea for Sarah’s Choice originate?
The script was 80% done when Pure Flix Entertainment offered for me to direct Sarah’s Choice. When I came on board Rebecca was already attached as well. So the core of the film was already written. I added elements like the abortion recovery group, depth to Matt’s character, and the balloon scene at the end.
What was the message(s) you wanted viewers to take away from the film?
My focus was geared more towards sharing perspectives rather than telling people what to think. I’m not big fan of cramming an agenda down anyone’s throat.
What was the most challenging part in the production of the film?
The balance of art, preference and mission.
In what film medium was Sarah’s Choice shot?
We shot the film with the RED ONE Camera in 4K resolution.
Can you share a behind the scenes anecdote from the filming of Sarah’s Choice?
I had one cameo as an extra in the dinner scene. We cut it… Even I could tell I was over-acting.
You have directed TV commercials and corporate and marketing videos. What was different about being in the director’s chair for a feature film?
It was wonderful!! The biggest difference is the amount of time and focus I could dedicate to one project. Corporate and commercial have short, intense time-frames.
How would you describe your filmmaking process?
Organic. I like to empower and encourage the team members. I believe that most of my job is done in preproduction. When you surround yourself with like-minded people, that care for the project, you can’t fail.
What experience do you have in other art forms?
I used to draw all the time. I love graphic design. And I worked for many years as a 3D animator. Despite all of this, I consider myself an interpretive artist. I take other people’s ideas and prepare them for the audience consumption.
What distinguishes film from other art forms?
The unique blend of story, character, music, imagery all set to motion and wrapped up in about an hour and a half.
What do you consider some of the main differences between film and television?
I believe films developed for TV are traditionally more watered down than other outlets. Films developed for theatrical or DVD release can be more edgy and challenging.
What do you think the elements of a great film are?
In order of importance… Great moments, Character, Style and Story. Most filmmakers will be offended by this order of importance. I believe that story is important, but moments are what make a film memorable. People love Forest Gump and Shawshank Redemption for the moments and characters. Story is like the frame work of a house. It needs to be sturdy and well designed, but it’s how you decorate the rooms that make the difference.
What do you study when watching a film?
Quality, Style, Pacing, Believability and Performance.
Who or what inspires your work?
Life and the people around me. I love people watching.
What advice would you give aspiring Christian filmmakers?
Do it for the right reasons. Define your values then stay true to them.
How can Christian films be relevant to today’s culture without compromising values?
This is an interesting question. Whose values? Everyone’s values are different. I believe it’s very important to define one’s own values then adhere closely to those values. Only you can determine if you are compromising your own values.
You have experience in visual effects. It is being said that 3D is the future of film. What do you think about that in terms of Christian filmmaking?
I think visual effects and 3D are wonderful assets to enhance any film. It’s important that they are incorporated properly, and for the appropriate reasons. Many filmmakers like to force fit visual effects… I don’t like gimmicks in film making.
Will there be a sequel to Sarah’s Choice?
What project(s) are you currently working on?
Currently I’m developing a film entitled “Long” to be shot in Cambodia to help support the missionaries. Here is the logline:
“A discontented American construction worker and a boy afflicted with dwarfism, struggle with the meaning of life in the heart of Cambodia.”
What is the best way for people to keep up with your work?
I haven’t been keeping up with my blog (www.chadkapper.com) or Facebook lately. Usually if you search Youtube for my name you’ll find projects that I’m involved with.
While discussing “spiritual success” with a friend of mine a couple of months ago, I asked him for his definition. He believes “spiritual success” is when your life and your spiritual life are one. Since then I have adopted that as my definition as well. I would love to see the line drawn between “Christian Films” and “Films” erased. We need to create the films that we are led to make and most of all, ensure that we are being true to what they should be. As a Christian, I could never make a film that would please every Christian. But I can make a film that closely adheres to my own personal values that have been developed from scripture and commonly accepted morals.