Meet Brian Ivie
In an effort to streamline everything, I've decided to start adding everything to my personal blog, rather than the miscellaneous other sites I've created. So, two years ago, I had a vision of interviewing those around Los Angeles who are really pursing their dreams. I still hope to do this, and therefore am adding my interview with the incredibly talented Brian Ivie on to this blog:
Brian Ivie. Photo by: Alice Lee
One newspaper article forever changed Brian Ivie's trajectory of his career in film and his life. After reading this article he took one leap of faith after another. If you learn anything from Brian's story I hope you learn the power in the "now", the power in the "go", and the power in having the courage to pursue your dreams. At only 21, he has owned his own production company, led a team to Korea twice, filmed a documentary, and has begun creating a non-profit.
Brian is truly remarkable not just because of the story he's telling with his own life, but because of the story he's telling through film making.
Growing up, Brian always knew he wanted to be involved in the movie industry somehow. In the summers, he'd gather groups of kids in his neighborhood to make "Lord of the Rings" knock offs as well as other films.
"I always wanted to be a film maker, but I assumed I'd just watch movies and appreciate what other people did."
Brian went on to tell me how making films soon became a variety of failed attempts. He accredited this to the fact that he was trying to speak through someone else's voice. He wanted to make movies like Steven Spielberg. He hadn't yet found the confidence in his own story and voice.
"I think you always do that as an artist, you always try to emulate other people, until you can find who you are."
Even once you find your voice, you'll still experience opposition. Brian said telling his parents he was going to be a film major didn't go over too smoothly, but understandably so. Brian didn't have a Plan B! Film was the only place he wanted to be.
So, Brian became a film student at the University of Southern California. On June 20, 2011, Brian was at home in San Clemente, CA , during the summer holiday, reading the LA Times newspaper. He flipped the newspaper open to an article entitled,
"I was just eating my cereal, and I stopped eating, and I just read the article for about 30 minutes again and again and again. Honestly, it wasn't some epiphany that I had like 'Oh, okay let's just make a documentary!' It was really just me being very timid, but I thought this is a story that needs to be told because it resonated with me in certain ways."
After reading this article on how babies and children in Korea were being abandoned and placed in a "drop box" at Pastor Lee's home to be taken care of, Brian decided to email the LA Times. The LA Times replied to his email with a number, and Brian reached out to this number for Pastor Lee's home saying he'd like to film a documentary. About a month later, he received an email in very broken English
that said, "Yes come film a documentary that'd be great. We aren't really sure what a documentary means, but we need your help."
After summer, Brian came back to school.
" I thought to myself, well okay I'm going, but I didn't know how that was going to happen."
Resources, support, and encouragement began to almost "fall out of the sky." Not only did people listen, but they wanted to jump on board and help.
God just kept bringing people into my life, saying, 'You should do this. This is a really great idea, 'We'll help you.' Whenever you're faced with something like that, the first thing you would do, and I would hope is, 'I'm not the right person for this. Why would I be used? I am so inadequate. There are so many people who are much better suited for a task like this, God why would you call me into this? But, honestly as I continued to do it. I realized the ways he had prepared me to be a documentarian, and the way he had rehearsed me specifically to make this film. "
Quickly, a team of young college aged adults began assembling, meeting to discuss logistics, and fundraising through a
page. The toughest part about following a call or a dream Brian says is,
"Nobody airs on the side of courage and just faith. Nobody's running towards something that's inherently arduous and risky. People go the other way until somebody comes around and encourages them enough to do what they're really meant to do."
Brian's call to Korea was inescapable, and now had he the team and resources to back him up.
So, in the winter, the team flew to Korea, met Pastor Lee as well as the other volunteers
home that took care of the abandoned children
, communicated with translators, planned their shots, and filmed. There was no doubt this was one of the hardest things Brian has ever done in his life. Brian feared he could potentially lose a ton of people's money. What if the story wasn't real? However, seeing that the people were the exact same on and off camera further confirmed this was genuine and true.
"I've learned so much from these people, and they're the best servants I know."
The crew experienced the kindness and realized the need of the people which further confirmed how much this story of abandonment needed to be told.
After arriving in America, editing the film, translating interviews, etc, Brian realized he needed more film.
been so faithful to it (the project), even when I've been so faithless about the film being good, or working out, or getting everything we needed. But, it still required everything we had. We went back a second time. We raised A LOT of money to go back a second time, and I didn't want to. But, I knew we had to do it."
So, right on the cuff of school beginning, a few members of the team flew back to Korea. There was one shot they really needed with a detective talking about his experience with baby abandonment. They traveled 3 hours across Korea to meet him only to find out their had been a mistranslation and he was not at all who they needed. He was uncooperative, unwilling, and Brian couldn't even express what he was thinking because of the language barrier.
"Even when I thought God failed, he didn't."
The detective had a partner that came out of the vehicle and gladly stepped into an interview. He had a bone chilling story to tell about baby abandonment.
"I was so faithless that anything would come of the meeting, but God delivered in unmeasurable ways. The interview is one of the best parts of the movie. People can call that random or lucky, but honestly that's how every day was when we were filming. We were brought to the point of not understanding or we didn't get what we needed, but then something was just so graciously bestowed upon us."
Since returning from Korea, Brian and the team have begun tightening the loose ends on the film, lining up plans for a non profit, and are submitting the film to film festivals across the nation.
When I asked Brian what his favorite quote that kept him pursuing his dreams, he swiftly began reciting a quote from Tim Kizziar.
"Our greatest fear as individuals should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter."
Brian Ivie and Will Tober at the Dropbox
To me, this is what dreaming big dreams are about. Brian's life is a snap shot of what God is doing through the dreams he has bestowed upon him as well as the resources and people. We should not desire to live our lives mundanely and in comfort. In fact, Brian recalled for me a time in his life when he lived this way. He told me his life was like tiny boxes that all fit on top of a dresser. He found comfort in his 5 year plans.
"I was going to have this job, be this film maker, have this family, etc....
God's opened up all those little boxes and threw them everywhere.....then it's like he took a bigger box and put it on top of the dresser, and left it open and threw stuff inside. To me that's what God does. He seemingly ruins everything and then makes it better than you could ever have imagined yourself.
God had much bigger plans for Brian than compartmentalized plans. He had a bigger picture far beyond the small compartmentalized plans Brian had for himself.
I asked Brian to give advice to anyone who feels like they have a dream or feel like they hear a call for their life, even if it's muffled.
"Be in solitude first. God will speak through that, not with a megaphone, but he'll speak to you. Then, get involved with a community who understands what it means to abandon and I think that's the only way to fairly understand your calling. It's hard because I wish I had a perfect answer for that. But, for me there was just a newspaper that showed up on my kitchen table, and God pulled me into this thing kicking and screaming, but I didn't turn away from it. I didn't run away from it because it was crazy or hard."
I hope Brian's passion, love for The Drop Box project, and faith shine clearly through this post. I left our interview, feeling so enlightened and inspired by Brian's story of such courage, faith, and imagination. It's a reminder how uniquely created we each are for Brian he's called to film making for now, for others it might be teaching. That's the beauty of dreams, they are as unique as the dreamer themselves.
"If we believe God is real and we believe that our desires are his then what are we sitting around for and what are we afraid of in pursing the things that we are clearly intended to?"
Want to Learn More?
Watch the trailer for Drop Box.
It will literally give you goose bumps:
Support Drop Box:
Originally appeared on my other site: http://dreamstojourneys.blogspot.com/2012/09/meet-brian-ivie.html