What were some of the challenges and blessings that you saw in bringing this to life?
Well, there were a few challenges in prepping these sets, and one of those is trying to be location neutral. But we look at everything from the Pacific cultures to Massachusetts and we kind of look at the shapes and the structures and look for the sweet spot that kind of is ubiquitous between all those things. And that’s kind of the direction that we go because, you know, nobody knows where the stories actually took place. So we’re trying to be noncommittal in what we design and yet still create a viable, believable universe, which is the job of the art director and the production designer.
Well, you’ve done a great job because it looks epic and it’s it’s awesome and very visually appealing and all while keeping that neutrality.
It’s been really a blessing and something that’s really strengthened my convictions of the The Book of Mormon in designing these things. Because, you know, you start looking at at pre Columbian design and you see recurring motifs and symbols that have a lot to do with eternity and the temple and sacred things. And so that’s a pretty remarkable thing to find in looking into, you know, all of these different cultures across the Americas and into the Pacific.
Well, you’ve done a wonderful job and we’re grateful for your for your efforts in this regard.
And this is what it is, very little. Basically, I’ve done it as a hobby, usually in my own project. So this is this is a big a lot of new things. It’s kind of one big highlight. It really is as fun as it looks. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had on the set. The biggest challenge. I mean, there’s just a lot of dialog, really. There’s a lot of dialog and trying to make it sound like dialog.
Anybody would ever actually say that’s the biggest challenge. Well, I was cast before covid, so I’ve had the script for like a year, so I’ve had a lot of time to get memorize, which has been great because as soon as you step on set, you forget it all anyway. So. So I’ve had a lot of time. I’m just not really thinking about it. I the last thing I want is to be in my head when trying to do the role.
So right now I’m just trying to portray a good, compassionate, kind person. The first thing was memorizing the dialog. Beyond that, just a lot of thinking about how to do it and a lot of just waiting for answers and a lot of waiting. And that’s essentially been it. And I feel like I’ve gotten some kind of clarity over the time, but essentially it’s been a lot of memorizing and thinking. The dialog is is the challenge essentially some some of that dialog.
I’ve spent weeks and none of it stuck because it was just it’s just it’s just hard to stick. So luckily, I’ve had a long time and and I’ve been able to overcome that. The children are the best ones on the set. There’s so little to everything they do is real. Every reaction they have is real. Some of the for me in my performance, it’s essentially all it is, is responding to what I’m being given. So if I’m on my own, there’s nothing really there.
But when I’m looking at people and they’re giving me something, then I can kind of work with that. And the children is so much better. And so I feel like some of the best moments have been with some of the younger cast members. I feel over my life I’ve gained a personal relationship with the savior. I feel like I know him personally. So I’m essentially mimicking the savior that I know in my life. That’s that’s my approach. And it may not be exactly the same as everyone else’s experience, but all I can do is essentially mirror what I have experienced.
I’m trying not to get in my head too much about it, just trying to keep it light. So for now, I’m just focusing on trying to do the best job I can and not really thinking about the weight of it. All I can do is portray the save that I know I’m not I’m not trying to be totally accurate to the set because I’ve never met in person. I’m essentially just trying to portray a good person. And that’s I’ve decided that’s all my responsibility is, essentially.
And hopefully everybody’s personal experiences with the savior will. Still in the race for the savior I know is full of love, isn’t intimidating, isn’t is probably formal in the right circumstances, but when when it’s with you, it’s not formal. It’s personal. Savior, I know gets it has a sense of humor has been through what you’ve been through isn’t scary to talk to. And again, it’s hard because the savior I know doesn’t necessarily use the exact words from the scriptures.
So it’s hard to put those two together. But as best I can, I’m trying to take the dialog and inject the same that I know into it.
Well, it’s good to be here with you. Can you tell me a little bit about what it is like being a producer here on on The Book of Mormon video?
Oh, absolutely. Every day is full of surprises, but every day is full of kind of just faith and testimony as well. We’re on season four, so we’ve had a lot of successful seasons and they’ve already gone out and the audience hasn’t really responded to them honestly. And and most importantly for us, these are meant to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and to introduce people to Christ and strengthen their relationship with him. And they’ve been doing that. And so we’re really excited about that.
People are learning about Christ and they’re coming to Christ. And it’s actually been a great tool for members to share with other people, especially people who are not of our faith. It’s a great introduction to us and they’re going great. But the day in the life of a producer is you get up early and you go to bed late. That’s probably the best way. And then it’s jammed in between all the way with all sorts of little fires you put out.
And usually when something gets to us, it’s a big deal. It’s a big problem. So specific problems are for you, but we take it from idea to to win when the audience is watching. And so we work on the scripts, we’re involved in casting, we’re involved in building on sets that are beautiful and getting the extras here and everything in between. So are we’re hands or hands on on everything. So it’s there’s been a lot of fun.
That’s awesome. So does that answer your question? Yeah, totally. 100 percent. Yeah. I have one other question for you, and I’m sure that there’s a lot of challenges that you face, like you just said. But what is what is the biggest challenge you faced and how did you guys overcome it? And maybe is there a miracle associated with that?
Well, you know, I wouldn’t say there’s been any big miracles, but there’s been lots of little things. So this season, we’re we’re we’re portraying Christ visiting the Americas, which is really kind of the featured event in The Book of Mormon. Something is different for our faith and difference. Not the right word, but something that we really cherish is that we know we went to the old world in his world ministry and here he is. He comes over in the other sheep, which are not a bit forward.
Right. So so it’s a really exciting moment for us this year. There’s probably been a lot of little fiery darts just coming out. Just everybody’s experienced a lot of little strange things, whether it’s a small accident to something going on in their life. Just lots of little fiery darts. But collectively, we’ve been able to overcome that. And collectively, we’ve had a lot of help from we feel from the other side as well that are here helping us to do this.
And so we’re really excited about this season.
So you have been involved with this Book of Mormon video projects. For how long and what led you to be a part of this?
Starting in to 2017 after the project had been going for a few months, I was made the chair of The Book of Mormon Visual Library Steering Committee. Now, what that means is it’s the group of general authorities and Sister Roberto representing the Relief Society presidency, that we, from an ecclesiastical point of view, supervise what’s going on. OK, we review scripts, we make get we approve things, things that need higher level approval. We take up to a higher level.
As we started this, the different departments had input in. That would be helpful for us if the videos would emphasize this point that would be supportive of family history and this point that would be supportive of missionary work. So the idea is that we get input from from the department and but we also review the scripts and review the videos to make sure we’re comfortable that they are faithful representations of what scriptures actually say.
That’s wonderful. So if I understand it correctly, it’s just a big collaborative effort on all levels of the church, even even in the higher levels, as well as like here, where you’ve got people from all walks of life that are participating. And it’s just an awesome, wonderful project.
It really is. It we have there’s you know, that’s the general authorities from those same departments. We’ve got representatives on a core team, but that of staff, people that that work on that. And and then we’ve got all these technical people that know how to make movies. We don’t go forward with the video unless the first presidency is looked at it and approved it. And so I’ve had the interesting assignment of presenting it to the first presidency. And and we’ve gotten wonderful instruction and and their insights as to how we should be filming something and we and how we should look at things in the future to focus on the doctrine.
It’s like that’s the best the best feedback loop you can ever have, right. With the first presidency giving you feedback. So I have one last question for you. Since you started helping out and overseeing this project, what improvement have you seen over the past couple of years? Since twenty. Seventeen, right.
Yes. You know, I think that that they’ve been good. Right. They’ve been great right from the beginning. But in in some of our for our first efforts, we we got better at making sure we taught well. The doctrine that is in The Book of Mormon, there’s something of a tendency to turn it into an action story, particularly the early going where you’ve got people, you know, the brothers trying to get the plates and they’re getting chased by Leyburn servants.
And, you know, and you’ve got conflict between the brothers. You want to tell that story, but you don’t want to just become an action tale without the doctrine of Christ and the powerful spirit coming through the whole thing. So I think we’re I think we’ve gotten even better at doing that. Well, thank you so much for sharing your insights with us. And we’re excited to see the final product. Could you share an experience that you have had on the set recently or today where you felt the spirits or had a spiritual experience?
Well, this is my first experience being part of the Book of Mormon. People get to say, well, actually, this is my fourth day. I’m going to be here 15 days. So it’s kind of 12 hours per day. It’s long, but it feels that great because you’ve got all your things that you have in your life, like out of your job sometimes you kids. But it feels great when you come to feel that you are back when you are feeling you guys Mormon The Book of Mormon was doing.
So I’m very grateful to be part of the project and share these projects with people around the world and see something a little about yourself. I am Kadina Kodiak’s part. I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the medical community 20 years ago and I have the opportunity to participate two years ago in the kingdom when I was 13. And it is a privilege to be here. I always wanted it to be part of becoming a Jesus to Mary, and this is very special for me.
And they made me do a lot of sacrifices. Everyone was pretty happy and made me believe that it’s fine that we have the second day of the film and it was the first time we met and know. They were not doing their work in the way that was supposed to or not following exactly on the way work since he was elected and personally I have been playing all day. I just told him that I needed a little extra help. So my life it’s great for me to remember that he’s an active member.
Countries represented. So I start to remember the names. And I know you said one by one is the son of God, the king, trying to remember this beautiful country, Mormon. And there was the scene when we finished, everybody, I me, I was crying and everybody was crying and he was silent for a couple minutes and I can only recover from that. And I look at her and I was like, yeah, that was real.
You know, even though we know that this is no longer right here and everyone had the opportunity to touch him in a Jesus hand, all of us, just not the people that were in front of everyone had the opportunity. And so we filmed material like this because we could feel like they’re going to say we just took this very we could feel that he was Jesus because we were praying in our minds that we need to feel that real moment. So that was something that I’m pretty sure all of us were killed in this page already.
So I’m here with Pedro here on The Book of Mormon video set. And you’re an extra here in the in this production. Can you share something that you have ever experienced or felt while being a part of this production?
So when I auditioned, they recommended that we read the Book of Mormon. So while we’ve been waiting for some of the filming to continue, I think I’ve been reading the Scriptures and I actually read the part where Jesus descends and meets the multitude and everybody changes hands and it’s hard. And it wasn’t until a couple of days after that I was reading some of those chapters where he teaches more doctrine and he goes. And it wasn’t until that moment that I was on that film because I envisioned Jesus Christ in this man who has been selected to be the actor.
And it just really touched my heart to imagine that he was actually here and that he actually did visit people. And this was a part of my lineage. For me, that’s been one of the most special things that I have experienced from this, because the spirit testified to me that these things really occurred in an ancient America. And that’s something that I’ll always cherish, especially for being a convert to the church. I never thought that my life would be here at this moment.
Well, wonderful. Thank you for sharing that experience. That’s very, very touching and and fitting with you that you felt like a deeper conversion to Jesus Christ through this experience. So thank you. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Thank you. All right. Here I am with Sister Arbeter here at the Book of Mormon video set. And I just wanted to ask you, how how has your involvement in this project been faith promoting for you?
And what experiences could you share with us briefly that they have led to greater conversion and Jesus Christ did this experience?
Well, I have to tell you, this has been an amazing experience for. I remember when I was called to this position in the church, I received the assignment to participate in the steering committee for the The Book of Mormon National Library, and I when they told me that they were just we’re making some videos for The Book of Mormon. I thought that they were just simple videos. And then when I realized the magnitude of this, I was really impressed.
And I have been participating in that committee for a few years now. And to be honest with you, it has been it has truly strengthened my faith because I have been able to to help with the reviewing description of the first strap’s of the scripts before they move on to for further approval. And just reading the script and comparing them with the Sketchers. I have found so many things that I just didn’t know or didn’t remember reading in back. And Anatomy has been quite a journey because my, my, my faith and Jesus Christ my my testimony of his role as the savior and beginning of the world has been strengthened.
And and I just so excited to be participating in this project, because I know that this will help so many people around the world to get to know him better and to and to get to know about his teachings, about his principles and about his doctrine and his example and hopefully will be better disciples because of this was a thank you so much for all of the effort that you’ve put in. And and also just at the release, the say level of the church, we’re so grateful for all the work that you do and and we’re so excited to see what comes of it.
Yes, I’m excited to thank you so much. I mean, I think.
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Hey, Mark, you see Mark.
You said you said a yeah agent. It has been said by both sides that whoever killed so many different and. Therefore, he shall come to me.
We shall desire to come in and remember that the only way we can be reconciled and then come to me.
Came first for those. It is written by the whole time the Dow shalt not commit adultery. But we still have to look at a woman to lust after her had committed adultery already. I give you command of the suffering, none of these things to enrich your. What is better than you should deny yourselves these things where you can take up your cross and then you should be tested to help? And it is written also that Daily Show love thy neighbor and.
But I love your enemy. Less than that. And despite the.
You and your father.
Those things which are going to love me are also still old things are done away and all things have become you. Therefore, I would think you should.
Even his own father. We’re now praised, thou shalt not do so, to be seen as men without press enter into that closet. And when that has shut the door for you today, Father. And my father, you see you can see your shovel or the.
After this, men are there for free. More and more like.
And forgive us, our debts, forgive our debt. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from. For thine is the kingdom. And the power. Laurie.
Lehi not up for yourselves, treasures other. But lay up for yourselves, treasures in.
But when your Treasury got.
All right, just out.
Book of Mormon Central video team members, Benjamin Griffin and Daniel Smith take you on an exclusive tour through the Book of Mormon Videos set! Experience the movie set through a one of a kind tour including interviews with cast, crew, producers, church leaders, and even the actor who plays Jesus. We also were able to record a small scene of live filming from 3 Nephi 12!
This project is truly a massive and incredibly inspirational undertaking which will be a great blessing to the Church when it is released in late 2022.
Music from audionetwork.com
Special thanks to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for allowing us to experience a day on the set!