Former Hollywood Producers Speak About Book of Mormon Church Videos

Michael A. Dunn had a career in film and television before being called a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2021.

The former CEO of BYUtv and PARUradio didn’t know what to expect when he was appointed to the committee overseeing the Book of Mormon Video Project.

What he has observed with the project so far – especially the attention to detail – has impressed him greatly.

“What’s overwhelming, and I’ve worked on many high-end productions in my career, is that nothing has equaled that,” Elder Dunn said. “I enjoyed precision and detail 10 times more than I was used to, and I’ve worked in Hollywood, I’ve worked everywhere. It’s high end.”

Elder Dunn and others with a background in film and television spoke to the media at an event in Provo on June 17, where the church is filming its fifth and final season of Book of Mormon videos.

The church has also released a preview video for Season 4, which depicts the appearance of the resurrected Savior Jesus Christ in the ancient Americas. Season 4 is set to release this fall.

The Book of Mormon video series is available free in more than 15 languages ​​on the church website. Book of Mormon appthe church Youtube channel, the church website or in the Gospel Library.

Looking Inside with Book of Mormon Videos

Bill Elliott knows a thing or two about big productions. He worked as a senior manager at NBC for 23 years, working on shows such as “ER” and “The West Wing.” He also made films around the world before finding a job in the church.

Media Director Bill Elliott attends the final season filming of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Book of Mormon Videos production at LDS Motion Picture Studios South in Provo on Friday, June 17, 2022.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

As media director for the church’s Priesthood and Family Department, Elliott started with the church’s Bible videos and has been involved with Book of Mormon videos from the beginning.

One of the first steps in the process was to research general conference talks.

“We looked at all the conference talks from the past 50 years and wanted to see which Book of Mormon scriptures were cited the most,” he said. They also polled various church departments to find out which scriptures were cited the most.

“From all of that, we started to cut it down,” Elliott said. “It is not a question of replacing the Scriptures. It is a springboard for studying in the scriptures. If you liked the video, go read the book, it’s awesome. So that’s what we believe we’ve done. We’ve tried to take those stories, create them, and that makes them more accessible.

Once filming began, one of the first things Elliott noticed was the quality of the crew.

The cast and crew prepare to film several nighttime scenes for episode 6 of season five of the series

The cast and crew prepare to film several nighttime scenes for Season 5 Episode 6 of the “Book of Mormon Videos” series, May 25, 2022, in Goshen, Utah.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“These guys are as talented and skilled as anyone I’ve worked with,” he said.

Another unique feature of the project was the scenography.

“The sets that we built, the way they built them out of polystyrene to save money, and having talented art directors and people creating something like that and what we have on the set of Goshen Jerusalem is amazing,” Elliott said. .

Difference Between Hollywood and Book of Mormon Videos

For Elder Dunn, seeing the Book of Mormon videos “come to life” was a “powerful experience in a profound way,” he said.

Emphasis was also placed on “doing things right”.

The costume and set designers work with a cast member during the filming of episode six of season 5 of

Costume and set designers work with a cast member during filming of Season 5 episode six of “Book of Mormon Videos,” May 25, 2022, in Goshen, Utah.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“In many ways, the stakes are much higher here,” he said. “I’ve been involved in million dollar productions where every day you go over is an expensive thing. Here it’s all about getting it right. In this case, ‘good enough’ won’t be enough. It has to be precise.”

Elder Dunn continued, “If the bold assertion that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book of all on earth, I think we need not take too big a leap of logic to say that the video should be as precise as possible because fine. And not that you can do that because there are weaknesses and there are nuances and there is interpretation, even in a video of this nature. But I would say the ante definitely lives up to this particular production.

Over the years, more than 1,200 cast and crew members, including 200 volunteers, have participated in the Book of Mormon Videos project.

Over the years, more than 1,200 cast and crew members, including 200 volunteers, have participated in the Book of Mormon Videos project. Portions of Season 5 Episode 6 were filmed on May 25, 2022 in Goshen, Utah.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Virtually everyone working on the videos feels ready to be there and contribute, Elliott said.

“Every crew member feels like they were put here to be here at the time, and they’ve often given up other jobs with Disney or Hallmark or other projects because they want to be here. “said the media director. “Probably 90% of the crew has been here for all five seasons. They come back because it’s something special and the rest of their lives they’ll look back and say, ‘I was part of it.’

For Elliott, another difference between working with Hollywood stars and the team producing the Book of Mormon videos is evident at the start of each day.

“Before we begin…every day begins with a word of prayer,” Elliott said. “And when you see (the cast and crew) praying and thanking God for a chance to work on a product like this – which brings the Spirit and testifies of Jesus Christ – it makes you realize that you work with something special.

“It’s not just about making movies. It’s about sharing a testimony of the Savior with the world through what is probably the most popular medium the world has ever seen.

Teenage actors prepare to film the scene of

Teen actors prepare to film the scene of “The Stripling Warriors” on June 17, 2022. The Book of Mormon narrative tells the story of two thousand young men and their faith in God. The story will be featured in the fifth season of “Book of Mormon Videos.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Jerry B. Hatch