Have you ever wondered what it would be like, to move to Hollywood to pursue your dream of filmmaking? Chris Staron brings us right into his experience of dreams fulfilled and disillusionment in Hollywood. He will take us backstage into his own personal foray into the Christian Filmmaking industry. His experience may surprise you. Through all of the ups and downs of his journey, including becoming a starving artist, you will admire the man of God Chris is and see how his faith is anchored.
Mark. 8:35 – “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
His faith story
Heaven’s Gates and Hells Flames
Bullied in high school
Upstate New York
Ithaca College Film Program
Campus Crusade Mentor
Interning on the Bernie Mac Show
Production Assistant on Hells Kitchen
Indie Movie Director
Bringing Up Bobby success
Writing his book, The Cradle Robber
The story of William Jennings Bryan & the Scopes Monkey Trial
Advice for someone being bullied
- Truce Podcast and Website: https://trucepodcast.com/
“I wouldn’t characterize Hollywood as necessarily anti-God, it’s that they just don’t know who he is… it wasn’t so much that they were against you, it was that you were an alien species.”
“We often glamorize those things, and hold up the success stories, but there is nobody out there talking about the real struggle of being a starving artist in the Christian world.”
“In most staunch conservative reformed churches, prosperity is there. We believe that nothing bad can happen to you if you are a Christian. But if you look at the Bible, the central character of the Bible is a guy who gets crucified for being exactly where God wants Him to be.”
“Paul gets shipwrecked and bitten by snakes and beaten and thrown out of town for being exactly where God wants him to be. So I think our conception of what
success is and what money is, is way off.”
“We can’t judge our success based on the numbers and people’s response. Success in God’s eyes is being faithful.”
For more everyday extraordinary faith stories: https://lettersfromhomepodcast.com/
Purposely. Your life. God’s purpose. Listen at onpurposely.com.
Chris Staron: [00:00:00] We often glamorize those things, and we hold up the success stories, but there’s nobody out there talking about the real struggle of being a starving artist in the Christian world.
Narrator: And now for the next episode of Letters from Home, sending encouragement to your doorstep by capturing the heartbeat of God’s people. One story at a time.
Meg Glesener: Have you ever wondered what it would be like moving to LA to pursue your dreams of filmmaking? It sounds glamorous, but is it? Today’s guest brings us on that journey, his. From the bottom up. So many dreams fulfilled and so many images shattered. We get to peek behind the scenes and see the way our loving God has used it all to grow his faith and shape his worldview of the church, and current mission in life. And in the PS, you’ll hear some great tips on approving your audition process, [00:01:00] and one place in Wyoming that is a must visit most people don’t know about. Here is the everyday extraordinary, Chris Staron.
Chris Staron, I am so happy to have you on the show today.
Chris Staron: Thanks.
Meg Glesener: And to get your story out, you have been one of the great blessings, you and Eric, and being involved with Christian Podcasters Association. And I wanted to have you on for a long time and I’m so happy we get to have your story out.
Chris Staron: Oh, thanks for talking to me. I just, I love talking to you. You’re, you’re sort of this, this bright spot on the, the Facebook group. It’s so nice to see all your posts and things. I don’t know how you do it, honestly.
Meg Glesener: Yeah, well, you know, it’s just a certain part of my service for God is just being over there on CPA and just nice. You’ve got the amazing podcast, Truce Podcast, which we’ll talk about more later. But I also know you have, you have a story, besides being a podcaster that you have a life and you’re a, you’re a bus driver right now, right? That’s one of your…
Chris Staron: Right. That’s, [00:02:00] I, I, I wanted to get the most glamorous job I could get where you got the money and the attention from women and all that. So, I went for bus driver.
Meg Glesener: And how’s that working for you?
Chris Staron: You know, I don’t see the money or the women, I don’t know what happened. Like somebody lied to me. Yeah.
Meg Glesener: But you get to see the, the kids and you get to see the beautiful landscape of Wyoming. I see your pictures on your socials and I’m like, what? Where does he live.
Chris Staron: Yeah. It’s been a godsend. Yeah. The, the outdoors have been kind of a great means of therapy for me. Just to kind of get out there and get away from things. And yeah, it is a blessing so that when you’re driving a bus full of like 50 screaming kids, you can look up and just imagine yourself in those mountains and be like, okay, this weekend I’m gonna get up there. It’s not always gonna be like this.
Meg Glesener: Chris, let’s get right into your story. So what was it like in your childhood?
Chris Staron: Yeah well, my parents are both very hard workers. They own a small heating and air conditioning company. And as part of that, we were all kind of, part of the company. You know, we, [00:03:00] we helped out whenever they needed help.
Our mom also is, she’s a dynamo. So, we were homeschooled from, I was homeschooled, my brother and I, my twin brother and I from fourth, fourth and a half grade until high school, and she was running the business. She’s an owner of the business, she’s also the head of the office, and she was homeschooling us all at the same time. So, our homeschooling would have to take a break whenever the phone rang because she had to answer it, because it could be a customer of a very industrious family. So, sometimes I’m like, how is it that I’ve gotten to be able to, you know, do podcasts and movies and books and stuff like this? Oh, it’s cuz my parents, you know, never sit down. They’re just kind of always doing something. But we were really blessed with that and grew up with a lot of forest behind the house, which was kind of awesome. So, even now, I’m, as I’m, you know, stomping through the forest every weekend out here in Wyoming. In Ohio where I grew up, it was just like we were out in the back playing in creeks and you know, building forts outta dirt and, and [00:04:00] sticks and stuff.
Meg Glesener: The good old days, right, the good old days before electronics took over everybody’s job.
Chris Staron: Yeah. And if, if God ever grants me kids, I honestly don’t think I’ll let them have electronics, cuz I think that’s so important to be outside and explore and create a sense of wonder and imagination. As far as the, the faith journey stuff goes, my distinct memory of it was that our dad went to what was called a renewal. It was like a men’s weekend away. And it was a very intense weekend with guys sharing their testimonies and their stories and very intense lessons and songs and worship and stuff. And that was sort of the moment where I saw my dad get invested in his beliefs. And we had been going to church and stuff before that, but that was sort of the moment where I realized that that was what he was doing, you know?
And we started getting more involved in church and they were youth group leaders and by the time I was 10 years old, I live right near a ski resort, and this is gonna play into what I promised. When I was 10 years old, I was learning to ski. I was on the bunny [00:05:00] hill and I did a full like rollover, trying to learn and just hurt my neck, and it was like, All sore and angry. And that night as I was trying to recover from this, my mom’s like, we’re gonna go see a play. And I was like, I don’t, I don’t wanna go see a play tonight. You know, I, I’m in pain. And it ended up being a show called Heavens Gates and Hells Flames, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s you know, one side of the stage represents heaven; one side represents hell and you kind of experienced the last few minutes of, of some fictional people as they’re just about to die and then you see that judgment as they go left or right. And that was kind of all my 10-year-old brain needed. It was like, oh, I, okay, I obviously wanna go to the heaven side of the stage and not to the hell side.
By the grace of God went forward that night and people say, you know those heaven and hell conversions, oh, it doesn’t work. That’s, that’s not helpful to anybody. It’s, I, I beg to differ. and some volunteers afterwards gave me a Bible, just a New Testament. I [00:06:00] started reading that New Testament and that sort of sparked the beginning of me reading the Bible for myself, which is a real gift.
Meg Glesener: That’s great. Absolutely. Yeah. I remember it’s probably a little more of an eighty’s thing too. There was a little more emphasis on hell in the gospel and I remember watching a thief in the night, I don’t wanna be left behind. I, you know, I wanna, right. Yeah. So, there was a little bit of fear, which I don’t think is, I think we could maybe use it a little more of that in our society. Nowadays there’s not that, it’s tough balances.
Chris Staron: Yeah, it’s a tough balance. When I was in high school, they also had local churches would do at Halloween, they would do a haunted house that was like hell themed. And so, you would go through it and it would have a very clear gospel message. It would also be very scary. A very creative way to tell a very hard truth. We like to pretend like, oh, you know, we shouldn’t tell kids that kind of stuff. It’s like, you know, but it is the truth. That is what the Bible says is the reality of the situation.
Meg Glesener: So, for sure. So, your twin, which is exciting. Where was he at [00:07:00] in his faith journey at the time?
Chris Staron: It was the same exact thing, believe it or not. So, the same play, the same walk forward. Well, that’s…
Meg Glesener: That same night?
Chris Staron: That same night. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, so that’s been actually kind of great. Having a twin brother. It’s like a built-in accountability partner. We still live together. Actually, have bunk beds still, which is hilarious. I’m 38, still have bunk beds.
Meg Glesener: Hey, so as long as you don’t have the Star Wars sheets, you know, if you’re like, no, you know, if, if you’ve, if you’ve grown up in, you know, in the betting choice, then it’s, it’s a win. No.
Chris Staron: Yeah. You know, it’s a single man. Nobody cares. I mean, it’s a, it’s not like anybody but us is gonna see the sheets. So, anyway, but He’s a total godsend, so I ended up making both of the films with him and we’ve lived together most of our lives. It’s hard to find a good roommate, but a good roommate also helps bring the rent down.
Meg Glesener: Absolutely. I think it’s great. And so, if we can go back to when you got saved, you both
Chris Staron: turn to the Lord and you said you got a Bible and that was a godsend. So, you know what happened from there? I started reading the Bible for myself, which is good. [00:08:00] The, the one of the dangers of owning your faith for yourself, which, you know, everybody should, you know, face that danger, is you have the risk of becoming like a Pharisee, and, and using the Bible as a weapon instead of as what it was meant to be as, as sort of a way of hope. And so, in high school, that was sort of more my bent. I mean, I still had friends and I, you know, still. Doing all right. I’m gonna tell the story in a future episode of Truce, but I was in a lot of high school theater productions, after I went to just a normal public high school. We started praying before every show, musical or play. We would join hands in a big circle. But because our school didn’t have a proper theater, we didn’t have a proper backstage. So, all the guys and the girls changed in the same big room. And if you didn’t want to be part of the prayer circle, you hid behind in this little space behind these lockers. And that was it. And we would sometimes pray for those people in a way that was not godly.
You know, it was more, I don’t know, claiming territory than it was actually praying for [00:09:00] those people. And so, I fell into some of those traps in high school. Not always, but sometimes. That changed a lot when I eventually went to college and started meeting people who were very, very different than me. We did, we did okay. But in that time, my brother and I started making videos just like our own fun videos. We’d been making them for years at that point with friends. But we had like this closed circuit network of televisions in the school. We were allowed to tap into that and play like a three-to-four-minute video every Thursday. And that became what we called the Thursday show. It was very creative, and Nick and I we made all of them. We were in charge of all that. We didn’t have any supervisors or any technical help, anything like that. Nobody watched them before they went out. They just kind of trusted us to, to make these videos just for fun. Cause we wanted to. And almost nobody watched, which has been a common theme throughout all of my films.
But we enjoyed that and that was kind of the thing that kind of pushed us [00:10:00] into making films, cause we’re like, oh we really like doing this in high school. So, and it was, it was, it was a good way to make friends, and gather people together. A lot of our friends ended up being the people who didn’t have anybody else to talk to. Our group of friends was really ragtag, , but it, it worked out for the videos. We tried. Yeah, we had a lot of fun, but we were both teased a lot in high school, picked on and bullied. But what was weird is it was, it was almost never about anything we actually did. It was always about something that somebody else had done. Like our older brother was picked on a lot, and so his, that we got the residuals. We got whatever was left over. So, even in high school, Shows would be packed out. People would just come and see like so many people would come and see them and in two different shows I played a woman. Like a full on in dress, bra, everything woman, and never once got made fun of for that.
I, I always got made fun of for something that my older brother did or some, some residual thing, or they called us like the cheese brothers. And it’s like [00:11:00] nobody ever saw me eat cheese. So, we just like struggled with that weird… you know, like I, I, I didn’t get like persecuted for being a Christian in high school. I got teased for stuff that had absolutely no connection with me at all. It was just like nothing. I did.
Meg Glesener: Did anyone stand up for you or your brothers or, or did it get to the administration level or did you just kind of quietly deal with this, the administration?
Chris Staron: It’s, and I work in, you know, school district now. It’s, it’s amazing how little school districts can do to bullies. And I honestly, it’s something that I think that really, really needs to be addressed because you know, if you look at the school shooters, a lot of these kids who do school shootings are kids who have been bullied. And it’s because of the loss of a backbone in the school district that those kids are allowed to be bullied, and that it pushes people to a hopeless place. Cause we got to places where it was, it felt really hopeless. I would bring things to the administration, and nothing would happen. And you as a Christian are always supposed to turn the other cheek, but that’s hard to do day after day after day after day. And I did, I had two different people stand up for me on two different days, but it [00:12:00] wasn’t enough to stop it every day.
Eventually, by the grace of God, a lot of those people graduated, and by my senior year it wasn’t so bad. But yeah, I, especially on the school buses when I drive, I do not tolerate bullying at all. I mean, I will go to great lengths to make sure that those bullies are kicked off the bus.
Meg Glesener: So, you got one eye on the mountain and one eagle eye. Looking at all those kids and making sure they’re respecting each other.
Chris Staron: Well, to be clear, I have both eyes on the road
Meg Glesener: on the road. Yes. four. Wait, do you have four eyes? Okay. Right, right. Yeah.
Chris Staron: But I mean, you can hear it, you can hear it really well if you, if you organize your bus right, you can hear what’s going on. But by the grace of God, we did eventually graduate high school and got away from that.
Meg Glesener: So, college must have been a great fresh start then, in a way. Did Nick and you both go to the same college as well, where did you go and what was your experience like?
Chris Staron: Yeah, we went to Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York with its more famous brother is Cornell Universities in the same town, so we could look over and see their beautiful campus while we were on our brutalist design campus. That’s just ugly. [00:13:00] It’s an ugly school. But we went there for the film program because we wanted to shoot on actual film and not just on video, because anybody can pick up a video camera and work with it. But to shoot on actual film, especially back then when most movies were still being shot on film, was what we were going for.
It was a, a very different experience for us. If there were any religious roots in, in the students, it was a Jewish roots. We had a pretty strong Jewish population, but there were very few Christians. It was possible to be the first Christian that one of your friends would know. Hmm. And so, that was kind of a, a neat experience for us, that you’d walk into somebody who has no background, or what they knew about Christianity was just what they’d seen on the news or in history books or something.
It was on our, our hearts and our minds that we, we should be the exception to what they think of as a Christian. What they read in books is probably where Christianity has gone wrong. I wanted to try to like go the other way. And so, my brother and I, we had this campus crusade leader that we, we met at the end of my freshman year, who was a really godly [00:14:00] guy and good at kind of sussing out what the good challenge were for us, what we, we needed to overcome. And so, he started organizing this thing where Campus Crusade members would get to school early and help the freshmen move in. It was like, carry stuff in and meet them, meet the parents, and then we carried little notepads and we would write down little notes to ourselves about what our interaction was, what their names were, where they came from, what their room numbers were, and then we would go back over the, the course of weeks and months to try to get them acclimated to school, but also as a, as a witness and a testimony to people. That’s the way to do it. Harder to do in Covid times.
Meg Glesener: But actually, our son, Josiah, he said there is a higher signup for crew during Covid than there was before. Covid people are starving to get together, so they’re having Zoom online and then they’re having get togethers, you know, social distancing in San Diego, and it’s bigger than before.
Chris Staron: That’s praise God. Yeah. You never know how God’s gonna use something. Yeah. You never [00:15:00] know. We had a lot of growing experiences in that time. I this was also like the first time that I’d really encountered Christian, people who were Christian in name, but not in practice or in belief. And so, upstate New York, as you may know, was part of what they call the burned over district. So, when Charles Finney went through in his crusade, I believe it was the early 18 hundreds, people got this sort of sense of ecstatism and, and revival and stuff, but they didn’t have any wisdom or anything. And so, there were all these cults that came up. Mormonism started in upstate New York. The first sex cult in the United States started up there. And it sort of just burned the people out so that it was really hard for anybody, like any real faith to take root. And so, we could not find a church because of this. So, you’d go, there were churches, but to find one that actually believed that Jesus is God, was asking an awful lot. And even there were chaplains on, on our campus, and they, we had, I think two when I was there, and neither of them believed in Jesus, and they were supposed to be the Christian chaplains. It’s like, why? Why are you? Why are you here? Why [00:16:00] are you wasting your life? You know? And We got in this interesting place where my brother and I were trying to speak to the, the board who would choose these chaplains and be like, listen, you’re a bunch of pastors who claim to know Jesus. Why are you picking a chaplain who does not? Shouldn’t that be like, the only question you ask is, do you believe in Jesus? Like right to be the top of the page. You know, what is your name? Do you believe in Jesus? That’s what it should be, you know? But so we couldn’t go to any of their churches cuz we couldn’t support their lack of interest in something that was so important.
And so, Nick and I went to, I think it was something like 70 churches in upstate New York across the four years. Well three and a half, and couldn’t really find one that we, we liked that was a God-fearing church in like, Biblically sound. But it gave me a really good idea of what the church is, because we went to all sorts of different denominations and things. But like there was one I think it’s called Lansing, United Methodist Church.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the name of this church. Went there one time. We got [00:17:00] there at the time it was supposed to start. Didn’t start on time, and then the whole service, if you’ll call it. That was basically, they had a Native American guy stand up, talk about his, his Native American beliefs, and then sit down. Nobody refuted it. Nobody compared it to Christianity. They just broke and that was it. That was the whole thing. It was like, what was that? Like, you know that that’s upstate New York for you. Like it’s a big mission field if anybody has a calling.
Meg Glesener: Is that where from there, it kind of led, led you. More into the film industry?
Chris Staron: Yeah. Yeah. So we were, you know, we were studying film and I made the classic. Mistake by the way, of people who go into the arts and wanted to study that in college, I only studied film and didn’t study something else to back it up. Which is the classic mistake. You have to study something else, whether that’s marketing or graphic design or something else.
So, yeah. Anyway, we, we studied film. And then my brother and I started using our student films as an outreach to our classmates because we all had to watch them. You’d get together in a, you know, room of [00:18:00] a, a few hundred people and you would watch all the films. And so, we used those as a testimony trying to, to witness to our classmates. And at that point, Christian films had been made since the beginning of movies. Really. The Lumie Brothers made one about Jesus before there was sound; before people even moved the camera. They were making Christian films or really grasp and editing, but we had never really seen one. We thought we were inventing an art form in a way. Yeah, we didn’t have a lot of the trappings of like knowing what the market wanted and stuff. We were just kind of trying to make a good movie, and so we made a bunch of independent Christian films and then I we, Nick and I both went out to Los Angeles to intern out there, so I, I interned on the Bernie Mac show, if you remember that on Fox.
Of course. Yeah, and then my brother interned with some cinematographer agents, worked on like a Toys R Us commercial back when Toys R Us was the store. All my references are so dated. But yeah, we, we went out there and then eventually after college we moved out to LA and worked in the secular film industry for about a year. On shows [00:19:00] like Hell’s Kitchen, which may be the, the most known show that we worked on. I was just a production assistant and a lighting stand in, but I did put on Gordon Ramsey’s makeup once. So that’s, Fame for his camera test.
Meg Glesener: Does he have a toupee? Is that like a hair? Does he have some hair pieces in there? I was, I always wondering when you see that big wave, I thought something looks a little didn’t.
Chris Staron: I don’t think so.
Meg Glesener: It’s all real. Okay.
Chris Staron: Yeah. I, well at least it was back when, you know, in 2004 or whatever that was, 2005. And that was kind of a thrill we got to, Again, you’re carrying your faith into this environment that is not, it’s not that it’s, I wouldn’t characterize Hollywood as necessarily anti-God. It’s that they just don’t know who he is. Or that they’re, again, it was like college. A lot of the, the vision that people had was what they heard on the news. And they hadn’t really met Christians who really believed it and could walk the walk. And so to, to go out there. It wasn’t so much that they were against you, it was that they were, you were an alien species.
Meg Glesener: Curious. Yeah. Yeah. I,
Chris Staron: I had one guy get in my [00:20:00] face once on a reality show, but he was the only, he was the only one. It was kind of funny. I was working on this show, and it was like, it was a reality show, kind of just a trashy show. But I would sit every day next to this Muslim guy and each of us would pray to our, you know, our own God. And we would talk, and we were friends and I filled in for him once when he had feed the meter. And I gave him rides to and from work cuz he was having car troubles. And then this other sound guy got in my face about how intolerant I was. I was like, I’m the ones like having meals with this Muslim guy and you’re here yelling at me for my beliefs. I think, I think you’re the intolerant one, but he just didn’t understand. But for on the whole people were, you know, generally very giving, pretty, pretty open to us.
Meg Glesener: That was my son’s experience too. He did a show at the La Jolla Playhouse Theater and he, and sometimes, you know, there’s improv scenes and he’s like, well, may maybe let’s not do this part. I feel a little uncomfortable with that, where you have to kind of set a, a [00:21:00] boundary and just be respectful about it so nobody feels bad, but it does bring a little different attention to you when you’re making a different choices for things sometimes. Right?
Chris Staron: Well, but if you’re doing improv, cuz I’m actually, I’m an improv comedian as well. And we’ve been performing together well when co started, we’d been performing together for 11 years, which is pretty incredible. Just a, a lot of the same base people for that time and just an incredible group of awesome people here in Wyoming. We’ve had that experience where something dirty gets passed to you, and the thing you can do often is have your character play dumb. Like they don’t know what they’re talking about. Or if, if it’s a euphemism that somebody’s using, take the euphemism literally instead of as the euphemism. So, there’s a lot of different things, a lot of little tricks you can get away with an improv that you can kind of steer away from that stuff.
My brother and I, and I think this is really important. If you, if you’re interested in doing something, go to where those people who are doing it. So, we really wanted to get into making Christian films and had no idea how that market worked at all. And so, we heard about this [00:22:00] Christian film gathering and so we went to it. It was International Christians and Visual Media, which is still an organization and met just a lot of people that eventually became very important to getting us into Christian films. So, it was like Kevin and Bobby Downs, who made like the moment after and the Visitation. Rich Christiano, who did blanking on the Secrets to Jonathan Sperry, unidentified. Those kinds of movies, Christian films, and I I was in the room when, when the guys from Facing the Giants made one of their first deals. They, they’d shot the movie, but they hadn’t sold it to anybody yet. And I was just, you know, I didn’t know who they were gonna become. So, it was just kind of exciting time.
But I was at a dinner table with the Downs Brothers, and I overheard one of their email addresses. And so, I wrote it down.
Meg Glesener: Of course, you did. Why not?
Chris Staron: You know, and I, here’s the thing, I, I still to this day, if you go to a conference with me, I will go and sit with everybody that I can. I don’t care who they’re, you know? I will sit at their table, and I will snoop on their conversations because [00:23:00] that’s how you make contacts. And I emailed them afterwards cuz they didn’t pay much attention to me when I was at their table. Afterwards, I emailed them saying like, do you have a film coming up that I can work on? And so, I worked as an intern with my brother on what became the Visitation, which is just a terrible, terrible movie. Based on a great book, terrible movie. It was butcher butcher, but clearly, I’m over it. But in doing that film, and it was a pseudo-Christian film, we we just met all these great contacts that eventually led us to, to get to know Rich Christiana better. He’s this interesting sort of godfather character in the Christian film world, where he not only makes his own films, writing, directing, producing… he also distributes his stuff and other peoples.
And so, he was very welcoming to us and encouraging us to make our films and that he would distribute them. Pretty awesome. And then we had two different people offer to pay us to make Christian films. Like they would back our films. And both of those fell through, as soon as we moved back to Ohio to, to make the movies; we, we [00:24:00] moved to Ohio to, to keep the cost down, cuz LA’s is expensive. And lived with our parents for five years. And on our own dime, ended up making two independent Christian films.
Meg Glesener: That’s amazing. Yeah. What an accomplishment.
Chris Staron: I don’t know. It’s a lot of work.
Meg Glesener: What were the films that you made and what did you learn from the process of making the films?
Chris Staron: A lot of things. So, bringing up Bobby is the comedy. That was the second one we made, and Between The Walls was the first one. And it was, it was a tough time because we started seeing the gang from Sherwood Pictures, who made like facing the Giants and fireproof and all that. If you watch there behind the scenes, it was all like, oh, we prayed and God provided all this money, and there was this crew and Kirk Cameron got involved; and nothing came through for us. It was really, really hard for us because you know, I would, we would work all day on the films and then have to go like renovate houses with our parents. And so, it was, it was just a kind of a long, dark period where, you know, people, you get this in any kind of media, you get this in the, in the [00:25:00] podcasting world, where everybody’s like, oh, you just believe, and God will provide the money.
And it’s like, well, for some people yes, but for others you may be on your own. The reality is that these things work differently for different people. Unlike the gang from fireproof, the Sherwood pictures, guys, we did not go to a massive megachurch. We went to little, tiny, small working-class churches. So, like, well, People just don’t have the money to give to those kinds of things.
Meg Glesener: Did you feel like you had the quality of actors you wanted, and did you feel like the story that you wanted to be told was being told while you were creating these shows? Cuz that’s really important.
Chris Staron: Yeah, it, it is important. I, I think it is important, but that to, I can’t. I don’t wanna downplay the, the difficulty of of being an independent filmmaker, right. And not having money because literally, like on a film set, my jobs were not just the writer, director, producer, but also location scout. I approved the makeup; I was in charge of wardrobe. I had to light the sets. That was me. So, it was like, yes, the [00:26:00] stories could get told but without the backing and the money and the expertise, everything fell on Nick and I.
Meg Glesener: What do you think suffered the most from your lack of funding, as far as quality of production? What would’ve changed? I mean, what would’ve changed the most?
Chris Staron: It would, we would’ve gotten a better camera. That’s where I would’ve started. We, this was kind of a funny thing that everybody assumes that digital images have always been great. You know, you and I remember it as not the case. The really nice HD cameras came out right after we filmed, started, filmed our movies. And so everybody was always like, well, why don’t you film on those cameras? It’s like, cuz they didn’t exist when we shot our movies. That’s where I would’ve started. But also like, just hiring a crew that knew what they were doing, would’ve been really helpful. We had incredible actors for what the movies were. Especially bringing up bobby, we had an incredible cast. But they weren’t paid anything. And that’s one of those things that kind of still haunts me, is I wish that I could, I had money that I could go back and pay those guys, but we didn’t really make a lot of money on the movies. But it was one of those deals also where we encountered the, the difficulty of the Christian audience. You know, [00:27:00] we, we had just like, Killed ourselves making these films. And then you would get these really bad critiques back from people. And then part of the problem is that Christianity is this giant umbrella collection. Like it means so many different things, from like Eastern Orthodox, to even Mormons claim that they’re Christians when even though it’s a different religion.
And so, you, you have this huge fan, like people who wear, you know, Goth clothes and go to screo music and then like really conservative ladies who won’t uncover their hair and won’t wear pants, you know? So, this, that is Christianity. It’s this big umbrella. And so, if you’re, you’re going into that, you’re going to try to speak into something that’s very personal for people, but also that is incredibly diverse. And so. Because it’s so personal to people, if something doesn’t fit exactly what they think should be there, they can be very picky and they can be very vocal.
Meg Glesener: It sounds like you’ve got a couple of bad reviews. Do you think it just kind of, and things didn’t go well from that point, do you think it could have gotten a broader audience, had it had a better critique from the [00:28:00] start?
Chris Staron: No, it would, those, the critiques weren’t so bad. That was mostly just taking it personal. You know, like the, you know, people are willing to attack you when they don’t know what goes into it. What, what was the hardest thing was just people would always come up to you and say like oh, you don’t have to worry about the money because you’re doing this for the Lord. It’s like, but I, I, I think that we don’t understand the suffering that goes into those kinds of projects, and the sacrifices that are made. It makes me think if you, if you talk to certain missionaries, we force missionaries in the United States, to go from church-to-church begging for money. And, and sometimes they won’t get enough money between churches to make it to the next church, but we make them sort of parade around in this little thing and we say, oh, aren’t they so, they are so holy to be able to live in such conditions and things and isn’t it amazing how god provided. They needed, like they were about to get kicked out of their apartment and then God provided the thousand dollars to get them through. I think a much better testimony would be, isn’t it wonderful that our missionaries don’t have to worry about money [00:29:00] and, and you know, they don’t have to worry about being kicked out, and they can just do the job.
And I think that would be a much healthier attitude. But we’ve, we’ve gotten so in love with these stories of rescue at the last minute that we don’t realize that we should never let God’s people get to that point in the first place. And that, that was what we kept experiencing, was everybody was willing to sort of Christianize everything, like baptize everything that we were going through as, as a godly struggle, but we’re generally unwilling to help. Or some of the harshest critiques we got from people online were from people who pirated the movie. It’s like you didn’t even have the courtesy to buy in the movie. Why? Why are you critiquing it? It’s, it’s just, it’s difficult.
Meg Glesener: It sounds to me like you don’t feel like it was a success what you did.
Chris Staron: Yeah. It’s the part that I think was a success is the part that is, so we, we were in I had to work a job also while we were making the movies, so I was editing video for the Cleveland Indians ballpark at the, for the scoreboard department. And we got this email from our distributor that there was this guy in Brazil who was looking [00:30:00] for DVD’s. And because of this long story, Brazil was going through an economic upswing, and suddenly everybody wanted a DVD player. And because they wanted a DVD player, they needed DVD. So, this guy who I just met last year for the first time, had this idea that he would flood the market with Christian products, so that the gospel would just get out there, and it would go into libraries and classrooms and that kind of stuff, because that’s the only DVD that’s around.
So, he got all these Christian films from the United States and translated them into Portuguese and had them sold there. So, we literally, in one quarter, sold more copies in Brazil than we ever did in the United States in English. Hmm. And so, to me, that’s the success of bringing up Bobby, is, is where, you know, we didn’t make much money at all, but you know, we sold like 40,000 copies in three months, in Brazil. And who knows what that did down there. I mean, I don’t speak Portuguese, so I, you know, like I can’t, it’s hard to browse the internet to find out if anybody liked [00:31:00] it. That to me was the success.
Meg Glesener: And you’re really inspirational to me in so many of our podcasting friends. And guys, if look, look Chris up on imdb, he’s got a huge list of all the things that you’ve done. You’ve acted, you’ve helped with lighting, you’ve produced, directed, you’ve done all these, these things. And that is an accomplishment and a success. And I like bringing up Bobby. I like the dynamic and the humor and the costuming.
Chris Staron: Thank you.
Meg Glesener: I definitely will put that in the links where people can go check, check out your movie and, and purchase it And support, yeah. Support our, our friends, so, right.
Chris Staron: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I don’t wanna sound like a downer, but I, I just wanna like be kind of realistic about what it’s like out there.
Meg Glesener: Oh, absolutely. It’s a great picture. And then you also, Cradle robber. Yeah. So how, what was the writing process of that, like?
Chris Staron: Cradle Robber’s a novel. It’s on eBook and it’s something I published independently. After the movies, I was really wrestling a lot with anger, especially, and I, I still struggle with [00:32:00] the things we say about God’s provision in the church don’t actually line up with the Bible, or with reality, but we, we still have all these little things that we say all the time. And so, I was really struggling with that stuff, and I was struggling. We were volunteering with campus life, which is like a, a ministry for teenagers. And I was really struggling with my, as a, as a volunteer, I could present the truth, but I could never make somebody follow it. Which is, you know, one of those hard things about any kind of ministry is like, you can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make it to drink. We saw, you know, a lot of people we’d invested in make really bad life choices, and so this, this book kind of came out of that, in part. It is a guy who seeing that, that like the people he’s invested in make really terrible decisions. He, he throws away everything that’s good in his life to, to spend a decade building a time machine so we can go back in time and try to force people to act like he wants them to be. And that was sort of me working through my desire to force people to [00:33:00] act like we want them to be. Which actually I think is something that we as American Church struggle with, you know, we’re always trying to force the country to act like we want it to, rather than go out there and do the hard work of actually sharing the gospel. Of, of actually being the church. We would much rather just go out there and wield a hammer, you know?
Meg Glesener: Or write a check, right instead of going next door to see our neighbor.
Chris Staron: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s how real ministry is done. I like to say this all the time, the guy who does the biggest ministry in our town here in Wyoming, he’s not a pastor. He doesn’t have a lot of money. He’s not giving to great charities. He is the guy who works at the self-checkout line at the grocery store. He’s this little guy from Romania who loves the Lord. And he tells people, you know, God bless you. And he goes, and he helps them. He invests in their lives. He has conversations. They, they put a picture of him on the newspaper and it just went like all over Facebook. And people are like, oh, I love Flor. He is the best. You know, and he prays for people and he’s just the self-checkout guy. And I think that’s really where we could be focusing our [00:34:00] ministry, is, is more not about these grand gestures, but more like, what can I do like in the moment?
Meg Glesener: I’ve always viewed the bleachers as a really big mission field and grocery stores as well. My kids work at the grocery store, and I love getting to know each of the people’s names. Yeah. You know, it’s like, this is where I’m at. I’m at the grocery store now I’m at the bleachers, so let’s talk to the moms and see how they’re doing. And when I get to talk about my life, you know, the Lord’s the biggest part of my life and I, because I have a relationship, we can bring it up.
Chris Staron: That’s awesome. Yeah. Praise God. Yeah. You gotta do that stuff. And that’s one of the things I, it’s hard doing the podcast and driving the bus is I don’t actually have a lot of extra time to do that stuff. And that drives me insane. But…
Meg Glesener: No pun intended; pun intended. Okay. You’re talking about cradle robber and then if you wanted to tie that into Truce?
Chris Staron: Oh yeah. So, the, the book and all that, that me struggling with anger and all those things really led to me starting the Truce podcast, which is what I’m doing now. And I, I love doing it because I have the, the ability to tell [00:35:00] stories without having the expense of what I did in the movies, hiring actors and creating a visual image, it’s much easier. But also, I, I realized, you know, like there’s so much anger in our country, right? I’ve, I’ve started this three years ago, and we just don’t seem to understand how we got to where we are. And I think a lot of the times that’s where the tension, the friction starts, is when we don’t know our history and we don’t know we’re angry, but we don’t know why. You know and truth has been looking at a lot of those sort of undercurrents in Christianity. The, the things that am onto Christianity; like pyramid schemes or political campaigns or even economic models, or our, our, our, our capitalism has really kind of clung onto American Christianity.
And so, just asking like, how, how did that stuff get there? And how, how can we do better? And it’s actually been really good for me and my faith because I left doing the movies kind of angry at, at the Capital C Church. And this has been kind of a way to learn how to love it, and learn how to treat it less like a, like some big [00:36:00] dark ominous well organized thing off in the distance like some empire. And realize it’s actually, it’s this big umbrella with a lot of people who are, have a lot of diverse views. And to kind of shake my fist at some monolith doesn’t really make sense because there is no monolith. Yeah. And also, to see what the real work of the church is supposed to be and, and keep refocusing back on that. And that’s, that’s really been very helpful. And I think that’s really how God has provided all this time. It hasn’t been through like fame and fortune and money or even being paid for what I do most of the time. It, it’s mostly come from him helping me to see things. Using those experiences, like going to all those churches in college helped me to see that diverse swing that we have in Christianity. Having to defend my faith in college and in Los Angeles because people didn’t know who, what Christian, Christianity was, helped me to learn to love people who were different than me, which is really a gift. And then struggling to make [00:37:00] media for the church is what eventually led to Truce.
Having to deal with all those difficult things. All that, the bad comments that we get on the internet and all that stuff has helped me kind of see where we’re struggling, and that gives me topics for the show.
Meg Glesener: Absolutely. So, would you say there’s a verse that means a lot to you, that has helped shaped your vision, Chris? And then I also would love to hear what cuz you’re such a visionary. What’s still on your bucket list?
Chris Staron: So many things. Yeah. Okay. So, the, the verse that my brother and I, when we were driving out to Los Angeles kind of ended up settling on what became sort of a life verse for us, and that’s in the, from the Book of Mark where it says, what, what does that benefit a person if they gain the whole world, but lose their soul? Essentially that’s the, the idea, because you know, that was on our mind a lot while going to LA, is like there you can get all the riches of the world out there. You know, you can get all the fame you want, but people lose their souls left and right. That’s been sort of a guiding force. Sort of kept both of us in check [00:38:00] over the years. What, what are my real motives? that’s a good question to ask. What’s next? So, I, I, I do have a, a gigantic bucket list of things that I’d like to cover on the show.
Meg Glesener: I, so just really quick, so let me going back to what you said, so, so what is your real motive? What is your motive for Truce and yeah, guiding.
Chris Staron: My, my there’s so many motives with truth. There are so many. I get one more.
Meg Glesener: Well, Chris, I love your laugh. Oh, good. Such a great heart and spirit.
Chris Staron: Oh, praise God. My, my hope with Truce is to calm us down as a church to stop being so angry at those. Whoever those people are to you, you know, whoever’s, you know, bringing down this country or, you know, ruining this faith. Because oftentimes if we label somebody as of those people, that allows us to not have to witness to them, and to not treat them as if they need Jesus too, just as much as I do.
Meg Glesener: Right.
Chris Staron: And so, that’s, that’s one of the main goals. And that, and protecting the witness of the church, because we often [00:39:00] forget that, you know, I, yes, I can have my political beliefs, I can have my ideas about the country, but when those things start to impact my testimony to other people, I really need to start examining that. My political beliefs can greatly hurt people and can turn them away from following Jesus, because they say, oh, well, that’s what a Christian’s like? I don’t wanna be a part of that. One of my hopes with the show is to keep turning people back to how, how does my action, how are my actions gonna impact my witness? You know, cuz as we’ll get into at the end of season three, when we export these ideas about the United States being this righteous nation that’s godly to other countries, and then we like force them to get our minerals for us at very low cost. Or, you know, we don’t treat them with respect, or they see how we don’t treat our own people with respect, they’re gonna be like, I don’t want this Jesus, I don’t want this God who makes people so angry and like so evil to each other. So, my, my hope is to kind of separate those things just to help us to [00:40:00] see who we really are, and what we are really doing so that we can eventually protect our witness.
Meg Glesener: Great. Well, I know the Lord’s using your podcast to do that. I hear so much feedback from what people are saying and it’s given me many good things to think about too, Chris. So we’ll just keep trusting God for that. And so, what’s on the horizon for you?
Chris Staron: What’s on the horizon? It’s by the grace of God more truce hopefully. I wanna examine and the next season I wanna see how fundamentalism came to be in the United States, Christian fundamentalism. What the history is of that and what’s some of the, again, trying to protect our witness. How can fundamentalism blind us to, to our witness? And, and what people really need. Especially, I wanna tell the story of William Jennings Bryan, who a lot of people know, ran for president three times and then eventually helped prosecute the scopes Monkey trial in the process. He won the battle, but completely lost the war. And so, I wanna kind of talk about that case. If that’s what God grants me, so be it, that would be amazing. And I just keep praying that the Lord [00:41:00] will allow me to do the show full time.
Meg Glesener: Before we seal up the envelope on this story of encouragement, I have prepared bonus material for you that we like to call the Ps. Sure to make you smile and be moved within your heart as you see a bit more of the heart and personality of our guest.
Narrator: Here is your Ps.
Meg Glesener: So, are you ready for some bonus questions?
Chris Staron: Of course.
Meg Glesener: what would you say to somebody who is being bullied in a school today?
Chris Staron: Oh yes. Absolutely. So, obviously, you need to contact people who are in charge and try to hit the administration up. I would write down, keep a log of every single incident and be very specific, so you have specific dates and times and witnesses. But I, I would also say like, sort of the fun trick way is that let’s say if Meg is bullying me, which she’s not, I would go and try to find Meg’s friends and become their friend. Cause Oh yeah, because then [00:42:00] your friends will tell you to stop picking on me. Which is something I did in high school. I found out kind of late that this was an option, and I would become their friend and then they would help me. But ideally it is the school district should be helping you if you’re being bullied. And hold their feet to the fire and leave a paper trail.
Meg Glesener: Do you think, Chris, that’s something that you still, do you feel like you’re over that from your childhood, or do, do you. That’s something that still comes up for you.
Chris Staron: I mean, it comes up the, the, the other thing that’s hard to realize is that I realize as an adult that I was also a bit of a bully to other people in high school. So, there was a moment, I think after maybe eight years of being out of high school, I finally, a, a group of people got together and I got to go apologize to some of those people, and that one of the best things I’ve ever done for me being selfish, was just to go and apologize to those guys and be like, listen, I didn’t even know I was bullying you until I thought about it after high school.
And so, in some ways I have to have grace to those people who bullied me cuz maybe they were in the same boat. The [00:43:00] the beauty of high school is that it’s over and I live thousands of miles away from all those other people, and don’t have to deal with it anymore. And high school, high school was over.
I did spend a lot of years praying through that and I think there was the most beneficial thing was praying for those people in, in earnest, and wanting the best for them. I think that that was The most healthy thing. Yeah.
Meg Glesener: So good. So good that that changes everything, you know? So, we’ll just talk about something a little more fun now. So did you…
Chris Staron: I know I’ve been pretty heavy today, but…
Meg Glesener: did you have any fun, like a fun family tradition growing up?
Chris Staron: Yeah. Yeah, we did. So, on Christmas Eve, all the guys would get together and we would drive to this mall. For some reason, we always went to this mall that was far away, not the one that was close. But we would go there, and we would, people watch, because Christmas Eve is the time when all the desperate men who forgot that Christmas was coming, go out looking for anything at all to get you there to give their wives and girlfriends. So, we would go out there and we would just, people watch. And [00:44:00] generally we had all of Christmas shopping done. But then we would go to Red Robin afterwards and we would see who could drink the most freckled lemonade, which is just lemonade with strawberries in it. And so then we,
Meg Glesener: I know you had a dark side.
Chris Staron: Yeah, of course. Yeah. and there was no alcohol in it, but
Meg Glesener: I know, I’m just kidding.
Chris Staron: And then inevitably we’d have to stop for a bathroom break on the way home because I, I drank seven in one sitting one day. That was my record. So, yeah, the, my parents have always allowed us to have that kind of silly fun, and kind of established that silliness is okay, in those kinds of situations, you know. Like even my parents started a little food fight at our house once and they started it. So, I’ve always kind of admired that about them, that they were open to that kind of silly.
Meg Glesener: I love sometimes when we’re at the dinner table and I make mashed potatoes and someone asks for more and they’re right in the middle of a story and I take the spoon and I, I plump it like, you know, so it’s like eight inches high or something, and then they look and then the whole table bus.
Chris Staron: Yeah. Yeah. Well, that’s awesome.
Meg Glesener: Life’s too short not to have a great time.
Chris Staron: [00:45:00] Yeah, you gotta be silly. I don’t know how people can be strait-laced all the time. You gotta be.
Meg Glesener: So, you spend a lot of time on the road. What do you, what do you love about being a bus driver and what’s, what’s challenging about it?
Chris Staron: Oh, yeah. Yeah. So, I, I really like my coworkers. I’ve, I’ve got a really solid group of coworkers. I’ve, I have never liked coworkers, like I like these folks. And so, it’s, it’s been a godsend to, to get to know these people. What’s hard about it is that I’m, I really want to be doing the podcast, and I’m being pulled away, so I will literally have to like stop mid thought and go drive a school bus. And that can be really frustrating, especially doing the kind of show I’m doing where it’s so involved and take so much time. Like, I’ll, I’ll have a day off and I’ll work on the show, and I’ll get so much done and I’ll be like, why can’t I do this every day? To, yeah, it’s, it’s really hard to walk away from the thing that you love. And I’m, I’m not the best with kids. Especially not 50 at one time when I can’t look at them. Yeah. It’s a whole big challenge. I would say if you have a school bus driver, your kids get on a school bus, give them a Christmas gift.
Meg Glesener: Good to know.
Chris Staron: [00:46:00] Yeah. Because it does make a difference. It just brightens the day. And also like, just teach your kids how to be, you know, genuine human beings and sit down and follow instructions. So, yeah,
Meg Glesener: Say good morning.
Chris Staron: …and say Good morning. Little, little decencies. Yeah, it does go a long way. One of the interesting things, I’ve noticed, especially like working with teenagers and stuff over the years, is that you can judge a lot by a person, by how they treat a blue-collar worker. And even when I’ve gone on dates with people, you know, it’s one of my big things is like, is this woman going to treat the server with respect? Cuz I, I don’t wanna like date somebody who’s not going to do that. And so, as a, as a school bus driver, that’s one of the things when I’ve had buses get out of control and I have to give a speech, I talk to them about treating blue collar workers with respect because my, my parents are blue collar workers. I’m a blue-collar worker. We often, even in Christian circles, if somebody is even financially struggling, we say it’s because they’re not working hard enough. But it’s like, no. Could just be in a profession that doesn’t get [00:47:00] paid a lot, or that doesn’t have a lot of respect.
Meg Glesener: It kind of goes back a little bit to what you said earlier about there being all these misconceptions in the church too, as far as almost like the prosperity Gospel. If you believe God, then you’re gonna be rich, or you’re gonna get to go to college, or all those things, you know? And it’s not a packaged deal.
Chris Staron: It’s not, it’s, it’s so weird.
Meg Glesener: It’s rude. It’s rude.
Chris Staron: It is, it’s insulting to say that somebody’s not working hard enough just cuz they have a blue-collar job and, you know, can’t afford things. Even like my, my friends will sometimes, like unknowingly, you know, like a rib me about being cheap, but it’s like, yeah, but I don’t make much money, you know? And I, I’m taking this job so that I can try to do what I want to do. Right. So, I need those hours off in the middle of the day to work on it. So, it’s, yeah. It’s a tough thing in the, in the church we’re really struggling with is, is money. And that prosperity has gotten into even Most like staunch conservative reform churches, prosperity’s there because we believe that like nothing bad could happen to you if you’re a Christian. But if you look at the Bible, like the, the central character of [00:48:00] the Bible is a guy who gets crucified for being exactly where God wants him to be. You know, Paul had gotten shipwrecked and bitten by snakes and beaten and, you know, thrown out of town for being exactly where God wants him to be. And so, I, I think our, our conception of what success is and what money is, is way off in church.
Meg Glesener: Yeah. So, you’ve worked with youth too?
Chris Staron: Yeah. Well, I’ve volunteered. I volunteered with teenagers quite a bit over my life, which has been fun. I taught high school boys Sunday School for three years with a friend of mine. I just think it’s such a great age to, to reach people, because they’re asking such big questions when we get to be adults, we stopped asking, we stopped asking great questions. You know, there’s that sort of innocence and joy in a, in a high school. Or even, I, I actually really like working with middle schoolers because they, they still like adults when they’re in middle school, you know? They don’t think you’re a total idiot yet. And I, I kind of, I love that about them, and they’ve inspired quite a bit of my work. Just hearing the feedback of what, what people don’t get, what they don’t understand, or even when we made bringing up [00:49:00] Bobby, my brother and I made that to reach out to a few kids in our campus life group. They were our audience. That’s what we were aiming for.
Meg Glesener: Did they like it? Did they see it?
Chris Staron: Yeah. Yeah, they did. They really liked it. And we like, there’s a couple goth kids in the, in the movie. The movie, the central character Bobby is a goth kid. And we wanted to make that in a Christian film. Having a goth kid is kind of who is intelligent and lovable as the main character, is a huge step, because they usually portrayed as like terrifying. But in our group, we saw that they were like the smartest, most lovable open kids. And and like in fact the, some of the goth clothing that our character wears in the movie were real. It came from one of the kids that we were volunteering. So, yeah, teenagers have kind of played a, a big role in it. I kind of wish I could still volunteer with them, but with, with the show and the, and the job, I just don’t have time.
Meg Glesener: So, what would you say to somebody who’s starting out in acting? Do you have any tips for them?
Chris Staron: Yeah. Don’t do what I did. Nobody wants to hear. You [00:50:00] have to find another thing to be good at. But you’ll, you’ll find that even in some of the, the biggest stars in Hollywood have side hustles, and that’s, that’s for a reason. Because especially for women, there are so many women who are going into acting that your talent alone is not gonna be enough make you stand out. You need to also be a writer or a producer or work behind the scenes. If you’re gonna make your own content, you need to be study marketing or business or graphic design. Something else that you can bring with it. Because if you can make yourself useful in more than one way, you are so much more valuable. I’d also say like when I was working as a production assistant, which is like the lowest level on a film set, I could tell somebody was, was useful if they could take the trash out without help. Because a lot of these guys, I would, you know, like say, can you take that trash out? And they would maybe just tie it up and leave it in the can. Or they would pull it outta the can and leave it next to it. And it’s like, no. I, and those guys never got promoted because they were [00:51:00] useless. You know, like you had to hold their hand to take the trash out. So, I always tell people like, Be really good at taking the trash out. In a kind of really small, dumb job that you think is insignificant because they need to be done. And if they’re done well, people will trust you and will promote you. And that’s, that’s a, that’s a really hard thing to hear cuz like actors, we usually, like, you think, oh no, I need to keep my art pure and stuff. Like, no get, get the real experience of having a real job and working hard with your hands and you’ll actually be able to act better because you’ve been there.
Meg Glesener: What would be most important to you in the audition process?
Chris Staron: Oh yeah. You know, generally it was always when we were casting it was always like, are they just, do they bring it to life? Do they bring something to it? You know, cuz some people, if you’re, they’re just reading the lines, you know, it’s not really fun. We, we had people who read stuff completely differently than what we thought they would, and that they ended up being the people who got it. Like the guy who plays. Dennis and bringing out Bobby played the role way different than we’d written it. But it was like infinitely better. So, just like come up with a strong idea and, and go with it. And then of course, be willing to [00:52:00] change if you get notes and things like that but make a strong choice and go with it.
Meg Glesener: What would you say to someone who has taken that choice and gone with it, but then they don’t get a roller. They find that they’ve, they’ve gone to 10 auditions and not gotten any roles.
Chris Staron: I would say you need to get a backup job in the industry that you’re trying to go into. And I know, again, that’s terribly difficult to hear. People don’t want to hear it, but that is, it is such a great window into the process. Even if you’re just going to be a production assistant on a film. Start at the bottom and learn and you honest to goodness don’t need any kind of background history to get a job in the film industry, if you’re gonna start at the bottom. And people are generally willing to help you learn it’s just a matter of getting that first job. Be persistent and you’ll learn, you’ll get to know producers and you get to know directors and things, and you may even find that you like working behind the scenes more.
Meg Glesener: So nice. Well, I’ll ask you one question about Wyoming and wind up with a couple of more serious questions. So, what don’t people know about Wyoming?
Chris Staron: Yeah, so Wyoming is the home of [00:53:00] Yellowstone. Most of Yellowstone is in our state. It’s not even close to being the best part of Wyoming. The national forests around there and around Grand Teton and south of Grand Teton are much better than Yellowstone is. Much prettier and way less crowded. Yellowstone’s cool for the, the hot pools and the geysers and stuff, but that’s like a day, right? If you can get away from that stuff, you’re gonna have a much, much better time.
Meg Glesener: And Chris, we’ve got to talk about Truce. Say real quick where people can find you in which two episodes they should start with.
Chris Staron: Yeah. You can find Truce anywhere you get podcasts or at trucepodcast.com. And I’d recommend starting with the, an episode called, The Pledge of Allegiance, or the other one that’s the, the ad council, CIA and Christian America.
Meg Glesener: How about that friend for you? Topic truth. Truce is, is great. So yeah, I highly recommend. And also, you’re right there, you know, where you’re ever listening to letters from home, just search for Truce and you could subscribe right now, where you’re listening. So, which character or person in the Bible do [00:54:00] you most admire or relate to?
Chris Staron: Jeremiah, the prophet Jeremiah if you read him, he has basically 40 years of a, a wildly unsuccessful ministry, by most standards that we today. He goes out that God gives him a message and he preaches that message, and, and people disregard him. They throw him in a well, it’s, it’s kind of a rough story, but the man was faithful. And I think that that is such a great example for us, that we can’t, and maybe this is one of the things I, I struggle with so why I want I, I look up to him so much, is that we can’t judge our success based on the numbers in people’s response. Success in God’s eyes is being faithful. That really should be my goal too.
Meg Glesener: Absolutely. Do you have a flaw that keeps you on your knees in prayer?
Chris Staron: I have so many. Yeah, I have so many. But anger tends to be something, and I think especially a lot of guys struggle with it. And a lot of that comes up with from like disappointments. Again, trying to compare myself to others and things when I really shouldn’t do, but that it happens. And [00:55:00] so, it bubbles up. That’s one of the things that, that I pray about a lot. It’s like, oh Lord, forgive me for saying that thing, or Help me to make that situation. That’s the thorn of my flesh. Yeah.
Meg Glesener: Yeah. Won’t heaven be amazing? There will be no more struggles. Like no more. I can’t imagine. That would be so nice.
Chris Staron: That would be so nice. Yeah.
Meg Glesener: What does being a child of God mean to you?
Chris Staron: I mean, it’s just one of those startling blessings where it just means like, I, I don’t have to work for God to love me. It just, he does, and that’s kind of an incredible thing for a guy like me who’s so used to, I’m a doer, you know? I, I was raised in an industrious family, and we do things, you know, we make things and to be loved by the Lord, despite any of that stuff and without having to, to make something or earn something. It’s just an incredible blessing. And so, that’s, that’s one of the main things I like to, to think about and dwell on in quiet times is like, Lord, how could you just love me without me having to do something? You know? That’s the one that I keep coming back to. [00:56:00]
Meg Glesener: I trust that you enjoyed Chris’s story as much as I do. One thing that stands out to me from what he shared was he has so many dreams and desires, and he just goes for it. Even if it means he has to work as a bus driver and live in bunk beds to make ends meet. I love his views on the church and it really made me think how much power of positive thinking has influenced some of the things we say. And I’m just gonna pray for us today that we look at our view of success, and we also take the time to pursue some of the dreams God has laid upon our hearts.
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Narrator: Links from our guests will be in the show notes. For more everyday extraordinary faith stories, go to our website, lettersfromhomepodcast.com, and click subscriber Follow in whatever platform you’re listening to.
Second Corinthians 3:3. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. Until next time, go in peace.