Origins of Appian Media

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So today on the podcast, we discuss how Appian Media began a good origin story and why we decided to start a non-profit company to make bible. media. Welcome to inROADS, where we talk about the why of Appian media and how you can use the technology of today to spread the timeless message of the Bible. Learn more about us and watch our free video series at AppianMedia.org. Here we are. Season 1. Episode 1. This is an origin story right here. Happening is how it all got started. Yeah, I’m Stu. So I guess we should probably start with introductions. That’s a good place to start. So I’m one of the co-founders of Appian Media and my background is really in video production, specifically in like large corporate productions and reality TV. So, you know, as we get into this, you’ll see how our backgrounds kind of add to our mixture. So, yes, who are you?

I am. I’m still trying to figure that out. I am Craig Dehut. You would call me a freelance video producer. I would say primarily I’m a coffee lover who also happens to shoot video twitching a little bit, a little better, watching on a YouTube channel.

You can see him kind of back and forth with me, but I’m doing all right.

I’m doing all right. I love creating content and telling stories. And I love getting people excited about things through visuals and visual media. So that’s me in a nutshell.

You know, and when we talk about origins, it’s always it’s fun for us to look back on what what we’ve been able to do over the past three years. But it’s honestly a question that we get a lot from people. It’s like, why did you do this?

Or, you know, how did you get started? They want to know where this began. And it had humble beginnings.

You know, it actually, you know, I think the story of how we met is really quite interesting. It began a very similar fashion that happens with you, I’m sure, where people go, oh, you do video. I know someone who does video as well. You must be friends. And so it’s actually one of my brothers who said, I know this guy named Stuart. He happens to do what you do and actually just recently moved to Indianapolis. And my family had had just done the same. And he said, you guys should get together for coffee. And of course, then I went, yes, let’s do that. Yeah. And so we did it took a few months and we eventually just sat down and started talking shop.

Yeah. I think when we look back on it, that was kind of for me, I think. Where did we when did we actually meet for the first time. I remember we met at church Christmas, Christmas time at your church. And then it was several months after that before we actually sat down, had coffee.

But I think back to the fact that first meeting that you and I had, you know. I don’t know.

It started with you complaining.

Let’s actually stick it in somewhere early on in that conversation, which I am so glad you complained. Yeah. And I think back to like, you know, before before we met, I was teaching Bible classes and that was kind of the catalyst for it because I was looking for video content, which this is like 2016, 2015. So people weren’t using video that much. And in Bible studies and Bible classes and I was trying to use YouTube videos and I couldn’t find anything worthwhile to show to the class. But I knew that the class was going to be more engaged when they saw video. And so that’s how we’re wired, right? It is how we’re wired. And we.

I can remember sitting on the couch for hours just looking for a good video. And so then you and I got together and knowing your background, that’s, you know, pitched the idea of why not make our own videos. Yep.

And we talk about it like what? It was a crazy idea where you said, I can’t find it anywhere. So let’s make it ourselves. We need to go over to Israel and do it ourselves and say, that’s right. That’s nonsense. Yeah. How do you think we could pull that off? You know, and things just kind of kind of snowballed from there.

It did. And, you know, I’m so glad that it did. But, you know, I think back at how naive we were because we asked for such a small amount of money to do it. And we did have by you.

I had never gone any farther out of our own country than like Canada. And now we’re talking about flying over the ocean to a place. And neither of us had ever been right to do something on a scale that none of us had ever done. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

Yes. So let me ask you. You know, I know our personalities. I’m very like crazy. I mean, like, I just have all kinds of wild ideas in a good way. Yeah, I guess so. Really? But, you know, you’re very everything is thought out. Everything is planned. Why in the world did you say yes to a guy that you’d only met a couple times who had this wild idea that got us to where we are now?

I I don’t know if there was a moment where I said, oh, this this is what I’ve been looking for. But that’s really what happened, is you came with a prospect of doing something that I had been looking for, putting two of the things that I loved the most together. I love sharing the gospel with other people and I love creating video and telling good stories with media. And you had pitched an idea and it was the first time that I went. Those two things can work together. Of course, we have to try this.

And you are right. I am very analytical. I very like if I’m going to spend more than $20 on something. I spent three months researching, you know. And you said, let’s do this crazy thing. And this is more than a $20 purchase. This is crowd funding in order to spend tens of thousands of dollars to take us somewhere that most of us had never been, but to do something that I believed was.

Desperately need. Yeah.

I am thrilled. Yeah. No older than I am and I think back a lot to like just our makeup, just the two of us. And how if you were a lot more like me, this wouldn’t work, right? If I were a lot more like you, this wouldn’t work. Right. And just I mean, you know, we talk about God’s providence when we talk about Appian Media, but that was one of those things. Yeah. And then we started adding more people to the team. Let’s talk about the makeup of the team, because I think it’s very important that people understand who is on this team, who makes this product.

Yeah. This is not something like you said that you could have ever done by yourself. Or I could have ever done by myself. And the way this team has come together, I firmly believe was directed.

Was was just a providential, really. My brother Jeremy had taken a trip to Israel the fall before this started to coalesce with a guy named Barry Britnell. And Jeremy came over it saying it came back over saying, like what this did to my study and what this son has done to my my understanding of the Bible. You need to talk to Barry. He’s the guy that you should know logistics. He’s gonna help with all of that. So we connected with him originally with no intention of putting this guy on camera. Right. Right. And I just talked to him for hours and hours on the phone. It became very clear very early that instead of calling Barry up every 30 minutes while we were over in Israel, like, what are we doing? Just bring him along, get him in front of the camera. What are we doing here? Right. I don’t know. I love the story of how Jett became part of this team. Do you remember? Oh, yeah. So the Kickstarter campaigns running? Yeah. At that point, we had settled on Barry and Jeremy as our hosts. And you and I. And that was those four of us. Four of us. And that was it. You know, we’re going to try to do what we can. But we were quickly realized, hey, if we could reach a little extra money, if we could reach one of these stretch goals, we’d really like to bring another person with us and get this message from this guy named Jett.

I had never heard of him. He he lives fairly close to us. And he simply says. I can’t believe I’ve not heard of this before, but I love what you’re doing. If you ever need any help, just let me know. Was it? And then you and I said, let’s meet this guy for coffee. Right.

You know, and I think when we first met him, I was more hesitant than you were because I was like, oh, man, this is our baby. This is our thing that we’ve kind of started to build. Yeah. And I don’t want to start letting people in willy nilly. We have to really vet this guy to see if this is legit. Yeah. And I you know, I think we both walked away from that 30 minute hourlong coffee meeting going. OK. This guy’s these needs to come.

Yeah. He sat across the table from us and he didn’t like I thought he might. He didn’t sit there and say, I’m qualified for this because X, Y, Z. Yeah, he is overqualified. What he did was, do you guys understand what you have here? Yeah. This could be huge. And he was seeing the vision right at you.

And I had from the very beginning, it wasn’t just one series about the life of Jesus. It was we would like it to be so much more. And he sat across the table from us and said, I see it.

And I think everybody that we’ve included on this team thus far has had that same vision. Yeah. And I think that’s gonna be a thing that we continue to do, is we add people to the team as they see what the potential is because it’s still growing and it’s not a. Okay, I’m gonna be here. I’m gonna help with this.

And I can’t see anything past this. It’s this could be huge. You know, we talk in those terms and it’s true. And. Yeah. So I think that’s it’s it’s, again, a godsend that the Jet was included.

Everyone was picked intentionally. Yeah. You know, Barry was brought on because of his knowledge of the land, his ability to lead us through the logistics. Jeremy was brought on because of his his approachability. We didn’t want a lecturer. Yeah. We didn’t want some kind of Bible professor, but we wanted someone who was was approachable. Jet was brought on honestly, because he saw the vision and he had the skill set that we need. And Dan Kingsley was brought on on that first year, originally as one of our executive producers. The guy’s a photographer.

Yeah. Like just just brilliant photographer and had been to Israel. I don’t know if 400 times he’d been.

Yeah. More than Barry had been. Yes. On point. And so I think we sit around the table and we are going. All right. Everybody has something different that they bring to the table.

And I still sincerely believe that that, you know, none of us have talents that really overlap. Yeah. I mean, you and I, we shoot video, Jet shoots, video, but not not at the.

We still have things that we bring that are different. And it kind of makes a full, complete package.

Yeah. And we need that. You know, we don’t need to Stu’s we don’t need to Jeremy’s. What we need is. And I love to see how God has used our past work experiences. You know, how those jobs that we thought this is such a waste of my time. Now I find myself using those skill sets in an operating Appian media and everyone brings those special things. Year two, we brought in Danni, Jets’ wife because she is a talented shooter and we needed someone who is experienced with travel and the shooting, someone who could figure out how to, you know, work alongside of jet and hide from under control. Hard. Yes. Special, very special kind of person. Is he such a loud, outgoing person? Yes. That’s exactly the way that I would describe it.

I think I want to go back to discussing why it’s important to make content about the Bible. Why is it even important that AP media started creating Bible content? Is it needed? Is it necessary?

Right. You know, the Bible, I believe, has the power to really, truly change people. But I’ve realized very early on that video has the power to move people and inspire people, to educate them, to to motivate them.

And if you could use the one to get people engaged with an invested in the other, it’s it’s a perfect combination. And so to be able to use something that we know can be a powerful tool for good. That’s why this is so needed and that’s why this is so powerful.

Yeah. And we’re gonna talk about the power of storytelling in a future episode of Inroads. But you’re absolutely right. The power that this medium holds to is to tell any message. To tell any story is amazing. And we’ve seen so long for the the world has used that effectively. You tell their stories and to tell their messages. And you know what? Why not use that same technology, that same medium to tell the story of God? And in fact, you know, the name that we came up with was Appian Media. Yeah. Which talks about a road there’s a road that’s mentioned in the New Testament, the visa athiests that Paul mentions, that Christians came to him via this road and he was encouraged by that.

Right. Just as first century roadway. Right. That home created. And I love the imagery.

And it’s just gotten so embedded in what I believe. And what we’re trying to do is Rome built this roadway. Right, the biggest office kind, the most impressive of its kind to connect these different nations. And they obviously had plans for this right to move their military and their own commerce. But it’s actually one of the reasons why history tells us that the first century Christians were able to spread the gospel as quickly and as far as they were able to. And so we’re using roads of our day, Internet and media and all these different avenues that other people built. We can use to spread the gospel. I think it’s a it’s a brilliant title. It’s a brilliant name to encapsulate what we’re trying to do.

But, you know, even this podcast, when you look at it, this is just the next iteration of what APM media is able to do, you know, because we we started with video in mind because you and I are video people and we visuals speak to us. But we know that video is not the only tool that’s available today. And so, you know, this is another avenue. And, you know, I think throughout Appian Media’s life, it’s going to be more than just making content. I think we’re gonna be ambassadors for using new technologies and different content to help tell the story. The Bible. Right. And I think it’s just as much a part of what we do as creating content.

Right. So in roads, you know, we chose this word originally.

I thought it simply care of the idea of of making an advance right now progressing into a new area. But that word actually is usually used in a military kind of sense. Right. As an as an army, you are moving into enemy territory and making an advance. And that is exactly what we’re doing. Right.

We are carrying the gospel into enemy territory to advance the advance the purpose of the kingdom. God’s mission. God’s mission. Yeah. And so we are infiltrating into areas that we may never personally be able to step foot in.

But through the roadways that have already been built, we’re able to do it.

Yeah. You know, and I’ll make a confession here. It’s confession time. I’m ready. When I when I started exploring this idea, it was very selfish. It was me saying, you know, I would love to shoot documentaries and I’d love to shoot documentaries internationally, because I think that would be a cool thing to do. But very quickly, it became more than that.

And I and I I realized that, man, this is something that is needed. This is not something that I need to just do for me. This is something that is needed and that my my whole mindset changed very early on from this would be cool to do, too. I have to do this. This is so necessary because these mediums, these tools are helping people get into their Bible and study God’s word. And, you know, we see that every day. We see people who message us and send us emails and leave comments on Facebook posts and say, look, I open up my Bible and study this because I watched your videos or, you know, I was in a dark place because, you know, and then I watch your videos and it changed my whole perspective and. Yeah. And like, yeah, those are not comments that we are soliciting. These are these are people who are freely giving this right.

Man, you originally your concept was specifically looking at young people like your high school class. Right. And we have very quickly realized that it is appealing to people of all ages. Oh, so quickly of all denominations, people who have no interest in the Bible previously and are finding this content and are interested for a variety of reasons. And now. I’m realizing more and more this is a tool that I’m able to use for my own kid, and they’re not very, very old and they’re not very old. Our oldest right now is five years old. Yeah. And he sits and he watches these. He’s glued and it’s a tool that boy I wish I had when I was five years old.

That’s see, that amazes me right there, because, you know, you’re right. We created this. The first two series, Follow the Messiah and Searching for a King were created kind of at that high school college, even tipping toward the adult level. Certainly. And it was it was us sitting in Bible classes. And I was sitting at the high school level watching the kids in the high school Bible class zoned out because they are so used to using their smartphones every day, all day when they go to school there. They’re using technology. And then all of a sudden they came to Bible class on a Wednesday night and we said, put the technology away. Right. Play your Bible and let’s study. And they be like, oh, my goodness, are you kidding me? This is not how I learn. And so I saw that in high school level. And I said, well, this is interesting. But like you just mentioned, kids as young as your son, who is five years old, are pulling stuff out of this. And like and then plus, we’re hearing of adults that are you know, they’ve been Christians for 30, 40, 50 years of their life and they’re pulling stuff out of this.

And so in their Bible study, when they do open the book and we want them to write, we’re not trying to replace them. Right. That when I read the Bible to my kids, I can see in their eyes to me, they know this story. Right? They’ve seen it. They’ve seen the Good Samaritan. They’ve seen the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. They remember that scene.

Oh, that gets me so fired up, because those are the tools that we are convinced will help people connect with God’s word and the gospel. And that really is the mission of of Appian Media.

Yeah, absolutely. Well, let’s go to a quick break. And when we come back, we’re going to talk about the mission more. And you know why it’s important that the content is free because we actually created a really interesting model with that. But first, we’re going to talk about our sponsor, which we’re thrilled to have.

The Inroads podcast is sponsored by Container Solutions Inc. CSI makes custom engineered packaging solutions for big and small industries ranging from manufacturing and automotive to military use foam, plastic, steel, you name it, and they can make packaging for your product out of just about anything. CSI is a proud sponsor of the Inroads podcast and Appian Media. And we’re thrilled to work with them. You can learn more about what they do on their Web site. Container Solutions Inc. Dot com. You can also find more information about our sponsors in this episodes shown up.

So let’s talk a little bit about the why of APM media. What’s the mission? And you know, why is it important that this content is free?

I mean. It’s kind of a crazy model.

That’s a very unique model, it’s something that we realized very early on. No one else was doing. Not to the degree that we planned to do.

An entire series of videos completely free of charge streamed online.

No one was doing that. Now, why? Why would we do that? For me, I believe it comes down to we are trying to remove as many barriers as we can from the content.

Yeah.

So if paying for it is a barrier for you, we want to remove that. If ease of of access is a barrier to you. We want to make it available on YouTube and on Facebook and on DVD and however we can get it into your hands. We want to remove those barriers because that is the mission.

That’s the mission of Appian Media. That’s the mission of the gospel. Whatever we need to do to connect you with the thing that will change you right now.

And that was the thing when you and I sat down initially, we both were like we both had a hesitation to sell the Bible. And then I say sell the Bible in a sense that like the content we’re creating is about the Bible. And then if we were going to ask people to pay for it, we just kind of felt odd about it because we wouldn’t take a Bible out to somebody and say, here’s a Bible. Oh, but you can only have it if you pay for it. That’s not that wasn’t the mission of the church. That wasn’t God. That wasn’t God’s plan was to. Hey, you can have what I’m offering only if you buy it. And it’s a gift that we can not repay him for. And so I think that was kind of the catalyst, was that we just we wanted to make sure, like you said, it was freely available to everybody. But it’s not free to produce. Not free to produce.

And that’s the line that we’ve we’ve had to walk. You know, how we wish that we could just create whatever we want and give it away with no strings attached. And, you know, we know that that’s not possible. So how do we finance it? That’s that’s gonna be something we talk about later in the podcast. But free. It’s a unique and interesting business model. But it was key to what we originally crafted in those early days in those coffee shops in talking about the mission.

You know, specifically the mission is that we want to create biblically accurate content about the Bible and give it to the world for free. So free is even within our mission and that. Absolutely that. So it’s it’s definitely something that’s there to stay, you know. So these series aren’t free to produce. And if you’ve watched either Fallen Messiah or searching for a king, you’ll know that they have high production value. There’s a lot of research. There’s a lot of time and effort that go into them. Some blood, sweat and tears, blood, sweat and tears that I think we have a couple episodes that talk about the specifics of that blood, sweat and tears.

But so we’ve had some very generous backers, donors who have given to support this talk about how people can get involved with AP and media and, you know, help continue this.

Right. Really, it starts by going to the Web site Appian Media dot org. And you’ve got all sorts of information about about the mission, specifically the information about the team. You want to get to know us, go online and watch the content. Yeah. I said it’s free. Right. Go on YouTube. Pull that up on your smart TV. Pull it up on your tablet however you want to do it and benefit from the content and learn about how we get this thing made and let us know like let us know how it helped you, how it impacted you and how hopefully you’re using it to evangelize with other people.

Yeah, absolutely. We want feedback on a regular basis. So while this has been the Inroads podcast, this is episode 1. Episode 1, we’re just getting started. We are. And so there’s a lot of other great content that we have coming your way in Season 1 of inroads. But as Craig just mentioned, we want to hear from you, our listeners, tell us how we can improve the podcast, how we can continue to make content that you want to hear about the Bible. And, you know, honestly, like and subscribe to our channels because as the audience grows, so does the influence. And that’s huge. AP Me is only able to do what we’re able to do because of God and because of our audience. And so we’re thankful for that. So In-roads is a production of APM Media and we’re a non-profit video production company that is 100 percent crowdfunded. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can support AP media or watching those free videos. We encourage you to go to our Web site and watch them there. You can visit Appian Media dot org slash in. For more information. Well, thank you, Craig. I’m glad that we are able to do this.

This is an adventure. I am excited to get started. We’re gonna be talking about the. Christian media and the landscape that was set before us when just got this journey. No, you’re not the first. We’re not the first. And I pray that we are not the last.

But lessons learned from those before us and hopefully some some trails that we’ve blazed, perhaps for others coming after us.

Sounds great. Thanks, Craig.

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