Jason Pamer

Owner of Thespis Motion Pictures

“The master storyteller is weaving all of our stories together to create an incredible tapestry — and there are moments where He pulls our head back so we can get a glimpse of its complexity and beauty.”

 


 

Discussion Questions

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Jason Pamer is the owner of Thespis Motion Pictures and Producer/Writer of “Hearts of Men”, a deconstructed, retelling of the prodigal son story that highlights man’s brokenness and God’s redemptive grace. He also produced and wrote the critically-acclaimed film, “Rape for Profit”, a documentary, set in Seattle, exposing the sex trade and the demand that fuels it.

Within the metanarrative of the grand story God is crafting with all of us, how do you see your own story fitting in to the big picture?

It’s fun and awe-inspiring when you begin to look back and see how the master storyteller has weaved your life into the greater tapestry. For me — I look at how I was never planning on attending acting school but through a miracle and doors opening very last minute (1wk before school started) I ended up attending which set me on the path I am currently on.

Story has been the mode of communication that has shaped the hearts and minds of people since the beginning — I count it as a tremendous blessing to be in the long line of storytellers who seek to entertain and transform.

What advice would you give to someone who is still struggling to find direction in their own story?

Look back and remember. Take some time, create a playlist of your favorite songs over the years (memories are triggered by music) and remember. One of the reasons the Israelites wandered for so long in the desert and became exceedingly ungrateful for their miraculous rescue out of bondage was — they forgot to look back and remember. If you can create enough time and space to just sit and look back, you’ll quickly become overcome with gratitude as you begin to see His fingerprints on your life — it will become one of your greatest assets for the future.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering entering filmmaking or other creative profession?

Start to get in touch with the mess of your life, dive into your brokenness, unearth pain and heartache. Once you become an expert of your own story it will begin to give you perspective on the meta-story, the one that touches all of humanity. Then start to create, in the arts there is no greater “trial by fire” then to just start creating.

As someone in the media/entertainment space, how do you remain in the world but not of the world?

I continue to come back to this “salt of the earth” concept — there are two main properties of salt — to preserve and to add flavor. I preserve by putting people first, seeing them as unique stories penned by the master. I add flavor by making my films entertaining and compelling. I think it’s easier for followers of Jesus to focus on the “not of the world” part then the “in the world” part — and that’s because the latter is more messy, it doesn’t have neat lines and angles, but that’s where the beauty lies.

What is the one sentence thesis behind Rape for Profit and Hearts of Men?

Well, they’re two different films. For Rape for Profit — As men, our brokenness contributes to the ongoing plight of women and girls around the world, it’s a film illuminating the fruit of the tree. For Hearts of Men, our brokenness as men is actually where the King wants to meet and engage us. It is heavenly currency. The King is after us in the midst of the muck. We see this truth revealed in the film by way of one of the oldest parables we have — the prodigal son.

How have you seen God work in your failures and shortcomings?

I see it everyday, He’s this incredibly loving father who is throwing a lavish feast for me and inviting me back to it on Monday when I screw up and then again on Wednesday and then on Saturday…You get the point. It’s actually in my failures and shortcomings (of which there are many) where his Strength is made known. It gets back to this idea that my brokenness is heavenly currency. It’s a beautiful concept that is liberating.

How do you stay centered on Jesus?

This is where it would be really easy to list a set of spiritual disciplines that have enabled me to stay centered on him, but the reality is it’s a messy road. It looks less like a list and much more like a web, where the through line is everywhere, hard to discern where the beginning and end points are. I will say, Prayer has provided a significant root system in addition to surrounding yourself with people that will speak life over you as well as point out your weaknesses in love.

How have you seen God work in your failures and shortcomings?

I see it everyday, He’s this incredibly loving father who is throwing a lavish feast for me and inviting me back to it on Monday when I screw up and then again on Wednesday and then on Saturday…You get the point. It’s actually in my failures and shortcomings (of which there are many) where his Strength is made known. It gets back to this idea that my brokenness is heavenly currency. It’s a beautiful concept that is liberating.

How do you stay centered on Jesus?

This is where it would be really easy to list a set of spiritual disciplines that have enabled me to stay centered on him, but the reality is it’s a messy road. It looks less like a list and much more like a web, where the through line is everywhere, hard to discern where the beginning and end points are. I will say, Prayer has provided a significant root system in addition to surrounding yourself with people that will speak life over you as well as point out your weaknesses in love.

What filmmakers or movies have been the greatest inspiration in your life?

Some of the films that have impacted me the most are — The Count of Monte Cristo, Gladiator and Good Will Hunting. These films have a number of things in common but most notably — the “Heroes Journey”. A flawed character is forced out of his comfort zone or land that he knows to pursue something greater — it’s there that he finds himself facing great opposition and he’s confronted with a choice, will he go on? These characters do and their ensuing victory, with much bruising, is always sweet.

Define good craftsmanship.

Craftsmanship just means “skilled work” and I think it’s that simple. As believers it’s not quite enough to just say, “I’m ‘called’ therefore…” we’ve seen the result of that in the arts and it’s painful. You must become skilled and for my line of work the preeminent element is “story” — and to tell good story I must have a number of things coming together at a high-level: Characters, plot, talented crew and cast, money, great locations, high-end gear, software etc…


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