On September 25 I posted here on my blog a video Who You Are:A Message to All Women that I had come across and wanted to share with my readers. Little did I know that the post would get thousands of hits in just a few days. I remember that when I viewed the video the first time I choose to follow the creators of the video The Anima Series on Facebook and subscribe to there YouTube channel as well. I did see the number of followers they had on that day, Facebook had a couple hundred and views of that video on YouTube was somewhere in the 50,000’s.
I personally loved the message and believed it was a powerful one that ALL Women Had to Hear,so I began to share my blog post with my Facebook Womens Groups and friends,on Twitter,Pinterest and Instagram. The response I saw from friends was incredible, friends sharing with others, these beautiful and inspiring words, “You are beautiful, you are smart, you are funny, you are kind, your unique“.I knew that these words were changing lives,as if it was being spoken to them individually. A week went by and still saw that the views on my blog were still in the hundreds for this particular post, checked there FB page and saw an amazing 10,000+ Likes to their page and over 400,000 views on YouTube! So at this point I decided that I needed to find out the back story to the viral videos The Anima Series. I reached out to Danny Hochstatter on FB and requested an interview.
Danny was quick to respond to my FB message, and he messaged me the name of the others Co-Founders of The Anima Series, Creative Director Jon Jorgenson 22, Business Manager Daniel James Ulbert aka DJ 23 and himself Head Producer Danny Hochstatter 23. We set up a time and date to have a conference call will them all.
I started off by thanking them for their time and for creating such an inspiring video.
Q-Can you each tell me a little about how you met and about your Faith?
A- Danny: we all have known each other for a while and have grown up together,we were part of CYT Christian Youth Theater Group now called Spotlight Youth Theater. We all grew up attending and then taught summer camp together.A couple summers ago Jon had created the Who You Are: A Message to all women and was reading it to middle school students and High School Students. It was just so powerful that the kids were moved by it and wanted copies of it and they loved it. I was talking to Jon about it and we wanted to create a video of it, a year went by and after camp this year Jon approached me about doing them and posting it on YouTube, this way it would be easier for those who were interested from camp to view. This camp had been a huge part of our lives and our spiritual development,we’ve all had strong spiritual encounters at the camp and that’s what we wanted to recreate in the videos.
Q–How did you all come up with The Anima Series concept?
A–Danny: Well we didn’t know what we were doing, we shot the first video, as you see wasn’t that great in quality.It was more like how the Anima Series put us together.
Jon: let me back track, on Wednesday nights, it’s the night that we talk about Purity, sexual purity,physical purity at the camp. When I was at the camp the message I always got was Abstinence before marriage and it was always so physical. You sign your purity card and say that you wouldn’t have sex before marriage. As I watch my friends grow up and myself grow up I saw both girls and guys struggle with the issue of sexuality and relationships. And the decisions that we had made in camp,to sign our purity cards meant nothing to a lot of us after a while. As a counselor I was asked to write a devotion for that Wednesday night purity night, it was the summer of 2011 that I came up with “beauty”. Beauty is Not a physical thing, we seek physical intimacy because that spiritual intimacy is not being fulfilled in our lives. So when I asked Danny about doing the video for Who You Are it was for the campers, you can read the text all you want, but its different when someone is actually speaking it. I had heard Pastor Erwin McManus once say
“The local Church needs to reclaim its identity as the Epicenter of creativity in our culture”
And I was floored by that, and he had talked about how throughout history that the church had always been on the forefront of telling the best stories and creating the best art. And just a few years ago something ignited in my heart to do start something a blog or network for Christian Artist to begin to create quality work. Which is when I came up with Creatorsforthecreator, I was pretty much going at it alone. And a few years later Anima sort of became the answer to that prayer and through prayer, God had provided Danny and DJ. Which is kind of appropriate cause we are a team now and he has provided us with a community of people and that’s how God calls us to live. But its been about two and a half years of prayer.
ME: The Who You Are:A Message to All Women video has really taken off and gone viral in the past week and a half and based on the comments I have read on YouTube and Facebook you’ve really inspired so many and even given them HOPE!
Q– When you first saw the video for the first time for yourselves did you ever expect that you’d get such a positive reaction?
A-Jon: for me yes and no, mostly no but I was confident about the words God breathed into my heart which was confirmed by the hundred girls at summer camp. My very first prayer for the video a year before we made it was that 1000 people would see it. I never expected God to take it as far as he has.
DJ: For me I like statistics and today I was looking at numbers and we have officially had over half a million views and again it makes the prayer for 1000 look silly at this point.
Q– I’ve seen that many are requesting the video lyrics in other languages, were you surprised about that?
A-yeah we have people putting subtitles at the bottom,but if it means we can reach a totally different demographics than, it’s totally worth it. We’ve had people volunteer to do the translations in Spanish,French German and Portuguese. People believe this message but it’s always been true,something so basic which we are just reminding people of something that’s always been true. We’ve even seen a woman translate it into Sign language.
Q- Jon: When I watched “Not Qualified” I thought of 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is Faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can hear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it”. You mention in the beginning of the video that were left a comment on FB ” I like your message,but not coming from you”. Were you compelled by this comment to create the video?
A– Jon: I had both positive than negative responses like “you should not be the face that encourages boys and girls” and my insecurities of not “feeling worthy” to be a voice for Christ in the world led me to do “Not Qualified”. God revealed to me after lots of praying that I am not alone with what I was struggling with.Many of us believe this lie that we have to live up to these Christian standards in order to be used by God,Which i completely untrue! After the video I got more threats,so I took a step back from the project to not jeopardize it and to keep my family safe.
Q– Tell me about the 10 X 10 campaign?
A-Danny:We were talking about the Erwin Mcmanus quote of the Christianity being the epicenter of creativity in the World,and we thought it would be cool to do a music thing. I heard the story of Gungor how he self-produced his own album and had never been played on the radio and he’s ones one of the #1 Christian artist out there right now. I thought this is the time that we don’t have to use the radio and we don’t have to signed to a label, we have YouTube which is a global platform. Anybody can watch and listen to,and we can promote ourselves, o this is something that we can do. So we talked about breathing fresh life into the Christian Arts scene and us being the center of cultural creativity in our world we can do that. But we needed to get some real good artist,so we decided to make it into a project but one of real great quality. So that’s why we started the 10 x10 Kick start campaign, cause we need some funding to make sure that this can compete at an industry level. We want to create change in the Christian Music Industry, how it’s created and viewed in the world. How do we find artist, and we don’t just want one artist that we want to promote all artist that we know that create unique and interesting Christian music. And through that than we’ve built up not one artist but ten artist that call all share their message and all write individual music which can than inspire other artist. We decided that Anima was not so much a place that we make a bunch of videos for everyone else rather we are a platform to showcase good creativity and artwork to the rest of the world. Whether that’s our content or anyone elses. Jon:I had spoken to DJ and Danny that Anima would be like a trampoline for the artist, the lower level would be them without an audience and the top would be them signing with a label or getting some kind of speaking tour,and Anima sits in the middle. We want to be a trampoline for undiscovered artist.
Q– What are you currently working on?
A-Danny: short-term wise we are planning on establishing ourselves as a company,long time in the future we’d like to do an event with all of our artist were they can come together for a concert/conference. Maybe The Anima Conference,thats the big goal.
Jon-People are leery about the term Church,so it’s about bringing them into a community or the church without them knowing that it’s the church. Cause the Church is just people in a community. So if we are able to bring thousands of artist into a community and expose them to the church without the realizing they are being exposed to the church.
FOLLOW THE ANIMA SERIES
Make sure to check out these other great videos on their YouTube page
- “I am a daughter of the Living God!” (surrenderedtogod.wordpress.com)
- I AM AWESOME! Who You Are: A Message To All Women (outersparkle.com)