New TV Series Puts Faith at the Forefront of Post-Apocalyptic Tale
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Seemingly lost in the recent frenetic news cycle of life-altering hurricanes and deadly earthquakes is a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that indicated the sun unleashed its strongest solar flare in a decade in early September. Its fallout was startling – a shortwave radio blackout that blanketed parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe for the better part of an hour.
Reports like this one can’t help but cause a person to ponder the possibility of an even more damaging incident, one that could have a catastrophic effect globally.
As if it were a page ripped from yesterday’s headlines, Daily Bread is a new faith-based Internet streaming video series that imagines a world that has gone dark, the result of what else ... a paralyzing solar flare. Now available on www.rwpvideo.org/, the six episodes of season one explore the struggle to survive in a post-apocolyptic world that is slipping further and further from humanity’s grasp.
I recently spoke with Daily Bread creator/director Nina May to discuss why her new series is so timely, how she purposely wove threads of faith into each of her principle characters, and what she did to shift the paradigm of typical post-apocalyptic fare.
I often have conversations with friends and colleagues about new shows they are watching. We often ask each other to describe the show in 25 words or less. Nina, let me ask you, for someone who has never seen Daily Bread, how would you describe it to get someone to watch?
It’s a faith-based post-apocalyptic drama starring seven millennial women who are forced to decide what and who they are going to trust (Editors Note: 22 words). The theme basically is surviving versus thriving. They have a choice. Are they just going to survive? They’ve got plenty of food, they live in a plush environment; everything’s perfect; everything’s great, and they could survive. They’d be great. But what about the outside world? They decide that they’re going to branch out. They decide they’re going to go out, and they are making a decision to help those in need. So their numbers grow from seven to about 18, and still within the camp they have to decide, okay, we’ve got plenty of food, we’ve got fresh water, we’ve got a comfortable house to stay in, but is it still just about us or are we going to help rebuild the community as we all start again? And that becomes the theme, survival versus thriving.
Why a predominantly female cast?
I honestly don’t know. Here’s what I did with the cast. There were originally eight. What I did is I took eight different personality characteristics that every single person has, and I created eight characters that represent one of those personality traits. One is humor, one’s control, one is fear, one’s very Christ-like and sacrificial, one has a warrior spirit. But when it starts out, they’re exactly the opposite of what that personality is.
So we’re seeing each one of these characters make this huge character arc from the first episode to the last. They are controlled by technology; they can’t live their life without it. When you unplug them, now you’re seeing an amazing character arc happen with each one of them.
So as I started thinking about these different scenarios I thought, let’s make it women first, let’s give them the strength, let’s give them the courage to make this happen and then have them make the decision without any influence of men. We’re going to do the right thing, we’re going to go into town, we’re going to risk our lives to help other people. Then, of course, we need to bring people in so that it’s not just a bunch of girls, because that would get boring after a while.
Why is it important to weave threads of faith through the entire Daily Bread series?
Because you can’t just feed the body physically. If it’s just about the food, that’s what the animals do, and there are a lot of analogies we have to have in how animals are with each other and the kingdom, and an animal would do this, but a human being would not do that. Why would a human being not do that? It’s because he has a soul. He has a purpose. He has a spirit. He has a connection to God. When we strip all of this other stuff away and all of these distractions of the world, we are forced to look at the face of God. And we have these two strong characters, Sandy and Danny, who are the Christians. He was actually studying in the seminary and they’re very open about their faith, but they’re not preachy, they’re not annoying or anything, but they tend to be the ones that everyone starts going to when they’re having trouble, when they need help and assurance. The whole point is we are multi-faceted. We’re not just a physical being, we’re a spiritual being that God created and He created us to have a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus. Someone in one of the later episodes, when they’re working with the church and the town, one of the men that had invaded their house and held them at gunpoint, he becomes repentant and asks the pastor to pray for him. The pastor leads him to the Lord right there, because he’s at his wits end, he doesn’t know where to go. He says this is not me, I don’t want to break into people’s homes. I don’t want to steal anything. It’s just that we’re hungry. We don’t know what to do. So the pastor prays for him and he becomes a Christian right then. It’s very poignant.
It is not often that post-apocalyptic fare contains a message of hope. Yet Daily Bread does. Why do you want to shift the paradigm?
I just love that genre, but I hate that it’s so depressing and so hopeless and so boring. And you never find even one redemptive person in a post-apocalyptic movie. Why can’t we have some goodness in this? In the series, we come back to the point where it’s just electricity, people. We’ve been on this earth for thousands of years without it. Why would shutting off of a switch suddenly turn us into animals? It just doesn’t make any sense. In a post-apocalyptic world, you wouldn’t go from the strong Christian value of loving your family and neighbors and taking care of them to suddenly wanting to eat one. That’s what these post-apocalyptic movies do and they’re so unbelievable. You just go, seriously? Turning off the electricity is not going to turn a person’s heart black.
Regarding distribution, the decision has been made to make these episodes available “binge style” via the Internet. Why the decision to go this route rather than more traditional tactics? Also, where can people watch Daily Bread?
We want this series to be commercial-free. We want it to truly be binge-watchable. You can sit there and watch the entire thing without commercials.
We decided to use the in-house talent that we have, the skills and abilities that we have and make this thing happen ourselves. So it forced us, then, to step out of our comfort zone and start building the Daily Bread website, identifying the platforms, and reaching out to the platforms like Amazon and Roku. The other thing is we decided that if we’re going to put all the money into advertising, which we have, why would we, with our own product, drive people to someone else’s website? We said if we’re doing the marketing campaign, we’re putting all the money up front, we want to drive people to our website so that they learn more about what we’re doing, they learn more about what Daily Bread is and they can order it right there, and they can order it on their choice of platform. By doing this, we let people learn a little bit more about us. The cool thing about it is we do have standing offers for broadcast. So, we can broadcast the first six episodes in preparation for the release of the second six episodes.
After people have watched the Daily Bread series, as the writer and director what is your greatest hope for series?
I’d like to have viewers think about being prepared in case there is a natural disaster, like these hurricanes. You’ve got this man over in North Korea, this man-child that is pointing missiles at everything in the world, but you don’t know what’s going to happen. There could be more earthquakes, there could be more fires out in Los Angeles. I do think the Lord wants us to be prepared for anything not just for our families but for people in need. So it’s not just accumulating enough food or candles, whatever you need to survive for your family, but you can have neighbors that maybe were not prepared. So, that’s the big takeaway that I want to have, but also I want to remind people that there’s life beyond your device. Get off your device. Get out and paint, go meet your neighbor, go fishing. Go to a farm and feed some animals or something like that, because I think if we lose touch with that side of who we are as humans, it’s going to be so easy for a force, a group, a government, a person or whatever, to come in and physically take over our freedoms.
Watch a trailer for the Daily Bread series:
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