Eric Welch is a Billboard and Dove-winning (and ACM and CMA Nominated) music video director. He has worked with TobyMac, MercyMe, Mandisa, Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw and Kid Rock, to name a few. He's currently nominated for a 2018 Dove Award for his latest video with TobyMac.
Recently, Welch has filmed the new inspirational movie BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN. The film will be released in over 600 theaters in the US and is based on a true story of three families whose lives are forever changed and healed by the power of child sponsorship through Compassion International.
We are honored to be able to chat with Eric Welch for this exclusive interview.
Q: Thanks for doing this interview with us. I am amazed at all the music videos you have done for artists as diverse as TobyMac to Mandisa to Dolly Parton to Jimmy Buffett. What's your most memorable music video shoot? And why was it it memorable?
That is a tough question. There are so many memories for different reasons. I'd have to say that my most recent video for TobyMac "I Just Need U" was an amazing memory. We filmed in the CA desert with live wolves, which was pretty incredible experience. And blowing up a car on top of that was a lot of fun as well. That video is so abstract and symbolic; it's become one of my all time favorites.
Yet, there was a string of videos that really helped me through a tough time in my life. The first part of 2013 was a real challenge for me. I had gone through a few personal things and physical challenges that really had me down. I literally got the call to do Carrie Underwood and Kid Rock the same day. I remember standing in my kitchen so humbled and thankful to God as both were huge encouragements to me.
But on top of that, it was the same time frame where I filmed Mandisa's "Overcomer" video. That project really encouraged me with every frame I filmed and edited. And meeting Representative Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly while filming was an amazing day. Most times I do projects that I hope will inspire others in their journey. Working with Mandisa was a constant inspiration to me through the entire video.
Q: Now you have shot the new movie "Beautifully Broken." Is there a big difference between shooting music projects, and shooting a film? What was the biggest challenge you had to get used to as a filmmaker?
The biggest challenge is the biggest difference. In music videos, you are relying completely on the visuals and the emotion of a shot - you make the picture flow with the music/lyrics which often tell the story. In a film, you have to work with dialog and the tone of words. As well as the overall tone of the film... over an hour. Therefore, you have to work through pacing, dialog and the emotions of a scene itself, but also how that one scene plays into the larger narrative.
Q: Very briefly, tell us what is new movie about?
This film follows the different storylines of three families. Very similar to the film CRASH. You are watching different characters working through the challenges of their lives with their faith and family each day. It presents each father with the question of how far they would go to protect their family: one went to Africa, one went to America and one went to prison. Each family facing realistic life events that rock their world: a refugee's escape, a prisoner's promise and a daughter's painful secret - all converging in an inspiring journey of hope and redemption. Ultimately seeing how they each help one another's lives bring joy and healing.
Q: What first attracted you to this movie?
The script is an amazing true story, and I really felt a connection to the real lives represented on the page. I felt like this was a story that had to be told as it's deeply moving how God saved all three of these families in very diverse circumstances. And I had been to Africa a few times, so I felt a connection to that thread of the storyline.The funny thing is, I chose a film that had three storylines filmed in 2 different countries for my first film. That was a large task both in terms of maintaining the integrity of each person's story as well as the logistics of actually filming overseas. It was an adventure for sure.
Q: Did you have a favorite part of the filmmaking process?
Working with the actors was great. I enjoy the collaborative spirit of working with a team. I also enjoyed the scoring process. Working with the composer to craft the musical emotions of the film was one of my favorite experiences.
Q: What do you hope people take away after they see the Beautifully Broken movie?
My main desire is that people find one character...one story...one emotion that brings some type of hope and healing to their lives. That's really the drive behind the majority of the work I do...to impact people with emotional content where they can find encouragement. We all have struggles and challenges, yet if we are open to God and one another, we can walk through our pain and hopefully find healing in the process.
Q: Michael W Smith and your friend TobyMac are both in the movie.. Was it fun to get your friends involved in the project?
Yes it was. TobyMac is such a great man. He's a solid guy who is who he says he is. I've worked with him for so many years, and he truly inpsires me a man of faith and a leader. I am challenged and humbled by his example of artistry and character. And Michael W Smith was an absolute pleasure to work with. He is so kind and full of joy, while being so professional about his craft. He is such an icon yet totally grounded and humble in his approach. He brought a lot of life to the set each day. I was honored to have them as a part of the film.
Q: What's next for you?
God only knows...and He ain't saying :)