Staff Feature: Dave Hudson
Dave has been with YWAM since 1997, having lived in California and Maryland and building a career as an illustrator. Once he joined Create International in 2008, he began the School of Cartooning and Animation (SoCAM) to train artists into missions. In 2013, he cofounded Create Taiwan with his wife, Wendy. He has worked in China and Thailand, and now currently lives in Taiwan.
Q: How did you get started in missions?
A: Back in 1989, we met a man at our church named Brian Hogan. He had just come back from serving as a missionary to the Navajo in Arizona, and was preparing to lead a course at our church called, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. He asked my wife and I to help at the registration desk in exchange for being able to take the course for free.
It was a life-changing experience. Perspectives opened our eyes to God’s global purpose as revealed in the Bible. After the course we committed ourselves become career missionaries.
Q: Why do you feel it is important to have artists in missions?
A: I believe God has given different gifts and talents to everyone. We have a responsibility to use those gifts to fulfill His purpose. Art is one of those gifts that can be used to communicate the good news clearly and in a dynamic way.
Q: You used to be an illustrator, so what got you interested in animation?
A: I’ve always loved watching animated films but felt it was too hard to do with a small team. When I discovered Adobe Flash and met a friend named Alwyn from Singapore who was using this software, I realized the potential of what we could do using this tool to communicate the gospel. That got me very excited!
Q: How many evangelistic films have you contributed to and how did you decide on the people groups?
A: I have worked on 14 films. At Create International, for the last 10 years we have been working off a strategic list of unreached people groups numbering one million or more that have no evangelistic media in their language and culture. Usually we would actively seek project partners for these groups, but occasionally the project partner sought us out.
Q: Why do you think it is important to communicate the gospel visually to unreached people groups?
A: Every people group has their own art and culture that is precious to them. When we communicate the truth of Christ using symbolism that they already hold dear, it helps create a bridge of understanding and acceptance. Also, many unreached people groups are either illiterate or primarily gain information through audiovisual means.
Q: What has been your favorite project?
A: I have enjoyed all of our projects, but if I were to pick one, it would be the film, Life After the Earthquake, which we produced for the Naxi people of China. We had a very talented team and we were able to work directly with the locals who already had some very good ideas for the script. Also, the character designs by our staff, Kyla, were some of the best we had done.
Q: How long does it take to do a project and what does it entail?
A: Most of our projects take nine months to complete. It begins with research and communication with our project partner about the needs of the people group. Then we work together to write a script from which we generate a storyboard. Somewhere in there we also design the characters and the overall look of the animation.
“I believe God has given different gifts and talents to everyone. We have a responsibility to use those gifts to fulfill His purpose.”
At this point we would go to the field for further research and to do voice recordings for the characters that have speaking parts. We also try to take as many photos as possible of the art, clothing and other visual reference needed for the project.
Back in our studio, we begin producing all the assets needed, including backgrounds, characters, and props before we begin the long arduous process of animating all the shots. During this time, our scoring musician will be working on the music for the film, based on samples we collected on the field. Finally, we export our animated shots and compile them to edit and add sound effects and music. We give the project partner a rough cut of the film, which they show to the local believers for feedback before producing the final cut.
- Wendy H.