Hangin’ with Brad and Melissa Johnson
Brad and Melissa Johnson are an epic couple. Together they have created many film projects and are constantly trying to better the world. Currently, the three of us are partners in a kids’ show called Let’s Get Epic!, where our characters use the power of “Epic Mode,” or the power that is inherently within them, to face their challenges. The show is all about helping kids learn that they have incredible self-worth and power. This has been a project the three of us have worked on for a few years and now is being launched on Angel Studios. The three of us got together and chatted about why we make movies, why we are excited about Let’s Get Epic!, and the various challenges we faced as kids. It was an absolute blast doing this podcast. Hope you enjoy!
Get to Know Brad and Melissa
Brad and Melissa are two creative minds that understand how to collaborate and produce unique ideas in the world of filmmaking. They are also passionate about their work with nonprofit organizations and strive to create a better world through their storytelling and charitable contributions.
Brad and Melissa understand how to work in a professional capacity while still maintaining a close relationship. This allows both of them to explore their creativity through filmmaking while still having a healthy marriage and being able to raise their children.
Melissa Cannon Johnson
Melissa Cannon Johnson is described as an entrepreneur and master networker. She possesses an entrepreneurial spirit that rises above failure, and she loves to build genuine relationships with people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Although her first business met an untimely end due to flooding, she continued her career as an entrepreneur unfazed by failure and with a love for the freedom that it offered.
Melissa is also a top leader at dōTERRA, a multi-level marketing company that sells pure and natural essential oils. She was also an executive producer on several films, all while being a mother to her four children. She’s currently involved in nonprofit work with the Healing Hands Foundation, which partners with humanitarian efforts across the globe to promote health and wellness.
Melissa is an actress and filmmaker with Infinity Rising, a company that specializes in screenwriting, production, shorts, and also music videos. Melissa has produced several films and uses her social media influence to share her experiences and express her creativity.
As a producer, she’s worked on multiple recent films, such as The Christmas Project Reunion (2020), Behind You (2020), Little Women (2020), and The Christmas Project (2016).
As an actress, she played Hazel in The Christmas Project Reunion (2020), a prisoner in the short Hanneli and Anne (2017), and Mrs. Dinsmore in The Christmas Project (2016).
Brad Johnson comes from a family of acting talent. His brothers Bart and Adam Johnson had various movie appearances, and he’s also the brother-in-law of Robyn Lively, a successful actress from Powder Springs, Georgia.
- Extremely athletic with interests in martial arts, volleyball, football, basketball, surfing, and even horseback riding.
- Competed on the US Ski Team while living in Park City, Utah.
- Surfs all over the world. Most recently, he’s been in Costa Rica and Australia.
- Has played hockey at a competitive level
- Plays on a soccer team in LA.
- Son of Charlene Johnson, a makeup specialist that worked on films such as Dante’s Peak and Maverick.
Brad Johnson studied at the American Film Institute and Utah Valley University.
He became a producer and director at 6 Foot Films in January 2010. The company specializes in developing projects and overseeing film productions from start to finish. Brad was personally involved in high-profile and high-end productions. He’s now a part of Infinity Rising alongside his wife.
Brad Johnson also hosts the podcast ON THE ROAD, where Melissa has featured as a guest to talk about life as an entrepreneur and her love for the film industry.
Brad Johnson is best known for his role as a producer on Small Town Crime (2017), but he also famously starred in Waffle Street (2015) as Phillip Bricks alongside James Lafferty and Danny Glover. He also played Edward Farris in Scents and Sensibility (2011) and Jasper in Switched for Christmas (2017).
He’s also produced a total of 13 films and shorts, including The Christmas Project Reunion (2020), alongside Melissa Johnson, which he also directed, and the documentary Vladivostok Vacation (2016).
Brad’s first recorded acting role was in The Book of Mormon Movie, Volume 1: The Journey (2003) as Johnathan. His first role as a co-producer was on The Run (2008) together with his brother Bar Johnson. He was the sole producer of Vamp U (2011).
Brad has also worked in a variety of other filmmaking roles, such as set decorator on The Singles 2nd Ward (2007), production manager on the “Llegaste a mi” music video (2013), and as part of the art department on American Fork (2007).
He’s also won several film awards during his career:
- 2012 – Best Guerrilla Film – Short with Hellespont (2012)
- 2015 – Jury prize – Best Narrative Feature Film – Waffle Street (2015)
- 2015 – Audience award – Best Narrative Feature with Waffle Street (2015)
- 2015 – Carpe Diem Andretta Award with Waffle Street (2015)
Brad and Melissa Johnson Podcast Transcription
Charan Prabhakar: Hey guys, welcome back to the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast, and this is a very, very special edition, because we’ve got two wonderful people here, Brad and Melissa Johnson, with us. I am so excited to talk to them, and it’s great because we’re all business partners, and it’s very, very exciting. We are all producing a show together, a kids’ show called Let’s Get Epic!, and man, we’ve been doing this for a long time, we really have been, but we’re so excited to launch the show. So today we’re going to be talking about that show, but we’re also going to be talking about why we’re making this show, because I think it’s very important. We’re actually trying to create a movement. So Brad and Melissa, thank you so much for joining me on this podcast.
Melissa: Thanks for inviting us.
Charan: Yeah, absolutely.
Brad: It is very exciting to be here.
Charan: Yes, yes, very, very exciting, I mean, honestly, look how excited Brad is. It’s great.
Melissa: “Epically” excited.
Charan: Yeah, so all three of us are involved in filmmaking. We love making movies, we love telling stories, and we’ve been doing it for a while. So I would love to ask both of you real quick, how did you guys get into filmmaking to begin with? Brad or Melissa, either one.
Brad: You want to kick it off?
Melissa: Yeah, so I had worked in the industry as a talent agent mainly, so I kind of came in an unusual way, and then I thought it’d be fun to look into the business side of films. Years ago, I kind of just put together a collection of people to invest in some movies, so I came into it more on the executive producing side.
Charan: Well, I love it because you’re such a great gatherer of great people. You, yourself, are an amazing human being and like you’re collecting awesome people that work together.
Melissa: Thank, Charan.
Charan: And well, the truth is, that is so needed. A lot of filmmakers, they only think of it from the creative perspective where it’s like, “Oh, what’s our story?” and everything like that, which is important. But if you don’t have a good team, if you don’t have a good group of people to support you to make that vision happen, it can’t happen.
Melissa: That’s true. That’s very true, thank you.
Charan: So it’s great, and so I love that you’re doing that. It’s awesome, and Brad, how about yourself?
Brad: Well, I got to say, too, that it is really interesting having Melissa come from as a serial entrepreneur and a business background. She’s had businesses since she was a kid, and coming in at that angle is a really strategic play that everybody kind of needs to have.
Brad: I mean, not everybody has it, but I mean, you have to have that component, and without that component, you’re just making pictures and doing nothing with them, and that’s why a lot of movies don’t do very well. But yeah, coming in with the business side and being able to put together things like the way she does is such a key element to it. So it’s really awesome that she does that, because that’s a very complementary to, or even our side of what we do, and I got started… Well, first of all, when I was very young, my mom is a hairstylist, so I grew up around movies and TV shows that she was working on.
Brad: I remember as a kid being on Mork and Mindy. Remember the show Alice? You know, Mel’s Diner? For some reason, that’s some of my earliest memories, is being on those sets and stuff, but I remember meeting Mork, Robin Williams, who’s a family friend back in the day. Anyway, so I was always around it, and so when we were very young, my family, we would make these little videos at home, and so that’s how it got started as just as little, little kids, and then growing up through school, we were always making stuff, and then I started pursuing, I was going to be a producer director, but then acting started going, so I started acting for a while and just left it. So acting was the main thing for quite a long time, and then I came back around to producing more and just started directing stuff together with Melissa, and yeah, so that’s where I’m at now.
Charan: It’s amazing, and Brad, we’ve been friends for a long time and have had the opportunity to work on some projects together. I’ve always been very impressed with your ability to produce, which is really the ability to put out fires, I feel, because every film has plenty of fires to put out. I remember you were telling me this story, and I would love for you to share it, where how you even kind of got into producing. Maybe this might not be in the exact way, but you got in with Kenny Ortega on High School Musical, but the way you got in with him was unbelievably cool, so can you talk a little bit about that?
Brad: Do you mean my trick?
Charan: Yes, your trick, exactly.
Brad: All right. Well, okay, yes, it was a little tricky, but at the same time, I work really hard.
Charan: You do.
Brad: It wasn’t just that I did this.
Brad: I feel like I should throw that out there.
Charan: “Listen, here’s the deal.” No, Brad, you’re a very hard worker.
Brad: Thanks. So we were doing a movie in Texas called The Way She Moves, and I was a PA, my mom was doing hair, I had one sister doing hair, one sister doing makeup, my other brother was a stand-in or something. There was just a bunch of us on this movie, and we were working with Kenny, Kenny was directing, and I really wanted to work with him. So we’d get these call sheets that list the entire crew and their position and everything.
Charan: And real quick, just so you know who Kenny is, he directed Newsies, I believe, but he also directed all the High School Musical movies, so he’s done a lot of stuff.
Brad: Yeah, recently, all the Descendants [crosstalk 00:06:54] lots of stuff. I mean, I was Kenny’s assistant. Well, I’ll get there. So I would get the call sheet, and then I was a PA, and if you don’t know, that means basically nothing. Nobody cares.
Melissa: Hey, we value PAs.
Brad: Okay, that’s the thing. Actually, PAs are extremely valuable; we love them on our shows, but they typically don’t get heard, right? They’re not heard as a PA. I would get the call sheet, and it would say, Brad Johnson, PA, along with all the other PAs, there’s 10, 12 PAs, and I would cross out, or actually, I’d put “PA,” and then I’d write next to it “assigned to Kenny Ortega,” and I’d circle it, and I’d go and put it on the line producer’s desk, the UPM’s desk, because if they knew I was doing it, they’d be like, they’d wrinkle and throw it away, so I would put it on the desk, and every day, I would do that. Finally, one day, the AD who would assign all the PAs on what they’re doing for the day, he took the call sheet, and he’s like, “All right. Oh, Brad, looks like you were assigned to Kenny Ortega.” Like, “Oh, okay. I guess that’s me. See you guys.”
Melissa: This is where the acting … [crosstalk 00:07:51]
Charan: He was very surprised, yeah.
Brad: Yes, but it was on that movie as well where we had a flood, and I got assigned, well, first of all, I put “assigned to Kenny Ortega.”
Brad: But after I became the PA assigned to Kenny, I started writing “PA.” I crossed it out and put “Kenny’s assistant.”
Brad: And I became, by the end of the movie, I was Kenny’s assistant, which ironically rolled into me being Kenny’s assistant at home after the movie, and I worked for them for many years; many years, we worked together. But on that movie, there was a flood, and all the actors didn’t get along with the producers; the producers didn’t get along with the actors; they weren’t talking. All the actors were like, “We’re out of here.” Like, “I’m so done with this movie. There’s a flood. We’re gone.”
Brad: But the movie was over, but we got to the office, and all the film was floating — that was when we had film — and the film was floating in the office, and it was just ruined. So much of the movie was ruined, and they’re like, “We have to reshoot our last, at least we have to reshoot our last day.” And they’re like, “They’re never going to stay if we ask them.” And so they sent me, and they made me go ask all the actors to stay because-
Charan: Well, you’re Kenny’s assistant.
Brad: Yeah. So yes, that’s when I started problem-solving, I think, or at least put my problem-solving-
Charan: You put out fires by putting on a flood.
Melissa: This is also why he’s really great as a dad of teenagers.
Brad: Well, thank you.
Melissa: You just sent him in to negotiate. It’s like [crosstalk 00:09:13]
Charan: All those film preparations prepared you for a household of teenagers, right?
Brad: It’s making me better because I’m not good at that yet. She’s the pro.
Melissa: No, no.
Brad: I’m trying.
Melissa: But I think the moral is that, “Kids, if you have some Witeout, you can promote yourself to anything,” right?
Charan: Exactly, I think that’s what we’re trying to share. That’s the message.
Melissa: Yeah, believe in yourself.
Charan: Believe in yourself enough to have Witeout.
Charan: No, I love it, and it’s great. I love doing stuff like that because you’re thinking outside the box, you’re being creative. Of course, you have to work hard. I mean, it goes without saying, you have to work hard. But once you do, and you’re able to be resourceful and things like that, now, you’ve built lifelong relationships with people that can help you out all along the way, and I think that’s such an important skill to have.
Charan: Do you have any examples like that in your own life, Melissa, where just through connections and building relationships like that, you’ve been able to kind of grow in your own life?
Melissa: Definitely. Well, I’m a huge believer of the five people that are in your inner circle, that’s who you become. So I love finding awesome people, which is why we’re all here working together, right? Let’s be honest. [crosstalk 00:10:25]
Charan: She’s so good.
Brad: She’s good. That’s the talent shining through right there.
Melissa: That was my acting. [crosstalk 00:10:30] Just kidding. I’m kidding. Guys, I mean it.
Charan: No, it’s awesome, and I’m very privileged and humbled to know both of you guys and to be able to work with you. So I want to kind of shift a little bit and talk-
Brad: Well, real quick. I just feel like we should see this, that we’re lucky to get to work with you. We’re very fortunate that we’ve been able to develop these things and…
Charan: It’s been fun.
Brad: It has been really fun. I feel like we’ve had a great run with this show and it’s exciting [crosstalk 00:10:56].
Melissa: And it’s going to get even more fun.
Charan: Yes, it is. It’s just getting started actually.
Melissa: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Charan: No, it’s been awesome, and like you, too, I don’t know, I love being with awesome positive people. For me, that’s why filmmaking is fun, working with awesome positive people and doing good things. Brad, you and I have been camping a handful of times, and we know we’ve had such great memories. I think that the thing is, whenever I’m looking at any projects, not only do I want the product to be awesome, but I want the people I’m surrounding myself with to be awesome as well. This is a terrible analogy, but I like to think of making a film like you’re going into your own little war together, and it can get pretty challenging at times, and it’s long hours, and it’s very stressful. So you want the people in the trenches with you to be people that can really dive in and do good stuff.
Brad and Melissa Johnson Talk About Let’s Get Epic!
Charan: So with that, I want to talk a little bit about Let’s Get Epic!, because this is a show that’s been near and dear to my heart. I’m so grateful that we’re all a part of it. So I guess, Melissa, let me ask you, what drew you to the project to begin with?
Melissa: Definitely the message for kids but that it’s still exciting. Because a lot of times there’s shows that they feel too educational to the kids, or the parents also find them boring. I’ve been there, too. Or maybe it’s just not really the message that you really want your kids to have, so there’s a lot of that.
Charan: And when I first met you, you had four girls at the time, and I remember we were talking about this, because there’s so many shows out there that are very damaging for kids to watch. So we were discussing like, “Yeah, we’ve got to create something that’s going to really empower the youth.”
Charan: So yeah, how do you feel it’s impacted even your own kids working on the show?
Melissa: Yeah, so, well, I just feel like anytime you can share a message that teaches a principle or a moral or anything like that, that they’re not going to get from just standard television or standard movies or whatnot, but you can make it exciting, and what I saw with my kids is, even them watching just little pieces of things we filmed, even in an unedited version, and they were like totally into it. They actually took in the message, and were excited about it, and were sharing it with people, so that was pretty cool.
Charan: That’s awesome, and Brad, what about yourself?
Brad: The thing I love about Let’s Get Epic! and the chance to make kids’ programming like this is, that it drives me crazy how, because we have plenty of kids at home, so we see plenty of kids’ content, and it just hurts my soul, like literally hurts my soul to see almost every show, it’s about how parents are dumb, and don’t listen to your… and that’s like, everyone, all the parents are dumb, don’t listen to your parents, whatever.
Brad: To have something that actually teaches like, “Hey, everybody makes mistakes, including parents,” I think that’s a great message, and the fact that we have control of that, and we could say we can share that message, and help build people up, and help people understand that everybody faces challenges no matter how old you are, and to give something positive, and at the same time, make it fun, because we all have so much fun together that to keep it light and fun and still have a great message, I’m like, it’s an amazing opportunity.
Charan: Absolutely. I think for me, I remember just when I was a kid hanging out with friends, and we’d always be outdoors. We wouldn’t really play video games as much. We’d be outdoors, like either riding bikes or something or make-believe or whatever, and it was just such a good time. I feel like I had a great childhood, and it’s sad when I see a lot of kids going through a lot of the struggles that they’re going through right now. When I was a kid, cyberbullying wasn’t a thing.
Melissa: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Charan: It is a thing now. It’s a massive thing now.
Charan: And I was having conversations with people, and we all are… No, this person, a good friend of mine, Collin, who passed away recently, always talked about how damaging it was for kids to be on their phones, locked in all the time, the overstimulus, it’s happening with them. They’re being overloaded. Their senses are being overloaded, and they’re getting their sense of identity from something that’s so fleeting, and changing, and frankly, full of algorithms, right? Whatever some kid’s looking at, that’s what’s going to be more of, right? It makes it very scary, and I didn’t realize how bad it was until I started really doing some research, and it’s shocking.
Charan: In fact, a friend of mine was telling me that there’s this family that they knew, and the oldest girl was very educated and sharp girl, positive girl, and they’re all going out for something, and she said, “Hey, mom, just hold on one second. I’m just going to go grab something.” And she went inside and killed herself. I mean, I can’t even believe she was facing some crazy demons that her parents didn’t know about and people didn’t know. It was so heartbreaking for me, and I’m like, “Man, that’s what kids are facing right now.” That’s scary, that’s very scary. So for me, I want to create an awesome, hilarious, entertaining show, but that also empowers kids to feel strong and to feel good about themselves.
Brad: Yeah, I was just going to say that one of the most incredible things about our show that you actually just reminded me, one of the things that maybe I should’ve gone with, which is the most incredible thing is… So Melissa has worked in the nonprofit world probably her whole life. I don’t even know when you started with that. But with so many different nonprofits and these amazing organizations that are built to protect children and life, and what we’re doing with our show is, well, as you know, is just the way we can connect a cause with each episode and address it head-on.
Brad: We’re not going to touch it. We’re going to push it, and we’re going to say, “Hey, this is what kids are facing.” And like, “Here’s the challenge. Here’s how you can better yourself and become stronger and protect yourself from the dangers of it.” And I think it’s amazing that we can do it with such force and blatant… you know what I mean?
Melissa: Well, and definitely, a lot of these organizations, they’ve done their homework. They’ve been around for years and years, and they know how to help kids. So if we can bring awareness to them, and then they also bring awareness to the show, where kids can have the resource, a fun resource, and we tie it all together, then it’s kind of serving everybody. So I think that’s what’s pretty exciting about it.
Brad: Yeah. It’s like mentioning suicide when you’re talking about kids’ show just seems so wrong, right? But you have to, because especially during COVID, and we know this because we’ve been researching groups to work with the show, is that suicide among kids, it’s crazy how young it’s starting and how big the numbers are through COVID and everything that it’s become super important that you have to talk about these things, because I mean, you can’t ignore it, otherwise it’s too late.
Charan: And the thing is, if parents ignore it or pretend that it doesn’t exist, then it’s like, “Well, you’re kind of making the problem even stronger.
Melissa: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melissa: Then you’re fighting something bigger,
Brad and Melissa Johnson Talk About Bullying
Charan: Now, have you two in your lives, like when you were kids, have you guys ever been like bullied or anything like that or gone through anything like that or depression and whatnot?
Brad: Well, I can share. It’s actually funny. Bullying is so funny. It’s not.
Charan: It’s hilarious.
Brad: What I was saying was funny was like, I was actually just at the store right before I came here, to grab something to eat, and the people in front of me were talking, and they were just like… “Oh yeah, we got to get out of here. We’re thinking about moving to Texas” or whatever, and they’re like, “Oh yeah, these dang Californians are moving in and California’s…” And I’m standing behind them, and I’m like… It’s funny, because if it kind of reminded me when we… I’m from California, and when we moved to Utah, I was young. I remember that everybody hated us because we were from California. It was a small town and everybody, I mean, not everybody, but a lot of people just hated us as soon as they knew we were from California.
Brad: I mean, there were people that literally put signs up on the road for everybody in the world to see, and it said like, “Go back to California. You’re not welcome.” I mean like, that’s insane, but that was the reality that we got when we moved there. And then in school, and it’s funny, because I don’t think I ever talked about it with my parents or anything just because I thought, “No, this is life you’re going to go,” and who knows what would’ve happened if I would’ve been able to talk about it, but I don’t know. But I remember, of course, being from California, wearing shorts every day to school, winter, all seasons, and the cowboys, I mean the cowboys hated me.
Brad: I’m sure I looked like a some skater, whatever, and I’d walked down the hall, and they’d have rubber bands. They’d always flick my legs as I walked down the hallway. Well, it’s all over my legs, and I just scoot on down, because it’s like, there’s tons of cowboys where I grew up. I remember my sister, she got spit on. As she’d walked down the hall, they’d spit tobacco on her hair, in time of middle school, elementary school or middle school and then high school. I remember one time getting circled by a bunch of these, and hear me out if you’re a cowboy, because I’m not saying all cowboys are bad.
Charan: I’m an Indian, not a cowboy.
Brad: Oh, okay, yeah. [crosstalk 00:20:38] I didn’t want to. [crosstalk 00:20:40]
Charan: I understand, yeah.
Brad: But I remember getting circled at a dance after school one night, and there was probably, I mean, 20 cowboys that circled me and everybody was gone. I’m looking around. I’m alone. They circled me, and this cowboy came up to me. He’s like, “I heard you said stuff about me.” And I’m like, “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know.” And I was this scrawny kid, like didn’t stick up for myself very well, and I had braces, and so when I started getting pulverized…
Charan: Yeah, go on.
Brad: … there was blood everywhere because I had braces, and I was just like, I didn’t know what to do. It took just a couple of hits and I’m like, “All right, are we done? I guess I’m going to go home.” And I left, and at that point, it was finally at a time where I got home and my parents could see that there’s something wrong. But yeah, I don’t know. I wonder how that affected me, and if it would have been better if I could have addressed those things. I think I kept them in just because I didn’t know you can talk about them, and what can you do anyway? Because you have to go to school, but I don’t know, yeah.
Charan: That’s so interesting.
Brad: Oh, and my point, sorry, that I wanted to say just in case there’s cowboys listening that are like, “Oh, we’re not all like that.” Let me just say, as high school went on, I became like best friends with these cowboys, and then I became friends with everybody, and everything was okay.
Charan: Were you student body president? I feel like you were.
Brad: I was not.
Charan: You’re not?
Brad: But I did know the student body president.
Charan: Was he a cowboy?
Charan: Okay, I was just check if… Melissa, go on. How about yourself?
Melissa: Well, I really don’t recall being bullied.
Melissa: I mean, I definitely was aware of bullying happening in my school, and to other kids, and things like that. I just want to tell Brad, though, I would have defended you for sure.
Brad: I’m sure you would have. Thank you.
Brad: And I’m sure that would’ve been really good for me to have this cute, young little girl sticking up for me.
Melissa: I’m scrappy, maybe small, but yeah.
Charan: And she had braces at the time.
Melissa: I did, but it was even worse. I also slept in headgear, but I can’t believe I just said that publicly.
Charan: That’ll be a different podcast. Definitely, we’ll get into it.
Melissa: Anyway, but yeah, I mean, I think so many kids deal with it.
Melissa: And like Brad said, you don’t really know what to do with it, and so I even think our show, even letting kids know that, hey, they’re not alone in this, there’s other kids experiencing this, I think that even is helpful.
Charan: Well, it’s so weird. I used to remember my very first day of school in America. I was in first grade. I just moved from India, and I didn’t speak any English. So I came, and I went to school, and I went to an all-boys school before, right, and we were all in uniforms and everything like that. So I go to the school, and it’s like, whenever you’re the new student at school, everyone’s looking at you, and they’re like, “Oh, who’s this guy?”
Charan: And back then, I was so innocent and pure, but I remember going in, and there are all these girls in class, which I was not used to, everyone had blonde hair and blue eyes. I’m not used to that. I am the only Indian, and I’m like, whoa, I feel so awkward. Definitely, I’m not used to this kind of attention all on me.
Charan: And it’s so interesting, because all these students were looking at me and they’re like, “Oh my gosh.” I honestly don’t know if they’ve ever seen an Indian boy before. So I went and sat down, and everyone’s just looking at me. They’re trying to talk to me, and I didn’t know what they were saying because I don’t speak English. I remember this one kid, his name is Dale. The bell rang, and everyone ran out of the door, and he’s like, “Charan, are you coming?” And I’m like, “What is happening? What are we doing?” They’re like, “Recess,” and I’m like, “I don’t know what that is.”
Charan: And so they introduced me to the world of recess, and I’m like, “What? You guys can play for fun. This is insane.” Because in my school in India, I remember it was very strict. Our teachers in India, they would hit you all the time, so you have to get good grades. They wouldn’t let you go to the bathroom, so there’d be puddles of pee on the floor.
Charan: Oh yeah, 100%. I was guilty. Anyway, it was just crazy. So the amount of freedom and stuff here was so interesting. But as I got older, like sixth grade, eighth grade, during those times I started to feel that sense of being bullied, not necessarily attacked, but little comments that were made, like, “Oh, Charan, you shouldn’t be allowed to do this.” And based on my skin color, right? And in eighth grade, I remember these kids stole a little bit of money for me. It wasn’t hardly anything, but I went and I told the principal. I’m like, “They stole this thing,” and he took immediate action so quick. And those guys even went to, not detention, it was like juvenile court, because they’ve done this with other people, and they got so upset at me. And I said, “Guys, why did you bully me to begin with? Or why did you do this?” And it just kind of went away.
Charan: But I remember thinking, being bullied, it just makes you feel powerless. It just makes you feel like you’ve got nothing, and so many kids feel powerless right now. So I really hope that our show, that’s what it does. It empowers people and it gives them hope. It gives them some joy. It gives them the sense of epic mode to say, “Oh my gosh, we can do awesome things.” So anyway…
Melissa: I love that.
Charan: Yeah, I don’t know.
Brad: It’s great.
Brad and Melissa Johnson Talk About the Future of Let’s Get Epic!
Charan: It’s an interesting thing. So I guess, what do you guys see the future of the show being, or what would you like to see happen?
Brad: What would you like to see?
Melissa: I would love to see it just go as far as it possibly can. I mean, I’d love for us to be able to really measure the impact, to see lives being changed from it, and really hear those personal stories from kids that really felt a difference, or moms that maybe, or moms, dads, any teachers, anybody who’s supporting kids in any way, that they feel some of help and service that they gain from the show, so I want to see it change lives for sure.
Charan: That’s awesome.
Brad: That would be so amazing. Along those same lines, I think it’d be amazing to be… Because of our first season, we have pretty much outlined each cause and different ways we want to show kids where they can have help and things they can do and give them solutions or things they can do. I would love to see that maybe during our first season, I’d love to see interactive. I would love it if parents were like, “Oh my gosh, can you guys please address this situation and find what people need?” And then we could make them. We’ll make those episodes. We’ll find partners that can get us the information we need to make sure we’re giving them the kids options on what they can do to help themselves. I think it’d be awesome to be a place where people could go and ask for help, and we can help direct them where to go.
Brad: We’re working on that with our partners, our website, all that kind of stuff. We will have a way to be interactive like that.
Charan: Yeah, which is awesome, and I love our partnership with Angel Studios, is definitely so instrumental to making this happen. I mean, they’ve done some really cool stuff. Listeners, if you’re hearing this, they produce The Chosen, and the impact that The Chosen has had has been unbelievable. Brad and I joke that, well, we’re not that show, and it’s interesting because people are always like, “Well, you can’t compare what the brand of Jesus.” And I’m not ever saying we should ever compare with the brand of Jesus, but at the same time, I know we can do a lot of good, and we can do some great things out there and really help people out, so we’re very excited to partner with them to make it happen.
Brad: I think if we could brand our show, I would love it if we could brand it with love somehow, because that’s really what it’s all about.
Charan: That’s absolutely right.
Brad: Knowing that you’re loved and that there are people there to help you.
Brad: You’re not alone.
Charan: And it’s interesting, because the whole idea of Epic mode, just the more and more like as we’ve been defining it, we realize that really refers to the light that everyone has inside of them, especially kids, man. They’ve got so much light, they’ve got so much creativity. My sister and I were actually having a little discussion yesterday, because her baby Everett, who’s now almost 18 months, is just so sharp. He’s just discovering all these things, and I’m just watching him do all these things. And I’m like, “Did you guys teach him that?” And they’re like, “We taught him a little bit, but most of it is all him.” He’s just discovering the world, and the way he sees things, it’s unbelievable.
Charan: And I would love to help create a future for him where he feels that sense of safety, that sense of loving. You guys just really had a new baby now which is very exciting.
Melissa: Yeah, he’s down here. I’m actually rocking him on the side.
Charan: He’s on this podcast with us, like a silent partner, if you will.
Melissa: Hopefully silent partner.
Charan: Yeah, hopefully, so far, so far so good.
Charan: But yeah, how has that been becoming a new parent? I mean, not for you, but for you, Brad, you’re a new dad. How do you feel even doing a show like this and stuff can prepare yourself as a father to be a dad for [inaudible 00:29:59]
Brad: Oh my gosh. It’s a different world, that’s for sure.
Brad: And yeah, because like now, we have this kid that’s always smiling and always so happy and I just don’t want him to ever lose that, of course, that’s part of life, right? You have to face these challenges and things that are going to make you a little, you know, give you an edge and give you challenges in life, obviously. But yeah, I want him to have a future like all the kids. I just want him to be able to have hope, right? Yeah, it’s an amazing thing being a new dad. I’m a new dad five times now.
Brad: But this is the first baby.
Brad: But it’s like even all ages, I’m like, I watch all ages. I’m thinking everybody could benefit from this, and it’d be incredible to have a small impact at all, and yeah, it’s definitely a different driving factor when you’ve actually got these little minds that you’re kind of in charge of.
Charan: Well, it’s so interesting, Brad, because I’ve known you for a long time, and I’ve been very privileged to see how your life has changed so much from the Brad I knew before. I was like, you’re traveling, you’re hanging out, you’re making all kinds of these movie things happen and you still are, but the perspective has changed. Your perspective has changed, and in a really great way, not that it was bad before, but now, it’s a little bit more focused, and it’s a lot more family-centric, and it’s a lot more like, “Hey, I want to create things that are going to help the future out.”
Charan: And Melissa, I know you’re kind of occupied [crosstalk 00:31:44]
Melissa: I literally have a bottle in my hand.
Brad: When we say silent partner, we mean silent boss.
Charan: Yes, silent boss. He’s taking care of it all.
Melissa: For sure.
Charan: When I first met you, you were a mom of four girls and now you have a son.
Charan: So how has that been? How has that transition been?
Melissa: Oh, it’s a blast.
Charan: It’s a blast.
Melissa: It’s so much fun. It’s especially fun watching his sisters with him. It’s super cute, and it’s fun what they’ll teach him.
Melissa: So even going back to the show, it’s pretty awesome when other kids can also encourage kids to do awesome things and to help educate each other. That’s pretty cool. So I love that with watching all five of these guys that whether they’re singing them a song or interacting in some certain way, it’s pretty exciting.
Charan: And I’m trying to think… Scarlet, your youngest girl, is now seven, right?
Melissa: Yes, that’s right.
Charan: So it’s a good gap, and it’ll be great to see him grow up with his older sisters kind of championing him, helping him out and everything.
Brad and Melissa Johnson’s Advice for Kids
Charan: Well, guys, I’m so grateful that we’re doing this podcast and so grateful we’re doing the show together. If you could give one piece of advice right now for kids, what would that be?
Melissa: Mine would be that you’re enough. I think every adult needs to hear that, too, but especially kids. I think that they need to be okay with who they are, and in a society where we’re teaching them that they’re only a value based on their likes that they get or the comments on their posts or what they’re wearing or what they’re doing or that sort of thing. It’s like, no, just you alone, you’re enough.
Charan: Yeah. I love that. That’s a powerful message. I love that. Thank you for sharing.
Charan: And how about yourself?
Brad: Man, that’s a good one. That’s a really good one. I would have to say that, just the message that you can do anything. I think that kind of goes along with you’re enough. I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve never seen it before and I’ve seen it more now that I have this incredible person in my life, having listened my life, it’s just that people, especially kids, but I think everybody needs to know that literally anything is possible, anything. I just want people to have belief that something can change. They could be better. They could do anything. I think just having dreams, maybe that’s what it is. I want every to have a hope, a hope and a dream.
Charan: Mm-hmm (affirmative) I love that. I love that. I think for myself, kind of echoing both what you guys were saying, just this ability that they in of themselves have an incredible power, and incredible light, and that they are a force for good. They can do some amazing things in this world, and they should never feel limited. They never should. I mean, I think that was one of the things like, when I first came to America, I felt, Oh, me being Indian limits me. That was a negative belief that I had when I was a kid, right? Growing up, I was like, “Wow, everyone here is like blonde hair, blue eyes, and I’m not, I’m different.”
Charan: But now, I’ve changed that belief, and I’m like, “Oh, because I’m different, I can create my own unique voice, and I can create my own path, and I don’t have to follow the flock.” Right? I can do my own thing, and I think for us, hopefully, creating Let’s Get Epic!, we’ll empower kids to do that. They can be their authentic selves, and it’s powerful.
Melissa: I love that.
Brad: I love that too, and I want to just say that too. It’s like, that’s another thing I love, is just the perspective that everybody has their path, and it’s okay.
Brad: Somebody might have different challenges. One kid might have something that another kid doesn’t. It doesn’t mean you’re less than; it’s just a different path.
Charan: Yeah, and because of that, I mean, I hate to bring up High School Musical, but we are all in this together, you know what I mean?
Charan: But we can, we can be compassionate to each other and help each other out, and I hopefully, we can make a great world of difference.
Charan: Yeah, it’s super exciting. Well, guys, everyone listening, please check out letsgetepic.tv. You can be involved that way, just read up, watch the pilot and yeah, I hope you enjoy. Thanks so much, Brad and Melissa, for joining me on this podcast.
Melissa: Thank you.
Brad: Thank you.
Charan: Thanks so much. Yep.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to the Lemonade Stand podcast, and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you used to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback and the reviews, and if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.