Hangin’ with Bryce Clark and Jason Allred
Today’s podcast has been a special one. I’ve known Jason Allred for almost 20 years now, and Bryce and I connected a few years ago. The two of them teamed up to create an anthology film, Mission Stories, which will make its debut May 7th. Bryce directed the films which will hopefully turn into a series that will air on Deseret Book’s streaming platform. We had the chance to chat about our own personal mission stories and how the Lord brought us out of some of our hardest spots in life. Mission Stories depicts honest and real challenges people have faced and how people have come out stronger. Bryce and Jason shared some deep and insightful things that I was extremely inspired by. In the end, I think I benefitted more than them. Very awesome podcast! Enjoy.
Check out missionstories.com for more info.
Who Are Bryce Clark and Jason Allred?
Bryce Clarke and Jason Allred are a winning team making a splash on the Latter-day Saint filmmaking scene, and it’s easy to see why, based on their backgrounds. They have a long and rich history within the media world, covering a diverse number of roles, which have converged onto this current path.
About Bryce Clark
Director Bryce Clark’s filmmaking journey took him through various aspects of the entertainment industry. While initially training in website production at Harvard Business School, Bryce did a U-turn after graduating in September 2005 and took a leap at a bachelor’s degree in film at Dixie State University, graduating in 2010.
From there, it didn’t take long for him to make his first steps into film, having written and sold the feature film script Fix, earning notable praise. His experience in the industry has taken him to various roles, from consultant to producer, covering a multitude of creative roles. He has even enjoyed a sideline in literature, publishing the books Red Shirt in 2013 and Secret Santa in 2015. He has also enjoyed a short writing spell on the kids’ show Yo Gabba Gabba! But film was where his heart lay.
In 2016 he became the CEO of production company StoryLand, where he developed a variety of scripts and projects. In addition, he has directed a number of features, including thriller Phobic, Beauty and the Least: The Misadventures of Ben Banks, and the latest, Mission Stories.
Based in Salt Lake City, Bryce is married to Stephanie Clark, who has also worked on the Phobic and Mission Stories sets. They have five lovely children.
About Jason Allred
Jason Allred’s journey to producing has taken him via Brigham Young University, where he achieved a bachelor of arts degree in theater and media arts. The diverse courses provided him with a multitude of experience in projects on location, as well as editing, which served him well upon graduating in 2001.
Cutting his teeth on a variety of productions for Caroline Films, he worked as a set PA for the long-running CBS show Touched by an Angel, where he stayed for the last two seasons. From there, he progressed to a variety of roles within the entertainment industry behind the camera and even made one notable difference in front of the camera on the action drama Saints and Soldiers, where he played the notable role of “Peeing German”! However, this is merely a footnote to a diverse and glittering career.
Working in a variety of assistant director roles through production companies Kaleidoscope Pictures and Bronco Productions, and serving as unit director on features as diverse as the sleeper hit Gentlemen Broncos and Oscar nominee 127 Hours, he decided that it was time to set up his own companies, which have been where he has had great success. In 2003, he set up BreakAway Entertainment, and in 2012, started INFUSEmedia, which provides a variety of quality web media solutions for businesses. BreakAway Entertainment has been runaway in its success, producing a wide variety of film and video projects directed by Jason, as well as Mission Stories.
Aside from Mission stories, Jason Allred’s most recent project has been the series Book of Mormon Videos, where he has worked as a production manager, overseeing the visual interpretation of “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”
Born and raised in Salt Lake City Utah, he is married with one child also and has a younger brother Corbin who has spent a lot of time in the entertainment industry as an actor.
Bryce and Jason have come together on Mission Stories to tell the tales inspired by true stories from the Latter-day Saint mission field. With Bryce behind the camera and Jason on producing duties, they have created a solid selection of tales that is going to turn heads. This anthology is a constant reminder of Our Heavenly Father’s invitation to be healed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The partnership has endured and, hopefully, this is going to be the first of many features from this partnership. They are hopeful this is the first step in creating a Mission Stories brand. But this is where the director and producer roles respectively held by Bryce and Jason have resulted in a solid and secure partnership that has made for a winning anthology of tales, not to mention a winning working relationship.
Bryce and Jason’s journeys through various aspects of the entertainment industry have served them well, and the importance of their work ethic and honesty has given Mission Stories a strong backbone.
Bryce Clark and Jason Allred Podcast Transcription
Charan: What’s going on, guys? This is Charan Prabhakar with the Lemonade Stand Stories podcas,t and I’m here with two delightful human beings that are so incredible and inspiring. I’ve known Jason Allred, over here to my right with the backward shirt, a backwards hat.
Jason: My shirt’s on the right way. My hat’s on backwards.
Charan: Yeah, I’m sorry. I’m getting confused at his apparel, but I’ve known Jason Allred for many, many years, almost 20 years now, actually, and it’s been awesome. We met because his brother, Corbin Allred, is a dear friend of mine. We served our missions together, which is very ironic because we’re going to talk about Mission Stories, which is so great.
Charan: And then to my left here is Bryce Clark, and Bryce Clark — it’s funny, because I’ve heard of him. I’ve heard of him through his wife back in 2008 when I was working on a film called Abandoned Mine. And I think we exchanged an email or two, and I was actually really looking forward to getting to know you, but we never actually fully connected until, it must have been 2018, something like that, in Alpine, Utah. You had formed this company, I believe, called Storyland, and with a bunch of great creators and doing all kinds of fun projects, and so I got to meet and my mind like clicked. I’m like, oh my gosh, that’s the Bryce Clark that I emailed forever ago, and so we’ve connected and it’s funny, because we’ve done some projects together, like producing stuff. We haven’t worked on anything together, but it was always a hope of mine that we could, and our first project that we’re all doing together is a podcast.
Charan: Feels really good. We’re all on camera, guys. It’s so great.
Jason: It’s very timely.
Bryce Clark Talks About How He Became a Filmmaker
Charan: Very, very timely. No, but guys, seriously, thank you so much for joining me on this podcast, and the whole Lemonade Stand Stories podcast is about people’s lemonade stand stories. When they were kids, they started a lemonade stand or they sold worms. We’ve had a couple of people that talked about that, but you two are both filmmakers, and I’d love to learn about why film was your choice, because we know that film is a very unpredictable career. It’s a very difficult career, especially if you guys have families, which you guys do and I do not, and I still find it difficult, so why film? Let’s hear from both of you guys.
Jason: I’ll defer to Bryce first.
Bryce: Sure. Well, for me, it started with writing, and writing was the thing in school that I always got positive feedback from, and I wrote this piece for a writing contest when I was 11 about the Boston Celtics and I won the contest.
Bryce: And everything else in school was abject failure. So it was like, okay, I guess I’m a writer. And then I remember I saw the movie Do the Right Thing and everyone was talking about Spike Lee, because he was in the Jordan commercials and he was prominent. They’re like, “Oh, he wrote and directed this,” and that was the first time that I put together that people write movies. I didn’t know that.
Bryce: I became obsessed with screenwriting and just wrote scripts and I finally sold one, and then watched it get taken away and nothing happened to it. I always thought that directing was this thing that was like other geniuses could do but not somebody like me. I actually went back to school at Dixie State University in South Jordan and got a degree in film and learned how to direct, and then I made a movie called Ben Banks that had Mischa Barton and Melora Hardin.
Charan: Yeah, that was the one that I heard, because that was in southern Utah, right?
Bryce: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Charan: Yeah, that’s right. I remember that.
Bryce: And I had some other chances to write in some different things. I wrote a couple of kids books, and made this movie called Phobic that just came out on iTunes and stuff.
Bryce: But it’s just always been my passion to write and to tell stories, and then sort of figuring out that directing is a storytelling skill. You don’t have to be a genius with cameras. In fact, it’s much better if everyone around you is more talented than you are.
Charan: Support and raise you up, right?
Bryce: Yeah, exactly.
Charan: Yeah, I love that. Well, it’s interesting, because you were saying that when you started writing, you really came alive and everything else was dead to you. You’re like, ah, forget everything else. Did you feel the same way with directing?
Bryce: I had such a fear about directing and that I don’t know what I’m doing. But when I started doing it, like this movie Ben Banks that I made, I never directed anything before that, and just learning how it’s taken all of these different technical aspects but making sure that they’re serving the story. For me, it all comes back to the writing and the storytelling, that’s my anchor point. I know some directors are anchored in the cinematography, some are like VFX guys. My anchor is the script and then working with the actors to try to elicit the best performances that you can.
Charan: Well, I think it’s great because I’ve worked with different directors before, but when a director is really concerned with the story and the characters, I feel like that is what gets the audience connected. I’ve worked on projects where it was very visual-effects-heavy and people aren’t connected emotionally because “oh my gosh, I love that third render” — no one says that. But if it’s a character was having a really powerful emotion and an experience, and then the audience member can relate to it, it almost becomes like a form of therapy, because they can connect.
Jason Allred Talks About How He Became a Filmmaker
Charan: That’s awesome and I love that and, Jason, what about yourself?
Jason: So I was not on the film or storytelling path when I was younger. I wanted to be a doctor.
Charan: I’m so glad you did not make that awful choice.
Jason: I came out of high school, thought I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon, and went down to BYU, started my degree there, was pre-med, went on my mission to Germany, came back from my mission, and I was still registered for all those medical type classes that were like really smart people do.
Charan: Of course.
Jason: And I got a 0.9 GPA that semester.
Charan: It didn’t make you come alive?
Jason: Well, I hated the classes. I had this life experience, and I had enjoyed learning about people and telling stories really, teaching gospel. I came home and I was like, I don’t want to be a doctor. This is not for me. So like I said, I got a 0.9 GPA and I say that because I think a lot of people are afraid of failing.
Jason: I’ve got kids, one is in school, one’s going to be going to college in the fall.
Charan: Which is crazy to me, you have kids that old now.
Jason: It’s crazy to me too. But the idea that you get into college and can’t fail like that’s, you can fail in college, and still be able to be successful. So I tell people all the time that I got a 0.9 GPA at BYU.
Jason: Anyway, my next semester I took a film class and I was like, this is it. Now, I had a little bit of an “in” because of my brother Corbin. Corbin started acting when he was 12, I was 14, and so we’d been around the periphery of the business a little bit, or I had been. Corbin was deep into it.
Jason: But I was like, okay, I’m going to take this one class. I love it. And I’m thinking I can get a job because of Corbin. That’s not the way it went. But I had started a job at KBYU as a video editor. I had no experience. Literally it was a phone interview that was like, “Have you ever worked in film before, in video before?” No. “Have you ever worked with television before?” No. “Have you ever edited before?” No. “Are you available every day from Monday through Friday from 1:00 to 5:30?” Yeah, that fits my schedule. “Okay, you’re hired.”
Charan: Did you tell them like, “Yeah, because I have a 0.9 GPA. I’m totally available.”
Jason: No, I didn’t tell them that, but anyway, so I got that job, and I learned visual storytelling on the job. And that helped going through the film program at BYU, because I already had this structural understanding of how to put images together and tell a story.
Jason: That’s where I started and I was fortunate enough straight out of school to jump onto a show, Touched by an Angel, the television show. I did the last two and a half seasons as a production assistant, and from there I just climbed the ladder. It’s been 20 years.
Charan: It’s interesting, too, because you’re probably one of the first film people I’d met when I came home from my mission and wanted to get into film, because Corbin was there and he introduced us to each other, and I remember being on set and you were like the AD, like the leader of the pack. I mean, honestly, a director sometimes gets so jumbled and carried away and needs a good solid first AD to be like “bring it back in, we’ve got to get this shot done and everything done,” and that was you and you ran the ship a lot of times, and I remember being like, “I need to get in Jason’s good graces. What can I possibly do to do that?”
Charan: So, I was telling you, I was gonna go to India. I was gonna go visit my homeland and you’re like, “Charan, I would love for you to bring me-
Jason: Just anything. I was like, just bring me something.
Charan: … bring me back anything.” That was the requirement, it was a very tall order.
Jason: Yeah right, I was like, I didn’t care; it could have been spices.
Charan: I could have been spices. It could have been fabrics. I know how you like your fabrics.
Jason: Exactly. I’m totally into those.
Charan: Yeah, but what I chose to bring you was like this, I don’t know, like about that tall, like a big Indian deity, which I carried on the plane with me, of Ganesh, which is one of the Indian gods who’s half-human with an elephant head, and I’ll tell you what, it’s still on the shrine next to your Jesus Christ pictures [crosstalk 00:12:19].
Jason: It’s in my front room.
Charan: That’s so great, and we made a pact that any show that we’re on, it has to be in it. That is a requirement. It has to be in there somewhere.
Jason: It’s tough convincing people sometimes though, isn’t it?
Charan: I mean, they just don’t see the vision. Clearly they don’t see the vision. Bryce sees the vision. Big ol’ pink elephant in the corner with an umbrella. I don’t understand what’s not to see.
Bryce Clark and Jason Allred Talk About Mission Stories
Charan: But guys, this is great. I love your journeys and everything, and I would love to talk about how you two joined forces, because was this your first project together that you worked on. Yeah. So tell me how that went. Did you write the movie already and what inspired you to write the movie and how did you guys?
Bryce: Yeah, so about two years ago, Deseret came to me and said, “Are you interested in developing this project that’s going to take real stories from the mission field and dramatize them in half-hour episodes for a TV series that’s going to launch on this new Deseret streaming platform?” My first thought was ,I didn’t serve a mission, so what am I going to bring to it?
Bryce: But as I thought more about it, I realized that I had a really cool mission story myself, because when I should have been serving a mission, I ended up sharing the gospel with a friend of mine who joined the church. The missionary who taught him in the discussions, they connected. That missionary went home to Salt Lake and his life completely fell apart. Suicide, drugs, like every problem that you can imagine, this guy struggled with.
Charan: This elder that was teaching your friend?
Bryce: Mm-hmm (affirmative), but through that all, my friend stayed in contact with this elder, even after he was excommunicated from the church, and kept reminding him of their shared experience and the knowledge that the Church is true, the gospel is true, and a little bit before I started developing this project, my friend flew out — I’m from the Boston area — flew out here and re-baptized that elder. As that was happening, I had lost that company that you mentioned, and I’m a recovering alcoholic and I relapsed like really bad, the kind where if it doesn’t stop, you die, kind of thing. And when I saw that this elder, who I had no contact with for 20 years, when I went to lunch with them and heard his story about how he was able to get help, and come back and be re-baptized, it’s one of those things where, in your mind you think, well, I’m not as bad off as that person and they were able to do it.
Bryce: So I actually went into treatment for three months, and as I was developing this project, I realized that story should be one of the first stories. That gave me a personal connection to the material. Even though I didn’t serve a mission, missionary work has touched my life. Coming out of treatment, I was working with Art VanWagenen at Deseret Book, and, when my life fell apart, the project kind of died and we weren’t sure what was gonna happen with it. And so I had the idea that what if my company — I have a company called Frost Brothers Entertainment now — what if my company got the financing for it? And we were able to make three episodes to show what this could be and do them as an anthology film? And they said that would be great, like, “Let’s see if we can do that.”
Bryce: Part of that effort to get interest and get support for the project, we had this meeting with 14 former mission presidents and their wives, and it was incredible hearing all of the stories. The thing that was consistent through each of the stories as I listened that night was how seemingly random and coincidental things turned out not to be random and not to be coincidences, like over and over and over, so much that it was a pattern.
Bryce: One of the stories, which is in the film, I really loved, and was helpful. It’s one of those stories where it’s just people talking, but what they’re talking about and the way that it transpires is so powerful that it deeply moved me, and writing that one was, I loved the experience. And I’ve always been like, I’m a filmmaker who happens to be LDS, and this experience has made me see myself differently as an LDS filmmaker, and realizing we have all these great stories and a lot of them are mission stories.
Bryce: We got the support for the project, and we’re setting it up, and we were like, we need somebody who can help us get this into production and actually make the thing, and I was like, Jason Allred. That’s who we need to help produce those with you, and actually, it’s where we’re filming things. And so Jason came on and helped put together the crew and the cast and did his thing which with all of his different experiences, he brings a lot to the table as a producer, and I was able to focus on directing, and the creative aspects of what we were doing. That’s how we-
Charan: You guys even connected that way.
Bryce: That’s how we connected.
Charan: That’s crazy. That was just last year. Right?
Charan: Because, I remember I was filming Alien Country with Corbin, and I remember you were saying, because you came to set a couple times a day, “I’m working on this project. ” I didn’t realize it was with you and that’s crazy.
Jason: It was last October.
Charan: So, how did Arthur connect you to Bryce? What was that whole thing like?
Jason: So Arthur and I go back into our teens. We grew up together playing soccer with each other and against each other, and then we ended up playing at BYU. I played soccer on the BYU men’s soccer team. Arthur was on the BYU men’s soccer team, and we’ve kept in touch over the years, and we’ve always talked about wanting to do something together, do a project, just develop stuff, and we haven’t ever been able to do it, but we’d keep in contact and when he said, “Hey, I’ve got this project that’s developing. It’s for our new platform, Deseret Book, and we’re doing this streaming platform and we’re going to tell these like episodic stories. Would you be interested in doing some budgets for it?”
Jason: That’s how it started, was, “Would you be interested in doing some budgets for me?” I’m like, “Yeah, I’ll do some budgets.” And from there it was like, “Hey, why don’t you come on and meet Bryce?” Okay cool, I’ll come meet Bryce. So I show up at the office. I meet Bryce. I’m like, “Bryce is cool. Let’s do this.”
Charan: That is just crazy how that all worked out, and I love what you were saying that it felt maybe random at the time, and then as you look back, you’re like, no, there was nothing random about this. It was all very orchestrated. I love it when things like that happen, because you realize that the hand of the Lord really is involved in those type of things to make things like that happen, because you look at the process of filmmaking. Oh, what were you gonna say?
Jason: I was just gonna say, for us, particularly in the film industry, last year with COVID was crazy. All of a sudden, I had a job that was like a 27-week job just disappear. I was like, what am I going to do? I’ve got a family, I’ve got a mortgage. I was actually coming out of my own depressive spiral that I had been in and being able to meet Bryce and being able to be on to this project with Arthur and Bryce, it was like, now this is what was supposed to happen.
Jason: We had so many cool experiences working with awesome actors that also had their own little side story right, and my son James was on the show as a production assistant and being on the show, telling the mission stories, was fuel to solidify his desire to serve a mission, and his mission applications are actually at Church headquarters right now, awaiting a call.
Charan: That is crazy. It’s so interesting, like you were saying, you suffered a bit of a depressive episode; you were going through your own struggles. I feel like that’s kind of how the Lord works. A lot of times he lets you go through these things, and you’re going through all these challenges, and all of a sudden he breaks you open to something powerful and magical and saying, “Okay, you guys, we went through this and it was a very difficult time. But now because of the Atonement and everything, because of all this power, now you can create something that can really impact the world,” because I think if you didn’t have those struggles and you just went and did it, it may have fallen flat, but like you were saying, some of those stories really, really, really resonated with you.
Charan: So the format of this, is it a film then, or is it… ?
Charan: So first one’s a film?
Bryce: What’s coming out May 7th is the first three chapters as an anthology movie. So it’s basically three short films that are connected by themes of redemption and faith and service, and it’s to see what the audience would be like for this type of content, because the platform, they’re still building and they’re still developing it. This is to show to audiences and show to people this is what this could be. And we’re hopeful that there will be an audience for it and that it will lead to more things, not just a series but a brand. Mission stories storytelling through all different types of platforms and medium, and so that’s our hope, but we are starting it as an anthology film.
Charan: As an anthology film. But yeah, it’s cool, because it can be branched out into a series, which is amazing. So, as an anthology film is it going to be played in theaters first?
Bryce: Yes, it’s exclusively in theaters. Actually launches May 6th, the evening previews on that Thursday, and the theaters that it’s playing in are in Utah to start, and then hopefully if there’s an audience for it, we’ll grow it from there.
Charan: Absolutely. Well, I love it, guys and I think it’s so exciting to go with this and share something powerful. Now, you said you didn’t serve a proper mission, but you had a complete missionary experience that lasted really, in a sense, generations.
Charan: What about yourself? Was there ever a moment on your own mission in Germany where you’re like, this was a very powerful experience for me?
Jason: Oh yeah, no, there were plenty of really powerful experiences. I think the crazy thing about missions is we, as a culture, as a church, we hold these missionaries up to this high standard, like missionaries are amazing, and then you get out on your mission and I got to Germany, I was like, “This is so hard, it’s so hard.” I went to Southern Germany. I was taught German in the Missionary Training Center, but they teach you the proper German. In southern Germany, it’s not spoken very often. Literally, I thought they taught me Chinese.
Charan: Yeah, I’ve had a similar experience.
Jason: It was so hard and, I alluded to the fact that I suffered from depression. There were depressive episodes on my mission but then, through serving, through working with the members of the Church over there in Germany, and working with the missionaries and then working with the wonderful people of Germany, there were times where it was just like, “This is awesome. This is amazing. This is where I needed to be.”
Jason: I’ve talked about my mission for my whole life since then. My kids all know about it. I’ve kept up my German fairly well, which has been interesting in the film industry because I’ve been able to use it, which is cool.
Charan: Didn’t you get killed in Saints and Soldiers?
Jason: I did. I got killed in Saints and Soldiers.
Charan: So did your brother, but he came back.
Jason: He did. I had one line and then I got shot, but I spoke the German really well.
Charan: Yeah, that’s great. It is interesting. The mission is the reason I even joined the Church, which is kind of backwards, but I wanted to join the Church so I could go on a mission, and I had a really awesome conversion experience.
Bryce: You joined before you went, right?
Charan: I don’t know. I don’t know. That’s still debatable. We’re trying to figure this out. I think so, yes. I think I did, but it was an interesting thing because just the idea of mission stories, it resonates with me so much because my life is a mission story, like how I converted and that whole experience. I still remember it very vividly and I was 17, and then got to go on my mission to Australia, Chinese-speaking, what I served with your brother, and had incredible experiences with your brother and just serving, and I remember thinking when your film was coming out, I was watching the trailer and everything. I was like, “This is so cool and needed.” That’s the other thing. It’s not just this is kind of fun, but it’s a needed piece of content right now because the world is faced with a darkness that is so heavy right now.
Charan: I mean, last year showed us how quickly the world can change and how quickly things can get shut down and things can switch up and if anything, it’s almost like a test run for the future. Things could get even worse. We have no idea, but now, it’s like nothing seems impossible as far as the craziness that could happen. So, I felt very strongly last year that more light needed to be shared in all forms. So when something like this comes out, I’m like, this is what we need. This is completely what we need, and I would say not just for LDS folks but for people in general, because the idea of serving a mission, the idea of doing service, the idea of getting outside of yourself and sharing some good news is very important for anyone to connect with. So I guess what would you say would be your dream with this film coming out?
Bryce: Well, my dream is that a lot of people will see it and that it opens up opportunities to continue to tell these stories. One of the things that we realized is that we didn’t want to tell, like, “a day in the life of a missionary” type of a story, which we’ve seen and those can be really effective. For these first initial three, we wanted to focus on conversion stories, and allow some of the people who are investigating the Church to be main characters in the story and to see things from their points of view as well.
Bryce: We were willing to tackle issues like addiction and suicidal tendencies, self doubt, and self doubt’s a big one. It’s a big one. And I really believe in the transformative power of the atonement and of the gospel, and you see it in these stories. You see what happens to people. And I started my own life, like one of the characters in one of the stories is based on me, which was a surreal experience to direct the actor doing that, but it was real. I knew it was real because I lived through it. I knew that I wasn’t trying to manufacture emotion or trying to create something out of nothing.
Charan: You were creating a very authentic experience.
Bryce: Yeah, and something that is not unique. That’s the thing, is that we tell these stories, and they are powerful, and they are different than normal life. But as soon as you tell one of these stories, everyone’s like, oh, I’ve got one or two or three or four. And that’s because this is not reserved for anybody special. This is available to everybody. So I hope that if people watch this film, they’ll connect with those themes of forgiveness and redemption and the idea that the arm of mercy is extended forever. There’s no way you can fall farther than that reach.
Charan: That’s powerful, man. What about you, Jason?
Jason: Repeat the question.
Charan: Dang it. I was hoping you would know the question. I basically was asking what do you hope that the movie will accomplish? What’s your dream with it?
Jason: Much like Bryce, I mean I hope that a lot of people go see the film, because I think we did a really good thing. The craft level is high, the performances are great, Bryce did a great job directing, and I think that one of my favorite parts of the stories that we told is that, like Bryce said, it’s not just a day in the life of a missionary, or a day in the life of somebody investigating the Church. One of the stories takes place over 20 years, which hasn’t been done in a film approach before, at least to my knowledge. All the films that have been done in the past about missionaries have focused on a short period of time, and this one shows that sometimes it takes time. Sometimes it takes a long time to change and that’s okay. It’s okay if you try to change and you fall back for a minute.
Jason: As long as you keep going and keep trying, that’s the power of the atonement that Bryce was just talking about. As long as you keep trying to push forward, the hand is outstretched, and I hope that people see that when they go and see the film. I hope that, like I said, a lot of people see it. I hope that a lot of people tell their friends to go see it. I hope that it just grows, and then I hope that a lot of people want to tell their own stories. Like Bryce was alluding to earlier with, this opens up an opportunity to tell more stories. So I hope that people want to tell their stories and allow us to help them tell their stories.
Charan: Yeah, an empowering message really more than anything else. It’s interesting, because, like you’re saying, things take time. One of my favorite, I guess you could say, prophets in the Book of Mormon is Abinadi, because he basically was like, “I’m sharing my message and then whatever happens to me happens”and he has no clue the influence that he ended up having before he passed away, but because of him so many prophets kept coming after him that were inspired by his message. And I remember I was teaching someone in Australia, and circumstances happened that allowed us to not be able to teach him anymore, and I never saw him again.
Charan: This was towards the end of the mission, I’m like, man, I really was bombed because he was an older guy, but he was just so touched, because it was one of those miracles where he was very sick, we came and gave him a blessing, and he got healed immediately. It was one of those rare things, where he was in the hospital and he got healed. He didn’t believe in God, then he’s like, “Come over; teach me.” So we taught him and then somehow he disappeared, and I kind of forgot about him, and then I was teaching in MTC later on and an elder wrote me a letter saying “Hey, that guy that you taught and gave him a blessing? We just baptized him.”
Charan: It’s just like, what? How did you guys connect with him again and all this stuff? And he’s like, “He always remembers that blessing that you gave,” and I happened to teach this elder, and so he remembered me and it was just a crazy thing.
Bryce: Again, not just coincidence. That was supposed to happen that way.
Bryce Clark and Jason Allred Talk About the Mercy of the Lord
Charan: Right. That’s what I’m saying. Things like that just happen the way they do. So I want to talk a little bit about your own personal lives. One of the big things about the Lemonade Stand Stories, everyone has to have lemons first before they can make lemonade. Being in the film industry, it’s just ripe with lemons and just in life, we’re just dealt lemons. You were talking sometimes a little bit about depressive episodes. We talked about suffering with alcoholism, but I want to talk about, was there a specific instance in your life where you felt that the arm of the Lord, that mercy was reached to you personally, and kind of picked you up out of those dark places?
Bryce: Yeah, I mean, I’ll just talk about my experience in getting help. I’d never gone to AA, shockingly, but as part of my treatment I did, and I remember there was a time where, as part of the steps, you ask God to remove your shortcomings. But I’d been staying in this house in Draper with a bunch of other people struggling with the same kind of things, and I had a roommate, and most of these people were not from Utah.
Bryce: It was like 3:30 in the morning, and I woke up and I started to feel my heart change as I was going through the treatment and the steps, and I went into the closet, and I knelt down and with real faith, believing that he could do this, not knowing if he would or not, but believing that he could. I asked him to remove the shortcomings that were the underpinnings of my addiction, and this wave of light that flowed over me. It’s one of those things where I can’t deny that that happened, and there’s no way that I could manufacture what I felt in that moment, and from that night on, I know that I’ll always have to manage this for the rest of my life, but that daily struggle with it has been lifted.
Bryce: There’s no other way to describe that other than a miracle, and that’s one of the things that you look, that I see in these stories that we’re telling is that these are miracles, which is the hand of the Lord involved in our lives, and it’s real. That’s the thing that comes so powerful to me is this is real. There’s a lot of stuff that you can’t see and you can’t know, and it requires faith, but when you look at the stories over and over again, it’s true, it’s real. I know that people in other faith backgrounds, they have similar stories. They have stories about healing and redemption and faith and these just happen to be ours. I always buy into the adage that the more specific you can be in your storytelling, the more general, the wider reach your story will have and so these just happened to be LDS-themed stories, but the principles and the ideas, I think, are universal.
Bryce: Now, we do this thing where we teach the specific truths, and the thing that has been impressed upon my mind is how when we talk about the gospel and the thing, we’re actually talking about is Christ and it’s very, very, very simple. There’s a lot that gets=
Bryce: … culture and things that aren’t actually the gospel, but when you distill it down, it’s Christ and His message of forgiveness and hope. We’ve developed a website called MissionStories.com where you can see where it’s playing and then information about the project, but there’s also a link, a part of the site, where you can share your mission story if you have one, with the idea being that we could make it into an episode.
Bryce: So we know these stories are out there and so we’re looking for them. And the other thing I wanted to mention ,too, as we’re talking about filmmaking, is that I’m going to oversee this project, but I’m not going to write and direct everything, and so we want to provide opportunities as we build this series and move forward into the future with it for other LDS writers and directors to tell stories and to use their talents.
Charan: I honestly hope this becomes a pandemic of sharing the gospel, honestly. I really do, because I think just the three that you’re doing right now will hopefully inspire people to be like “Okay, wait a minute, I’ve got something,” and especially when the website is kind of open-ended, saying, “Please share yours.” I love that. That’s so great. What about yourself, Jas?
Jason: I don’t have anything as instant… the flow that Bryce just talked about. Mine was over a… mine was a process, particularly this last year with COVID. I alluded to the depressive episode. I spiraled into a pretty deep depression. Things with my family, things with work, things with my calling in Church, and they just kind of all became this perfect storm to-
Charan: Kind of suffocate you, yes.
Jason: My wife, she was like, “You need to go to see somebody.” But I don’t want to see somebody. It’s that pride that we all have within ourselves. “No, I could totally do this.”
Charan: You’re the guy that people come to see.
Jason: I was like 40-whatever years old. I’ve got it together even though I don’t have it together, but I don’t want to tell somebody else that I don’t have it together, and so she was just like, “No, you need to see somebody.” So I ended up going seeing two different therapists. One, he was great but he just wasn’t the one for me, and I finally found the one that worked, and it was a process of learning that it’s okay that I have these struggles, and it’s okay to get help and it’s okay that I felt broken, and learning how to manage certain things that have been able to turn me around and, honestly, things started to click. Even with COVID happening and the pandemic happening, things started to fall into place. All of a sudden I get one job and then I got another job. I was producing some commercials, one of which you were in and then I meet Bryce and, honestly, I was like, this is where I need to be, and this is the happy me. All of a sudden I have learned these skills through therapy. I’ve learned that I actually do have a core center value.
Jason: One of my first experiences, in this particular treatment that I was going through, was my therapist walked me through trying to find my core center, and it sounds corny when you talk about it. Everybody’s like, “I’ve got a sense of self.” I didn’t have a sense of self. I didn’t know who I was, and it was in this process of, in my mind, walking down a spiral staircase to the center core of my person and coming in this staircase to a point where the staircase wasn’t finished, and I had to sit there on the edge of this unfinished staircase with my legs dangling off into darkness and realizing at 40-whatever years old, I didn’t know who I was. Even though I was brought up in the Church, sure I know I’m a child of God, all that whole stuff. In my center, I didn’t have that.
Charan: It’s so interesting, Jas, and this is where I feel like atonement really comes in. Sometimes we’re brought up with our narratives, narratives of this is what we believe and this is who we are and this is yada yada yada. But that narrative will one day fade if you don’t really have that connection, that real sense of self. Anyway, sorry, keep going.
Jason: It was a surreal experience where I, actually, was able to get outside of my body and look back and see myself sitting on these steps, legs dangling, no way to get down, and it was darkness all around me. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie Time Bandits. It’s an 80’s film done by Terry Gilliam.
Charan: Sounds awesome.
Jason: It really is. It’s kind of a cult classic, but there’s a section at the end of the movie where they’re hanging out in this darkness, and I was like, I’m all of a sudden in this movie, but it’s in my mind. Anyway, to make a long story short, it was that process and then connecting that process back to the stuff I was brought up and truly believe. I believe that I’m a child of God, but I always had a disconnect. I knew the Gospel is true. I knew that Christ is my Savior. I knew that he performed the atonement, but it didn’t connect with me and so it was that process of doing that.
Charan: Dude, that is so powerful and that’s so transformative. Honestly, thank you guys both for sharing those things and being vulnerable because a lot of our listeners are going through the same thing, and whether it’s suffering from alcoholism or having a self-doubt, like not knowing your sense of self or going through some of the things that are talked about in Mission Stories. There’s a component of it that really connects with everybody here, and so I really feel like those things are going to really empower people and the truth is, for me, it always goes back to what you were saying, that relationship with Christ specifically and if you can go back there and make that your absolute foundation, then things will feel solid, and feel more whole, but it is always scary to have your feet dangling, dude, and not know where the heck the next step is or am I just gonna fall in the darkness forever. So, that’s crazy.
Bryce Clark and Jason Allred Talk About What Brings Them Joy
Charan: So I want to wrap it up with just a couple last questions. What brings you guys both joy?
Bryce: For me, personally, it’s the feeling like I matter.
Charan: I like that.
Bryce: That what I do in life has meaning and that if I weren’t here to do it, there would be an absence, and that’s one of those things that I find very easy to believe about other people, but I struggle with believing it about myself. I think a lot of us do. It’s sometimes easier to believe that someone else is deserving of Christ’s love, or his forgiveness, but to turn that on ourselves and actually love ourselves as we love our neighbor. The idea that what I do has purpose, and I see it in my family, with my wife and my kids, I see it with other people that I interact with, and it’s not just a one way street. It’s not just that I do things that can help other people. It’s that they do things that help me and when I have peace, when I’m able to sleep at night. It’s when I know that in that day, I did something that mattered. And it doesn’t have to be some big thing. It can even just be listening to someone else, but that’s what brings me joy, is believing that my life has meaning.
Charan: I love that. Thank you so much. How about you, Jason?
Jason: So, having a sense that I matter is a big thing, because that was something that I’ve struggled with for a long time.
Jason: But recently, my wife and I, we sat down, we kind of talked about our core values. I know everybody has core values, but we don’t always take the time to label them, and it was an interesting process to go through with her, because I came up with a couple of core values that I wouldn’t have [crosstalk 00:48:29] before. They were just off in the corner like, oh yeah, these are values that I appreciate, but I didn’t recognize how much they mattered to me, and one of them was creativity, which is funny, because as a filmmaker that’s my life, but being able to be creative in a way that matters brings me joy, whether that’s with my family.
Jason: My family obviously brings me joy. They’re amazing, but being able to be creative with them, that brings me joy. Being able to be creative on a film set, that brings me joy. Being able to be creative with friends on a film set, that’s even better, and then, with friends on a film set telling stories that matter, that’s just, for me, I love that.
Bryce Clark’s and Jason Allred’s Advice to their Younger Selves
Charan: It’s awesome. As I’m hearing both of your guys’ experiences, I feel like you both are shifting your lives from the way you used to live to living lives that are more filled with grace. I can see more of a sense of ease, and it’s interesting, because, Jason, I always remember you as such an intense dude. So intense. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, how am I ever gonna… ? Now I know where Corbin gets it from.” But the thing is, honestly, the last couple years, as we’ve worked on projects, I’m like, dude, it’s just a joy. Just a joy to be around, and same with you, Bryce. You sharing your feelings and stuff. It’s so raw and it’s so real, it’s so genuine and I really hope that people watching Mission Stories can get that from it, like the rawness, the authentic-ness but also the grace that comes with it. That arm of mercy extends. It’s so great. So I guess just last question. Last question. What would you tell your younger selves? What advice would you give to that? Jas, go ahead.
Jason: I’ll start this one. One, that you matter. I think that I would also say that it’s okay to trust the process rather than wanting to white-knuckle the process. The idea that we control things in our lives is a fallacy that I’ve started to learn and maybe that’s why I was intense. I was trying to control stuff white-knuckle.
Jason: I remember a friend of ours told us that when she first met me, her impression was that I was gruff and unapproachable. I was like, “Really?” But whatever. Maybe it helps me do my job on set. I have to keep things moving along, but no, just to trust the process and it’s okay to be patient in the development.
Charan: The outcomes are totally with Lord and it is, and I love what you just said right there about trusting the process, because it’s so many times when I want something, I’m like, “Oh, I gotta control it,” like relationships. Let’s just see how well those have gone. Anyway, moving on with that statement. What I was going to say is every time I tried controlling something, it just doesn’t work out, and then you realize control really is an illusion. The only control I think we have is what we decide to choose and where we decide to put our will, because there’s a trillion things happening inside of you, like your cells multiplying, your heart beating. Things that you have no control over but, yet, you just kind of take it for granted and because those things are happening, you can survive and do things. But if those things just stop for one second, you’re dead.
Charan: I love that idea of, hey, if the Lord can take over your body and make it do the things that it’s supposed to do so you can function, it’s okay to trust the process with other aspects of your life too.
Jason: It’s really hard though still, sure. You asked the question, what would you tell your younger self? I think I’m trying to tell my younger self 30 minutes ago and my younger self from an hour ago. It’s something that I have to keep telling myself, because that inherent need or want or desire to control, have the illusion of control.
Charan: I’m going to have this little segment of this podcast, I’m gonna send it to you every time you try to control something.
Jason: Yes, please do.
Charan: I’m like, your younger self told you this already.
Charan: Exactly. It’s just so meta right now. What about yourself?
Bryce: Well, the first thing I would say to younger me is that I love you and that’s actually been a journey to get there. I look back at some of the stuff that I did, it’s not a feeling of love all the time, but I would also say, try to get to the point where your desires are in line with those of the Lord faster. I think that part of growing and learning is that’s actually possible, where your desires can be informed by God, where they’re not at the whim of your preferences from here to there, but they can actually be these desires that are in line with what God would want for me and to not look to things of the world to make you happy, because they won’t, and also, to really believe in the power of other people helping you and allow them to help you.
Bryce: That’s one of the things that for the chapter of the film that I’m a part of, which is the title of the chapter is “Full Circle,” is I finally got help and this is recently, but the people who love me and were trying to help, and people who didn’t love me and were trying to help and the Lord and all this stuff was there for years, and what it took was something dramatic enough to turn my focus so I could see it.
Bryce: I would say to the younger me, “You don’t actually have to go through all of that stuff.” I mean, I did have to go through it because it’s the only way that it worked out, but some advice would be accept grace with ease. Don’t do this thing where you doubt that you deserve it. You already know that you believe that for everybody else; believe it for you.
Charan: Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s so great and I think, again, accepting that grace and believing that you’re worthy of it, accepting that you’re worthy of it. Man, life would be better. I feel like one of the greatest tragedies, this is a quote I heard, and I don’t know who said it, but it was, “One of the greatest tragedies of man is that he receives very little of what his Father in Heaven wants to give him.” And I really believe that to be true. We’re always fighting a God who knows everything’s best for us, and is like, “Look, I just want to bless you. Just let me bless you. Let me give you more good in your life and let me give you more of what you really, really want,” because a lot of times I feel like we have no clue what we want, and that’s why I love what you’re saying about aligning your world with the Lord, where then you realize this is actually what I wanted the whole time, but it’s that process of trying to figure it out.
Bryce: Totally. One of my favorite quotes is Larry R Lawrence. It was from a talk that he gave and it’s basically to him, to Christ or the Lord, “Direction is ever more important than the speed.” If you’re pointed towards where God wants you to go, it doesn’t matter if you’re crawling on your hands and knees.
Charan: I love that. Just trusting the process then.
Bryce: Trust the process.
Charan: You just know you’re going to get there. Well, guys, thank you so much for joining on the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast. This has been an awesome, awesome podcast. I’ve learned a lot and I’m so excited for Mission Stories, which comes out May 6th in theaters and then May 7th also. What happens after that?
Bryce: It opens May 6th in theaters, which are previews and then full day, May 7th, and it will be in theaters thereafter.
Jason: And you can buy tickets online already, right?
Bryce: Yeah, at missionstories.com has all the theaters that it’s available at.
Charan: And then people can also write in their mission stories in hopes that it might even turn into future episodes down the road. Well, I’m very excited. I think this is going to create a global pandemic movement of love, which we need. And thank you guys so much for joining me.
Bryce: And lemonade.
Charan: And lemonade, absolutely.
Jason: Thank you.
Charan: Yeah, thanks.
Bryce: Thanks, Charan.
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 use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback in 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.