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BYUH crew filmed 2020 youth theme music video ‘Go and Do’ in New Zealand

A film crew member films a youth actor walking into a sunset on a beach

Every year The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints introduces the youth theme song with a music video. In the past years, it made music videos in Brazil and the Philippines. This year’s song is “Go and Do” featuring David Archuleta, and the music video was made in New Zealand.

The project’s camera crew members were BYU–Hawaii employees and a student. They said they faced many challenges during the production, but the Lord’s help and their team’s hard work enabled them to create a beautiful music video for the “Go and Do” youth theme song.

Tay Steele, a former manager of the BYUH Media Production was a director and a cinematographer of the project. Joshua Christiansen, a current manager of the BYUH Media Production, was an assistant camera operator and a drone pilot. Jordan Williams, a senior from New Zealand double majoring in marketing and graphic design, was a camera and producer assistant.

According to Steele, the Pacific Area was assigned to do this project, and Masi Watene, the producer of the Church in the Pacific Area, was assigned to lead the project. Watene was a former manager at BYUH Media Production and was working with Christiansen and Steele when he asked them to help with the project.

Steele said the planning and production process of the video was almost eight months. Finding the idea of the video, choosing the actors, locations, wardrobes, and other preparation took a long time, he explained. They chose four youth actors from a pool of more than 500 candidates.

The door

The main idea of the music video is four youth trying to find doors. Christiansen said they wanted to create an abstract music video that is open for different interpretations to attract a broader audience. The door can mean different things for everyone, such as the Savior, a goal or anything else.

Christiansen said, “After the video was released people were asking me if the door was real or CGI. The door was a real door made by Watene. When we left the north island of New Zealand, we were planning to leave the door and would make a new one on the South Island.

“However, Williams wanted to take the door with us, so we did. We had so much luggage and the door was too big to be [checked-in] luggage on an airplane. However, they let the door be checked in. It was a miracle.”

Williams said they needed to carry the door everywhere they went, even up to high mountains and rocky areas. Williams was in charge of the door and carried it most of the time. He shared, “Last summer I worked on constructions in Australia and learned techniques to carry heavy things. Those techniques helped me to carry the door.

“I was standing behind the door on one shooting and saw how Theo was looking at the door. His eyes were full of tears and was looking at the door with sincere humility as if he were looking at the Savior. Their acting skills were enhanced by their testimony. I felt the Spirit strongly.”


Challenges

Steele said, “It was a big project, and I felt pressure as a director. Things could have gone wrong, but we were relying on God. We changed many things that we had planned because of the situations, but everything lined up well.”

Williams shared, “It was so great to visit my home country and make a video for the Church. There were many hardships, such as logistics, sleep deprivation, carrying the door and other heavy things around, and lots of traveling. However, it was worth it. It strengthened my testimony a lot.”

Steele added, “Every morning, we woke up before sunrise and sleep very late to catch the desired lightning conditions, but no one complained. A total of 15 people were in the crew. The youth were spiritual giants, and we learned a lot from each other. One of them was called to serve in a mission.”

Christiansen explained, “We were in seven locations in two islands in only two weeks. Everyone was very humble and was listening to each other. We become close friends and helped each other in many ways, such as making dishes. I felt that everyone was supposed to be there at the time. By the end, no one wanted to leave.”


Tender mercies

Steele said they tried to portray the meaning of the video through light. “We were relying on weather conditions and natural lights. However, when we arrived in New Zealand, the weather forecast said it would be cloudy the whole week. It was our biggest fear, but against all odds, we got such beautiful lighting conditions. Heavenly Father was there the whole time and helped us to do good decisions.”

Christiansen added, “Wherever we went, we saw very beautiful full rainbows, sometimes even double rainbows, and it was a sign for us that the Lord would help us. Despite the pessimistic forecast, everything went so well, and we got the desired result.”

Williams shared, “It was a great experience for me. I learned to work in a production team and strengthened my testimony. I was the only person who saw some of the locations before, and they listened to my suggestions. It made me feel trusted. I had a chance to ride a helicopter and saw the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen in my life.”

Steele said, “One scene that portrayed a youth approaching the door was the closest to heaven that I have ever filmed. The sunset was so beautiful, the lighting was perfect, and the Spirit was so strong.”

Christiansen shared, “After the video was posted online, there was so much positive feedback from the audience around the world. We were happy to see that and felt accomplished.”

According to Steele, he said he was hoping to do similar projects in the future. He said he felt surrounding yourself with people who know what they are doing and focusing on their skills elevates outcomes.

He said “people can do great things with a good team and many of those things could never be done alone. Combining our teamwork and skills with God’s help made everything possible. The result exceeded our expectations.”