PROVO, Utah (ABC4) – It’s a fun concept, take the drummer from a rock band, have her interview other musicians about the spiritual aspects of their music, throw in musical performance and you have ‘Grace Notes.’
The show produced by a local Utah Film company, Kaleidoscope Pictures, for BYUtv is ready to launch season two. But getting second season-ready was fraught with unexpected challenges including COVID-19 temporarily shutting everything down.
Producer and business partner Russ Kendall says, “Early last year when things started getting a little crazy we quickly put in a remote ability to work as directors we can do that, but we have a pretty robust post-production team, we had obligations still to get things on the air, shows that were going through the post process, from a post-production standpoint we were able to keep going fairly seamlessly”
Kaleidoscope’s leaders realized the pandemic challenges and moved to keep finding ways to survive with the other aspects of the business.
Director John Foss said, “As soon as we realized this was going to be around for a while (the pandemic), we started thinking how to pivot really and think of how we could come up with ways we could safely approach production. Thankfully we are not the only ones in this industry who had to figure this out.”
Kendall adds, “Then we hunkered down and started to work to innovate, pivot; once restrictions lifted to the degree we could work, we wanted to be sure we could do that, to hit the ground running.”
“We’re really trying to provide an environment where people can come to work safely, and it took a while for us to realize what that meant,” Foss told ABC4.
Even though most Utahns don’t know Kaleidoscope by name, they are familiar with their work and unique style. They have produced material for Ancestry.com, Franklin Covey, Adobe, and many other national and international projects.
The company started with the sentimental Utah fan-favorite film “Charly” and has moved forward ever since. The company’s Holiday specials are becoming Utah favorites.
They’ve created a niche in visual music products. They have worked with talent like John Legend, Lindsey Stirling, The Piano Guys, Lauren Daigle, Amy Grant, David Archuletta, and Alex Boye.
Foss says, ” It’s part of our mission statement to artfully enhance, illuminate and reflect the light of the human spirit. Artfully capturing our stories is really important to us.”
Grace Notes host is Neon Trees drummer Elaine Bradley and looks at music from its creative beginnings and spiritual quality. Be warned, the show can bring tears and smiles and is probably pretty good at doing it, but it also shows the joy music can bring.
On Bradley being the host, Producer Kendall explains, “She’s the real deal, she is a member of an internationally renowned rock band, (Neon Trees) and she’s a person of faith, she knows what that is, and she walks the walk, and you know, lives as a person of faith in a non-conducive world sometimes.”
“When artists come in and sit down and have these conversations with her, they know they are speaking with someone who gets it. She’s also really no-nonsense, which is great! ‘Let’s cut the small talk, and let’s get into the nitty-gritty’, and the artists have really appreciated it.”
He continues, “They’ve been very candid, I think that’s the authenticity, they feel it’s a safe place to say ‘Yeah, I’ve dealt with depression, I’ve dealt with the suicide of a loved one,’ we’ve hit some pretty strong topics, not as an agenda, artists share with us, what’s your faith journey been? They talk candidly; they have been in some dark, dark places. and that light is not at the end of the tunnel, but they’ve continued with the hope there will be light.”
He points out no one’s journey is simple, by just growing up in a church and the show reflects the struggle.
“It’s really about artists sharing that journey of faith and hope, and coming out the other side, and really that connection to divinity.”
The heart of the show is music and helping the artists and all of us through rough times. The show really is about music and the power music has to heal and inspire.
Russ Kendall co-created the Emmy-winning music show “The Song that Changed My Life”, realizing that music is so important to people. It has become an important part of the company because it is something he and the team loves.
Foss says, “Any chance we get to make a music show, we embrace it, especially when it’s something like this when it’s ‘Grace Notes,’ infused with so much soul, much purpose, I enjoy the show, because I like the stories where people look to music, to find hope, and purpose and motivation. That’s true in my life. I have a playlist for almost everything that I do.”
Many people are surprised the music products Kaleidoscope makes are coming from Provo, Utah. ABC4 asked what advice they would give up and coming filmmakers who want to start their careers?
Foss says, “I went to The Met once, and there was a display of Picasso’s work, they had rooms of Picasso’s work in there, I wasn’t prepared for what I was going to see, walls were just full of his artwork, sketches, sketch drawings, paintings, ideas, scribblings, all kinds of things, he just never stopped creating.
That was a huge lesson for me that as a creative, as someone who loves to write, direct, produce act, whatever…just never stop being creative, to listen to the creative voice that’s in me and try to find those stories and constantly be working on something. Believe in yourself and believe in your creative ideas, and constantly create, you’ll eventually create what you want.”
Kendall says, “If you want to be a writer, start writing if you want to direct, find a friend with a script, start doing it. If you want to shoot stuff, you may not have the highest-end camera, but you’ve got 4K on your iPhone; just start shooting stuff, just start doing it, you don’t need to say I am in the film industry or have that job title, just do it!”
‘Grace Notes’ airs at 10 a.m. on Sundays and re-airs at 2 p,m. The first season can be streamed in it its entirety on BYUtv.