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Home > Ian Reid: Telling Beautiful Stories

Ian Reid: Telling Beautiful Stories & Making Movies That Change Lives

July 17th, 2013

By Chelsea Rankin

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722

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Ian Reid with wife Yetta

When Ian Reid (Journalism, ’12) was ten years old, he watched a LEGO movie some of his friends made. He had previously enjoyed watching movies, but never had stopped to think about where they came from or how they were made. But as he watched his friends’ LEGO movie, he was amazed as the LEGO men walked around, talked, and moved. He wanted to make one too. Soon, his LEGO movies grew more and more elaborate, until he and his friends decided they were tired of making LEGO movies and wanted to try their hand at live action movies.

Their live action movies were a mixture of Mission Impossible, Indiana Jones, and Jackie Chan type adventures. One of them was a spoof on National Geographic movies, where an aboriginal was searching through the Australian Outback (Reid’s backyard) in search of the mystical pizza tree. By the time Reid was 14, his friends were tired of making movies and had moved on to other pursuits, but Reid still couldn’t get enough of them.

In high school, Reid realized that while making movies was fun, they possessed a deeper value than just entertainment.

“The amount of time people spend gorging on entertainment shapes the way they think about the world around them,” he said. Once he realized that, “That’s when my thought-process transitioned from ‘movie-making is fun’ to ‘movie making has the potential to change people’s lives.’”

Reid began looking for film schools to attend and settled on BIOLA University, a Christian school with a solid film department. Through a chance encounter he met George Escobar, who was promoting his new film Come What May. When Reid informed him that he wanted to attend BIOLA, Escobar asked him to consider where their graduates are ending up and what they are doing to break into the industry. Escobar, who graduated from the American Film Institute, believed that film school was a waste of time. He said it taught students how to use the equipment, but didn’t teach them how to tell stories. If he could do it all over again, he would have attended a liberal arts school to learn about what comprises good story-telling. He encouraged Reid to learn which stories are timeless and true and which ones are fleeting and unimportant. Reid considered this information for about three hours, and was convinced that he didn’t want to attend film school.

“I wanted to learn how to tell stories that would bring people to a deeper understanding of the true and the beautiful and would lead people to a deeper understanding of Christ and eternity,” he said. “I didn’t know of a better liberal arts school than PHC, where I could study from professors who are brilliant and glean from them how to tell beautiful stories.”

At PHC, Reid studied subjects like constitutional law and physics. Yet as he studied the sciences and history, he learned to find the beauty in what he was learning. And through these experiences, Reid learned how to tell beautiful stories.

“The professors pushed us to question why the author said or did what they did,” he said. “They caused us to think about the underlying worldviews and truths behind everything we studied and learned. They didn’t just have us practicing writing; they had us understand why we were doing what we were doing and how we were joining in the great tradition of education and thinking. It gave us a framework for understanding truth and beauty relating to a shared human experience that’s been passed down through the millennia.”

As part of his internship requirements, Reid worked with George Escobar’s Advent Film Group and assisted Dr. Michael Farris with the creation of a Constitutional Literacy video series. He also filmed an apologetics video training series with a PHC alumnus, and created a feature film about a 1940s Screenwriter.


Ian and Yetta on their wedding day in May

Reid currently works as the director of film and visual media at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). He also works with Heritage Action for America and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute by producing video branding and mini documentaries on the work they are doing. He recently completed four music videos for a concert pianist and is beginning a documentary about a master horseman living in Virginia.

Reid was asked to film a documentary on Mt. Everest called Shadow of Everest. According to Reid, the goal was to capture the history and beliefs of the people who live at the base of the mountain and compare it to the ideology of those who try to conquer the mountain. In preparation for this task, Reid and his crew spent three days climbing Mt. Ranier. They did training exercises, jumped across glaciers, and experienced 72 mile-per-hour winds. When Reid arrived back in Virginia after the trip, he immediately went to emergency room because he was having trouble breathing. The lining of his lungs was inflamed from the high altitude and heavy exertion. After consulting with his family, he decided to back out of his Mt. Everest commitment to film the documentary to preserve his health and safety.

In addition to filmmaking, Reid also dreams of composing music for video games and TV shows. He had been unable to afford the necessary equipment for composing, but because of connections through some of his film projects he managed to acquire the needed materials. He picked out a partner who shared a similar passion and together they are beginning to launch Luminosity Scoring.

While Reid’s entrepreneurial pursuits have opened many doors, they have also led to some dead ends. In spite of this, Reid has chosen to continue starting businesses and projects that he is passionate about.

“It allows you to do what you love, rather than do what someone else loves,” he said. “Not everything succeeds, but there is something thrilling about taking a risk on something that you think is really exciting. If it succeeds, you are able to watch it succeed for you and your partners, rather than watch it succeed for someone else.”

Reid recently married his dream girl, Yetta, an entrepreneur, photographer, and director of marketing for Middleburg Real Estate. She inspires Reid to work even harder by being faithful to the tasks set before her. Together, they are working towards Reid’s dream of sitting next to each other in the audience at the Oscars and hearing Reid’s film announced for winning best picture.