It's no secret that our CEO, Diane LeJeune, loves HGTV's Fixer Upper. She loves shiplap, Waco, TX, and of course, Chip and Joanna Gaines. So, when we received an email from the Chip Gaines' mailing list with the title "Calling All Dreamers," it definitely got our attention.
It was late September, and Diane and I were out to dinner in the Nashville area, already talking about our fund-raising efforts for The Guy I'm Not Dating, when we received his email. The email was short and sweet with a picture of Chip and the words, "What do you dream of doing? Whatever it may be, Chip wants to make it a reality." Now, to give you a little backstory, Chip is on a long list of people we'd like to offer a cameo role in our film, so of course, my mom and I saw this as an opportunity not just to raise funds, but to actually get Chip on board!
The rules were simple. Chip was going to select 2 winners from all of the entries to grant their wishes. There was a form to fill out and rules to read on their website, but the most important part was that you had to film a video, under 2 minutes in length, pitching your idea or dream to Chip. As video production is kind of our thing, we felt pretty confident in our ability to create a video compelling enough to get his attention.
To give you an idea of the timeline, we received the email announcing the campaign on September 29th and the winners were going to be announced October 13th and 14th at their annual Silobration in Waco, TX, with the deadline for submissions being the week before, so there was very little time to film the submission videos. Most people opted to film on their smartphone and submit un-edited, raw, clips, while others created professionally made videos with music and lights, that were clearly scripted. We wanted to do something in between. Professional, yet personal. I'd like to take a second to commend all of the entries. My mom and I watched most of the submissions in the first week and they were all fantastic. As the deadline approached, they were receiving so many submissions we couldn't keep up. In the end, Chip announced that they had over 2,700 submissions.
So we wrote our two minute script and got our professional videographer friend, Erica, to help us out and we filmed our Chip-starter video, which you can watch below.
That was it. We were so proud of our little, one take submission video.
Rewind back to my first paragraph. Remember when I told you my mom was a big Fixer Upper fan? The kind that likes shiplap? Well, she's also the kind that had already purchased tickets to the sold-out Silobration. We thought this was perfect, maybe even a God thing. We'd entered the contest, and we already had tickets to attend the event where we'd be announced as a winner.
Well, see, the problem with that is that in order to be a winner, you had to be a finalist, and as we were driving down to Waco for the Silobration, we received the email that we were not selected as a finalist. To say that we were devastated is an understatement. As an artist and creator, I feel all emotions 10-fold, most of all failure and disappointment. However, we decided to go to the Silobration anyways and to enjoy the girls' weekend in Waco and celebrate the winners.
In the end, Chip awarded six different submissions the grand prize of granting their dreams. The dreams ranged from adoption to mountain climbing and all were well deserved. To see the winners and their videos you can check out chip-starter.com.
As the days and weeks passed after the incredible disappointment, my mom and I had begun to heal and began to regroup and restrategize, realizing that all doors, both open and closed, are sent from God. We realized that we didn't want to win any contest God didn't ordain for us to win. If it wasn't in His will, we didn't want it.
We would still love to work with Chip someday, maybe on TGIND, but also maybe on something else! Who knows? What we do know is that we give 100% into all of our endeavors and strive to always seek God first in what we pursue. This isn't the first door God has closed, and it won't be the last.