Have you ever been told you weren't normal? That you didn't fit in? Well, twenty five years ago, that's exactly what was said to a wide eyed ADHD bundle of rambunctiousness named Jon. Even though I was making A's and B's, for the sake of everyone else's sanity, I was told I had to do kindergarten AGAIN because I was a "disturbance to the class".
Faced with this situation, my mom made a very brave decision and decided to home school my brother and me. This was no easy task. My attention span was about thirty seconds and I had more nervous energy than the squirrel from Ice Age. It didn't faze my mom though, and she began to help me learn in a different way. In my own way.
When I was fifteen, something extraordinary happened. For over a year, I had been interning for a broadcast cameraman named Mike that wen't to my Church. On a beautiful Fall saturday, he called me and said that a cameraman was sick on a local ESPN college football game and they desperately needed a replacement. Then he said "Jon I've talked to the director, get over here as fast as you can! Don't tell anyone how old you are!" I was nervous, but I will always remember that moment when I put on the headphones and unlocked the tripod to the massive, telescope style camera. That was the moment I fell in love with what would become my career and life's calling.
The next year my dad bought my brother and me a professional camera and helped us get a loan. All of the sudden, at 16 years old, we had our own video production company! Our hobby quickly grew out of control. Then, after a decade of commercials, award winning music videos, documentaries and TV pilots, I was challenged to "discover a purpose to our work" by director Alex Kendrick while working for him on the movie Courageous. So we shifted our focus to tell our own stories, instead of just being a hired gun. This lead us to our true love, feature films.
What is the moral to this story? If I hadn't been a home schooler, none of it would have been possible. If my mom hadn't spent the time and loving care to help me harness my creative mind, I probably would have been a dropout. So to all of the home school parents out there, keep going! What you are doing is valuable. In fact, I can't think of anything more important than investing in the life and future of your children. And to every home schooler and home school alum out there, I want to challenge you to do something special to say thank you to your mom and dad for the time they have poured into your life. That's the reasons we made the new family comedy Moms' Night Out: to say thank you to my mom, my wife and moms everywhere. After all we've put them through, they deserve to be told they are awesome! So take her to go see the movie this Mother's Day weekend. It is, after all, a movie by home schoolers. ;)
Jon Erwin Co-Writer / Co-Director / Producer