The boys are all trooping into the campground and their dads come along and tell them they need to put up their tents.
So, the boys go off to pitch their tents.
That’s just one of dozens of scenes filmed in Tampa Bay recently for a new television and DVD series called “Samuel L. Collins and the Search for Biblical Truths.”
The Lutz family behind the project describes the series as a combination of a “Young Raiders of the Lost Ark,” the high-tech gadgetry of “Mission Impossible” and the scriptural conviction of “Veggie Tales.”
In each half-hour episode, 13-year-old Samuel L. Collins pursues top-secret clues to solve encrypted cipher codes that reveal Biblical truths.
As young viewers watch the program, Samuel invites them to help him solve the clues.
The show takes on such themes such as self-control, leadership, obedience and integrity – as Samuel learns how to use scriptural passages to discern Biblical truths.
“He is presented with a dilemma. He confronts the dilemma with scripture. Then he comes to a realization,” said Kristi Collins, who is Samuel’s mom and the writer for the series.
The show will begin airing on the NRB Network beginning March 10,
Segments of the show have been filmed in Bali, Singapore, Berlin, Kentucky and most recently Tampa Bay.
John Collins, the producer of the series, said the goal is to show viewers places they may never get a chance to visit. The Lutz man said he couldn’t ignore Tampa Bay, since he grew up in the area.
“We’re completing the project for television. But we’re also completing the project to be sold as individual DVDs, which is why they’re in no particular order,” Kristi Collins said.
“Season one will have seven episodes,” she said.
The boys acting in the Tampa Bay episode are from local families, living in Lutz, Land O’ Lakes, New Port Richey, Tarpon Springs and other nearby communities, Kristi Collins said.
The episode filmed in Tampa Bay focuses on the theme of obedience, she said.
The boys filmed all over Tampa Bay for two weeks, spending time at a Lutz campground, at the University of Tampa, at Lettuce Lake Park, at Clearwater Marine Aquarium and canoeing on the Hillsborough River. Rosh Jones is the cinematographer.
The series is not like traditional television.
The episodes are not in any particular order, Kristi Collins said. “They are made for moms to grab off of the shelves independently.
“It’s Christian programming. We’re trying to teach children how to take multiple scriptures and reason. We get into a situation in our churches, where we hear a lot of the letter of the law, but then the kids go searching on ‘Can I have another cookie?’ There’s no scripture in the Bible that tells them if they can have another cookie or not.
So, we have to teach them the spirit of the law,” Kristi Collins said.
“There was no way Jesus could teach about all of the small nuances and goodness knows, they didn’t have the Internet or all of the technology or the modern conveniences that we have. We’re trying to say, ‘Take these pieces of Scripture, what is your conclusion?’ ’’ she added.
The Collins family held focus groups to get reactions to some of their early work, and the reactions were generally favorable, although they have done some tweaking in response to suggestions.
“We had six focus groups. We put it in front of about 250 people. It was a good use of our time to hear from them,” Kristi Collins said.
“They were especially excited that Sam was going to be a role model and that he was choosing to show integrity and Christian character to little boys and girls. There’s not a lot out for moms to grab off the library shelf, at the Christian bookstore, as entertainment.”
The family is providing the television programming for free, she said. It will be broadcast in Russia, Indonesia and Australia, she said.
“We’re willing to give it away free. Go dub it in whatever you need to go do ministry around the globe, if this is a tool that can be of assistance to you,” she said.
DVD sales and sales of workbooks to accompany the series will produce revenues, which the family hopes to invest into more episodes.
“DVD sales hopefully will pay us enough to keep on funding it,” Kristi Collins said.
So far, the family has invested about $100,000 in the project, John Collins said.
“We have a business that has been profitable. We do corporate events. That’s taken care of our investment here,” he said.
He thinks there’s a void in the market for this type of programming.
“We wanted to show an example to young boys of a young boy who struggles with everyday issues that they struggle with.
“You have shows like Veggie Tales for when kids are younger. Once you’re past Veggie Tales, there isn’t anything until they become adults.”
Sam Collins said he’s pleased to be involved in the project.
“It’s exciting,” the 13-yearold said.
For more information about the series, visit www.SearchForBiblicalTruths.com.
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