It’s been said that comic book superheroes are modernity’s version of the great Greek myths. Just as the ancient Greeks used the stories of Odysseus or Hercules as guides on how to live their lives, many modern individuals who grew up on superhero stories have found inspiration in them on how to live a heroic life, even if they’re just average joes.
My guest today on the podcast is a documentarian who has created films about real-life people who have been inspired by comic book heroes to do good in their communities. His name is Brett Culp and he’s the director of Legends of the Knight and Look to the Sky.
In today’s episode, Brett and I discuss why Batman is such an enduring superhero and how he’s inspired a millionaire to dress up like Batman and visit kids in the hospital, and a child psychologist to start using Batman comic books to teach troubled children skills like resilience and courage. We also discuss Brett’s unique way of showing these films so that he can raise money for charity. If you love comic books, you’re going to love this podcast. Even if you’re not a big fan of comic books, you’re still going to enjoy it. It’s a truly uplifting story.
- How his son’s autism spectrum diagnosis prompted Brett to look at how superheroes have inspired people to take on challenges in their lives (03:30)
- Why Batman is such an enduring icon (06:00)
- How the life of Batman can be a template of how to deal with depression (07:30)
- How Michael Uslan risked his career and fortune to save Batman from campiness and created the modern superhero movie genre in the process (09:00)
- How Batman inspired a successful businessman to sell his business and build a Batmobile to visit sick children in the hospital (14:30)
- The 18-year-old who dressed like Batman and rode around in his community on a scooter doing good deeds (15:00)
- How a psychologist uses Batman comics in his therapy with children (19:00)
- How stories are virtual reality simulators (22:00)
- The unique way Brett releases his films in order to raise money for charity (24:00)
- Brett’s new film Look to the Sky (27:00)
- Brett’s documentary that he’s working on right now about the influence dads have on daughters (31:00)
Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast
- Legends of the Knight
- Michael Uslan
- Tim Burton’s Batman
- Adam West’s Batman TV Show
- Dark Knight Rises
- Batman Begins
- Petaluma Batman
- Comicspedia (database of psychological themes that comic books touch on)
- The Storytelling Animal
- My podcast interview with Jon Gottschall
- Look to the Sky
- A Voice That Carries
- The research about a dad’s influence on his daughters
If you’re looking to be uplifted and edified, take an hour and half out of your day to watch Legends of the Knight. It will inspire you to go out and do some good, as well as dig into your old Batman comic books. And be sure to visit Brett’s site Rising Hero for more information about his upcoming films Look to the Sky and A Voice that Carries.
Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
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Read the Transcript
Brett McKay: Brett McKay here and welcome to another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. Someone said that comic book superheroes is modernity’s version of the great Greek myths. Just as the ancient Greeks used the stories of Achilles or Odysseus or Hercules as guides on how to live their lives, many modern individuals who grew up on superhero stories have found inspiration in them on how to live a heroic life, even if they’re just regular Joe Blows. My guest today on the podcast is a documentarian who has created films about real-life people who have been inspired by comic book heroes to do good in their own lives. His name is Brett Culp and he’s the director of one film called Legends of the Knight, which looks at how the Batman legend has transformed people’s lives, as well as the forthcoming documentary called Look to the Sky.
In today’s podcast, Brett and I discuss why Batman is such an enduring superhero and how he’s inspired a millionaire to dress up like Batman and visit kids in the hospital and a child psychologist to start using comic books to teach troubled children about skills like resilience and courage. We also discuss Brett’s unique way of showing these films so that he can raise money for charity. If you love comic books, you’re going to love this podcast. Even if you’re not a big fan of comic books, you’re going to enjoy it. It’s a really uplifting story. Be sure to check out the show notes for links to resources mentioned during the show. You can find them at aom.is/culp. As always, if you enjoy the podcast, please consider giving us a review on iTunes or Stitcher. Brett Culp, welcome to the show.
Brett Culp: Oh, it’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks for inviting me. It’s always wonderful to connect with another guy with a great name.
Brett McKay: Right, yeah, Brett. It is an awesome name. You’re a filmmaker. Particularly, you do documentaries and 2 of the documentaries you’ve done have been about superheroes, but it’s different. It’s not about the superheroes themselves. It’s more about how these superheroes, comic book superheroes, have influenced people to inspire them to go out and do good themselves, so I’m curious. How did you decide to explore this topic of how childhood comic superheroes, particularly Batman and Superman, inspire people to go do good themselves?
Brett Culp: It’s actually a very personal story for me. I have 2 boys and my youngest son, Judah, when he was in kindergarten, he started to have some challenges, emotional, mental, relationship, social. He went through some tests and we finally ended up in the expert’s office. She started saying things to us based on the test results she was seeing, using words like autism and sensory processing disorder and attention deficit and all these different things that I had a sense of, but I didn’t really understand.
Then she took it a step further and she said, “And based on this information, here’s what you can expect for Judah’s life. He’s never going to excel in school. He’s never going to do well in relationships. He’s never really going to be able to achieve things. He’s never really going to have a job.” We went through all this stuff with her and we walked out, got in the car, and my wife looked over at me and said, “That is a lie. That’s a lie about our son. That is not true. That is not who he is. I don’t believe that.”
We had this expert paint a picture for us about what our son was going to be, but we chose, as a family, to see a very different picture and that picture was of our son as a superhero, standing on the top of the swing set, wind blowing through his cape, looking out into the distance into the person that he would become and the good he would do in the world. I think that time for me put this really thing in my gut about it’s not just my son, it’s that all of us have the capacity to be a superhero. That was the story I wanted to live out in my family, but I also wanted to empower people and make them feel like they could do it to.
I’m a filmmaker. That’s my voice. That’s my place where I can speak to the world and so I think even though I didn’t understand all the pieces of it at the time, I was really drawn to the idea of making a movie that said we all can be superheroes and even if we’re broken and hurt and have gone through difficulties, even if we don’t feel like we have superpowers, we have that ability. That launched me down a filmmaking journey of making what ultimately became the documentary film Legends of the Knight.
Brett McKay: All right. Legends of the Knight, that’s about Batman. Why did you start off with Batman?
Brett Culp: Batman is, for many people, the most identifiable superhero, for the classic cliché that he’s the superhero with no superpowers. You can say he’s a billionaire and that’s a superpower, but the bottom line is, he’s just a guy. I think we connect with that. I think we look at our own lives and say, “Hey, I’m just a guy.” The power of Batman is also the Bruce Wayne character, that he came out of brokenness, that he’s this little kid that experiences the worst possible thing you can experience, the loss of his parents at a very important age in his development.
I think he could’ve easily gone very internal with that pain and he could’ve said, “Look at this terrible hand I was dealt in life. I’ve got all this money and I’ve got all this power.” He could just be sitting in his house with beautiful girls, playing video games, eating Doritos all day, but he doesn’t do that. He does the opposite. Instead, he says, “You know what? I am going to devote my life to making sure that nobody else goes through what I went through. I’m going to try to help people. I’m going to use this pain as a catalyst, as an inspiration and motivation to do good in the world.”
You can debate whether or not there’s some insanity in that. There probably is, but we’re all a little insane. In genius, there’s always a little bit of insanity and so I think we connect to Batman because we want to look at our own lives and say, “I am broken. I have gone through difficulty. I have gone through pain, but I believe deep in my gut that these difficulties I’ve been through can ultimately become the motivation and strength to turn me not only into a superhero, but for me to use that as a superpower to help other people.
Brett McKay: Right. I like that idea about Batman didn’t go inward because a lot of times, people who have depression, one of the things that therapists talk about is that if you start ruminating, just going internal and just thinking about your you just get more depressed, but when you just like an external locus, when you look at others and you start helping others, that’s actually one of the best ways to help your depression.
Brett Culp: Exactly, to engage. We tend to want to withdraw, as you just said, but the truth of life is that the beauty is in the engagement and it’s messy. Relationships are not easy, connection is not easy, but those are the beautiful spaces of life.
Brett McKay: Awesome. Let’s talk about some of the people you interviewed in the documentary, so starting off with Michael Uslan, is it?
Brett Culp: Yeah, Michael Uslan and that was one of the most exciting interviews we got to do because Michael is the guy who, as a child, really had a vision of bringing a more dark and serious Batman to the screen. If you grew up in the 80s, your first exposure to Batman might’ve been Tim Burton’s 1989, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson Batman movie. For generation before that, it was Adam West and corny and silly and Batman was kind of a joke, but Michael Uslan had this vision of bringing a very dark and serious Batman to the world. He fought for 10 years in Hollywood as a movie producer to get that movie made and it finally happened.
Really, because of Michael, we have this vision of Batman that is very different than what the generation before us had. Really, that whole Michael’s work … I don’t say this in the film, but I can say it pretty unabashedly today, Michael’s work on Batman 1989 is what created this superhero culture we’re living in today because that’s when Hollywood started to see this was big money. There was big money in superheroes and so now we’re proliferated with superhero movies. If you’re mad about that, blame Michael Uslan.
Brett McKay: Right. Why did he want to bring this darker, edgier Batman? What was his larger mission with the franchise?
Brett Culp: In the movie and in the interview that I had with him, he pretty much says that when he was a kid and this television show came on and everybody was laughing at Batman, that was a personal offense to him. He had grown up loving Batman as a comic book character and those stories were much more dark and serious. He was mad that people were making fun of Batman and he had this vision of redeeming the character, taking it back to its roots, on some level. It was like a personal mission for him to do that and he was practically laughed out of Hollywood because of it. In fact, you see in the movie DC Comics didn’t even want to sell it to him because they thought Batman was dead. They thought it was done. Nobody wanted Batman anymore. I think it was a very personal mission. I think what I love about the way we told his story in Legends of the Knight is you see this very personal journey he went on. He’s had to, on some level, become Batman to get that movie made.
Brett McKay: Right. He sunk his fortune into it.
Brett Culp: He did.
Brett McKay: He really put some skin in the game.
Brett Culp: He rolled the dice, so there’s a lot of pieces of his story that we left out, but it was like one of those things where if this hadn’t happened, he would’ve been a laughingstock in Hollywood. His career probably would’ve been done and he would’ve financially, potentially, been done, as well. He took a huge risk.
Brett McKay: Right. We have him to thank for Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins.
Brett Culp: You bet. He’s the executive producer on all those movies and when you see Batman Superman in March, he will be listed as the executive producer of that movie, as well.
Brett McKay: Okay. Michael, he had a lot to do with saving Batman from the zip, pow, wow, blammy ’60s Batman. I remember watching those as a kid and they were fun, but it was really jokey. Let’s talk about some of these other people who they also grew up watching Batman or reading Batman comics. These aren’t movie producers. These are just regular folks who decided they wanted to actually become Batman and not just follows the example about doing good, but they became Batman. Two of the characters I thought were really great was Lenny, I guess he just died, which is …
Brett Culp: He did. It was so sad for me when it happened last year. Oh, my goodness.
Brett McKay: Tell us a little bit about Lenny because he has an interesting story because this guy, he was like Bruce Wayne. He was a successful businessman. He had lots of money, but he decided to become the Batman for a good cause.
Brett Culp: That’s right. He had this thing happen where he attended a children’s hospital event, rented a Batman costume, and went. He saw the magic of how these kids responded to it and he felt like it was a calling, really. He almost mentally engaged with how people symbolically would see Batman as a protector, as a friend, as something like that. He got just really emotionally jazzed about that and when he sold a business that he had spent his career working on, he decided to take some time off and just took like a year of his life and this is all he did. He built this amazing Batmobile that he traveled around the country with. He visited children’s hospitals all over the US and Canada as Batman and then gave these kids presents.
I got to go with him to 3 different hospitals and film and just watching, even for me … I think we captured some level of it in the documentary, but even for me as a person, just following him around through these 3 hospital visits, it was just like this is magical what’s going on here, the way these kids are responding. It’s really like they are, for a moment, all of the mess they’re in, all of the difficulty, it just disappears for a minute and all they’re experiencing is this symbolic Batman image in their hospital room. It really was a powerful thing and I think you feel it as you watch his story in Legends of the Knight.
Brett McKay: Right. I got a little teary eyed watching. It’s amazing. It’s not only the kids, but the parents and the adults. They actually you could tell for a minute there, there was moments where they suspended belief and they’re like this is actually Batman, right?
Brett Culp: Yes. It’s a weird thing where when I was filming with him and I’d walk around with him for an hour or so and then he’d walk into another room and take off the mask and now he was Lenny again, there was something in me that was like no, no, no. You know what I mean? He’s Batman. No, he’s not Lenny. There’s something magical in that.
Brett McKay: Yeah, obviously, you had the power of the symbol of Batman.
Brett Culp: Uh-huh (affirmative). That’s right.
Brett McKay: Batman is a symbol and grab what you …
Brett Culp: That’s right. He means something to me from my childhood and I know you transfer it into those spaces.
Brett McKay: Right. Then the other character or not a character, he’s a person, we don’t know his real name. He’s the Petaluma Batman. Tell us about this guy.
Brett Culp: Oh, my goodness. It’s the greatest thing. This guy, when he was like 18 years old, he, as a dare, as a joke, dressed up like Batman and went and did some good in his community of Petaluma, California. The people just loved it and he just kept doing it. This guy, Petaluma Batman, when he was 18, 19, he’s now retired, so you can’t see him anymore. He’s done. I think he went off to college and I, to this day, nobody … There was only like 5 people in the community that actually knew who he was. He kept his identity a secret. He didn’t tell anybody. I don’t know who he is. I had to have him sign some relief document, but then I took that document, folded it in half, put it in a folder, and never looked at it because I wanted to retain the magic of that personally, as a filmmaker.
He just goes around the city doing good things. He shows up at special events in the community. He raises money for charity. He helps people. He had a huge Facebook group where people would post needs and he would share them and he would help. He’s wearing this like … It’s great that you brought up these 2 stories because they are really the opposite ends of the spectrum. Here you got Lenny who’s a millionaire, successful business guy running around in this perfect replica costume and $100,000 Batmobile and all of this stuff. Then on the other hand, you got Petaluma Batman who’s this high school kid wearing a T-shirt he got at Kmart and a mask from Walmart, this cheapy, little plastic mask and he’s running around doing good in his community. I think …
Brett McKay: On an electric scooter.
Brett Culp: On an electric scooter, right, this little electric scooter that halfway through the night always runs out of charge and he has to push it around for the rest of the night. I think the contrast in there is a beautiful image of even how Batman and the superhero spirit can be in our own life. You can start wherever you are and be whoever you are and still channel that superhero spirit. You don’t have to wait until later. You can start now.
Brett McKay: Right. What I loved about Petaluma Batman is again, even though his outfit was chintzy, the community embraced it. This is Batman. I think he even mentioned the high school kids just ate it up. It became a status symbol to get your picture taken with the Petaluma Batman. You can share it on Instagram or Snapchat or whatever.
Brett Culp: Yup, that’s right. Oh, it did, and they loved him. They loved him in that community. They would do news reports about him. He’s a super-cool guy, super-cool. Again, I never saw him without his mask, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be, I think.
Brett McKay: Right, exactly. This is interesting. I think maybe this is where your personal story connects on a real visceral level with the documentary, but I thought it was interesting. There’s a psychologist out there who uses comic books, but specifically, Batman comic books in his therapy for children and teens. I thought that was pretty cool. Can you tell us a bit more about this guy and what he’s doing with the Batman comics to help children and teens with whatever issues they might have?
Brett Culp: Yeah. Dr. Patrick O’Connor, when I filmed him, he was based in Charlotte, North Carolina at a practice called Southeast Psych. Now he is actually teaching in Chicago, so he’s in the Chicago area as a teacher. There has been this whole movement recently and I got into when I started into this film. I thought it was a fluke filming Patrick who, essentially, what he was doing was bringing these comic books into therapy with young people, particularly, teenage boys in particular, who were having trouble accessing their feelings. When he would get to a root, he created this entire index, which is still free online. It’s called Comicspedia. You can just Google Comicspedia and find it. He has listed hundreds of comics. He’s referenced them based on the psychological things they talk about.
When he would sit with a client and he would realize okay, they’re having an issue with this, rather than diving into it, he would pull up his database and pull out a Batman comic and say, “Just sit here for a minute and read this Batman comic,” because you can read a comic book in just a few minutes, really. They’re pretty short. “Read this comic and then after we’re done, let’s talk about it.”
Essentially, what he was doing was using story and storytelling as a way of creating safety for people to get in touch with their own emotions because it’s much safer to project your own experiences and feelings onto another character than it is sometimes to talk about them yourself. That’s what he was doing. I’ve since learned, in the process of sharing Legends of the Knight over the past couple of years that there are lots of therapists and different people that use that sort of storytelling therapy to help people. It was just unique that Patrick was using Batman in particular because he’s a character that a lot of teenagers relate to.
Brett McKay: Right. I thought that was an interesting thread you had woven throughout the documentary, the idea of the power of story. You get a bunch of academics on there talking about how story can transform lives and the Batman story is … We think of it as this silly comic book thing, but it really is, it follows the metamyths that are woven in throughout all the great myths of human history. I think you interviewed John Gottschall, who we’ve had on the podcast. He mentioned that oftentimes, we think of comic books and fiction as a way to escape, but he says actually, no, that’s not what’s going on. We’re actually figuring life out with these stories.
Brett Culp: That’s right. I like what Jonathan talks about about story being like a virtual reality simulator. It allows us the opportunity to feel and experience things without having the risk of doing it ourselves. That’s why we connect with certain stories. You watch a movie and it makes you cry or have some certain heightened emotion because you think to yourself what would I do if I was in that situation? How would I behave? Would I be like that, this guy over here that’s the Judas character, who betrays everybody and is the weak character or would I be the strong character that is the hero in this situation? What we want to, as you go through that virtual reality simulator, we all then want to get to the end feeling empowered and strengthened that we would be that hero. It gives us the opportunity to emotionally, mentally, even spiritually live that out without the risk of making a wrong decision in real life.
Brett McKay: That’s awesome. You not only highlight people who are doing good in the film, but you actually did some good when you released this film. Can you tell us a little bit about the charity aspect of whenever you released Legends of the Knight?
Brett Culp: Yeah. After we finished this film, there’s this typical path you’re supposed to take with an independent film, which includes film festivals and sales agents and distributor negotiations and all this stuff. I got to the end of it and was really feeling like I want this to be more than a business interaction or engagement. I want there to be something about the way we distribute this that is in the spirit of the movie, that expresses the message of the movie that we all can be superheroes.
We worked with a distributor, a theatrical distributor called Tugg and what Tugg allows people to do is to request screenings of movies in their local theater. You can do it with classic movies and famous movies from the past and all that kind of stuff, but you can also do it with independent films. Our idea was to essentially put our movie on Tugg as a first way of releasing it and let people request screenings of the movie at their local theater with the idea behind it be you request the screening and then pick a charity and we will give our company’s proceeds from that screening to the charity you choose.
Then what we encourage them to do is to engage, get the charity engaged with the screening, as well, so that the charity can get some exposure, some PR, sign up some volunteers, so it wasn’t just a moneymaker because we envisioned it like hey, maybe you’re going to just make a few hundred dollars for this charity off $10 movie ticket sales, but that you could really help the people that attend engage and inspire them to essentially say after the movie, “Hey, if you left this movie feeling inspired to be a superhero like Batman, you can connect with this charity right here and help them. Sign up right now. Make a donation, whatever you want to do.”
We threw that out to the world. We had no idea what would happen, whether people would want to do that, but they did. It was really an incredible experience. The film has now played in over 100 cities around the world through this distribution option and it’s still continuing to go on. That effort has raised over $80,000 for charitable organizations doing a variety of things all over the world.
Again, it’s continuing. There’s a screening that’s happening in Bristol in the United Kingdom that got scheduled for May. It sold out in 7 days, 250 seats. They’ve now scheduled 3 more screenings, so that’s still going on because even though Legends of the Knight is now on Netflix and iTunes and Hulu here in the US, it’s not on those platforms in Europe, so the only way still to see it in Europe is through creating a theatrical event. Anyway, it’s been an incredible experience and one that once we went through that, we were like we want to continue this. We don’t just want this to be a one off. We want to keep pushing ahead with this.
Brett McKay: That’s really great. I love that. It seems like after you did Legends of the Knight, you got bit by the superhero bug and now you’re working on Superman.
Brett Culp: This movie, the next movie that I’m in production on right now is called Look to the Sky. It’s a little bit of a different twist because this movie is not about people that were influenced by Superman. It’s just about people, young people, particularly, all these people are young people who have demonstrated the spirit of Superman or the superhero spirit. It’s really at its core whereas Legends of the Knight was a movie about story and how storytelling works, this is really a movie about hope. We look at the world and everything looks so dark and so depressing. I hesitate even to open my Facebook feed some days to see what people are going to be posting about politics or something terrorism or shooting or something going on in the world and it starts to make you feel like man, this is just what’s going on? I’m depressed just watching what’s going on in the world around me.
Our goal with Look to the Sky is to restore some hope and to help people reconnect with hope by seeing the stories of young people who have overcome difficulties, who have helped their communities, who’ve really done some amazing things because children, young people, they’re the future of who we’re going to be. Our goal is to create a movie where people can spend 80 minutes engaged with those kinds of stories and hopefully, walk away feeling like you know what, there is just so much positivity in the world, so many wonderful things. It’s about where you choose to focus. I think when we choose to bring those kind of hopeful stories into our lives, then it multiplies into the world.
Brett McKay: That’s great. We don’t want to do any spoilers too much. The film isn’t out yet, but can you highlight, maybe talk about one of the young people you interview or highlight in the film?
Brett Culp: Sure. The trailer for that movie is on our website and you can get a sense of some of that by going to our website, risinghero.org, but yeah, there’s a couple of great stories on there. One about a boy, a young boy who was in the mountains with a small group of people and a younger boy fell in the water and the rapids took him down. It was really a potentially life-threatening situation and this 10-year-old boy, without hardly even thinking about it, just jumps in the water and saves this kid’s life, that kind of act of bravery and unselfishness. We’re used to living in a world where we don’t think that’s really going on, but it is. That story is a example of a young person risking his life to save another person’s life. It’s really a beautiful story.
We also have a great story in there about a young lady who went through some bullying because of a condition she has called alopecia where she lost all of her hair when she was in middle school. It was really an emotionally devastating thing for her, went through a lot of bullying, but ultimately it became an empowering thing for her where she really learned who she was and found her own identity. Now she really has this mission called Natural Day where she encourages other young people to be who they are, to be themselves, to embrace who they are, and not to feel like they have to conform to something. It’s really a very beautiful superhero story.
Young people who have done good, who’ve given up their birthday instead for money going to presents to go to feed a school in Haiti. I just got back from a trip to Haiti with this young girl who’d helped the school there. These stories are just the best of the human spirit. They express who we want to be and how we want to live and how we want our kids to live. I hope it’ll provide a lot of inspiration for people.
Brett McKay: Oh, it sounds like an antidote to cynicism.
Brett Culp: It does. It does. That’s what I hope it will be. For me, as a filmmaker, I want to just share what I’ve been experiencing and seeing from these films.
Brett McKay: Okay. You’re a busy guy because not only you’re working on this is in production. You have another film in production, which is really interesting to me because it’s about fathers and daughters. I’ve got a 2-year-old daughter named Scout. When I watched the trailer, it really hit home for me. Can you tell us a little bit about the film A Voice That Carries?
Brett Culp: Yeah. A Voice That Carries, which we’re just starting production on now, is really our goal with that film is to empower fathers to engage with their daughters in a really positive way. The research is showing that some fathers, their mindset, particularly with their daughter, is that oh, it’s really the job of a mother-type figure to really be the influence. What the research is showing is that a father’s engagement, interaction, affirmation, is just as powerful, if not sometimes more powerful, in the development of a young girl and her sense of confidence, her sense of identity, her sense of strength and empowerment.
Our goal with the film, we’re going to tell the stories of some fathers and daughters who have really either gone through difficulties or worked through something or done something amazing, but the goal of the movie is to show how deep and how powerful that relationship can be, how impactful it can be, and hopefully, inspire and motivate fathers of daughters of all ages to really engage and to also give them some tools, some equipping, some insight as to how they can do that in a way because I know some fathers, they get uncomfortable, particularly when their daughters become teenagers or preteens. It’s like, “I don’t know what to do here,” and so our hope is that they’ll walk away not only motivated to really stay in that relationship mentally and emotionally, but also give them some valuable insights and inspirations to where they can do that. Our goal with that film, so Look to the Sky is a little further ahead. We’re looking at releasing that for these charity screenings like we did Legends of the Knight in early 2017 and then we’re targeting for Father’s Day of 2017 with A Voice That Carries. We’ll see. That’s just starting up now, but that’s our hope.
Brett McKay: Where did you get the idea to start exploring it because, I guess, do you have daughters or you just have 2 sons, but where did …
Brett Culp: No, I have 2 sons. This particular film I’m partnering with an organization called Southeast Psych. I mentioned them a little while ago, but they’re a huge psychology practice in Charlotte, North Carolina. This was actually we’ve worked together on some things and they’re actually also production partners working with me on Look to the Sky. They presented me with this idea and said, “We’d love to do this,” so this is, in many ways, really a partnership between the two of us creating this. I’m providing the creative vision, but they’re providing a lot of behind the scenes background work to make the film a reality. I’m super-excited about that. That’s been one of the positive things. When we did Legends of the Knight, it was just me and my wife, our family just doing it, but the more we got our dream out into the world and showed people what we were doing and what we wanted to do, the more people were inspired to join us and come along beside and bring their own ideas and their own inspirations. It’s been fun to watch that expand over time.
Brett McKay: You’re leveraging the power of story.
Brett Culp: Yes, that’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. We’re bringing them into our story and they’re bringing us into theirs.
Brett McKay: Great. Hey, Brett, this has been a great conversation. Where can people learn more about the films? You mentioned one website, but where else can people find out about …
Brett Culp: I would say the best place to go is to risinghero.org, so risinghero.org. You can learn about Legend of the Knight. You can learn about Look to the Sky. There are links to A Voice That Carries, as well. You can see all that right there. My personal website, if you want to learn more about me and what I do is my name, brettculp.com.
Brett McKay: Awesome. Brett Culp, thanks so much for your time. It’s been a pleasure.
Brett Culp: Thanks for inviting me, Brett.
Brett McKay: My guest today was Brett Culp. He’s the creator of Legends of the Knight, as well as the forthcoming film Look to the Sky. You can find more information about these films at risinghero.org. Also, make sure to check out the show notes for this episode at aom.is/culp.
That wraps up another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. For more manly tips and advice, make sure to check out the Art of Manliness website at artofmanliness.com and if you enjoy this podcast, I’d really appreciate if you give us your view on iTunes or Stitcher. Help us spread the word about the show. As always, I appreciate your continued support. Until next time, this is Brett McKay telling you to stay manly.