If you’ve explored the Luther House of Study website, you may have come across our Resource Library — a collection of all the educational resources we have created, including videos and study guides.
These are available to you at no cost, to use in a ministry setting or as individual resources. This library is a wealth of knowledge on Lutheran theology, with hundreds of videos on various topics, including the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Supper, Baptism, Lutheran Vocabulary, Vocation and so much more.
These resources have been collected and assembled over years of teaching; some are recorded lectures and seminars, while others were produced with a digital audience in mind.
While each resource has a valuable message to share, one collection stands out as an excellent place to dive in — the Lutheran Reformation video series.
Last year, we were fortunate enough to connect with Todd Freeman, Senior Director of Development at Red Braille Studio in Arizona. Todd appreciated our mission, and he had a creative vision to develop a series of videos on the Lutheran Reformation, featuring a character many of you are now familiar with: Tiny Luther.
We chatted with Todd about his connection to Luther House and his vision for the Reformation series, along with others we’ll be developing in the coming months.
Check out what he had to say!
A conversation with Todd Freeman of Red Braille Studio
How did you first get involved with Luther House? What connected you to their mission?
Back in 2021, Chris and Sarah met with Tim Ahlman and Jack Kalleberg, from the Unite Leadership Collective in Arizona, about their intention of starting to create online teaching content. Tim and Jack immediately told them about what we were doing at Red Braille, and we met within a few days. It was immediately clear that we had a similar passion for sharing our faith in new and creative ways. We’ve done quite a few projects together — creating classroom content as well as narrative content, with the intention of sharing our Lutheran beliefs in ways they’ve never been shared before.
Where did the idea for the Lutheran Reformation series come from?
After we decided to move forward with the partnership, Luther House sent me the 45 teaching scripts that they had been using for lectures, and it was my job to figure out how to make it more engaging and entertaining for an online audience without changing any of the teaching. From my perspective, the inspiration behind the videos became “Monty Python meets Sesame Street.”
Now, just because I say that doesn’t mean it’s immediately apparent that those things were my inspiration, but the idea of keeping things moving in an irreverent way and always surprising the viewer really makes the series more engaging to someone who isn’t being led through the learning process in person. I’m most proud of the fact that none of the teaching was altered — only the manner in which it was presented. It was quite the adventure creating this first class in this way, and from what I’ve heard from students, it’s been a successful learning experience from everyone who’s taken the course.
How does the unique concept behind these videos help viewers connect to the content?
The element of surprise is an often-overlooked tool when it comes to teaching. I imagined having to take a class like this and turned it into something that would keep me guessing and always on my toes. In doing that, I always knew the viewer would be engaged not only in the teaching but also in subverting expectations. Online learning has become difficult to do when connecting with people in traditional ways. Without being able to be with someone in a room, leading the discussion and being able to engage in person, things can become stale, and you lose the ability to make students feel like they’re a part of the learning process. I’ve found that taking them on an unexpected journey has really helped students and viewers connect to the content.
Any additional thoughts?
Long story short, I made content that would engage me. I don’t learn easily from a “talking head”-style presentation. I love the idea that learning can be fun and entertaining — always connecting me to the material that’s being presented. This partnership with Luther House has allowed me to be creative in ways that I never could have imagined. God has opened a door for me to be creative in new and exciting ways, utilizing all of the gifts and talents He alone developed over the course of 25 years of filmmaking.
So, what’s next?
We just shot the new season of Wise Guy which will come out in January of next year. Shortly after that, we’ll be developing new confirmation content that will be made available in English and Spanish. In March 2024, Red Braille will embark on filming a feature-length film entitled “Wretch Like Me,” which will be the company’s first foray into making a movie for a large audience. (Even though that’s what I did for the 20 years leading up to my current adventures in Arizona.)
I’m blessed by this partnership, and I can’t wait to share all of the exciting projects we’ll be working on in the coming days. God is so good.
We are grateful for Todd’s partnership and talents in this creative endeavor. The Lutheran Reformation videos are available at no cost in our Resource Library, but they will also be popping up on our social media feeds as we approach Reformation Sunday. Make sure you’re following along on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn so you don’t miss out!