Q: Why did you decide to make a movie?

A: I’ve always liked movies, ever since I was little. But I think I really first started making short movies with my sisters when I was ten or eleven. Then some friends of ours – Matthew, Charity, Victoria, and their cousin made a movie called The Purple Bracelet. It was about fifteen minutes long, and I was really impressed. That made me want to make a movie.
Then on the last day of 2010, Cailey, Hannah, some of my siblings, and I walked back to some land behind our house and explored around an old, practically falling-in house. 
The next Sunday Hannah and I talked and came up with the idea of making a movie with some of our friends – and having the house we had explored in it. We told some of the girls and then told Curtiss, and I had the idea of having a bunch of girls discover bootleggers. 
To be honest, I didn’t really think anything would come of it. I’d had unrealistic hopes and dreams before, and they just hadn’t worked. And seriously – me make a movie with my friends? Not likely. I mean, how likely would it be to get all our families together so that we could shoot it – practically impossible.
Well, Aerin told Daddy that we were thinking about making a movie, and she asked him what sort of movie he would suggest to make. He said that he’d make a treasure hunt. For a while we threw the idea around some. The bootlegger storyline faded.
Then Daddy got Aerin and me a copy of the Star Wars: A New Hope script. We read it and absolutely loved it! Using what she’d learned from the Star Wars script, Aerin started writing her own script. Daddy helped her with it. I read over what parts she wrote. Mama, Gran, and Amber (our aunt) read over it and helped edit it.
Then we started filming, making props, set dressing, and learning how to make a movie and how to trust God.

Q: Will there be a sequel?

A: I hope so. I’d really like to make a new one. I had a lot of fun making After the Knight, and we’ve learned so much from it that I think we could to a better job at making a sequel. I keep coming up with so many good ideas that we could put into the sequel, too.

Q: What would you have done differently now than you did first with the movie?

A: There are so many things that I would have done differently that you’d probably get pretty sick of hearing me telling you about them. So I’ll just list a couple of things I would have changed: I would have tried to be more organized and get props finished ahead of time. I would have worn different clothing and made my hair look better. (Note: this is thirteen-year-old Joelle looking back at twelve-year-old Joelle.) I would have added more to the chase scene. It’s sort of short for a chase scene.

Q: What are the ages of all the gang members in real life?

A: Matthew (Michael Clay) was 15. 
Aerin (Shannon Decker) was 14. 
Cailey (Adria) was 14. 
Jonathan (Danny) was 13. 
Curtiss (Kirk Decker) was 13. 
Joelle (Marian) was 12. 
Hannah (Rachel) was 12. 

Q: Is the gang really a gang in real life?

A: Well, no, but we’re all good friends – including Michael (Matthew).

Q: Who is related to whom in main and secondary characters?

A: Andrew Decker (Gary White) and Karen Decker (Shannon White) really are married. They’re my parents. Shannon Decker (Aerin White) is their daughter and my sister. Adria’s sisters Elise (Elise White), Anya (Anya White), and Susanna (Susanna White) are my sisters. Fireman Harry (Nathanael White) is my brother, too!
Adria (Cailey Speer) and Rachel (Hannah Speer) are sisters.
Mr. Clay (Bryson Jones) is my maternal grandfather. And he really is a lovable and wonderful man, not a scheming revenge seeker.
Michael Clay (Matthew Fulton) is the son of Mr. Peters (Nathan Fulton) and the brother of Jimmy (Nate Fulton). And he’s really not mean either!
Aunt Lucy (Glenda White) is my paternal grandmother.
Adria’s sister Maura (Maura Struble) is the sister of Kirk (Curtiss Struble). The voice of Grandpa (Mark Struble) belongs to their father.
The voice of Margaret (Amber Jones) belongs to my aunt.
Danny’s parents (Bruce and Carolyn Keller) are the real life parents of Danny (Jonathan Keller).

Q: “Did this really happen to the White family?”

A: A boy asked this of his parents after having watched the movie. To answer his question…no, not exactly. A lot of the stuff we dealt with while making the movie connected with After the Knight’s story line. We continually had to just put things in God’s hands, because from our point of view they just couldn’t happen. God proved us wrong many times. He showed us He was bigger than all our problems. We almost had the movie finished editing when we suddenly lost all of it, because we tried updating Final Cut Pro (the editing program we were using). The days that it was lost were some of the worst days of my life. I cried to God asking him “Why?” I didn’t get why He’d let this happen. It seemed too bad to really be true. All the work we’d done, all the time we’d put into it, and especially Daddy! But God was just teaching us to trust Him. We kept giving it to God, and then God gave Daddy a brilliant idea which gave us back the movie. So…no. After the Knight is a fictional story. But along with the Deckers, we learned to trust God and give things into His hands.

Q: Was it a real fire in the climax scene?

A: Yes. We don’t have the computer technology or knowledge available to computer-generate fire. Most of the smoke wasn’t from the fire, though. We used smoke bombs so that we’d have plenty of smoke. 

Q: Was the money real, and did you really burn it?

A: No, the money was not real. We just printed off the front side of 1934 twenty dollar bills and cut them out for the top layer. I took pieces of paper cut in bill shapes and soaked them in coffee and let them dry, giving them an aged look, for the under layers. Then we took the “twenty dollar bills” and put them on top of the stacks of coffee paper and wrapped rubber bands around them. We didn’t even have the whole chest filled up with “bills.” We put a board close to the top of the box and put the money on top of that so that it looked like the box was full. We’re geniuses, aren’t we? (That actually was Daddy’s idea.)
Yes, we did really burn the “money.” 

Q: Did you film all the scenes in the summer?

A: We filmed most of the scenes in the summer. But in the winter we had to redo some scenes and then do pickups (shots that we forgot to take or shots that didn’t turn out right while doing the main filming). Short sleeves and cold winter just don’t go together for some reason. But we all managed not to look too cold.  

Q: Did anyone get hurt while making the movie?

A: Uh…yes, but not very seriously. The worst that I remember people getting hurt was when we got attacked by yellow jackets. 
While filming the scene where Maura, Adria’s little sister, found the compass, Curtiss (Kirk), some of our siblings, and I had been sitting on a mound of dirt. Suddenly Curtiss jerked and said “Ow!” It was sort of funny looking, so I giggled. He jumped up and started running, and suddenly all the kids were stampeding, shouting, “Yellow jackets!” and just trying to get out of there. I started running, too, and then I felt two stings on my legs, and then a few seconds later a third sting. We outran the yellow jackets. It hurt pretty badly, but we got over it and later in the day decided to head back into the woods. That was very stupid. Apparently when yellow jackets sting you, they leave a scent behind telling any other yellow jackets around “Sting this person; they’re bad.” 
I was walking harmlessly in the woods when suddenly I saw a bunch of yellow jackets circling around my feet. I started yelling when I got stung four more times. Then I ran up toward the house almost in tears. I changed clothes so that it would get rid of the scent. The rest of the day and for days afterward the yellow jacket stings bothered me a lot. Most of that afternoon, I felt pretty miserable. I wasn’t the only one to get stung, though; the yellow jackets left a souvenir with each of us kids who had been around their mound.
Another time I got hurt was when we were filming the creek scene where Marian finds the Greek clue. After Michael shoves Kirk down, Marian was supposed to rush down the bank toward him, exclaiming, “Kirk!” and putting a hand on his shoulder to make sure he was alright. We took it out. We filmed it only twice. The first time I slipped as I rushed toward Kirk and sat down hard! My tailbone hurt really badly. The second time we filmed that, Curtiss was expecting me and was obviously waiting for me. So it didn’t look spontaneous.
People got minorly hurt occasionally throughout the movie making process, but I don’t remember specifics. I remember mine mostly because…well…it was me who got hurt. 

Q: What are your favorite scenes in the movie?

A: My favorite scene is the chase scene. I love running and enjoy being chased – if it’s all in fun. If I really had an angry fifteen-year-old guy chasing my cousin and me, that wouldn’t be funny. 
The climax scene is the most intense scene in the whole movie. It’s my second favorite scene.

Q: What is your most memorable scene?

A: Oh, I don’t really know. A lot of the scenes blend together when shooting. But probably the climax scene, the beginning of the chase scene, and Aunt Lucy’s house scene. 
In the chase scene it took me a while to remember my lines for Marian trying to convince Kirk to just go get the clue out of Michael’s room. Curtiss had to help me, and while Daddy was changing the battery on the camera, Curtiss and I quoted our lines back and forth to each other. It was also pretty windy, and my hair kept blowing around. And…I didn’t know how we were supposed to head up to Mr. Clay’s house. I assumed we would be sneaking up there. So I was acting sneaky – then I heard Daddy yell, “You look like you’re sneaking too much.” We had to start over.
The climax scene was really hard to shoot and really fun, too. It got choking smoky at parts, too. And we got chocolate chip cookies and brownies afterward! Not much can top that to an end of a film shoot.
And then Aunt Lucy’s house was just so fun to shoot. Grandma (Aunt Lucy) is just plain hilarious sometimes. Most of the time I couldn’t keep a straight face. And then I spilled lemonade on myself. Another thing I remember about that scene was that Grandpa and Grandma didn’t have enough lemonade for us. So we had to add water to make up for what they didn’t have. The stuff tasted gross, but having the cup to my mouth was a good cover-up for a laugh!

Q: How long did it take to make the movie?

A: Aerin started writing the script in February 2011. We sent the movie off to be made into DVDs in December 2012. So it has almost been two years.

Q: How many video cameras did you use?

A: Just one. We had to move it if we wanted a shot from a different point of view (POV).

Q: Why didn’t Kirk get some money and stuff it in his pockets?

A: He was undecided what to do exactly. He knew if he got some money it wouldn’t be enough to save their farm, or really anything. And Michael was passing out across the room from him. I imagine that if I were in his place, I’d be so confused and emotionally turbulent that I wouldn’t be able to think very clearly.

Q: Why were Mr. Clay and Grandpa at odds with each other?

A: That is a signed, sealed, and secret topic that must not be talked about. Very personal. Meaning? I have no idea.

Q: Is there a deliberate co-relation between After the Knight and It’s a Wonderful Life?

A: Yes. We love the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. Did you notice that Mr. Clay co-relates with Mr. Potter? : )

Q: Does the MidKnight Café have a website? Where are they located?

A: The MidKnight Café is a made-up restaurant! In fact, we used two different old school rooms to look like MidKnight Café’s main room. It took a lot of work, too. We had to paint the floor and walls.

Q: How can I pray for you with this movie or other movies?

A: Pray that God will encourage people through watching this movie. Pray that those who watch this movie and don’t already know Jesus will come to know Him through it. And then pray that we will have money and time to make other movies for His glory, if it’s His plan.