I just want to let you all know that this blog post will be a longish read. There is just so much to say and I will do my best to summarize my experience. I want to express how much I appreciate the conference, some of the things discussed at the conference, and how it strengthened my faith in Jesus.
One night, I was upset with my parents because I felt like they were not supporting my vision, which is to be a TV show and movie creator. I didn’t feel their support for a number of reasons that I won’t get into. I expressed my frustration with what I perceived as a lack of support, and it led to a conversation that left me feeling hopeless. I prayed to God that He would give me direction. I was so unsure of what my next steps needed to be. I wasn’t even in college (and still not).
Hours later, I’m browsing Facebook. I’m FB friends with a few people I liked in the animation industry. I don’t know these people personally, but I was friends with them as a fan. I come across a post by Butch Hartman, the creator of The Fairly OddParents and Danny Phantom, two cartoons I loved watching when I was younger (heck, they’re both still entertaining in my opinion as someone in my 20s). His post was about a conference being held near the Chicago area called Vision: Possible. It is about taking the next steps towards achieving your dreams.
I was blown away. God answered my prayer so fast and in such an obvious way! I had no clue about Vision: Possible until literally an hour or so asking Him to show me what I need to do. In fact, this was Vision: Possible’s FIRST conference (there’s been 5 more since then). After doing some more research, I felt I had to take advantage of this opportunity. Chicago is so close to where I live and I had friends in Illinois who lived even closer.
After deciding to purchase admission to the conference, I immediately thought of my best friend Maisie Merlock. She is an aspiring and ambitious actress who has been in commercials, short films, and other things. One of her best roles was in a TV show called Chicago Med, where she guest stars as a patient in the episode 8 of season 1. We’ve known each other since high school and is one of my closest friends. She is such a cool and creative person. If you want to support her, consider following her Instagram @ maisie_merlock and her Facebook page Maisie Merlock.
Maisie agreed to come with me to the conference, and it was a great experience for both of us. We both learned a lot of things. Before I get into what was said at the conference that taught us and changed us so much, I want to talk a little bit about the speakers who were there.
One of the speakers at the conference is Carly Hartman, who is also the oldest daughter of Butch Hartman, the Hollywood cartoonist I mentioned before. She has a YouTube channel too, and one video I was very entertained by is the one where she attempts to draw her dad’s characters. She has such an inspiring and beautiful heart. She is a very smart person, loves business, and is a gorgeous gal! She has a business profile on Instagram as a Network Marketing Coach @ carlyyhartman. She is 23 years old and is very successful.
Another speaker at the conference is a young man named Nathaniel Spiers. He has a great story about how he became a web designer. He is very intelligent. He was in a sticky situation that led him to needing to hire a lawyer as a teenager, and he did it through teaching himself web designing. His story on how he overcame his obstacles through the grace of God was just awesome! He loves God.
Another speaker at the conference is Julieann Hartman, the wife of Butch Hartman. I was very moved by her passion for God. She is fearless! She is passionate, sweet, and has a strong faith in God. Out of all the speakers I talked to her the most. I told her some tough stuff I was going through and she was so loving. She made me feel like I can overcome any challenge, even the challenges that come with my form of autism. At the conference, she felt the need to tell us that “If Julieann yells at you, she’s not mad at you, she loves you!”
Lastly, the other speaker at the conference is Butch Hartman. I grew up on his cartoons. I love his artwork and sense of humor. He has a huge inspiration in my own cartoons, both drawing wise and storytelling wise. He desires to glorify God through entertainment. I felt like I could relate to his passion because our interests are similar and both our pursuits are dedicated to God.
Butch Hartman’s vision is to create an entertainment streaming site that is called Oaxis. His mission is to provide quality family-friendly entertainment. Everything that will stream onto Oaxis are shows and movies that have Christian values at the center. I get monthly updates through email, and I am very excited by Oaxis’s progress each time. You can get monthly updates through email, too, by signing up for it at their website here: https://www.oaxis.tv/
Carly and Nathaniel were the first speakers to talk on Day 1 of the conference. They talked about not knowing how to get to where they wanted to go and not even knowing what they were doing at first when they started their businesses. This was so encouraging for me as someone who was in the same boat. Since then, I’ve been looking into opportunities to get closer to my vision using the resources I already have, but hearing about how they began their vision journeys made me feel like I could achieve my vision, too.
On Day 1, the speakers used Romans 12 as a key passage in the Bible that many of principles that would be taught at the conference would come from. It stressed the importance of renewing your mind with the Word of God and living out our salvation during our vision journeys. These verses would be referred back to several times throughout the conference, each time being totally relevant. One person who attended the conference praised the speakers for using Bible verses during the conference. He talked about how many Christian conferences don’t actually use Bible verses while discussing the topic of business. He loved that they applied verses to the steps they were teaching. Vision: Possible is the only conference I’ve ever been to, but I just couldn’t believe that Christian conferences would leave out Bible verses when it focused on “secular” things like business. The speakers made it so clear that Christianity has a place in the marketplace. In fact, it is Biblical. I wholeheartedly agree with this. Jesus was a carpenter, after all. Some of His disciples were fishermen, too.
One thing Butch Hartman talked about at the conference was something called an “Elevator Pitch.” The concept is to imagine yourself stuck in an elevator with a famous director for 30 seconds (the example Butch used was Steven Spielberg). The goal is to summarize your vision and its heart in a clear and summarized way, all in a matter of 30 seconds. We even did our own elevator pitches in groups at the conference. The goal is to express your idea and make it sellable in half a minute. Immediately, I wanted to practice making my own elevator pitch and pitch it to Butch Hartman before the end of the conference. On Day 2, I asked him if I could do this during lunchtime, and he said yes, but later. I was nervous at first that it wasn’t going to happen, but spoiler alert: it did happen. And in an unexpected way that I’ll tell you later.
Throughout the conference I took notes in a notepad the conference provided for us. I did my best to note the most key things, especially the ones that stood out to me (I’m not very confident in my note-taking abilities, since I’m tempted to basically write a manuscript of everything that’s being said). Here are 2 pictures:
I don’t want to get into the specific teachings at the conference. I wouldn’t wanna risk plagiarizing the speakers’ words. However, I will mention some of the things they talk about. They go into things like explaining the importance of networking and how to do it, motivate you to overcome your fears that get in the way of your vision (this was a BIG one for me), the preparation and execution phases of an idea, how to clarify your visions to yourself and others, and so much more! They do it in such a way that I, who is not familiar with the world of business and marketing, can understand. If you do not know where to start, but are passionate about your vision, then this conference is for YOU! It’s motivational, spiritual, packed with wisdom and advice, and so much more.
There is a Facebook page with weekly live videos that conference attenders can view. Butch and Julieann, as well as guests on occasion, will continue giving advice and encouragement. Not only that, they will also ask about your progress. In the live chat, you can ask questions, give brief updates on your vision, and share the glory of God. The page makes me feel like that I am still part of the Vision: Possible family (yes, they call it a family, and I agree). I feel like I’m apart of something bigger than myself. I felt so much purpose from this conference, and the Facebook page helps. I listen to their videos when I can.
At the conference, you can purchase a USB containing audio files of the conference that you can listen to whenever you want. Now, I had to get the audio files through email. Before the speakers can perfect the audio, the 2018 California fire happened, so it was delayed. Eventually, they just had to email the files instead. Either way, you can purchase audio of the conference to listen to after it’s over. I listen to the audio files from time to time, especially while cleaning. I want to praise the Lord right now for keeping the Hartmans’ house safe from the deadly fire! In faith, the family prayed over their home and believed God would protect their home. I know they will continue to bless others through their house.
I also want to mention the founder of The Hope Center, where the first conference was held. Her name is Nichole Marbach. She is a wonderful person who has been healed from Bipolar Disorder and emotional healing from a tragic past. She gave me wonderful gifts as well after the conference was over. They are so meaningful and precious to me.
By the end of the conference, the speakers, Nichole, and my best friend prayed over me. In short, I’m dealing with a lot of struggles because of things going on in my home. It was enough to put college on hold again and move out of the house with my sister. I’m happy that I’m moving out, but not all the reasons are positive. I remember telling Julieann about what I was dealing with at home and the challenges I was facing because of my Asperger Syndrome.
By the end of the conference, the speakers and Nichole prayed over anybody that needed specific prayer. We even prayed for a woman that was in a wheelchair for 25 years that she would be able to walk again. I’ve never seen anyone faith heal before, and I was afraid to watch. My faith was too weak to watch the speakers pray over someone who has been disabled for such a long time. I went into the bathroom, hoping that the prayer would be over by the time I got back.
When I finally returned, all the speakers asked if I was willing to be prayed over. My guess is that Julieann hinted to everyone that I had a situation that needed prayer while I was gone. Even though I was nervous, I let the speakers pray over me. The speakers, and my best friend Maisie, all laid their hands on me and prayed over my situation. After the prayer was over, I felt a pain that I’ve had for 6 years go away. It was incredible. I felt a courage and a hope I haven’t had before. Everyone at the conference prayed for me. I felt like people actually loved me, which is not a feeling many people with Aspergers feel often enough. When I was visibly nervous, two people from New York gave me shouts of encouragement. We talked earlier in the conference and they were such great people! They even looked at my drawings and gave feedback.
After the healing prayer was over, Butch Hartman looked at me and asked me to give my elevator pitch into the microphone. I was so nervous. My elevator pitch that I practiced for was such a quirky TV show idea. It was a comedy TV show. However, I somehow got the courage to tell him my vision, all within 30 seconds. He even made comments, and it felt good to hear from someone I looked up to for years. Someone I looked up to as both a Christian and a TV creator. He even got to look at some of my drawings afterward. At the very end, everyone got to be prayed over. It was so powerful.
Nichole and Julieann afterwards gave me and my friend some gifts to take home. One of the gifts Julieann gave me was a keychain from Hobby Lobby. It was of a mirror, and on the back it said, “Believe in the girl looking back at you.” She told me that this is something she felt God telling her to buy, but she didn’t know who it was for. She said when she met me and Maisie, she knew the keychains were going to be for us. I struggled with severe self-doubt, but when I read those words on the back of the mirror, it’s like God was the one speaking it to me, and I believe He was. Ever since, my self-doubts are less and less frequent. It still happens from time to time, but not as bad as it used to be. This is a message I wish for all you guys to believe in for yourselves: that you can do anything and know it to the point that you truly believe in yourself.
I recommend reading Butch and Julieann Hartman’s book Vision: Possible, which summarizes many of the points talked about in the conference. I’ve read the whole thing and it’s great! I reread it sometimes to refresh myself.
Here is the website for the wonderful conference: https://www.visionpossibleconference.com/ Here, you can see when and where the next one will be held.
One of my next steps I plan on taking is making a comic for Webtoon. I have one still in the works. I think it will be a great opportunity to network with creative people and promote my ideas. I think this will be a great opportunity to take advantage of while I wait for college (if that’s the direction the Lord decides to take me in the future). (Butch Hartman actually told me he thinks I would be good at comics ^^)
I believe in you guys! It’s why I started the channel and the blog. This conference strengthened the faith in my vision for you guys ❤