The following is written by ex-Amish community leader Mose Gingerich who’s featured on the new series Amish: Out of Order:
When I look back now over the span of the time it took to film the entire series of Amish: Out of Order, and I realize exactly how much went into making this show a success, I shutter at the memories of how fragile the hinges were for a while on it ever hitting the big screen.
There were four very important people who worked on this project! People who believed in the project, and once they committed to it, were going to see it through come hail or high water!
Each and every one of these four people was a huge piece of the puzzle in the making of and holding together of this show. I believe with all my heart, that if you take one of these four pieces of the puzzle out of the picture at any part of the show, the show would have certainly and soundly come to a screeching halt, and the world would have never seen this wonderful piece of inside information into the lives of myself and a handful of my ex-Amish friends. Truly by the teaming up of these four individuals, a masterpiece came together that will last forever, and one that I will never regret having been involved in and will always be proud of.
The first of these Four, Daniel Laikind, Owner and Founder of Stick Figure Productions, also a co producer of my previous series/reality show, Amish In the City, aired on UPN back in 2004, was the original turning wheel in this process. Without him behind me, encouraging me, supporting me, seeing potential in me doing future television work, when I thought I was a “has Been”, and finally believing in me, this show would never have made it past a mere whisper in the wind. Might I add that I fought this idea, the filming of Amish: Out of Order, for almost an entire year. Largely because I knew the criticism I would receive from people with whom I grew up with, Amish and even ex-Amish as well! Also,
I have a wonderful wife and 3 kids, a nice, solid job at Joe Machens Toyota in Columbia, Mo. Why jeopardize the wonderful life I already have? Why change what’s working for me? And finally, what if it fails? We film for a year, spend every single ounce of my time and energy and then some, Basically don’t have a family life for that year, and we get done, the network sees it, and says “NO”! Although this thought crossed my mind, the thought that the show wouldn’t be a success, was not exactly the front and foremost worry in my mind.
The second of these pieces of the puzzle was Jake Abraham. He Came on board several episodes into the show. At that time, we were still figuring things out. Things were in slight disarray with trying to find the glue or chemistry that bonds together a group of people who can make magic happen. Not to take away from Laikind, but what with running multiple other shows at the same time, putting in the required effort to make this show a success, was more then one man could handle.
When Abraham came on board, he immediately lifted a lot of this burden. he became the hands on guy back in NYC who was seldom seen, but the “go to” guy for every problem. He became the orchestrator, the voice of reason, and also the one guy I could depend on to have his cell phone handy at all hours of the night. Although there is a slight chance the show could have been done without him, the very thought of trying, makes me shutter! Might I compare him to a well greased Wheel.
The 3rd, and to me, the most important piece so far, was Jeff Hoagland. The reason I say “to me” is because he was the field producer/camera operator/counselor/brother/friend, including multiple other things. When I finally committed to do the series, one of my few stipulations was that the main person who comes out to run the show, has to be a country boy, laid back, patient, and someone who wants to make friends with my fellow ex Amish. Not someone who wants to come out, rush through a scene, and leave my good friends unsettled and feeling a distaste towards the show, but rather feeling proud that they met him. Proud to have participated, and wanting to remain friends.
Little did I realize that the chosen one would be a country boy from Kentucky, with the profile of a long haired, unshaven, Hatfield/McCoy look and demeanor. A person who never ate, never slept, and right from the start, had an unbelievable energy and enthusiasm for the show and it’s success. A person who right from the start, had nothing but the best of interests in mind for me and my friends. Who if I had an idea I wanted to film or introduce to the show, he was not afraid to tell me it was a horrible idea, and it would not come across well on the screen. Who protected me and my friends throughout the filming of the show from criticism, and multiple other dangers that one who was raised Amish could never have been prepared for by oneself without a Hoagland.
Still today, long after the filming is over and his job is done, he is still advising me and my friends on how to handle the fame, phone calls, Facebook requests, etc.
At the end of the day, all me and my friends wanted, was a person who cared about us and our well being more then he cared about the popularity or ratings of the show. My opinion right from the start was that if we find a person like this, the rest will come out in the wash. In other words, we will have our show and it will be the type of show I want it to be.
Here was a person who is actually quite private, bashful, and definitely doesn’t wish to be in the spotlight. As a matter of fact, if I could have gotten his permission, I would have blogged about him and sang his praises long ago. However, it took until now, for him to allow me to mention him even if ever so briefly.
Here is a person with whom I traveled the country during the filming. From Missouri to Ohio to Wisconsin, back to Indiana, from there to Pennsylvania, and finally back to Missouri. These long, grueling road trips have a way of breaking down the producer/cast wall just a bit. Although it would probably take a lifetime or more for any one person to fully figure out the complicated person that I am, I truly believe Hoagland has come as close as any one person ever has or probably ever will.
A person who was on the camera end of my scenes with Joe Keim in Ohio, The Lapp Brothers in Pa, The tragic accident of Cephas Y, and so many other events that shook me to the core. He was the rock that kept me grounded and focused on my story. Might I add that as a producer/camera guy, We shared together in the tragedy of Cephas Y. It was probably as hard or harder for him as any of us, to do a scene about a person in Cephas that he had come to love like a brother. A person whose job it was to just get footage, but who actually at my request, with the footage he had gotten earlier with Cephas, spent the night before Cephas’ funeral cutting together that DVD I played for the Ex Amish in my living room, and then again, with little to no sleep, filmed the scene the next day, and let me take all the credit for composing and showing the DVD.
Seeing him continue moving forward during these times, and trying to stay professional and not show too much emotion so as to give the rest of us the strength to remain strong, will forever be something I will respect about this particular individual!
A person, who was paid to film a very difficult project and then get out, but actually in a way, impacted and changed my life forever when he helped me in one year’s time to figure out who I am and why I believe some of the things I do. A person who finally and definitively showed me for the first time ever, that it is cool to be who I am, and how to be comfortable with the person that I am.
In my final tribute to Jeff Hoagland, this is the one person who I truly believe without him, this show probably wouldn’t have been possible. For someone to be able to commit his entire core and being to a project so thoroughly for an entire year in the trenches with little to no sleep, for something he believed in, is truly unmatched! I will be forever be grateful!
Finally, and I will make this short, there is the 4th piece. Me. To make a long story short, it is extremely difficult to get an Amish or ex-Amish person to agree to go on camera. It is even more difficult to convince them to continue to stick around long enough to make a nice story of them and there life. My commitment to sticking with this project until the finish was a thing of beauty, even if I do say so myself. Even with my full time job at the dealership, filming every night and weekend, time and time again, having friends criticize my decision to “expose” the Amish culture, I did what I believe the Lord led me to do. That was put this show into his hands, do it the best, most honest and sincere way possible, and trust that it will be well received by viewers. I remember at one particularly difficult time during the show, after a particular dose of criticism, I was asked “why?” Why am I doing this? What drives me?
My reasons are hard to explain, but the short of my answer was this. If I can change or influence in a positive way, any one person’s life with this show, if I can lead just one more person to God, or if I can inspire just one person to make his or her life better, then I have accomplished my mission. I am very proud to say that that mission has been accomplished many times over. I did what and more then I set out to do. The show and the feedback exceeded what I hoped for. My mission is complete…… Or is it?
It is almost scary how boring my life gets on a day to day basis, but how many crazy things went down during this one year of filming the show. From Jonas’ accident, Chris L’s cage fighting, Michaela converting to Amish, Esther M from Ks following or not following her dreams to become an actor, My road trip where I found Christ in an even truer form then ever before, where I also found forgiveness, a long over due visit with my own mother, an answers I would have never found if not for this trip. The death of a dear friend, Joplin and the disaster of a tornado and our participation with that, along with numerous other events along the way.
What I have discovered about myself during the making of this show is that I am one complicated person. I am happiest when I have as many irons in the fire as possible. Being in sales and working a full 14 to 16 hr job 6 days a week isn’t enough for me. That bores me. As a matter of fact, during the filming of this show, I was more successful in sales then when before we began filming. I have found that I need multiple projects going on in my life. Sales, filming, blogs, and trying to help everyone that asks me to, and trying to be a family man all at the same time. The only down side to this is that sometimes, and more often then I care to admit, I stumble across a moment when all of these things cross paths at once, I try to balance all at once, instead of keeping my normal pattern, and all of a sudden I am engulfed by too much at once. I begin to feel a drowning sensation, and at that time, I have to take several steps back, watch a few cartoons (instead of movies that make me think) re evaluate, prioritize, and re approach my life. When approached with a new, fresh view, it usually flows better once again.
Many people ask me, so did Michaela actually go Amish? What I will say is that that is still a developing process. It is a complicated thing to make happen, and eventually I do believe she will live inside the Amish community forever. However, for now, it is still in the makings.
Will there be another season? There have been some rumors floating around. There is nothing set in stone. In order for me to commit to anything like a second season, I would have to go back through my process all over again. that is the process of me mentally evaluating myself, my life, family, and job. Evaluate the impact it would or wouldn’t have to viewers at this time in the History being written in America. Evaluate once again why I would or wouldn’t do this? Has my story been officially written, or is there still more left unsaid?
If I could work all these factors out, then would come the final and most important ingredient. See if I can mentally prepare myself for another long, grueling year of filming. See if I have the stamina to endure the same ups and downs that come with investing and submerging every ounce of myself into another project that I believe in.
Of course it is not entirely up to me. I am only contemplating on my side of it. There are many factors from other sources. Is Stick Figure Productions willing to do more filming on this subject? Is NatGeo willing to televise more? At present these questions and many more, remain a mystery, but stay tuned.
So what is next for Mose J Gingerich? Since I have now established that I thrive when I have TOO many things going, it only makes sense that I won’t just disappear into a hole in the ground. I am currently working with a person better qualified then myself, in finally and officially, writing my long anticipated book. This is a dream I’ve had for many years. As a matter of fact, Ever since I was a small child reading everything in sight, I knew this day was coming. The moment when something I have to say will be released and make an impact on many readers. Early expectations are for it to hit the shelves late 2012, to early 2013. The content of it… Well stay tuned. As usual, I promise I won’t let you down.
In the meantime, I will be holed up in good old mid-Missouri, in a relatively quiet office at a car dealership, with no idea where I’ll be in 10 or 15 years, but realizing that my life has the potential of going in multiple different directions right now. And as I sit here riding it out, I am perfectly content for the moment, to just relax, let the chatter die down, re coupe that part of my strained brain that has been beaten by too many things or too much coming at me too fast for the last several years, and as I take a deep breath, I realize that I am exactly where I want to be. I have done exactly what I set out to do. For the time being, I am content just sitting back and relaxing.
For this blog and more, go to Mose’s personal website at www.amishinthecitymose.com
Missed Amish: Out of Order while it was in premieres? Tune in on Thursday, July 5, for a repeat of “Can’t Go Home Again” at 7P, and “Amish 101″ at 8P.