I was thirteen when I began writing my first movie script. I had tagged along with my mom to a violin workshop where my brother was a student learning to play. Amidst the vibes and echoes of practicing strings in the adjacent room, I sat down quietly alone, pulled out my yellow-lined notepad—wrote ‘Scene 1’ at the top of the page—and started writing. I had no idea what I was doing.
That script was a leap into a career of writing, directing, and producing videos that lasted for nearly 30 years. Recently I retired from that field, having started out by launching my own company, then serving as a production manager for a small television station, then leading as a media director for a theme park, and finally working freelance for business and broadcast.
I attended film school at Columbia College Chicago, where I incorporated my production company and wrote the screenplay for my first feature, Dream Story. I’ve written and directed hundreds of videos for non-profit organizations, earning a solid reputation for professionalism, and was a pioneer in the burgeoning digital video era. I was once a leading voice as a board member for the West Michigan Film Video Alliance.
I’ve worked on projects from indie films to promotional videos, documentaries to web media, and fitness videos to TV commercials, met inspiring and passionate people, and traveled to some of the world’s most striking places. Much of that work involved scheduling, managing crews, designing and building sets, shooting footage and editing, all of which I enjoyed immensely.
I’ve had some rousing successes, many satisfying outcomes, and a few dismal failures. I’ve adapted books into screenplays, written magazine articles, developed web content, and edited books for small press. I am fortunate to have earned a living doing what I love, sometimes in situations that paid nicely, and at other times, when I wondered when I’d get my next paycheck.
Perhaps the stand-out project of my career was something I directed in the mid 2000s for The Scriptorium: Center for Biblical Antiquities. Located on the property of The Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida, The Scriptorium is an elaborate museum housing The Van Kampen Collection, one of the largest private collections of ancient biblical scrolls, manuscripts, and artifacts in the world. In my time with The Scriptorium, I had a chance to work with some brilliant scholars and doctors of theology. I gained a deep appreciation and understanding for the historicity of the artifacts and their contribution to the Christian faith and to the academic community. In a quest to untangle matters of my own personal faith, I was also asking an abundance of questions myself. You could say the concept for the project developed over several years, culminating in a 2-hour documentary about the Scriptorium and its unique collection, which debuted in 2006 in the park’s gift shops, and was subsequently broadcast in a 60-minute version on various cable networks. (The Collection was highlighted in the December 2018 cover story in National Geographic Magazine: “Inside the cloak-and-dagger search for sacred texts.”)
My debut novel, The Tempest In Glass, is a contemporary fantasy currently in the pre-shopping phase. I hope to attract a literary agent and a publisher in 2021. Entering the art of novel writing has been a tremendous challenge as well as an exciting new venture.
My favorite novels include Dr. No by Ian Fleming, The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen, The Far Side of the World by Patrick O’Brian, Candide by Voltaire, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard, A Painted House by John Grisham, The Log From The Sea Of Cortez by John Steinbeck, The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway, and the Screenplays of screenwriter William Goldman.
Dirk Eichhorst grew up as a Baptist in the American Midwest. He is the founder and former president of Cumberland Media Ministries Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that specialized in producing promotional videos for Bible camps and other non-profits. He served as Production Manager for L. Plummer Communications in Southfield, Michigan, and as Media Director for The Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida. He worked freelance for many years with West Coast Media, Inc. shooting business and broadcast, has taught classes and seminars in screenwriting and motion picture directing, served as Membership Chair of West Michigan Film Video Alliance, and is an Accolade Award recipient for Body Balancing by Tim Michaels. Dirk’s work has taken him across America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Dirk completed classes in film production at Columbia College Chicago, holds a General Studies degree from Macomb Community College, and earned several degrees in Counterterrorism Intelligence from American Public University with honors. Dirk enjoys backcountry camping with his son Tobias, weight training, model building, and hauling ass in his Ford Mustang.