Building A Marriage While Building The Fairly OddParents Pt. II

Chris Grace, Butch Hartman, Tim Muehlhoff - December 19, 2018


Chris Grace: Welcome to another Art of Relationships podcast. Today, Tim, we have some guests with us: Butch Hartman, his wife, Julieann. Thank you guys for joining us for part two.

Butch Hartman: Sure.

Julieann: Thanks for having us.

Chris Grace: It has been so fun to get to know you guys and to hear a little bit about your hearts and passion. Tim, I know as we've talked about this, one of the things that stood out to us was this role that you guys get to play now both in Hollywood, I guess, in animation and cartoon, but your new foundation and work, and just your journey as believers. We talked about that last time. So, there are some other cool things that we want to explore in this.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah, that came up in our last podcast. So, we said that you're officially our most famous and eagerly listened to guests.

Butch Hartman: Really? Oh, wow. Is there like a trophy? Do I get a [crosstalk]-

Tim Muehlhoff: We've had some pretty amazing people, but when we say to students and to our own kids these are the guests we're having, they're like "No way, that's awesome."

Chris Grace: "Ask them about this, ask them about that. What's Vicky like? Is there any inspiration for Vicky in real life?"

Butch Hartman: Yeah, yeah.

Chris Grace: They want to know about Chip Skylark and the [inaudible].

Butch Hartman: Exactly. Exactly.

Tim Muehlhoff: So, the Fairly Odd Parents is the longest running fantasy TV series in American history, and currently stands as Nickelodeon's second longest running animated series.

Butch Hartman: That's right. I am the Donald Duck of Nickelodeon. That's right.

Tim Muehlhoff: Ah [crosstalk]-

Chris Grace: [crosstalk]

Butch Hartman: [crosstalk] SpongeBob, Mickey Mouse, and I'm Donald Duck. People like Donald Duck, right? Donald Duck is solid.

Tim Muehlhoff: We love Donald Duck.

Butch Hartman: Who doesn't like Donald Duck? He wears no pants; come on.

Tim Muehlhoff: So, this is what's so funny about people who look at individuals who've had long, good careers, have been very successful. We tend to gloss over that. It's like the rock and roll band who's an overnight success 25 years in the making.

Butch Hartman: It's overnight, yeah. [crosstalk]-

Tim Muehlhoff: You know what I mean? You mentioned something in our last podcast that my ears just kind of tuned into. You said that the show had been canceled for five times?

Butch Hartman: Yeah, about five times.

Tim Muehlhoff: And that you had to fight through that and-

Butch Hartman: Had to fight through it. Boy, what is interesting about a situation like that is you're going along, you're doing your show, you fulfill ... What they do is they give you an order of episodes. You're going to do 20 episodes. That'll take you about a year and a half, two years, to do. Coming toward the end of that, it's like "Well, how's the show doing? How are the ratings? Are we going to get more episodes?" because there's like 40, 50 people working with you. Is your show going to get picked up?

Fortunately for us, Fairly Odd Parents was doing fantastic in the ratings, yet there would still be those times ... Let's say the company would change hands, like management would change, or whatever. Maybe the new manager coming in doesn't really like Fairly Odd Parents so much, or maybe they think this other show is going to really be the big hit show, so I would get, on regular basis, "Yeah. We're not going to pick up your show anymore. It's going to be done ... No, next month's your last month, but thanks for everything. We'll have a big wrap party for you." We'd have a big ... So, I would milk them.

We'd have a big [inaudible]. We'd have a big Hollywood wrap party at some big hotel downtown; just want to treat the crew right, but I knew in my heart, because the Bible says in Mark 11:24, "Whatever things you ask for when you pray, when you believe you receive them, you will have them." I would always say, "I'm going to pray for this show to keep going." People out there might go, "Really? Just prayer? Prayer is what did it?" Well, I'll tell you one thing, though. I think prayer helps a lot. We would just pray over the show, and I'd say, "I just believe this show is going to keep going."

Julieann: Well, plus the fact, too, it was one of those things where we said, "No, this show ends when I say it ends." We're not going to say ... just like when Jesus said, "You can't take my life."

Butch Hartman: I give it.

Julieann: I give it.

Butch Hartman: I give my [crosstalk].

Tim Muehlhoff: [crosstalk]

Julieann: So, we really stood on that, and every time we'd get that call, we'd say like "Nope. What do you want for dinner?" We had to.

Butch Hartman: We talked about fear in the last show. We would not give into the fear because the first thing is like "Oh, my God, my job is going away. Everyone's going to be unemployed," but there'd even come a time we'd get so close to the precipice, like everybody's coming off the show, that we get a phone call. "You know, Butch, we're looking at the numbers, and they're really good. We'd like you to do another couple of seasons of the show." Then, the show would come back.

So, what if I had given into the fear? I'd have had a couple of miserable weeks. I'd have been sad. I'd have been going through stress. Aren't we ... We determined to live a stress free life as much as we can. I really think because of our relationship with Jesus, it's like we know that we can ... He's the prince of what? The Prince of Peace. So, why do I have to have ... He's not the prince of craziness. He's not the prince of sadness and fear. He's the Prince of Peace. So, if he's in my life, I'm going to have peace. So, we demand to have peace in our life.

Chris Grace: It's such an amazing idea that people don't hold onto, I don't think enough, and it's this. As a psychologist, we look at emotions, but also as a Christian, I think one of the most fascinating things that you can look at is Jesus's life and look at the emotions he experienced.

He was sad, right? His chest ... One of his friends dies.

Butch Hartman: He sweat great drops of blood.

Chris Grace: He sweat, and he was stressed about things, right?

Butch Hartman: He sure was.

Chris Grace: He had a time where he sang hymns at the end of the last supper, right? They went out and sang hymns together. He certainly showed ... but one of the emotions that I think is most misunderstood of Jesus is fear, when in reality, every time somebody came to him and showed fear, he would say about the same thing. When anybody felt in the presence of a being, let's say it was God or an angel, the human's response was fear, and Jesus would ... and others would say, "Don't fear. Don't anxious look about you." Why? True love casts out fear.

The wonder is that we really, as humans, experience that pretty intensely, and it's met pretty strongly in the Bible with "you need to trust, don't fear, don't anxious look about you."

Butch Hartman: Fear not.

Chris Grace: Fear not [crosstalk]-

Butch Hartman: Let not your heart be troubled. Let not your heart be troubled.

Chris Grace: [crosstalk]. Yeah, and it's so often that that happens.

Tim Muehlhoff: But let me ask you this question. So, let's say we have a couple that's listening, and let's say she is on the "fear not stage"-

Butch Hartman: Got It.

Tim Muehlhoff: ... like "Hey, we might lose your job," right? "We might have our income slashed. I'm good. We're not going to fear," but the other spouse is really wracked with anxiousness and fear. You could see how Satan would use that as dividing the couple.

Butch Hartman: Oh, of course.

Tim Muehlhoff: So, what would be your advice to a couple where they're just the same page? One person's can't sleep at night, and the other person's like "No, I'm good. God's sovereign, and we're good to go."

Butch Hartman: There you go.

Tim Muehlhoff: What would you say to a couple?

Julieann: What I love about that is is that it's like one helps the other. It's like that's what a marriage is about. So, there might be something that might give me fear that doesn't give him any fear.

Butch Hartman: She went through a horrible sickness for eight years. We'll talk about that [crosstalk].

Julieann: But the man has this idea of "I'm the provider, so if my job is going away, and I can't provide for my family," That is definitely ... That's a natural thing that a man would feel. But, we just ... What's so great is we walked into the right church. We really could have chosen ... We lived an hour and a half away. We could have chosen any church, but this one particular church taught us our authority of who we are in Christ.

That was the main thing was who we are, like what does that mean? What does that mean?

Tim Muehlhoff: It was an hour and a half to go to church?

Julieann: Yeah, without traffic.

Butch Hartman: It was less than getting here today. There're still farther to get to Biola.

Chris Grace: [crosstalk]

Tim Muehlhoff: That's great. Also, we need to make this point over and over and over. Listen, you can run a marathon by yourself, right? You can train all by herself. You can do it in isolation.

Butch Hartman: Yeah, that's true.

Tim Muehlhoff: I just wonder how many people would ever actually finish a marathon? You guys were saying community was so important to you. You'd make an hour and a half commute one way-

Butch Hartman: One way.

Tim Muehlhoff: ... because the community is what was helping you guys. I think that's an incredibly important point.

Butch Hartman: Yes. Then, the knowledge we were getting, the things we'd never heard before, the things about the Bible. That was the first church ... Crenshaw Christian Center was the first church we ever went to where the pastor said, "Open your bibles, follow along." I never heard that in a church before. I know [crosstalk]-

Tim Muehlhoff: We hadn't been to that many, but-

Butch Hartman: Maybe we hadn't been to that many, but it's like "Well, I can listen here, and I can apply it to my life as I go home for the week, too."

Julieann: Then, back then, we'd buy the cassette, you know?

Chris Grace: Oh, sure.

Julieann: So, we'd pop it in the car, and we-

Butch Hartman: You guys know what cassettes are back then? [crosstalk]-

Chris Grace: [crosstalk]

Tim Muehlhoff: [crosstalk]

Butch Hartman: What is a cassette tape?

Tim Muehlhoff: Siri, what's a cassette tape?

Julieann: We were hungry. I mean hungry because we're like-

Tim Muehlhoff: That's great.

Julieann: ... "We're not going to live this life we've got. God has more for us," but I just want to say one thing to compliment my husband. He's never been one with the ego of going like "I'm the man. Don't tell me not to fear. Who do you think you are?" He's always listened to me, and vice ... I don't know if I listen as much to him, but no. I mean, I have to, right? Because that's how this whole thing works. That's why it's a miracle because either one of us didn't want to listen to each other. We just were in this relationship, and we had to learn how to communicate with each other, but he really allowed me to say if that was him, "What are you doing? Excuse me? Where did you find that? Where did you see that in the Bible that told you to start fearing about this? Where did it tell you to start stressing out? He told us to cast our care," and then, vice versa if something was trying to mess with me-

Tim Muehlhoff: [crosstalk]

Julieann: ... but that's what the relationship is so important. If it's a one way relationship, it's very hard.

Chris Grace: Julieann, was that tested much? I mean, with your husband here, Butch, being so involved in a creative project. I know you were involved at different levels. You were a busy actress and other things that you did: comedy, and whatever, but, I mean, was the marriage, or that relationship, challenged just because of the amount of time that you had to give to these projects independently or differently or ... How did you navigate that?

Julieann: Actually, it was more of my schedule than his-

Chris Grace: Oh.

Julieann: ... and that's where I just kind of wanted to put this out there to the ladies, but it was all about me, and "Oh, that cartoon thing you do, great." It was me. I came from a situation where I was 30 years old when we got married. I worked on the game show, Jeopardy, for 14 years.

Tim Muehlhoff: Oh, wow.

Julieann: I had my life, and somewhere I had to fit him in somewhere. When I would come, we would meet back at home at 11:00 at night, and he said, "Why do you stay out so late?" I was doing my stuff. I wanted to do my dance classes. I wanted to do karate. I wanted to do my acting classes plus work, my job at Jeopardy. He'd say, "Why did we even get married? You don't want to be here." I'd be like "Yes I do, but you have to fit in my schedule."

Tim Muehlhoff: Ah.

Julieann: That was not going to work, but he was very patient, and he did leave a couple times to say like "I'm out of here. What's the point? I married you to be with you."

So, what I want to say is that ladies, we ... This is back in 1992. Now, can you imagine what it's like now? It's a lot different now, too. I mean it was bad then-

Male: And all the pressures on-

Julieann: ... but it's bad now as far as women being so independent that they're trying to be independent of their own spouse, and that doesn't work because the minute ... When I really learned what submitting was, it wasn't like I had to bow down and he was going to strike me every day and go, "You must-

Butch Hartman: It doesn't mean slavery.

Male: That's right.

Julieann: Yeah. No, it is a state of mind.

Butch Hartman: It's a respect.

Julieann: It's a respect for my husband, and I had to learn that because my mother was married four times. She didn't have a lot of respect for men. They were just serving a purpose. That's really all I saw, so I had to learn. I remember someone telling me long time ago, "If you don't respect your husband, he has nothing. That is the one thing ... Yeah, there's sex, there's all this stuff, but the husband is wanting respect more than anything. If you don't respect him, you will not have a marriage." I was like "Wow. Okay, how do I work [crosstalk]."

Butch Hartman: By the way, that's true. Not that you get up every morning demanding respect, but if your wife isn't taking you seriously or listening to you, you kind of feel, "Okay, what are we doing here," you know?

Chris Grace: They did surveys. [inaudible] is a researcher, writer, and she'd talked about this very thing. She said, "Men in the morning," when she did basic course surveys or anytime, "would rather hear from their wives that they ... appreciation and thanks and respect than 'I love you.'" In other words, men would say-

Julieann: Yes.

Chris Grace: ... "I understand the love. I get that, but I need or feel a strong ... to be affirmed by ... to show respect," and that's an amazing thing and a stat out there for-

Butch Hartman: It's amazing revelation, isn't it? Yeah.

Chris Grace: ... young couples.

Julieann: Well, I had to learn to be his cheerleader, the head of his fan club. So, when he would go ... When he was at Nickelodeon, as he was walking towards the door to walk down the stairs, I'm like "You're the most amazing producer in Hollywood."-

Tim Muehlhoff: That's true, that's true.

Julieann: ... because he does know I love him, but I had to ... because you know what? This is what the Lord show me. If you don't, someone else will.

Male: Someone else will.

Male: That's right.

Julieann: So, you don't want that to happen because men are looking for that.

Male: That's right.

Julieann: They want to feel validated. They want to know that their woman and their children really need them. But if you're like going "Yeah, go to work. All right, we'll see you when you get home," how many years can you do that? Then, all of a sudden, some girl at the office is like "Boy, you look so good. I love that jacket on you."

Butch Hartman: Plus, when you get into your office, the man might be in a position of power, or a position of authority, not that he's going to abuse that, but there might be someone there who respects that power, and tries to utilize that situation.

So, anyway, thank God we didn't succumb to that.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yes, and let me point out something. I just have to comment, Julieann, on what you've done twice in this podcast. So, John Gottman, the marriage researcher, would say, "Here's the number one way to have a healthy marriage is compliment your spouse publicly." You've done that twice.

Julieann: Wow.

Tim Muehlhoff: What a great example to listeners.

Julieann: Give me five.

Butch Hartman: [crosstalk]. Should I [inaudible] her twice now?

Tim Muehlhoff: Well, I'm keeping a score card.

Male: [crosstalk]

Tim Muehlhoff: You're down two.

Butch Hartman: I love my wife. She's amazing. No, we-

Julieann: No, more than love. More than love.

Butch Hartman: More than love, right. You are beautiful.

Julieann: I know you love me.

Butch Hartman: You look amazing. Gosh-

Tim Muehlhoff: This is one healthy marriage.

Chris Grace: Okay, we're going to take a break now. [crosstalk]-

Butch Hartman: But I could not have done any of this without her.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah [crosstalk]-

Butch Hartman: There's no way.

Julieann: See, women don't understand their position. They think that they're supposed to be the lesser vessel. It's like "No, we're at home, we've got like ..." It's like you got all your computer screens here. We've got all these screens up: kids, husband. We're home planning and we are home navigating things, and we're home making sure that his life is wonderful when he comes home. Who wants to come home to like "Here's all the problems." I throw them at him like "Goodbye. I'm going to the gym." Who wants to live like that? But we have a very, very important, very integral part in a marriage. Women do, and it's exciting to try to figure out how all this works.

Butch Hartman: This goes for husband's, too. It's like when you're a husband, you need to be your wife's boyfriend, and you need to be there for her when she needs it. You can't run away when the problems happen. You can't be the guy ... If your wife's having a bad day, you need to be there for her, too, and you need to also make sure she has what she needs. It can't be all about you.

Again, what I said at the beginning, it's all about ... It can't be all about you.

Tim Muehlhoff: As we follow up on that, so not just a bad day, but you were saying that your wife went through a bad season of sickness.

Butch Hartman: Very sick, yeah. She was very sick for how many years? Ten years.

Julieann: Well, a total of 10, but the bad part was about four years.

Tim Muehlhoff: Can we hear about that a little bit, and how did that affect the marriage and how-

Butch Hartman: Sure.

Julieann: Well, unfortunately, I was in a situation where something drastically changed in our ... I don't even know-

Butch Hartman: Your work life.

Julieann: ... in my work life, basically. So, I, talking about identity ... My identity was in what I was doing. So, now this goes away suddenly one day, and I didn't know what to do. I'm literally looking in the mirror every morning saying, "Who are you? Who are you, and what are you going to do now?" kind of thing.

Butch Hartman: It started going down like this, and depression [crosstalk]-

Julieann: So, when depression set in, my body just started screaming.

Male: [crosstalk]

Julieann: I was an athlete, and I worked out six days a week, six hours a day. I went down to nothing.

Tim Muehlhoff: Oh.

Julieann: So, that was another thing I didn't realize that when you are used to those endorphins that-

Tim Muehlhoff: Sure.

Julieann: ... I did this for 20 years; that all of a sudden when you stop one day, yeah, it wasn't good. So, I went through everything. I was diagnosed with so many things I can't even tell you.

Butch Hartman: We spent $300,000 on doctors, 300,000.

Chris Grace: Wow, just to try and figure it out.

Julieann: Yeah, and I ... but because I was going outside. I knew Jesus as my provider. I knew Jesus as my comforter, but I didn't know him as healer, and that changed everything. So, I just, from that point when I realized that "No, way. Jesus is the healer," my life started changing. I started realizing that everything that I had was already in me when I said "yes" to Jesus, like there was a provision for healing. I just didn't know that. I thought I had to reach out and go get it.

So, when I found out that it was in me and I just had to take authority now and bring that out of me, that's when my body started to change, but it was rough. I mean, there was even one day, we were at Whole Foods. We're sitting in the parking lot, and I had just gone to Texas with the girls, went to visit my mom, and I came back and he was sitting in the parking lot, and he goes "Nothing changed." I said, "I know. I thought things would get better." It was like four weeks I was gone. So, I said, "You know what? I really think ..." Now this is how the enemy helped me devise this whole strategy. "I think you should leave me." I said, "I really think you should go because ..." I said, "I feel bad that you have to wake up to this every morning." We have two daughters-

Butch Hartman: It was years and years and years. I mean, it was [crosstalk]-

Julieann: Yeah, we have two daughters that are amazing, and I could pull it together for them, but he'd see the real person, right? So, he'd see the one behind the scenes, and that was not the fun one, but I would ... I literally told him that day, I said, "I think you should leave because I really ..." I said, "You know, the girls will be fine." This is how ... Talk about how the enemy will get into your head-

Chris Grace: Sure.

Julieann: ... and tell you such lies, and you believe the lies. That's the worst part. I said, "I think you should leave because you deserve better than this," and I said, "You know, you can take the girl ..." I mean, I had this whole plan, and he said ... I'll never forget. He looked at me and he said, "I made a promise. I made a covenant with you. I am never leaving you. I don't like what's going on. I don't like the way you feel. I don't like the way you look, but I am never leaving. I committed to you, and we're going to get through this."

Chris Grace: That's great.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's so ... the idea of a covenant marriage, not a contractual marriage-

Julieann: No.

Male: [crosstalk]

Tim Muehlhoff: ... because there's seasons of the marriage where you can't follow through on your part of the contract.

Male: Yeah, no.

Tim Muehlhoff: Right?

Butch Hartman: That's so true.

Julieann: Yes.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's what I love about a covenant. That's really cool.

Butch Hartman: Yeah, yeah, that's true.

Julieann: So, he said, "Where's the support group for the husbands that are going through? Everybody wants to talk to the sick one, but what about the one that's going through it?"

Tim Muehlhoff: That's true. There used to be a support group.

Butch Hartman: We minister on that all the time, too.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's great.

Chris Grace: We just did a podcast recently on the difference between ... The question we asked is "Why not just live together?" So, we talked about some of the reasons why, but it really came down to the answer was because at a moment in time when things go bad, when it's hard, what do we turn to? We turn to this idea. We made a vow, a public commitment in front of everybody, in front of God, and said, "In thick and thin, in rich or poor, sickness and health, I'm with you, and I'll never leave."

Butch, that sounds like something you had to put into practice.

Butch Hartman: Uh-huh, it was true because when you mention people living together, it's like "We're going to live together, but not get married." It's like "Yes, you can do that, but when it does come," like you said, "when those hard times do come, you have that out. I can just get out of here."

Male: [crosstalk]

Butch Hartman: So, it's like what's the point of even living together? Why don't you ... by the way, why won't you make that commitment? What are you afraid of? The fear comes back in.

Julieann: There's fear. There's fear.

Butch Hartman: We'd meet married couples all the time, and this is not to condemn anybody, of course, but married couples that have separate bank accounts, and you're like "Oh, there's nothing wrong with that," but we learned early on, we better have the same bank account because I need to know where your money's going and we had to really commit everything together because we became a family. That's what a family is.

Julieann: Anything that we talk to people about ... I don't talk about something that I have not experienced. Like I said, "I was independent woman. I married you, but you're going to have to fit into my life," right? We did have separate bank accounts. We did all of that. That's not a marriage. That's not a covenant with each other; it's a partnership. I lived with four different men before I got married, so I know what that feels like, too. It was so easy to be like-

Butch Hartman: This is not news to me, by the way. I knew that.

Julieann: No, but it's like ... but seriously, here-

Butch Hartman: [crosstalk], and here they are now. We're bringing them in. Here they come. Come on in, guys. We've got them here.

Julieann: But really, it came down to you don't look so cute anymore. I'm out of here because we have this fantasy like the guy's hot and what ... like you're not so cute in the mornings. I'm out of here. I mean, that's how shallow it was, right? Too many reasons to just leave. So, I can speak on that because I was that, and I thought that was the best way. As a matter of fact, we were told in our family, "Live together, and then see if this is a good fit."

So, that's why I didn't know any different, but this was the one I didn't live with was the one that I married.

Tim Muehlhoff: I love that God redeems all this.

Julieann: Totally.

Male: [crosstalk]

Tim Muehlhoff: He doesn't shield us from everything, but the comfort that you now have received you now pass on to other people. There's something about that credibility.

Butch Hartman: He's a rewarder of those who diligently seek. It's true.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's really good.

Chris Grace: [crosstalk]

Butch Hartman: "If you seek the kingdom first," Matthew 6:33, "all these things will be added unto you." So, we're like we're going to seek this kingdom first. By the way, we've been ... Listen, I've been in Hollywood for 20 years. When I first became a Christian, and still to this day, we do get mocked. You do get looked down upon from people that aren't Christians. You do get ridiculed, this and that, but it's like no big deal. I don't care. It's like that doesn't-

Julieann: But Jesus already told us that. He already to us this was going to happen.

Butch Hartman: Yeah, Matthew 5:44 says, "Blessed are you when they revile and curse you for my namesake." So, it's like, look, nothing I am going through could ever be compared to what he went through.

Chris Grace: Let's you talk a little bit about that. What's that like? There are so many students and others that approach us and talk about "It's hard to be a Christian out there in this world. It's hard to fly ..." They want to fly the flag early. They want to identify with Christ, but then they get hits, or they try and maybe take a different tact, and they kind of "Well, I just go underground. I'll be a good person, and I'll pray, and I won't really ..."

How did you navigate that? It sounds like something you were pretty upfront about.

Butch Hartman: I was, and then when I first got saved, I was very excited. I still am excited, but I got excited. I wanted to share my faith with people. Of course, it's what everybody wants to do, but then I started realizing "Oh, they're just like I was. They didn't want to hear about it," and I understood that. So, then I did take that tact: "I'm just going to live as an example. I'll just be a good guy. Dah dah dah dah dah." But then when people would ask me questions, if they would ask me questions about faith, I would just start telling them because it just comes out of you. When you get squeezed, what should come out of you? If you're an orange, orange juice comes out, but if you're a Christian, Christ should come out.

So, I would just get squeezed. I mean, the Bible, the word, would just come out. Now, you do need to walk with wisdom, though. You can't walk up and just go, "Hey, I'm a Christian, and you're going straight to hell if you don't believe what I believe." You cannot ever do that.

Julieann: That's wrong. That's wrong.

Butch Hartman: That's not what Jesus would do. Need to approach people with love and with kindness, and just ... because there's no defense against love. When you come to somebody with love and kindness, they're going to ... They have two choices. They can run, or they can respond the same way. So, a lot of them will run, and that's fine, but the ones that don't run are the ones you can start talking to. It's a relation ... See, God's all about relationship.

Julieann: It's a relationship, yes.

Butch Hartman: It's all about relationship. You can't just snap your fingers, someone becomes a Christian, everything's fine because even when you get saved, everything isn't fine.

Julieann: Well, it's a problem, too, when people want to condemn. It's so funny because you're like "Wait a minute. You're condemning that person. Didn't you just do that five years ago? Wait a minute." So, it's not about condemnation.

Butch Hartman: You can't do that.

Julieann: It's about getting in relationship so that you and I now ... you can see the way that I do live my life, and unfortunately, there's a lot of people out there that say one thing and live another. That's up to you. That's between you and God. So, you got figure that out because people are watching us. They're not just listening to what you're saying, but they're watching your life.

Butch Hartman: Oh, yeah.

Male: That's right.

Butch Hartman: And then once, there was one time I was at ... real quick story. I was at a gas station and filling up my gas. This guy comes up, asks for money; young kid, pretty well dressed, asking for money. I'm like "Okay," and my gas is filling up. "Let's talk a little bit." I pulled out a 20. I'm holding the $20 bill so he can see I'm going to give it to him, but I want to talk and minister to him a little bit, ask him why he's in the situation, dah dah dah.

So, finally he's full of excuses, but I gave him the money. I said, "Look, Jesus gave me this money. He wants me to give it to you. Have a nice day." Gave him the money. Kid walks away, gas is done. I hear this guy from behind me. "That was really cool, Butch," and I look, I turn around and there's this guy from my church I hadn't seen for three years, watched the whole thing.

Tim Muehlhoff: Ah.

Butch Hartman: So, you're always being watched, you know? What if I had been someone who wasn't nice [crosstalk]-

Julieann: Like a jerk to the guy.

Butch Hartman: A jerk to the guy. Look, no harm, no foul, but still the fact I wasn't might've ministered to that guy, you know?

Chris Grace: Is it getting harder ... We have students that are majoring in [crosstalk]-

Butch Hartman: To drive down here? Yes. Two and a half hours.

Chris Grace: [inaudible] to fill up a lot more with gas.

Butch Hartman: Two and a half hours I was on the way.

Tim Muehlhoff: Do not let the sun go down on your anger. [crosstalk]-

Butch Hartman: Oh, yes.

Chris Grace: Butch, here's 20 bucks. Go fill your car up. [crosstalk] need it.

Butch Hartman: This is Canadian money. What are you doing?

Chris Grace: So, is it getting harder? We have students who are going out into that world. Tell us a little bit about Hollywood. The institution of marriage has always been under attack. I'm not quite sure, and so it's just modeling not just good relationships, but it's also modeling something that's bigger, right? I mean, it's this idea that God does seem to inhabit a marriage. He does call this together [crosstalk]-

Butch Hartman: Let me just say this about Hollywood. You want to get into Hollywood, please. God has given you all gifts out there. Follow your gifting. Don't be afraid to get out there. If you're a composer, you're probably not going to get to compose the next Star Wars movie right away, but become an intern in someone's music studio. Learn how they do it. You got to learn the ins and outs of the industry. Don't be afraid. Again, it comes back to fear.

Don't be afraid to do those small jobs until you get the big jobs, and by the way, I always say this to every intern I meet, everybody who's out there starting out: Be a nice person. You go in, it's a very small industry. If you're a prima donna, you will not get hired on the next job. I'll tell people this. I'll hire a less talented, nice person, than I will a talented prima donna any day.

Tim Muehlhoff: [crosstalk]

Butch Hartman: So, just to be that person that won't ... Be someone who makes people's lives better. Make the job easier for others, and you will work until the cows come home. You'll get jobs everywhere. Learn things. Up your skillset. I can talk about this for three more hours, too. Up your skillset. You might be really good at this. When I was an artist, I was just an artist, but I became a writer, too. So, then I could write and draw, which is a very valuable skill to have. So, when I got my own show, I could do both jobs. Somebody dropped the ball, I could jump in and pick it up, you know what I mean? That's why the show kept-

Tim Muehlhoff: That's so good. [crosstalk]-

Butch Hartman: That's why the show kept going. You need to learn more than one job. "But Butch, it's really hard." Yes, I know it's really hard. That's why not everybody does it. So, you need to be the one that can do it.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's right.

We should mention the reason that you're here is that you're going to be speaking to our film school, and Biola is really dedicated to film here-

Butch Hartman: I hope that's today because I have to drive back. [crosstalk] just making sure it's today.

Tim Muehlhoff: It's today.

Butch Hartman: It's happening today? All right.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yes. I love the fact that we, Biola, has a film department that is at Sundance Film Festival.

Butch Hartman: That's amazing.

Tim Muehlhoff: It's not this exclusion, but let's go into the industry, and let's go into the industry willing to roll up your sleeves and do some really, really hard work.

Butch Hartman: Every industry is work.

Tim Muehlhoff: Every single one.

Butch Hartman: Well, Hollywood is so glamorous. You know what it takes to get that movie on screen? Every time you see a movie of anything, it took at least six years to get made.

Tim Muehlhoff: When I was in modeling as a professional model-

Butch Hartman: Yeah, yeah. Tell us all about that, Tim.

Tim Muehlhoff: I could have just on my looks, but I wanted to learn the craft. So, how do you hold that reflective-

Julieann: You learn to walk.

Tim Muehlhoff: ... dial because I'm not so sure why you're laughing?

Julieann: You know one thing I love, though, too is that if you know who you are in Christ, you know that you bring value to wherever you go to work.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's it. [crosstalk]-

Julieann: Remember because Christ is in you, right? So, when you walk on their floor, you bring the presence of God into that situation, and pastors and everybody that works at churches is amazing and there's a place for that, but there's a whole world out there that is not going to walk into a church, and you might be the only church that they know-

Tim Muehlhoff: That's great.

Julieann: ... at whatever.

Butch Hartman: The only one.

Julieann: At a ... I don't even know, like at an insurance agency or something. So, that's why the marketplace is so, so important, and we just got to make sure that we know that not everybody is going to be a pastor, and not everybody is going to be an evangelist. That's one thing to have that place, but you need to go into the marketplace because that's what we're called to do.

Butch Hartman: Hollywood is the biggest mission field out there. People want to go to Africa and Russia, and so I'm totally fine.

Julieann: We go.

Butch Hartman: Hollywood is the biggest mission field, and by the way, people would ask me all the time like "Butch, you do that?" because I would do ton ... I'd be the first one, last one out the door. I'd be doing all this work. People say, "Don't you ever sleep?" I'd be like "Yeah, I get six, seven hours sleep every night." "How come you look so refreshed?" I'd be like "Because ..." I said, "I think, supernaturally, God gives me more hours in the day and I'm just not aware of it." I'm telling you because I love what I do because God's going to give you the desire of your heart. You're going to get to do what you love and it won't even seem like work. That's why I loved what I did. I still love what I do.

So, when you follow Christ in that way, he's going to give you what you love to do, and that's when those stresses come, it's not that big of a deal because you love doing it anyway, you know?

Tim Muehlhoff: I think one of the big takeaways as we kind of wrap this up is-

Butch Hartman: Your modeling career [crosstalk]-

Tim Muehlhoff: My modeling. That was a big takeaway.

Butch Hartman: Yeah, yeah, sure. Was it runway modeling? Was it-

Tim Muehlhoff: My kids are just actually hand modeling. It's a niche.

Butch Hartman: Like Seinfeld [crosstalk]-

Tim Muehlhoff: I did ankles for a while, but it was just too competitive.

Butch Hartman: That's nice. I noticed your ankles walking in.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yes, thank you so much.

Butch Hartman: They're very nice. [crosstalk]-

Chris Grace: [crosstalk]

Tim Muehlhoff: I think one of the big takeaways is where's your identity?

Butch Hartman: That's it, yeah. Big time.

Tim Muehlhoff: If your identity would have been in health, then you would have been shattered. If your identity would have been "I am the creator of this show," then when it gets canceled the first time-

Butch Hartman: Boom, over.

Tim Muehlhoff: ... you're in the tank. So, to have that identity be rooted ... So, I begged Chris that his identity cannot be rooted in doing a podcast with me. I begged him to get some [crosstalk]-

Chris Grace: [crosstalk] working on [crosstalk].

Tim Muehlhoff: I pray for you, Chris.

Butch Hartman: Why are you guys holding hands, by the way? [crosstalk]-

Tim Muehlhoff: What a huge lesson is ... I mean, if we're getting all of our self worth from this temporal thing ... even marriage is, right?

Butch Hartman: Absolutely.

Tim Muehlhoff: Man, then you're putting too much pressure on things that just were never meant to bear that kind of pressure.

Julieann: No.

Tim Muehlhoff: So, I love the fact that both of you ... The identity needs to be in Christ.

Butch Hartman: The last scripture in third John is "Little children, keep yourself from idols."

Tim Muehlhoff: That's right.

Butch Hartman: That's like your marriage, your car, your job, your whatever it is that you're idolizing-

Julieann: Your status.

Butch Hartman: Your status, your show, my standing in the community, whatever it is-

Tim Muehlhoff: That's right.

Butch Hartman: ... you idolize that over Christ, it's all going to come crumbling down.

Tim Muehlhoff: I love that.

Chris Grace: I love that you guys, and in Jesus, when he's ... In John 13:34 and 35, talked about "the new commandment I give you that you love one another as I have loved you," right?

Butch Hartman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Grace: "By this, all people will know," and that's what you guys talking about. It's that love. All people are going to know by the way you act, by the way you treat, by the way you do your work, and then you sacrificially love one another in a way, and that brings them to understanding-

Butch Hartman: Amen. Amen.

Chris Grace: ... and knowledge of what Jesus has done, and that's why it's a new commandment, right?

Butch Hartman: Exactly.

Chris Grace: "That you love just like I did," which is sacrificial.

Butch Hartman: That commandment encompasses all the other commandments.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's right.

Chris Grace: Exactly right.

Butch Hartman: Every single family commandment falls right into that bowl.

Chris Grace: That's right.

Butch Hartman: That's what's amazing about it, I know.

Julieann: We're in a world of social media, and that's identifying people.

Tim Muehlhoff: Oh, yeah.

Julieann: They're getting their identity off of somebody else's Instagram as well.

Butch Hartman: Likes, followers.

Julieann: It's like I see all these ... for women, make-up things, and it's beautiful make-up and they look amazing. So, now, but it's phony; it's like fake. I see all these young girls, these beautiful girls, walking around with, literally, two inches of foundation on, and you're like "Take that stuff off because that's not even who you are. You're trying to find somebody else on your phone that you want to be. Be what God made you to be. Quit trying ... because he made you for a purpose and a plan, not to be someone else's purpose and plan." Do you know what I mean? It's like ... I call it "insta-phony" because it's really becoming a phony sense of who you are.

So, we have to ... That's why "guard your heart with all diligence" because we have to guard our heart from all of these things because we will become something that God never put in us.

Tim Muehlhoff: Let me just say I'm an author, and, obviously, a publisher wants you to help promote your own stuff. So, I got on Facebook for the very first time. I've read all the studies. Chris, you've talked a lot about these Facebook studies where it's this false reality and you continually compare yourself to what you see. But to me it was all theory because I've never been on Facebook.

Male: Wow.

Tim Muehlhoff: So, I decided I'm going to go on Facebook. So, I did. I went on Facebook, and it is stunning what's out there.

Butch Hartman: Oh, yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: I'm putting my best foot forward. I didn't say, "I had an argument with my wife today as we drove two and a half hours." I didn't say any of that. I'm putting the best photos, the coolest story about my kids.

Butch Hartman: Sure.

Tim Muehlhoff: This is the greatest hits album of Tim Muehlhoff's life, and then you click on other people's names, and you go to their greatest hits album. So, studies have shown, right, Chris, that people who ... a lot of time on social media, there's a pervasive sense of sadness for many people report because they are looking at these people's lives.

Butch Hartman: Sure.

Tim Muehlhoff: Then, you just can't compete with certain individuals. So, I love the fact that again, we're back to identity. Where is your identity? Be rooted ... Facebook is great. It connects people. By and large, I think it's great, but if we're trying to get that reality, boy, that's a hard one.

Butch Hartman: One last scripture is that the Bible says, "Don't compare yourselves among yourselves" for that very reason because you're always going to ... you're never going to measure up to that person or that person.

Julieann: Social media is not going to go away, so we have to figure out how we're going to use it.

Butch Hartman: That we use it good.

Male: That's right.

Butch Hartman: Power for good.

Julieann: It's not going away.

Tim Muehlhoff: I love that.

Julieann: You see young girls now, 12, 13 years old, looking like they're 25 because of all the stuff that they're seeing through this, and it just breaks my heart.

Butch Hartman: You can post your modeling pictures.

Tim Muehlhoff: I know. I know.

Julieann: Yeah, throwback Thursday.

Tim Muehlhoff: I have a great [inaudible].

Male: That's right [crosstalk].

Tim Muehlhoff: Let me ask a real quick question, Butch. I've been very impressed. You are so quick to quote scripture. Where did that habit start? Second, what difference has that made in your own personal walk with the Lord? Where did that come from and what difference has it made?

Butch Hartman: Oh, thank you for asking.

Chris Grace: What version are you using because [crosstalk]-

Butch Hartman: We use New King ... I read New King James, mostly, predominantly, but it was one of those things I wanted to start committing it to memory because I don't ... Believe me, I do not have the whole Bible memorized at all, but I have a lot of my favorite scriptures memorized because each one of those scriptures has helped me in a certain point in my life. So, everything I've quoted here has helped me in a certain point in my life. I'd see ... You have a TV show and you want toys to be out there. Well, my toys are out there, but this other TV show has all these other toys. I'd walk into a toy store and see like 20 shelves of Show A and my show is over here, and you're like "Don't compare yourself among yourselves. Don't do it. Don't start coveting."

So, all those scriptures would start coming into my head. We'd have a discussion at home, my beautiful wife and I, and we'd be like "Well, okay, I've got to love my wife as Christ so ..." So, that's where it would start creeping in.

Tim Muehlhoff: So good.

Butch Hartman: But anyway, it's become sort of a habit, and plus I was really good at memorizing lines when I was an actor. So, I think that helped a little bit, but plus you spend time with God every morning.

Julieann: Exactly.

Butch Hartman: We read the Bible every day, even if it's five minutes.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's good.

Butch Hartman: You're like you got to get that word inside of.

Julieann: Well, it's not just reading, it's reading, but it's spending time with him.

Butch Hartman: It's spending time. It's listening, yeah.

Male: That's right.

Butch Hartman: When your Bible is closed and it's just you and him-

Tim Muehlhoff: That's right.

Julieann: ... that's one thing that really saved my life was when I was sick was it was just me and him. Every morning, I would walk for about two miles. I mean, some days I was crawling because I couldn't walk, but it was just ... It was me and him, and we talked the whole time.

Butch Hartman: I had to go to work during all this and maintain the show. I mean, I had to go be funny. I had to go to work and be funny.

Chris Grace: One of the scriptures you've been quoting real quickly out of Psalm 37, it's a fascinating one because you've mentioned it a number of times, and I just love your approach to it. It goes like this, right? "Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pastures. Then, delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Commit your way to him. You've mentioned that many times. He gives you that you ... We commit our ways to him. We delight in him, and at that delight and joy is when he gives us what we need to be doing. So-

Butch Hartman: That's exactly right.

Chris Grace: ... So, one of the things real quickly, you guys also talked about a new passion of yours and something that you're working on, and talk about that new delight, that OAXIS.

Butch Hartman: Oh, thank you. It's called OAXIS Entertainment. It's the word "oasis," which is a place of safety in a dry and desolate landscape, and the word "axis," a point of strength around which things revolve. It's uncompromising. So, we took oasis and axis, put it together; took about 13 hours to come up with that name. We just want to bring family entertainment back to the way it used to be. Not old fashioned, but I want to have shows everybody can watch. I don't want to have a show that mom and dad have to watch when the kids go to bed. I want to have shows everybody can watch because when I grew up, you could pretty much watch anything on TV. There was a couple things-

Tim Muehlhoff: Now, the Dick Van Dyke show.

Butch Hartman: Dick Van Dyke. Exactly.

Tim Muehlhoff: Loved the [crosstalk]-

Butch Hartman: Why can't we make a new version of Dick Van Dyke, or that type of humor, but make it in a modern setting? Why can't we take Andy Griffith and make it a modern setting? Why can't we take ... bring back the variety show? Why can't we take shows, or just even action movies, and just take out all the horrible dark stuff and just have really fun, cool action movies, you know what I'm saying?

Tim Muehlhoff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Butch Hartman: We can have all of this. We can have a show called ... We can have a channel called the "Laugh Channel." You know when you go on Facebook and watch like dog videos of dogs doing things. Let's have a whole channel of-

Julieann: Babies laughing.

Butch Hartman: Let's have super high quality, awesome animation that ... Oh, maybe we know somebody who can do that. Maybe that ... Let's have eight or nine of those. Let's have sitcoms. Let's have dramas. Let's have sports. Let's have reality shows. That's what we want to do. That's what OAXIS is going to be. We had kickstarter over the summer. We raised a quarter million dollars in 30 days. You want to bond with your family, raise a quarter million dollars in 30 days, let me tell you.

It was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time-

Male: [crosstalk]

Butch Hartman: ... but that's what ... You talk about standing on scripture for that one. We wrote a whole confession down a week before it ended, and we had about $80,000 to go on the last day, last day. We had this confession. We were like "Nope. God said this, God said this," and it all happened the way we wrote it down. So, the point is, we're on our capital raising phase now because I left Nickelodeon after 20 years; had a great run there, but this is what my passion is now.

Tim Muehlhoff: When is the launch date or-

Butch Hartman: We don't have a launch date yet because we're looking for next July.

Tim Muehlhoff: Okay.

Butch Hartman: That's very aggressive, but we believe we can do it, and again, we're going out now and we're ... The Bible says you go from glory to glory. We're at this glory now. We want to go up to the next glory. So, that's what we're doing.

Julieann: We are doing this as a family. This is not just-

Butch Hartman: This is the Hobby Lobby of entertainment, I'm telling you right now.

Julieann: Yeah, this Butch, Julieann, Carly, and Sophia.

Male: That's awesome. That's awesome.

Julieann: What I love is that you pour into your kids-

Butch Hartman: Family-run.

Julieann: ... all their life growing up, and then all of a sudden it turns a corner and they started pouring back to you. What you've taught them and what they've learned on their own and their relationship with Christ now-

Tim Muehlhoff: Awesome.

Julieann: ... it's just an amazing relationship between the four of us, and it is the four of us doing it because what not better than to have a family reach out to other families and get families back together.

Butch Hartman: I know we're wrapping up report here, but the one last thing I'll just reiterate is like when you die to yourself and you make it about your kids and your spouse, that's when the fruit will come back. Now, it takes a while for the fruit to come back because you plant a seed and it grows. Well, once they have fruit starts sprouting up, man, you'll have fruit for the rest of your life. So, to have our daughters be able to sow back into our lives so strongly, it's been a real blessing to us.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's great.

Chris Grace: You guys fit perfectly here at Biola.

Tim Muehlhoff: Oh, yes.

Chris Grace: I can't believe it's your first time here.

Butch Hartman: [crosstalk] we should probably just stay. We should probably just stay.

Tim Muehlhoff: Come be faculty.

Chris Grace: Seriously, you guys, this is a home for you. You guys are like kindred spirits. This is what our heart is, what we do-

Butch Hartman: Oh, thanks, man. Thank you.

Chris Grace: ... why we started this center. Tim's modeling career has meant nothing to the ability to pay for any of the bills.

Butch Hartman: He gave me a towel with his picture on it. I don't know what that means.

Chris Grace: It has paid nothing of our bills, too.

Tim Muehlhoff: When I break into the elbow market, you're going to see some-

Butch Hartman: Remember the Seinfeld when George became a hand model.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yes, yes, totally.

Male: [crosstalk]

Tim Muehlhoff: Totally, yeah.

Chris Grace: Well, thanks just for being here with us and sharing a little bit of your journey and your life.

Butch Hartman: Well, it's our pleasure. Thank you for even having us on. You guys are awesome. Thank you very much.

Julieann: Yes.

Tim Muehlhoff: We love it.

 


Chris Grace

Christopher Grace serves as the director of the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships and teaches psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology. He and his wife, Alisa, speak regularly to married couples, churches, singles and college students on the topic of relationships, dating and marriage. Grace earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Colorado State University.

Butch Hartman

Michigan native Butch Hartman remembers wanting to create cartoons as far back as kindergarten. He recently left Nickelodeon after 20 years where he spearheaded four successful series, including: "The Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom, T.U.F.F. Puppy, and Bunsen is a Beast.  Hartman began working on Nickelodeon's Oh Yeah, Cartoons! where he created a new short, The Fairly OddParents. The short was then developed into an animated series and became a mega-hit for the network when it launched in 2001. The Fairly OddParents ranks as Nickelodeon's third longest-running animated series, behind Spongebob SquarePants, and Dora the Explorer. In 2011, Nickelodeon commemorated the 10th anniversary of the animated series with the live-action/CG animated TV movie: A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner!  

Hartman's passion project is Hartman House, a non-profit foundation established by Hartman and his wife Julieann in 2005. Through Hartman House, the Hartman Family help underprivileged children all around the world. Since its formation, Hartman House has helped support numerous global child-based charities. More information regarding the non-profit foundation is available at www.hartmanhouse.org. 

Tim Muehlhoff

Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University and author of several books, including I Beg to Differ and Marriage Forecasting. For the past 18 years, he and his wife, Noreen, have been frequent speakers at FamilyLife marriage conferences. Muehlhoff regularly writes and speaks for the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships. Follow Dr. Muehlhoff on Twitter.


Comments



Subscribe To Our Newsletter

 

Contact

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
1-562-903-6000
© Biola University, Inc. All Rights Reserved.