Fraser Grut and his wife attend Titirangi Baptist Church. In December 2016 he embarked on a personal project to film 10,000 people’s dreams. This is his story.
How did your 10,000 Dreams project come about?
It basically came out of nowhere. I’ve always been a massive believer in the idea of anyone and everyone pursuing their dreams. I was having a coffee (well, a ‘fluffy’—that’s my drink of choice!) with my mate on 6th December 2016. He was heading off to the States. I suggested he should ask someone every day what their favourite ice-cream flavour was. That soon progressed to asking someone every day what their dream in life was. I quickly stole that idea and decided on the spot to film someone every day for one whole year, which felt like a massive challenge.
I was meeting with Art Green (from the TV programme The Bachelor) the next day. I sent him a text asking if he’d be number one. He said yes. I’ve filmed someone every day since.
It’s not all been plain sailing, has it?
The first 100 days were a complete burden. I felt uninspired. I wanted to quit at least three or four times. My heart wasn’t in it. At that point, I hadn’t found God in the project. I thought that I’d rushed into it. I’m not a quitter, so I knew that I couldn’t quit, which made it even more painful.
What was the turning point?
One night in March 2017, I basically gave up. My nanna had just passed away. It was about 10pm and I hadn’t filmed a dream that day. Luckily, my wife encouraged me to keep pushing forward. We stopped off at a fast-food place on a road trip, and I used my iPhone to film the dream of the young guy working at the till.
After that day, I started to take the project more seriously. Also, people I’d never met before began to contact me. They said how much they loved my project, how much it meant to them and how it was encouraging them to pursue their own dreams. That’s when I started to realised how important my project could be. What if I could help the world dream again? Suddenly, I had a new outlook on my project. It became more of a mission than a project—my God-given mission.
After I captured Jacinda Ardern’s dream on day 258, I decided that 365 days wasn’t enough. It was too easy. I felt the next ‘logical’ step was 10,000 days (27.5 years), so I changed the name instantly. I knew there was no turning back. This was now a life-long mission and a daily habit. But, there’s no better way to live out your mission statement than by doing it every day for the rest of your life!
Why do you think God led you to start this project?
I definitely feel that God led me to my 10,000 Dreams project. Ever since I was seven years old, God gave me a huge dream: to tell the entire world about him through film—to change the world through film. I love that anything is possible with film. You can tell any story, especially with today’s technology. Also, it’s the gift God gave me. I have no idea where it came from. I just knew I was going to make films for the rest of my life. It’s my calling.
God has placed a dream in everyone’s hearts. It’s easy for me to be super-optimistic because I have two amazing parents who have encouraged me to chase my dreams. But not everyone comes from a place where they have someone to encourage them to pursue their dreams. I want my project to be that voice.
The ultimate goal would be to set up a foundation that helps others pursue their dreams, with us providing contacts, networks, opportunities and finances—kind of like Make-A-Wish but for everyone in the world. That’s my purpose: to help the world dream again.
Any spiritual lessons you’ve learned on this journey?
I can think of at least two.
In 2015 my first feature-length film, Syrenia, was released. In my speech at the premiere I was too scared to thank God because I knew half the audience wasn’t Christian. This was something I regretted for two years. It really impacted me. I felt like a failure, and that God wouldn’t use me anymore. I had missed my one opportunity.
Well, two years later I was invited onto The AM Show to discuss my 10,000 Dreams project. The interview came to an end and Duncan Garner asked me one last question: “Fraser, what’s your dream?” I said, “To tell the whole world about God through film.” I felt a massive weight off my shoulders. I did it; I finally opened up about my faith. Suddenly, massive doors began to open, with dozens of requests for interviews, radio and television appearances, etc. It was a new chapter in my life. I was now going to let God drive my life. I was going to pursue his dreams for my life, and not my own.
That was one lesson. The other is that because I’m such a big picture person, the small stuff can feel unimportant. However, Luke 16:10 says, “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much.” That verse really changed my outlook on everything. Small dreams are just as important. Impacting one person is just as important as impacting a million people. My project doesn’t have a crazy amount of followers, but it’s touched a small number of people in a big way. That’s incredible! Imagine if my project helped a young kid become the next Martin Luther King or Billy Graham? One 30-second film each day has the potential to change the world—little things.
Where next for 10,000 Dreams?
The publicity about the project has been crazy. As I mentioned, I was featured on The AM Show, which led to an article in the New Zealand Herald. Then the Daily Mail interviewed me, which led to an Australian magazine Take Five contacting me. TVNZ are doing a documentary on my project. I was recently interviewed on Mike Hosking Breakfast. We’ve now had more than 20 media offers.
God has opened up massive doors. I’m getting messages almost every day from people wanting to be a part of it. We’ve filmed the dreams of more than 50 celebrities, which has been an exciting experience and which has opened up doors commercially with my company, Frog Productions. I’ll be filming dreams in England this year. We’re taking it global!