Bill and Jacqueline Clements admit their new business venture as television show producers is totally “out of the box.”
“The guys that knew me back in Briercrest days probably would never guess I’d be doing something like this now,” Bill chuckled. “But we wouldn’t have either.”
Over the past year the Briercrest alums and former missionaries have self-funded and produced episodes for two different television shows -- Bolivia: Treasures Within, a travel documentary hosted by Jacqueline on the country of Bolivia, and Wheel Sharks, a reality style show where two mechanics help different individuals purchase used vehicles.
The two shows currently air in the U.S. on the Venture Channel of the internet television network Converge TV. In Canada the shows can be viewed on Zowee TV (zoweetv.com).
The idea and connection for the television shows began in an acting class that Jacqueline was taking.
“Another student had a connection with a network in the States that was looking for content,” Bill explained. “Jacqueline jokingly mentioned, ‘Well, I could do (a show) on Bolivia,’ and it ended up the network was interested.”
“Then Dwight Friesen, another Briercrest alumnus, gave us a connection with two mechanics here in Calgary who, for their jobs, went out and purchased used vehicles for the construction company that they worked for,” he continued. “They also helped single moms and individuals in need who couldn’t afford to purchase a new vehicle. They would go out and find a reasonably priced used vehicle and make sure it was running well. Through a series of conversations we, along with Dwight, talked to these two (mechanics) and they were excited about doing the project together.”
So far the projects have been a labour of love for the couple.
“We’re self-funded at this point,” Bill said. “We’ve done four episodes of the car show and shot five episodes of the Bolivia show. Basically at this point we’re waiting until we get some return on those before we continue any further. We have the option to continue producing if we have the funds.”
Bill asserts that being a television producer was never on his radar.
“I think one of the neat things about it was it wasn’t part of our five or 10 or 15-year plan,” he exclaimed. “It was never in the plan. It was just sort of one of those things – we’d been praying and started sensing that something new was on the horizon.”
That new horizon took Clements back to familiar territory. He grew up as a missionary kid (MK) in Bolivia.
“My grandfather was one of the first missionaries to Bolivia back in the twenties,” Bill said, explaining his deep roots with the Guaraní people in South America. “Over the course of time he put their language into writing as he studied and learned it and developed a sort of Spanish to Guaraní dictionary. When I was in high school all these words were written on cards – handwritten, scratched out and rewritten over many, many years. There were probably at least 10 shoe boxes of these cards.”
Bill’s high school interest in computers became a key factor in seeing his grandfather’s work go from words on a notecard to the printed page.
“I spent the year (after high school graduation) in Canada – that was shortly after the PC came into being,” he said. “Then I went back (to Bolivia) and developed a database and keyed in these cards in the computer and then taught one of the Guaraní men how to use the computer so he could go on doing revisions. I’d always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to go back to Bolivia to help see the dictionary published.”
After they married, Bill and Jacqueline returned to Bolivia for three years. Just before they returned to Canada, the Guaraní dictionary was published.
“There was an edition actually given to the vice-president of Bolivia,” Bill exclaimed. “Once we finished that, we felt our time there was done for the time being so we came back (to Canada).”
In the last 10 years the couple has lived in Calgary where Bill works in the field of information technology. The Clements hope their travel show about Bolivia introduces many others to the land they love.
“I love the culture and I love the people and I love the food,” Jacqueline said enthusiastically. “In my show I went to two different parts of the lower part of the country I’d never been to before and that was so exciting. The other episodes were right around Santa Cruz. I love the lowland people. My desire would be to go back and do filming in the highlands.”
Jacqueline marvels when she thinks about the path their lives have taken since she and her husband met while on the student council at Briercrest.
“If you’re willing and you make yourself available, God will take you places that you could never dream of going,” she exclaimed.
As the couple has taken steps of faith to produce the television shows, Jacqueline hopes their lives inspire others in a specific way.
“(I want) to encourage people not to walk in fear of failure, or in fear period, but to walk in freedom,” she exclaimed. “It’s something God is teaching me – to walk in faith. There are lots of unknowns but if He’s leading, He’s going to equip you.”