Now he has moved on from the gutter guard business to run Robert Craig Films Keeping the gutters on a house free of leaves and debris, making it unnecessary for homeowners to climb ladders and/or their roofs to clean out the gutters, literally saves lives. Robert Craig, who spent 26 years building his Gutterglove business. Which makes it a bit surprising that Craig has exited the roof gutter business to pursue filmmaking with his own production company, Robert Craig Films. “Faith in God and saving lives are my priorities in life. I have been able to take that innovation and discipline that led me to be a successful entrepreneur into the film industry,“ said Craig. “I have been making films, reading screenplays, finding ways to be involved in this industry on the sidelines for over 32 years as I grew Gutterglove. The time came when I chose to shift my focus to storytelling, creating movies that are different. They are movies that inspire hope, make people smile, and bring a high level of entertainment with spiritually uplifting storylines for the viewer. It’s gratifying to know they are making an impact.” We asked Robert Craig about his entrepreneurial journey, his faith, and the movies he is busy making. Grit Daily: You are now in the most glamorous of all industries, movie making, but for 30-plus years you ran Gutterglove, a successful but certainly unglamorous business. Lots of entrepreneurs move from one industry to another, but usually those industries are at least somewhat related. Please tell us the story of how you moved from installing gutter guards to making social impact films? Robert Craig: For starters, if you wanted to review the accolades of my gutter guard manufacturing business as a prelude to my movie business, I produced/directed/hosted this film on the founding of Gutterglove a couple years ago. This is not a public film and is for private use only. I’ve been wanting to produce films for over thirty years. When running the gutter guard business from 1996 to 2018 as the CEO, there was no room or time for me to maneuver full time into producing full length feature films because my time was needed to make sure that the gutter guard company was running properly. My philosophy for running my gutter guard business is the same as my film production business, which is putting equal emphasis on marketing my products as I do in making the products. I think that’s what brought wild success to my gutter guard company. We were very fortunate at my gutter guard company over the years, surrounded by a great team of people, who helped our stainless steel micromesh gutter guard to be rated number one virtually everywhere. Consumer Reports magazine published in three separate articles that my Gutterglove gutter guard product was rated number one out of 19 products tested. We still have the highest rating today. Our gutter guards have gone on to be rated number one on virtually every website out there where it’s sold. Were even sold in many of the top stores across the country including Costco, Home Depot, Sam’s Club, Lowe’s, and hundreds of other roofing and gutter supply stores around the country. When I got into this business, I knew nothing about gutter guards. But being in the field and learning and understanding what works and what doesn’t work for keeping leaves out of the gutter, taught me and gave me inspiration on how to invent a gutter guard product that really would work effectively. I don’t have an engineering degree, I never finished college, yet to date I have 27 patents in four different countries on gutter guard technology. I also have 10 patents pending that over time, could yield another 10 to 15 patents. I think one of the most gratifying accomplishments of the gutter guard company is I know that we have saved probably thousands of homeowners lives because they no longer have to go on their roof to clean out their gutters because our gutter guard product keeps all the leaves and pine needles out of their gutters. It’s such a wonderful feeling to know that we are saving lives. During the time of running the company, I spent whatever time possible I could in producing any videos for making commercials about our products, educational videos for how to install them or infomercials. It was so much fun producing, directing and hosting these video projects, it gave me a taste of movie making, but it wasn’t my time yet to leave this business for making films. Prior to leaving my gutter guard company in early 2021, I spent many years before that seeking out a qualified CEO to run the Gutterglove company. I did that because I knew someday I would leave the gutter guard company and produce films, so I prepared to replace myself by finding a qualified CEO to run the company and that’s what happened. I groomed this gentleman for five years before I left the company. I am still the major shareholder of the company, and I am happy to say that we have sold over 120 million feet of gutter guard product to date and have a large manufacturing facility in California and Tennessee. Having the company be able to run on its own with a qualified team of about 100 employees has allowed me to leave the company and to pursue my dream of producing films. Grit Daily: Your films all seem to have at least one thing in common, a very sympathetic underdog, whether a girl caught up in sex traffic, a kid who is bullied, homeless people taking grief from everyone nearby who sleeps under a roof. What is the message you are delivering with these underdog heroes?
Robert Craig: I don’t see myself producing fictional narrative full length feature films, but rather films that are inspired by true events. I want to produce films that have messages that have purpose and meaning, that are very entertaining, and when people are watching them, I hope that I can have an impact on their life in a positive way. As I was saving people’s lives in the gutter guard business, I think that I will also be able to save lives with my filmmaking, or at least help people that are struggling with life’s problems and challenges and to help put them on a trajectory of success in whatever walk of life they are in. With our sex trafficking films, we are desperately hoping that when parents watch them (The Lost Girls on LIFETIME and Maya, in post production), teenagers and college students watch it, we hope that they will be able to absorb the message and be more alert and careful when they go about their daily lives. Trafficking is such a horrendous crime and something needs to be done about this to get it to stop. There are many wonderful organizations throughout the world that are fighting to save young girls, and we need to pray for them, support them and help wherever we can to help put these traffickers behind bars. One of the biggest problems in our world now is homelessness. Every single day, the media around our country in the US, are broadcasting stories about the tragic display of homelessness in their communities. It’s heart wrenching. I am so very happy to be producing our film No Address, because it revolves around the story of several characters’ lives who through one way or another tragedy struck and they became homeless. Throughout the film they struggle with a ruthless gang, a community that doesn’t want them and the challenges that police have to work with them. We are hoping that after people watch our film, they will have a renewed heart for homeless people and realize that they should be involved in their community and do the best they can to help their local organizations to reduce the homeless epidemic. We are currently in pre-production and will be filming in January 2023. Our other film Amy and Angel, is about a 16 year old deaf girl and her dog where they dance magically together with fabulous routines and end up on a national TV talent show competing against other talent acts. Throughout the story she gets bullied by a dance instructor on another dance crew and wrestles with the challenges that causes. The film is about compassion and forgiveness and at the end of the movie that is fully displayed by the character Amy to those that bullied her and shows the wonderful after effects of what can happen when one person forgives another person. We plan on filming the movie towards the end of summer 2023. But we’re doing tons of marketing and promotion on it right now. We have submitted the screenplay to Amy in Angel in hundreds of film festivals around the world and we have already been accepted into 145 film festivals and have already achieved 40 best screenplay awards and counting! Here is a link to the awards that we have already won: https://www.amyandangel.com/awards The message that we are delivering with these underdog heroes is that people need to be more compassionate to one another, we need to be more friendly to one another, they need to forgive one another, they need to help one another, and they really need to do what God says in the Bible in Mark 12:30-31, which is to love your neighbor as yourself. If people would put other people first and show love to one another, I suspect we would have a more unified country. I’m hoping that these underdog heroes will be able to display such characters in an entertaining way so that people will realize they really do need to be more kind to one another. Grit Daily: You have stated some very grand goals for your filmmaking company, to uplift people spiritually and help bring unity and peace to our world. How is the film industry responding? Robert Craig: I think I may have commented on this in question number two above. But that’;s a good question, how is the film industry responding? I still consider myself fairly new to the filmmaking business, so I don’t have full data for that question. However, I have talked to numerous people about the inspirational family films that we are producing with high entertainment value and great messages for our lives, and the feedback that I’m getting from them is that they are excited and can’t wait for the films to come out. They believe they will have a positive impact on our culture, meaning they will help bridge gaps of disunity amongst the discord that runs rampant throughout our country today. Grit Daily: What are your lifetime favorite films, and how do those films serve as a model for what you are trying to do as a filmmaker?
Robert Craig: Ironically, I haven’t really thought about what films inspired me to make my own films, or became a model of what I wanted to do. But when I think about it, there are several films out there that are my favorites over my lifetime, of whom I deeply respect for their entertainment value and message. I just love Star Wars, but who doesn’t, ha. We love to see the underdog Luke Skywalker train himself up to destroy the Deathstar. He is sacrificing his life in the end of the film to save the lives of his family, friends and his people, and of course miraculously survives his engagement with the enemy and returns home safely. This is a great message of caring for those you love, on the side of good and not evil. It is a message of hope and of not giving up and working together as a team in a common goal of helping one another. In our No Address film about the homeless, there is a group of characters that band together as a family to help survive the chaos on the streets. In working and helping each other, together, they survive the streets, they survive the gangs, they survive the menacing community that wants them out and in the end find themselves together and supporting one another. The themes of this film are similar if not the same as the themes in Star wars. Grit Daily: You state that your faith motivates you to make the sort of films that you are making. Can you explain what you mean, and perhaps give some examples of what you mean? Robert Craig: My faith is in God and his son Jesus Christ. The bible is my doctrine of life of which it guides me in living in a manner to help others knowing that there is a better way to making a happy life. People struggle every day with just about everything that you can imagine, trying to find peace and happiness, but what often happens is disillusionment, unhappiness and an unfulfilled life. The bible says in Mathew 6:33, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” I believe that when it says “all these things will be added unto you”, is a life with meaning, joy, peace and most of all, having a God that will be with you during the dark times of life to help you get through them. But for these benefits to happen, in the simplest way of saying it, according to this verse, is that you must seek God and his righteousness first. But what I see people doing is not seeking God first and trying to have all these benefits of joy and peace and a fulfilled life and they often don’t happen. I hope I’m not sounding preachy! Another example of how I feel God helps us is in the promises of Psalms 23:1-6 in the bible. It says that he guides us in green pastures, leads us by quiet waters, refreshes our soul, points us on the right path, he protects us, he comforts us and provides goodness and love. You have to ask yourself, who wouldn’t want this? With a world full of chaos, God’s word brings calmness and his son brings salvation. Because of all these great things that God gives us and promises us in his word, and I have experienced these things in my life so I am a living testimony, how could I not do anything else but create storylines in my films that promote the importance of compassion, love, forgiveness, helping one another and of course occasionally mentioning God in the films. Grit Daily: Are there any points you want to make that I have not raised with my questions? Robert Craig: I would like to give you my thanks for allowing me to answer these questions. I’m not sure if they were what you were looking for, but I’m trying to be transparent, and I really would like to do whatever I can to help people lead a more rewarding life. I would like to give a word of encouragement to anyone out there who is trying to reach their goals but continues to struggle because of the hurdles that life tosses our way. I would say to that person don’t give up. I would say to that person to be strong. I would say to that person, if you fail 50 times in trying to make your product or business a success and are filled with discouragement, please don’t look at those as failures, but look at them as 50 ways of how not to do something. If you keep trying it will work, just don’t give up.