As many of you know, I work in the film industry. As a Christian, it’s a big assumption by a lot of people that I must only work in faith films. I have. I do. I don’t say no when I get approached by a faith film. But my career spans a lot of mainstream clients as well. I have done work with Nike. ABC Family. NBC. And I’ve worked on theatrical releases that aren’t faith films. This has given me some really great insight that I’m able to apply professionally because most things in the faith film world don’t work the way the mainstream companies do. It’s helped me be able to level up some things with some of those faith clients.
It’s my belief that we serve the master and creator of the universe. The most creative being ever to exist. Our creativity should be of the highest quality. And with the light, we should be reaching people bigger and better. People should be looking at our stories and asking how they can get more. And unfortunately, that’s just not the case.
So why the disconnect between the quality in Hollywood and our films?
I think there are several reasons for this and I am toying with the idea of possibly putting together a series of articles about it, but I think the biggest issue in this industry is one simple statement: messages from God. Now let me explain. On the mainstream side it is possible to find people who believe that their movie idea came from God. But it’s not given much traction or support. That’s because Hollywood runs as a business. Not a ministry. That’s another disconnect and it will probably earn its own article. Back to the “message from God” idea and how it can be extremely damaging to the quality and creativity of the project.
I have personally seen people turn down professional help, guidance and advice on projects (in some cases ultimately sinking those projects) because they believed that since God gave the message to them, no one else should have any say on the direction or creativity of the film. So at this point, professional and seasoned creatives got turned away. All because “I am the one with the vision.” Now I get in some cases that might be true. I mean there is no one standard for where a story comes from. But I have seen this firsthand so many times it’s painful to watch the cycle continue.
If God has downloaded a vision of a film to you, that’s awesome and fabulous. But be aware that if he intended for YOU to do all of the work alone, he would also equip you in all of those areas necessary for making a film. Making a film takes a team. A huge team. You could even say a village. And just as with the body of Christ where we all have different talents that work together, film runs the same. It takes people who are excellent in each of their fields to be able to put together a solid quality film project.
What does the Bible have to say about it?
When God gives a vision he also equips people to do it WITH EXCELLENCE. The book of Exodus contains the tale of one of my favorite people from the Bible, Bezalel.
God gave the vision to Moses, but it wasn’t up to Moses to be the craftsman on the ground doing the work. It also wasn’t just one man on his own that was tasked for the job. It was a group of people, each of whom were equipped.
Make good choices…
If God indeed did give you this vision, that is a huge responsibility. That means it’s up to you to be sure of the way He wants you to play it out. That might mean you assembling a team and letting them do their thing. That last part is important. If you believe God gifted you with this vision, you should be able to rest assured if He guides you in pulling a team together that He also wants their talents and their vision to be a part of the final project. That means being comfortable enough in your role to let someone else play their part and do it with excellence. The same way Moses was able to rest with Bezalel and his team doing the work.
It might also mean that God does want you to do it yourself. You might see all aspects of the project and know it’s you that He wants to take through the process. Rest assured it will be a baptism of fire with a lot of learning and hard work, but God will also use all of that time in the future somehow. If you approach it with knowledge and understanding, that journey won’t take as long, be as expensive, or be nearly as agonizing.
No matter which approach you go with, you need to be wise about it. Study. Take classes. Understand not only how the production works but the distribution, the marketing and all of the other pieces involved in getting your project seen by an audience. Too often all of those other moving parts of getting a movie finished and into the hands of an audience are skipped over with the assumption that we only needed to make the movie. God will take care of the rest. Learn it before you get into production. Then you don’t have to work so hard to get yourself out of a hole.