11 comments on “How to Save the Christian Film Industry

  1. This seems like a plea for fellow Believers in the film industry to support you. As a former theatre owner and multi-plex manager I believe what would make Christian film makers more successful is to stop preaching to the choir all the time. Nothing wrong with making films to inspire Believers but I believe God has given us the powerful tool of film to reach the lost. And you won’t do much of that in church on DVDs. The Christian film industry needs to follow Sherwood’s example and make films that will speak to the lost in a language they will understand. Their most recent “Fireproof” is a really good film that will speak to both the lost and believer who are having marital problems. I believe in another place you mentioned you didn’t have the funding to make 35mm film prints. Well, check with Sherwood. Perhaps they can give you some suggestions. And Sherwood Baptist is just a church in Albany, Georgia.

    • Jon, unfortunately, I do not know. You may want to check with a Christian distribution company.

  2. I agree with much of what you have said, but paramount to saving the Christian Film Industry, would be to make sure the films that get out there are of the highest quality they can be. Too often one gets an idea, then writes, casts, directs & acts & of course edits…..that does not make for a good final product. I purchased a number of films that sounded good, and was sorely disappointed, glad I had not invited anyone over to watch with me as the quality & story both suffered.

    Why do we not collaborate more? There is such a lot of great talent out there, but instead it seems everyone is sticking to their own little niche. Are we afraid to share? to help others? to grow together? Then there are those who believe only Christians should be on set, both in front & behind the camera, ok, so how do we show how we live out our faith if we only allow “our kind” to be a part of our projects? I’m getting off on a tangent, but bottom line should be the final product, we should be using our gifts to honor God & that means making the best we possibly can. And we can do well, if we cooperate!

    • Francine, I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s all about the final product. The struggle is the chicken/egg argument… Chicken – if we had bigger budgets we’d make better quality movies and more people would buy them. Egg – if you made better movies, you’d make more money and have bigger budgets.

      Unfortunately, buying a Christian film is more a statement of faith than a statement of being a wise consumer LOL.

      I do wish people would collaborate more. We had an idea for making a road trip movie and the intent was to connect and utilize talents of Christian filmmakers across the country to help us make the film. The basis for the movie idea has died, but the idea for that sort of collaboration could still work.

      Thanks for the thoughtful feedback!

    • Francine is right on but I must add one thought. Using our gifts to honor God means that we need to follow His leading. That means the scripts we write must be anointed by the Holy Spirit and not written to satisfy mankind.

  3. I have so much to say on this – trying to condense it… let me see if I can “logline” some of my thoughts…

    Collaboration – yep. It’s a problem in the Christian media industry because it’s a problem with humans – competition can be a good thing but we believers should figure out ways to COMBINE our resources to create LESS fantastic products rather than MORE weak ones. Easy? Nope – because of ego and greed, plain and simple. I used to serve as a music director in churches and recall one Christmas season when I received promo brochures from five different Christian publishers – each brochure was highlighting no less than 3 or 4 “brand new” Christmas cantatas… that’s about 15 to choose from!! Why so many? How about less than 5 that are SO powerful, SO well written, SO impacting – that they actually make a difference?

    Content – yep. I am getting a little tired of the mindset out there that Christian films are “too preachy.” That’s, frankly, a weak argument. What is the POINT of a “Christian” film if not to spur the viewer on to a stronger relationship with our Savior? The issue is not “preachy” – the issue is “bad preachy.” There are FANTASTIC preachers out there – and there are lousy ones. I’d rather listen to the FANTASTIC preachers who actually have done their homework and figured out the best way to communicate the most important message we could ever share – salvation. Why “beat around the bush” with the topic? Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s not always acceptable. Yes, it brings uncertain reactions. Well, I seem to recall Jesus being nailed to a cross for what he believed, preached and lived. When’s the last time a film maker was KILLED for making a “Christian” film. If we really don’t believe our message, then why start the cameras rolling in the first place?

    Commitment – yep. I love the comments here about supporting each other. That is SO huge. And, frankly, I don’t care if the film is “A” quality (yet) or not. Storytelling is a process – some are further along than others. Every actor, writer, director, etc. can look BACK on their early work and (hopefully) realize they have gotten BETTER at their craft. Nobody leaves the gate as the “best.” And we NEED to encourage each other – in fact, God COMMANDS it. So, yeah, buying “Christian” products, or helping fund “Christian” products are fantastic starting points. The funds that come from those investments – even in the “weak” projects – will help fund FUTURE projects that can only get better.

    I’ve said enough. Anyone wanna read my faith-based script about a church that hires a progressive pastor and changes a city?

    Thanks!
    Dan McGowan
    dan@danmcgowan.com

  4. Great ideas here. Collaboration is definitely a concern. Sometimes it seems we fellow believers disagree so passionately about some of the minor issues, that the bigger ones would be out of the question. So finding not only talented partners, but “like-minded” ones can be the hurdle. I wish this wasn’t so. I hope one of the reasons is that we all care so much about the end result (and I do not mean the films here, but the eternal results) that we react stronger than we might if we were only making zombie movies or silly comedies designed only to make laughs and money. I know, I have no answers here – only more questions – but I guess if I/we could work on our servant hearts, it would make for a better environment and network and, ultimately, films. Regardless, I appreciate the work you ALL do for the Kingdom. May we carry on for Him…
    Dale Ward
    http://www.ragmanfilm.com

  5. Listening to several of my secular friends… they want to see stories of redemption… they just don’t want to be preached to…

  6. Seems that many Christian filmmakers, perhaps in their attempts to not be preachy, are trying to use stealth evangelism. People don’t absorb the gospel through osmosis. Perhaps we need a spectrum of Christian films, some that plant, some that water, and some that present the full gospel. But God should be directing that process and not scriptwriters or directors who decide for safety to only plant seeds by creating a film with a Godly worldview as far as morals but even neglecting to mention God much less Jesus.

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