Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"Christianizing" Hollywood

I am very interested in Christians in the performing arts world, specifically film and television. I got my degree in acting because I wanted to help the Hollywood industry change for Christ. However, every time I turn around, I realize that Hollywood isn’t going to change.

When I was at Masterworks Festival this year (a four week camp put together by the Christian Performing Arts Fellowship) we had a Masterclass with Ken Wales who was the executive producer of Christy and more recently Amazing Grace. When I had my private hour with him, I told him my idea for a screenplay. He said he liked it, but if I was ever going to be able to get a producer from Hollywood to make it, I would need to cut out most of the Christianity in it. I felt like I had actually been punched in the stomach. How could a Christian tell me that I needed to “take out most of the Christianity” in my story? Then I realized….he was from Hollywood. Of course that’s what sells in Hollywood. That was his mind set.

Then I just received an e-mail from Regent University (a Christian University in Virginia with a masters degree program in media ) saying that they were to have the executive producer and writer from the show “That 70s Show” in to talk about how Christians are changing those in Hollywood. My first reaction was, “How could the man who writes such a disgusting show as ‘That 70s Show’ claim to be a Christian?” My second, “How could he tell me what the Christians are changing Hollywood?” Then I had the answer….he was from Hollywood. Of course that’s what sells in Hollywood. That was his mind set.

After those two experiences. I am now more excited than ever to go to the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. For those of you who don’t know the SAICFF is a group of Christian filmmakers who enter and show their films every October in San Antonio. These film are decidedly Christian in theme (no cutting out most of the Christianity here) and family friendly. In fact, many of the films are actually made by families. I got the lecture CDs from the festival two years ago (I wasn’t able to attend because I was in school) and Mr. Botkins (one of the speakers) spoke about how we can’t “Christianize” Hollywood. We need to make our own “Hollywood”. I dimly saw before what he meant, but now I completely understand and want even more to be a part of the SAICFF.


Just as a note, I completely agree with the Masterworks Festival and believe that they are really reaching artists for Christ and I am not saying anything against them. I am actually planning to go back next summer. Also Regent University is the best place I have found to be able to get a well rounded truly Christian Masters degree in Acting/Directing/Producing. I am not saying anything against those places in particular, just using them as instances I have seen with my own eyes where we need to change.


  1. WOW, very well written!
    That's surprising that the producer of "Amazing Grace" would say such a thing. I've not see it yet, but have heard really good reviews.

  2. The producer was very kind and don't let his comments keep you from seeing this wonderful movie! I highly recommend seeing this portrayal of William Wilberforce.