Check this weeks On the Page podcast to hear myself and my writing partner Jason talking about writing for the faith-based market. Episode 239
This past month I was reading about the backlash over a filler found in most ground beef called "lean finely textured beef" or "pink slime". The stuff is basically made from the electronically separated bits of the cow carcass that are treated with ammonium gas to kill the germs. What is left is technically ground beef, but is not the most appetizing. If you don't believe me then take a look here
While I was driving home from work yesterday it suddenly occurred to me that Christian movies are just like pink slime.
1 - They both have been sanitized. I'm not sure where it happens in the film making process, but it seems that at some point every Christian film is washed in that cloud of ammonium gas. The result is something clean, sanitized and safe for the whole family to eat.
2 - They both don't look very appetizing - So you're at the multiplex on a Friday night with $10 burning in your pocket. Quick what do you go see? Fireproof or Eagle Eye? Courageous or Moneyball? October Baby or The Hunger Games? Hollywood knows how to sell the sizzle on their steak.
3 - They both suffer from bad public perception. "It's 100% beef" cry the pink slime manufacturers. Sure, but it looks gross. "It's a great movie for the entire family" yeah it may be 100% movie but that doesn't mean I want to consume it.
Great restaurants normally boil down to one thing, how good is the food. Serve up a big plate of pink slime enough times and your are out of business. The same way people don't go to a restaurant to eat an inferior meal, people don't want to go to the movies to watch an inferior film. People want to be entertained, to get lost in a story and its characters.
The best way to reach people with your film is to make it with excellence and integrity. Quality does still matter, and all that starts with a great story and not with a big steaming bowl of pink slime.
Just got back from a great long weekend in L.A. where we screened our short film "Static" at the 168 Hour Film festival. The film was very well received and our lead actress Morgan took home the award for best actress. I worked in a few extra days while out there to take in some meetings and networking events. It was interesting to hear the perspective from those those working inside the industry and hear their frustrations on the state of the industry. A few interesting points:
- The various networks and cable channels are still reducing the number of scripted shows. A movie channel that used to produce 30 of their own films are now only producing 12.
- The studio model of hiring writers to write and develop scripts is dying a slow death. If you are hoping to break in by writing studio films you are chasing an illusion.
The good news is that the opportunity to self produce and self distribute has never been better. Now is the time to make an independent feature, TV series, web show. Get something up online and get it noticed. It's like the wild west, no one knows the rules for new media because the market changes so quickly.
Writing spec scripts and trying to sell them to Hollywood is a waste of your time. If you want to be in the film industry then it's
I am a screenwriter and a story teller. Jesus related to the culture of the day through simple stories that illustrated God's kingdom principles. My passion is to follow his example.