The traditional media model is obsolete. On-demand, digital entertainment is driving films, television into another direction as technology and culture dictate. Now, more than ever is the opportunity for believers to spotlight Christianity utilizing transparent messaging, solid screenplays, digital magazines, blogs, columns and online television shows.
Yet, today there’s a gap when it comes to solid Christian entertainment in film, television and content. You know the convicting, inspiring entertainment that even non-Christians would want to see? One movie that comes to mind that achieved this was “Unplanned,” one of the most talked-about films in 2019. “Unplanned” opened at No. 4 at the box office. The film recounts the story of Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood director who became a pro-life leader after witnessing late-term abortions. The reason for the success of the film is it depicted real life — the story and imagery, drove home the message.
Christians need to reach mainstream instead of making movies for themselves. One of the main ways you can see this is if they’re writing, acting and producing it. What happens is it waters down objectivity because there’s an emotional attachment said an entertainment insider. “Writer/producer Brian Bird doesn’t do this. He did the “Case for Christ” and “When Calls the Heart.” I don’t want to be harsh on these people,” said Kristen Collier co-founder and editor of Creative Motion Online, a Christian entertainment arts magazine she launched with husband, Kevin, the publisher, artist and designer in 2018. “It comes down to educating investors and this includes the movie producers themselves. Yes, they generally want to make a change but it’s about functioning optimally as the body of Christ.”
“Hollywood is dead men walking and they know it,” said Collier. “This is stuff I read in The Hollywood Reporter. It’s not my conjecture. The studio model is dead because of streaming television. Netflix pretty much killed Hollywood. Look at the culture in Hollywood, it’s shrinking. Producers are the new expendables because of the streaming wars, producers are seen as expendable.”
The Colliers also launched the MI Christian Talent Network in Michigan, a vast business connecting Christian creatives and those aspiring to improve the quality of Christian media.
“If we don’t operate where we’re gifted that’s when we have these flops and cheesy movies. The overarching principle about Christian movies is that investors need to back the right people, the talented creatives. That’s why we’re doing the magazine.”
Another game-changer in the industry is television host Mondo De La Vega of “The Mondo Show,” which airs on the PTL Television Network and is available on ROKU, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. Mondo is Executive Vice President of Television Production and Co-Host of The Jim Bakker Show as well. His insights on television programs offer viewers a fearless voice to the Christian television world.
De La Vega is on a mission to transform the entertainment culture via television and social media. His focus is on bringing men and women on the show who are making a difference in communities and culture.
“People care about the content that you’re bringing to them that’s relevant. Christian content today is not speaking to the culture. When we see Christian movies and television shows today, they don’t talk about relevant issues – that’s where the disconnect is. “We are seeing more of a message of spiritual coaching like health coaching, financial coaching and family coaching. Other than “God’s Not Dead” and “Unplanned” we’re making films that no one is connecting to. We’re not speaking the same language.”
God is moving His cloud of fire forward in the entertainment industry. More consumers are demanding more family and Christian movies. Many are taking up the mantle. Films like “Unplanned” and “Breakthrough” commanded attention from mainstream media and believers alike. Although Christianity remains taboo in the entertainment industry, many are changing the narrative like Collier and De La Vega.
Bottom line, we have the upper hand creatively and spiritually to change the world one article, one TV show and one movie at a time, especially with the advancement of technology.
“Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You.”