Many people write and ask questions about
how they can be involved in Christian films, either as an actor, actress,
writer, or filmmaker. Here is some information that hopefully will be helpful.
set up where a person could actually approach a movie studio or production
company and get a full time job in the film industry. Plus, there are many
independent Hollywood producers that have full time staff who work from
project to project.
film industry at this time is not set up like that. First of all, there
are only a select few filmmakers in the country shooting Christian films.
I define a "Christian film" as a film with an intended message for Jesus
Christ. Secondly, these producers work on very low budgets compared to
Hollywood. The Christian film producer wears many hats as most write, produce
and direct their own projects.
Trying to find
a full time job in Christian movies is a difficult task. You can't
just apply for a job with a Christian film producer. This is the unfortunate
part because there are a number of Christians interested in this industry,
they just don't know how to get started or become involved.
For a Christian
film production, the producers usually hire actors and crew people within
the region they are filming, although there are exceptions to this. The
major reason is because of budget.
How do you get
If a person wants
to act in a Christian film, they can do two things. First, they can send
their head shot and/or resume to the existing Christian film producers.
This is not a waste of time or effort. Producers are always looking for
actors/actresses because you never know who is needed for a particular
project. Also, the producers talk among themselves and also help each other
greatly with information. There are a number of actors who have been in
more than one Christian film. A producer works with an actor, likes the
work that they did or the ease they were to work with and as a result,
that person is cast again in another film. Also, there are crew people
who have worked on several Christian film projects. A producer finds a
chemistry that works and continues with the same people from project to
project. (This also makes it harder to break in).
Acting in a Christian
film is contract work at best since there are so few Christian movies being
produced and only a handful of producers. It's not a full- time job and
the pay is not like Hollywood. For the Christian film industry to grow
and really be a force, more Christian people are needed to get involved
in the production and distribution of the entire Christian film process.
This will take sacrifice on the ground floor to help lay the foundation
for those to come.
few Christian film producers is not easy. The best way is to note the production
or distribution company of a Christian film and try to make contact starting
there. Most producers have their own website. You could enter their
name in a search engine and see if something comes up. You could
also track down a video of a particular producer and note their address
for where to send your information. Also, as mentioned above, you
must be aware that most producers cast and crew within their own region.
(Note: Many people write to us and ask if we would send them the list of
the Christian film producers. Sorry, we do not do this).
an actor or actress could try is to raise the money to finance a project
which they could act in. This is a very real option because then you know
you will be in the film as you could make sure you have a major role or
even the lead role. If you can raise the money, the film can be made because
there are quality filmmakers who can do the work. Also, if you can raise
the money, you'll be one of the "producers" and this will also mean a return
of income coming back for you once the film is released.
For a filmmaker
wanting to produce a Christian film, finding your own financing is a major
key. You can either save up enough money from other work or find investors.
If you don't have a story, there are many scripts floating around waiting
to be produced.
you can write to a producer and ask if they are interested in seeing your
script. Actually, what is requested most is a one page story treatment.
This tells the basic story. If the producer likes the idea, then
they'll ask to read the script. Even though most of the current Christian
film producers that we deal with on this website write their own scripts,
most are open to looking at outside material.
After the film
gets produced, distribution becomes the major key and that is really harder
than shooting the film. Most producers release their films straight to video/DVD
and for TV, trying to distribute them wherever they can.
Christian films have for the most part been an underground movement in
the church and therefore not surfaced into the mainstream. Times
are changing though and Christian films are gaining more awareness among the public.
catalog distributors, Christian television and Internet distributors are
main sources of distribution outlets. Homes, churches and selected video
stores are places to sell the film to. None of this is easy. Some producers
have tried to get a Hollywood actor in a Christian film to help with some
name recognition in the secular market for the distribution of it.
This can be very helpful if the casting is correct. Another angle
is also establish known Christian actors. This would give the film
some instant name recognition among the Christian circles and help with
the distribution process.
If you are really
interested in producing or acting in Christian films, pray and ask the
Lord for clear direction. I am convinced that God wants films made that
glorify and honor Him. He wants films that proclaim the gospel and His
word. Ask the Lord to help guide your steps along the way. He certainly
can do it. The Bible says nothing is too hard for Him (Genesis 18:14).
there is really a bright future for Christian film productions and the
Christian film industry. As the quality of work increases, and the distribution
base widens, more and more people will likely get involved. As that happens,
there will be more opportunities for filmmakers, writers, and actors who
want to produce or be involved in Christian films. Also, it
looks as if Christian films are going in the direction to be released in
theaters and as this comes about, a much broader awareness will come to
If you are truly
want to be involved in Christian films, stay the course for Christ,
don't give up, and pray hard. God can show you a way.
I want to add
a section below I'll call questions and answers. These are frequently
written or asked questions that people email or call in.
Q: The Lord has put a great
desire in my heart to act or produce Christian films. I really want
to see the gospel proclaimed. I know God has called me to this.
Can you give me any advice?
A: I understand completely
your desires. Here's what I have noted about how God works. He may
put a desire in your heart to do a great thing for Him (and working on
films with a direct message for Jesus is a very good thing), but please
beware, the Lord may take 10 years or longer for you to fulfill that dream.
This is what I have noticed. God builds great patience in all of
us and for most, patience does not come easy. The road He takes you
on may not be the one you would prefer to travel. But I have seen
how God takes us from point A to point C via a great detour through point
B. It doesn't make sense at the time or add up in our minds, but
we must trust the the Lord knows what He is doing. He is able to
give you the desire of your heart and get it done. It just takes
time, His time, and we must walk with Him during the process. Most
times we are ahead of God, and frustration is usually the result.
Q: How can I act in a Christian
film? I believe the Lord has giving me talent and I want to use it
be the most common email we get. Let me answer this way. There
are hundreds, maybe thousands, that feel the same way. And when you
have only a few films being produced, it makes getting roles very hard.
Life is all about building relationships. First, we have a relationship
with God through Jesus Christ. That should be priority and number
one. Second, we have relationships with family, friends, and business
relationships. It takes time to get to know people. You have
to try and build relationships on a business level with people that have
a common goal as you. For the actor who wants to act, you have to
do what you can to get seen by the producers. Like I said, this is
hard because there are so few films being produced at this time and not
many to act in. But, there are some being made. Therefore,
audition whenever you can. Send out a headshot. The more you
get seen, the better. Audition by video. This is very helpful
cause the producer gets to see you act. Act in a church play.
Stage play. Try to get in a commercial (that doesn't compromise your
beliefs). The key is to get seen and known. It takes effort
on your part but also the Lord will help you if this is His will for you.
Q: I would like to meet
the producers. How can I do that?
The best way
to possibly meet with people in the industry is to attend a conference
like CBA (Christian Booksellers Convention) and NRB (National Religious
Broadcasters). These are the two major ones that most of the Christian
film people are involved with. Try to attend and meet people.
Networking with other people is fun and also helpful. You can do
a search on the Internet for CBA and NRB. Persistence and perseverance
are two key elements here though.
Q: I'm very discouraged.
Can you please help me?
A: As a producer, this work
is hard. People think wrongly that a producer has it made.
On the contrary, it is very hard and that is why there are so very few
people producing Christian movies. But, again I will say, it is not
impossible. Secondly, I completely understand
any discouragement. If God wants people to hear about Jesus and the
gospel, then why doesn't He make it easier for Christians to be in films.
Good question. I've asked that many times myself. All I can
do is take what God gives me and work within the doors He has opened.
You too. We have to proceed one step at a time and sometimes those
steps go backward (which none of us like). But God is God and He
can and will do everything He said He would in the Bible. He knows
what He wants you to do in life and knows how to get it done. It
takes trust and faith in the Lord. It is not easy, but you can do
it with His help.
Written by Dave Christiano