Tag: hollywood

What If Mastermedia Never Existed?

by Dan Rupple

One of my all-time favorite films is the Jimmy Stewart classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. When George Bailey, a man struck by wanderlust yet stuck in the small town of Bedford Falls, stands on the local bridge contemplating ending it all in the icy waters below, Clarence the Angel comes to his rescue. After a vivid and disturbing glimpse of what life in Bedford Falls would be like if he had never existed, George comes to realize how his mere presence has powerfully impacted an entire town and its community for the good.

I wonder . . . what might Hollywood be like if there wasn’t a vibrant Christian presence within the industry’s ranks? What if all the Christian ministries closed their doors and jumped into the icy waters, abandoning Hollywood? What if Mastermedia’s long history of building friendships with the key influential media leaders who control what the world sees on their screens had never happened?

Only God knows . . . but Hollywood would be without the powerful influence of thousands of prayers generated through the Media Leader Prayer Calendar. And fewer media leaders would hear the gospel message in the context of a one-on-one trust relationship with Christians who love and care for them.

During my years at CBS Studios supervising The Price Is Right, I committed to make a personal connect with each member of the 100-person production team I supervised. As friendships developed, it wasn’t long before members of the crew would candidly share with me the pain of a recent difficulty they were walking through.

One day Art (not his real name), one of the most brash and abrasive members of our crew, was uncharacteristically quiet. As I pulled him over to a secluded corner of the studio we began to talk, and Art slowly opened up. His doctor had just told him he had a very advanced stage of cancer. Devastated and feeling hopeless, Art surprised me by allowing me to pray for him. As I prayed, he seemed embarrassed and quickly wiped away his tears. But soon his self-consciousness faded with the realization that he had been escorted into the presence of the living God. Before Art died, he knew the touch of a loving Savior. I stand in awe of these moments . . . how our God chooses to speak His love through us!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 ESV)

God Himself entered the world He created and walked among us—and that’s what we try to do every day at Mastermedia. For nearly 32 years, Mastermedia has been a consistent, uplifting presence “walking among” the world’s media leaders, building bridges to the boardrooms and executive offices of Hollywood’s gatekeepers. Like Clarence, interceding and helping them to see the world differently and understand God’s place in it.

Now more than ever, the Mastermedia team is committed to being there with all our heart, soul and strength; to serve as ambassadors of the Most High God, continuing to touch the lives of countless media leaders with the love of Jesus Christ.

The #1 Rule

Dave Alan Johnson, Screenwriter, Producer (Vanished: Left Behind Next Generation, Sue Thomas: F. B. Eye)

Dave Alan Johnson, Screenwriter, Producer (Vanished: Left Behind Next Generation, Sue Thomas: F. B. Eye)

by Dave Alan Johnson

Faith-based films and the Church both can and should serve more than one purpose. So how do we influence the world with our ideas and truths? We move into the “missionary lane” when we make media content, just as churches send missionaries into their community and the world with their message.

As believers, we are commanded to reach out to those who don’t understand faith. Many almost certainly will not go to a church on Sunday morning. But they will go to movies and watch television on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.

Excellent entertainment content gives us a platform. It is a chance to enter into the cultural conversation . . . to put faith audiences and secular audiences on the same starting page . . . and to spread God’s ideas and message to the world!

The #1 Rule is this: What we create needs to be great, or those “outside the choir” will not watch it. As Christians, we are told to do everything with excellence. It’s biblical. With excellent content we have a chance to bring God’s truth to non-believers. It’s not enough just to create films that are well-intentioned. Viewers we want to reach will not overlook the inferior writing, acting, editing, production, or “in-your-face” preaching. We must earn the right to be heard if we want to express truth through film.

For good reason, the typical person of faith may shy away from bringing secular people to a film that is made only for the “choir.” Too risky. But if we can run in the missionary lane, we’ll reach both audiences. We must connect with viewers where they are and not expect them to be where we are.

It is when we touch people emotionally with our content that they are likely to be more open to our message.

Turning Scripture into Spam

email-spam-2According to Christianity Today (CT, June 2016), two hundred billion tweets went out in 2015, and 40 million of them highlighted Bible verses. About half a million of these came from just ten pastors, celebrities, and social media stars, with John Piper, founder of Desiring God, at the top of the list. Other notables in the top ten include Franklin Graham, Dave Ramsey, Tim Tebow, Joyce Meyer, and T. D. Jakes.

But CT reveals that bots—programs that auto-create tweets—are also sharing the Good News. “Around 20 million of the 40 million verses shared on Twitter this year . . . came from Bible spam accounts—accounts that do nothing but tweet Bible verses all day,” says Stephen Smith of Open-Bible.info, who crunched the data.

Is this a good thing? Is it simply getting the Good News to more people . . . or is it digital overload? Is God’s Word changing lives, or is the heart of His message getting lost in cyberspace?

Phil Cooke, media consultant and author of Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media, opines, “Who thought we’d ever see Bible and spammers together in a sentence? At first blush, it sounds like a good idea, since God’s Word doesn’t return void. But . . . the overwhelming clutter of media today desensitizes people.

“Our challenge in a digital culture is to develop strategies for making sure the message cuts through and actually gets noticed.”

Another perspective from Meredith Gould, author of The Social Media Gospel: “. . . I don’t care how or how often Scripture gets launched into cyberspace—or who sends it out. History is filled examples of people with less-than-stellar lives who have nevertheless helped deepen faith and belief. I trust that Bible verses will land, maybe taking root.”

In Philippians 1:18, Paul addresses a controversy about the character flaws of some who share the Gospel. His conclusion? “What does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.”

Your thoughts? Weigh in at feedback@mastermediaintl.org.