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Conference Recap on “Faith-Based” Production

I’m still processing things, but I heard some absolute gems this week while also initiating a few relationships. For some reason, I was super-tired and discovered after sitting through the first, mostly throwaway session that I’d brought in a lot of cynicism towards the Christian industry. I think in part because I am so familiar with it and in part because I still blame it unfairly for failing me early on in life, but that’s for another blog post on another blog.

There were some key people there: heads of distribution in national and international markets, as well as guys representing private financing, investment group and even WalMart. Here are my key take-aways (in no particular order):

  1. Ditch the “christian” “faith-based” labels and just make great stories with higher moral themes- aka. Stop putting signs up! It’s like making yourself at target.

  2. Stop the salvation movies (Soul Surfer was highly praised here)

  3. 70% of Americans attend church, 75% consider themselves religious

  4. Traditional media marketing doesn’t work with the faith-based audience (as such, there are a flock of firms dedicated to this)

  5. Big names, budgets and secular distribution offsets overt faith references

  6. Most people shy away from anything with “God” for “faith” in it, problem is the higher moral themes are what people are asking for.

  7. Get your marketing firm involved before your start filming.

  8. Most scripts suck. If you can put it down, go back to writing.

I chatted with WalMart/P&G’s head of film acquisitions for in-store distribution and (basically ranting but in a good way) was going about how there are no Chrisitian-themed movies in areas like horror, action, comedy and others. I asked him if he believes the market would bear it. Without blinking an eye, he responded, “Absolutely, yes!” This is from the guy who puts films in Walmart!

So while I still don’t know where I’m going to fit in all this (got some really intriguing business ideas in the world of P&A lending) it’s been a good trip in terms of what the market looks like. I’ll still need to take some time and think things over. I do want to produce, or EP but I need to partner up with someone with some street cred.

#faithbased #film #Production

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©2019 by Jay Friesen.

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