I am somehow involved in the Christian film industry, though not a filmmaker. I'm excited about this industry, have been blessed to work on some great films, but I'm learning some in the process. I hope that you will find them as helpful as I have found them in my own life.
Challenge 1: Serve the story.
The burgeoning Christian film industry is very exciting. So exciting that we can forget about the most important aspect of the industry: telling stories.
I've felt the rush. I've seen it in other's eyes. The lust for something that movies give us. It's just really exciting to be a part of that. In the excitement we must remember that we are merely there to serve the story.
Serving the story means that we do not seek personal fame and fortune. The industry revolves around the fulfillment of desire and selfish ambition, but God calls those "earthly, natural, demonic." Instead God calls us to the gentleness of wisdom. What is appropriate for this situation? Do I need to take center stage, or does the story require me to recede into the background? Others will seek the spotlight to their detriment and to the detriment of the story. We must, in contrast, seek what's best for the story that we are telling.
Serving the story also means that we work hard to support the story. In the excitement we can get a little tipsy with the thrill, but the story is not served when we skip over basic tasks like script-writing, storyboarding, and other menial disciplines. These quieter, less glorious tasks make or break the story. I've seen many filmmakers dabble at the craft without any real progress. On the other hand, one of the most principled filmmaking families is working on their first full length feature, Remember. It promises to deliver the limited budget and major elbow grease that they've poured into it. Sometimes serving the story requires discipline.
Serving the story also means that we don't rush through the process. Time is money and money is time, so therefore we need to take the time to get it right the first time. Because it takes even longer to go back to try it again. It's been great to work on some films where they did great planning, humbly working hard at the filmmaking job, but I've seen other filmmakers out there flounder. One filmmaker learned his lesson the hard way and spent 4 years filming a movie that could have been filmed in less than a month. (His next film will be awesome, though—much more planned out.) Measure twice, cut once.
So instead of spending our time and money serving our own desires, let's find good stories to tell and serve those stories well.
Digging deeper: Romans 15:1-3, James 3:13-18