spielberg_lucasI just read an article in Variety about a panel hosted by the USC School of Cinematic Arts. It’s a must read based for those of us working in faith-based entertainment, and in Christian ministry or for-profit communication.

This isn’t just about faith-friendly or faith-based entertainment.  The summary concept at the end really applies to everything we do to communicate, from the content we create into products or outreaches, right down to the promotions and ads we create to draw people to them.

In the article,  George Lucas & Steven Spielberg have stated that the major film studios will implode, perhaps on a massive scale.  Evidently the movie theater industry is going to turn into a Broadway-like model.

Creating content for niche audiences to be served up by VOD (video on demand) is the very certain future.  I know our FrontGate family member ChristianCinema.com is excited to hear that.

This just continues to confirm that the small screen (your phone or tablet) and of course your television are only increasing in importance as content delivery devices.  Those of us in faith-based entertainment already know that, and our brothers and sisters in ministry are catching up with us now.  We will soon be posting a Nielsen graphic about television usage in our Facebook and Twitter streams that summarizes an interesting report on similar topics.

Lucas asked a key question that my friends in Christian film are already asking themselves, “Do you want people to see it, or do you want people to see it on a big screen?  I think that applies almost as well to the Christian television world.

At FrontGate as just one part of all that we do, we work on just about every one of the films and television programs that seek to draw in the Christian audience.  More and more, we are seeing Christian films target their theatrical to concentrate on only core areas, and then focus more on the post-theatrical distribution channels.

Of course, timing is everything when it comes to technological and distribution changes like the ones Lucas and Spielberg have stated with such certainty, but the very best part of the article for me was the last paragraph.


Don Mattrick of Microsoft was also on the panel, and his contribution to the discussion was evidently overshadowed by the two big filmmakers.  However, what he said was my favorite part, “You still have to tell stories. Some people will want to be in a (video) game… and some people will want to have a story told to them. Those are two different things. But the content always stays the same. The content hasn’t changed in 10,000 years.”

Ultimately, those of us in the Christian ministry and for profit entertainment worlds have the single best story to be told, along with a ton of other outstanding stories already written in the Bible… and we’re getting better and better at telling them.  I hope that we’re also getting better and better at weaving Christian themes into “normal” stories.  As examples, we’ll have to see what you think about Grace Unplugged (October) and Doonby (November 1st.)

As faith-based communicators who are creating film, television, and webisodes, but also as Christian marketers creating direct email ads, banner ads, video spots, landing pages, apps, and more; we should be asking ourselves, “Are we creating something people want to see?”  Let this serve as a little reminder from me that “Available Now” doesn’t cut it.  You can quote me on that.

FrontGate’s Engagement Team will be attending Variety’s PURPOSE: Family Entertainment + Faith Based Summit on June 21st.  If you’ll be there, we’ll have to connect.

View the full article at Variety.

What do you think? Are Christian films getting better at storytelling?  What’s your favorite Christian film so far?