Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Devil’s Playground - Part 1

I have worked in the media for over 25 years in every capacity imaginable from writer, editor, director and producer. I have also created several television shows that have aired on 15 plus networks and on over 200 stations. In that time, I have had many young people approach me asking for my advice and help on how they can pursue a career in media, TV or films. The usual questions are: How do I break in? What school do I go to? Can I help them find a job? Most of the young people I have worked with are primarily Christians. So they are usually seeking careers as Christian filmmakers, looking to land a job in church media, or working for a Christian television station or network.

When I asked them if they ever considered working in mainstream media, they often had a puzzled look on their faces. It is as if they have never really thought of the concept. What about working in Hollywood at a movie studio or a television network like ABC or CBS? They seemed to have a one track mind. Because they are Christians, they think they can only work in Christian media. After all, isn’t Hollywood and mainstream media the devil’s playground? How could they live and work in such an environment?

For many young people I talked to, this is the first real discussion of the possibilities of a career other than in Christian or church media. There’s no question that there are several obstacles to overcome. Generally, there is a lack of support from the Church and, more importantly, from their own families. To consider such an option as to go into Hollywood or mainstream entertainment for most parents is a hard case to make. The resistance can be overwhelming.

Could Hollywood be a valid mission field and be just as important as reaching any nation? What exactly is a mission field? The U. S. Center for World Missions in Pasadena, CA, defines a mission field as a unique people group with its own culture, customs, language, and rituals. I think Hollywood certainly qualifies in every category. And, for the most part, Hollywood is still unreached with the Gospel.

But for a lot of other young people I talk to, the light does come on? Perhaps, this is not such an outrageous idea. Could a Christian be called to Hollywood to make mainstream films? I fully believe that God has a plan for each of us, and we are all called to do something. It could be for some of the young people I talk to a burden and passion to reach people, but they don’t understand the calling or how it can intersect with a passion for media, TV or film. It’s possible that God has combined all of these passions into one package. That’s why I have written a book called The Media Missionary, A Road Map for Hollywood Success to explore the possibilities that your passion for Christ and your passion for media can intersect and coexist. Quite frankly, most people won’t understand the desire God has put in your heart.

1 comment:

  1. Harold~ You are really on to something here!
    It's funny (in a sad way) that many Christian families don't have issue with their Christian youngster joining the military, or working in construction or sales etc. (All things I have done.) Yet, each of those arenas has been as taxing on my faith as my work in media (except TV news - That can be wicked!!)
    My belief is that the Lord is raising up an Army of Believers for the purpose of giving glory to Him - In "Christian Media" AND through infiltrating Hollywood in order to reach people (in the biz & viewers) that would never be reached through the church or "Churchy Movies!"
    There is an awesome organization called The Hollywood Prayer Network.
    I belong to the MN chapter. If someone has interest, Heidi will love to help you plug in!!
    It is where I changed my attitude from cursing Hollywood to praying for Hollywood - Both the lost and the Missionaries working in the most influential mission field in the world.
    God Bless you and your efforts. May they always bring glory to Him!