Family Entertainment and Faith-Based Summit
JUNE 21, 2012 SOFITEL HOTEL, LOS ANGELES, CA
By Brian Zink
Los Angeles, CA(Hollywood Today)6/22/12/—Mark Burnett he was on hand to show an early glimpse of his miniseries “The Bible” on Thursday at the Family Entertainment and Faith-Based Summit,presented by Variety in association with Rogers and Cowan. He’s been on location in Morocco for weeks working as a producer of these on the project. “I couldn’t give a shit about the business model,” Burnett said. ” He is best known as the producer of Survivor and the creator of the Apprentice. Burnett is currently the executive producer of five network television series with seven hours of network programming. Burnett himself has also won four Emmy Awards and four People’s Choice Awards. Mark Emphasized the huge, often untapped potential of faith-based productions. “This was about love and faith.” See full Variety story @ http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118055845.html?cmpid=RSS|News|LatestNews
Keynote speakers at the summit included Ben Simon, director of Walmart and co-chair of the ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment, and Michael Flaherty, co-founder of Walden Media. Simon detailed the org’s work in advocating with networks and studios the demand among advertisers for family programming that draws multigenerational co-vieweing, or what he called “the bull’s eye” for advertisers.
The Summit explored the development, production and marketing of content for television and film that is created for families and faith-based audiences. We looked into the future of these markets with a full day of industry professionals that actually are many of the major players in this vital, burgeoning entertainment sector. Panels were ongoing from 9am-to-6pm with a hour lunch break.
Credit needs to be given to those putting this Summit as they did a outstanding job. The timing was almost perfect with almost no one going over their time limit as is so often the case in these programs… Our story here is to cover interesting highlights of this first time important SUMMIT.
~State of Family and Faith-based Entertainment
~Reaching Family and Faith-Based Audiences: Launching and Marketing Films to Create Universal Hits
~The Opportunity in Faith-Friendly and Faith-Based Content: What is Success Today?
~Harnessing Digital Media for Family and Faith-Based Entertainment
~Film Finance and Production for Family and Faith-based Entertainment
~Creative Masters in Family and Faith-Based Entertainment.
Mr. Poland of MASTERMEDIA Int’l was also on hand with his presentation His organization provides consultation, research, and one-to-one counsel to media leaders by helping create a deeper understanding of the Christian faith as well as the Christian community as a market for media product. Mastermedia’s clients include decision-makers within ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Disney, Dream Works, Sony, Paramount, Time Warner, AT&T, Hearst Corporation, MTV, HBO, AMC, Hallmark Channel, CNN, Fox News, and ESPN. Larry Stated “The Faith Based Market place audience has a 2.1 Trillion Dollar buying power, yearly” Larry then went into his power point explanation with statistics of how strong that market place really is today. I met with Larry on a short break and inquired about one of todays panelists. Deborah Gianatana who produced the film “Machine Gun Preacher”.
During her panel on FILM FINANCE & FOR FAMILY AND FAITH BASED PRODUCTION she had asked why her film was not fully embraced by the Faith by the Faith Based Community? Larry responded to that same question and felt as I did that even in this community ceratin characters and subjects create religious differences. Many of the people even of faith can’t accept. See more of MASTERMEDIA Int’l work @ http://www.mastermediaintl.org/
According an independent report by based on research by Dove co-founder and CEO Dick Rolfe showed, G-rated films garnered an average of $108.5 million in profit per film, while PG-rated pics generated $65.5 million. Edgier content often led to lower returns: $59.7 million for PG-13 pics and a dramatically lower $12.7 million on average for R-rated films. According to one possibility, “Hollywood wants to increase the sizes of its audience by making PG-13 movies,” he says. Alternately, “The ratings now allow things in PG-13 movies that several years ago would only have been allowed in R-rated films.”
An important factor brought out in program by many people was that independent producers of content lately have been able to get the public market place because they can go direct to audience via the internet and self distribution. They know their audience better than the Studios and the public is wanting these stories and there just not enough to fill the need !
John D. Ware
On the forefront of Independent production is the founder and Director of the 168 Film Project (168). 168 has helped propel the lives and careers of thousands of artists all over the world by teaching them to focus on excellence of craft and on God’s Word. Alumni include Maggie Elizabeth Jones, whose career was jump started in 2010 when she won the Best Actress award. She recently starred opposite Matt Damon in “We Bought a Zoo.” John has written his own screenplays and as writer/director of a short film spoof of Hollywood stereotypes entitled “The Chronicles of Hernia.” In 1998, he co-founded SLATE Entertainment Fellowship at Bel Air Presbyterian Church, which he led for 5 years. John is a conference speaker and media and film festival consultant. You can reach John @ http://168project.com/index.cfm
Why did the Hit TV show “Touched by An Angel” that ran for almost 10 years not have dozens similar shows to follow it ? “Well, it was kind of a takeoff on “Highway to Heaven,” a show with Michael Landon. I think the culture is still very preoccupied with angels and they “sell.” The fact that there haven’t been many shows like it is actually relieving to me. If it were all about Angels, would we ever go to Anaheim? Ha ha. But seriously, there are many many great scripts out there with themes of faith that maybe half the market doesn’t believe in. Oh yeah, they’ll believe in aliens and ET, but when it comes to a Creator that asks you to examine your life and be accountable…that’s work. It ceases to become an arm’s length transaction and we (humans) don’t like to be told what to do or how to live. So the message that is demanded by one group is the very message that the other group will NOT tolerate. So the trick is to provoke thinking in terms of stories and parables like Jesus did. It’s an
high art and the desire to “cross over” to the mainstream audience many times means passing the cross over for a more palatable message. ” Question:. Do you feel some kind of undercurrent that is preventing Faith Based content from being made and distributed by the major studios and Television outlets. John’s response: “Not at all. There is a certain kind of film that is most exciting for Hollywood Execs to make, but that is a preference. The only kind of film they HAVE to make is the one that makes money. They have now seen (via Passion, Blind Side and Soul Surfer) that faith friendly films can make enormous profits on a percentage basis. They want that. The fact that Variety and CreateaSphere are courting the faith market is a testament to the fact that there is (in their minds) a gilded cross! ”
Question: John we all know that the Studios and Broadcast developers only have a handful of acceptable people called Show-runners. Don’t they keeping away from Faith Based content ? Do you see a shift in that policy?
“There really are and have been very few TV shows that have been produced. “Touched By An Angel”, “Highway To Heaven”, “Christy” and a few others. It’s a rarity to have a TV show with outwardly faith friendly elements on secular TV, so anything that gets produced will need to be indie made and the studios and therefore the “go-to” show runners are not likely to focus on these shows. Now the Christian market is very different. They are used to getting paid for their airtime and in return the normally get the Preaching Head, a potentially great message, but not very exciting visually. These broadcasters clamor for better programming, but they are not likely to pay for production. The best you can usually hope for is to get a trade out ad in your own show. I believe that in my lifetime we will see the model change as the faithful make more and more compelling programming, a market develops and the Christian outlets are forced to compete for these programs. ” The day ended with an evening networking party. This was an Outstanding Summit ! It was the first of it’s kind and I for one can only hope it happens again …And soon !
Brian Zink, Technical Reporter for Hollywood Today Magazine Director for Media Broadcast Services since 2004 He can be reached directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org