As I wrote in my last post, Variety Magazine last week sponsored a sold-out conference in Hollywood called Purpose: Family Entertainment and Faith Based Summit. The day of presentations and panels offered an opportunity for people working with networks, distribution companies and studios to mix with people who create family and faith based content. In my last blog I listed the five main things I heard the industry saying to media makers. Here are the five main things I heard makers of faith and family shows saying to the industry:
- Some of the greatest heroes, archetypal stories and enduring images come from faith material that is in our blood. We have stories to tell that have value and appeal for general audiences.
- You would not entrust a legal drama to someone who was not passionate about the law or a sports movie with people who did not understand the game. Why make faith films or family films with people who do not have knowledge or who are ambivalent about it.
- A few excesses in a film can ruin it for family audiences. Parents with young children do not want edgy, vulgar or too violent or scary. Parents look for trust-worthy shows and brands for their children. We know the audiences and can help craft stories that will appeal to them.
- If you are appealing to the religious sensibilities of an audience, know what they are and the bounds around them. One speaker gave the example of the 2006 film, The Nativity Story which was in many ways quite beautiful but portrayed Mary the Mother of Jesus as snarky, unappealing to many in a Catholic audience.
- Family friendly and faith friendly are welcome, films do not have to be entirely faith-based, i.e. religious stories containing explicit religious elements and plots. An example would be the 2009 film, The Blind Side , John Lee Hancock’s film starring Sandra Bullock, in which a family takes in a homeless young man who becomes part of them. A television example is the hit reality show, Duck Dynasty.
There are many creative and exciting ideas floating around from people passionate about faith and family content. The audience interest is proven. The industry seems to be listening.