I posted this same question on another section and received no response... thought I'd try here: How many Christian, faith-based screenwriters on here? I would love to network with you!!
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My co-writer and I (who are both Christians) have not yet ventured into faith-based films, though I know we would both enjoy it someday. At this point, we're focusing on clean comedies. Hope you find some interest and people to network with on here, JG!
Awesome!! Clean comedies are in short supply these days, in a world of crude humor taking the spotlight of attention and demand.
Oliver, I tend to believe people watch the crude humor in comedies because there is pretty much nothing else out there for comedies. And since people do like comedies, Hollywood thinks everyone likes the crude stuff, thus keeps making it. If there were some well-done clean comedies, I think people would flock to them, as they would be suited for everyone - including entire families. And as long as they are truly funny and well-done, I don't think people would miss the crude humor.
Thanks for the encouragement, J G. It's a process of learning, growing, and most definitely trusting God.
Yup...I'm in this area...Id be happy to read your script and provide some notes...for what its worth. Will send you those by private message.
I've heard that "Mom's Night Out" would fit the bill but I have not watched it yet myself. It was distributed by Affirm Sony pictures, which puts out faith-based and spiritually uplifting films from all genres. They did "Soul Surfer", "To Save a Life", "The Remaining", etc.
I've seen Mom's Night Out. It would fit some viewer's description of a comedy, just not mine.
There has always been both crude comedies: "Porky's", "Revenge of the Nerds", etc. and family friendly: "Goonies", "Honey I Shrunk the Kids", etc. It just seems that even the crude humor comedies nowadays are hyper offensive, and made that way intentionally, and that they really outweigh the amount of family friendly content available. My partner and I actually did a lot of market research before trying to get funding for our family friendly film during development stages, and we found that the market was quite starved for such content, and that was nearly eight years ago now.
@Oliver I think atheists could sit through a funny movie with religious themes Because atheists don't believe, so they wouldn't care one way or another. They're simply watching a movie. On the other hand, religious people would have a tougher time sitting through a movie if it blatantly goes against their belief system, which they live by. I've written a faith based dramedy and it got second place in a small faith based contest of about 200 people. I honestly wrote it just because it was a free contest and I knew 2 months ahead of the deadline and wanted to challenge myself. I think it can be done if you get some funny people to write it. I usually never laugh in most faith based Comedy/dramedies. The goonies was kid friendly to kids in the 80s, when cartoons still shot people's faces off and made open drug references. lol. The goonies definitely would not be a kid friendly movie now. There is no way in hell you'll catch it on nickelodeon before 8:00 pm.
Hi, J.G.: I would be happy to connect with you! I'm just a beginner in the scriptwriting genre. I've written just one development for a half-hour kids aboriginal animation here in Canada (and was paid for it--yay!) but I don't think it will be developed into a series. I haven't written anything in the faith-based genre, but I am a Christian and I wonder about the future of those kinds of films. The ones I have seen, I have found lacking. I do have a big dream, however... to write a biopic about a famous Christian missionary to India, set in Victorian times. Can't imagine it would ever be produced, given the expense. In the meantime, I am continuing to write and submit and see what happens.
Rhonda, hello!! Don't give up on those films just yet. I agree that most Christian films are lacking but only in the sense of actually teaching and reaching the lost. I feel most Christian films are geared toward Christians who already believe but are struggling with their faith. I think it will take a much more real, in your face, raw and gritty kind of movie to reach the non believer -- something that merely poses a solid question in one's mind and forces them to search for answers. Thanks for reaching out :-)
Yes, I do think athiests can put aside their entire belief sytem to enjoy a movie. They think religion is fiction anyway, so why not watch a 2 hour, hilarious, but religious based, make believe film. I dont think they would care at all. Yeah, they'd roll their eyes about some stuff, but at the end of the day, if it's funny, I think they'd enjoy it. But, at least in the US, religious people are always on the defense. So that's why I don't believe they can stomach a movie that doesn't abide by their belief system. I could be wrong though. I don't think I want to sell my religious script because I feel as though I'd be stuck in a box. But thanks for the compliment. I'm not familiar with the market either. There isn't a slew of great religious films that come out so I'm not sure how fierce the competition could be in all honesty. Maybe I'm not looking in the right direction.
I'm enjoying this thread, thanks to everyone. To Stuart's point, there are many children who didn't like Bambi, me included--realizing that his mom is dead is a dreadful connection to make! And Kevin Spacey is a pretty freaking mean grasshopper in A Bug's Life. But if you believe that most stories follow The Hero's Journey, then you know we cannot shield children from matters of life and death, because that's the ultimate issue in our existence. "The family movie" then, is a question of degree. How starkly you present those concepts is what determines it, I believe.
Paul Undari, from S-32, wrote a terrific faith-based screenplay but I wouldn't classify him strictly as a faith-based screenwriter.
Hello! You might want to look into connecting with Kelly Hayes. He also taught a class for Stage 32 called "Faith-Based And Inspirational/Aspirational FIlm Writing" that is amazing! Check it out: https://www.stage32.com/happy-writers/classes/Faith-Based-And-Inspiratio...
I think faith-based writing is probably easier for television nowadays. Most studio films are designed for teenage audiences, and overseas audiences who can appreciate action films without a lot of subtitles. Even among religious people, viewpoints about faith do vary dramatically, so it is probably impossible to write a religious script that even all religious people will like. I do think there are atheists and agnostics who might be interested in watching films that explore spirituality or religion, but the emphasis would have to be on "explore". Not too many people want to go to a movie that is simply a sermon. One of my firm beliefs about Christianity is "they will know we are Christians by our love, so I personally believe that seeing people do great deeds because they are spiritually inspired is more moving than just listening to abstract words. Biographies of celebrated Christians can certainly find an audience hungry for inspiring messages--for instance, films about people like Dorothy Day (social worker) and Archbishop Oscar Romero (who was assassinated in El Salvador after speaking out in defense of the poor and oppressed). Many excellent Holocaust films have been made. Some films with strong religious themes achieved widespread commercial success AND critical acclaim, such as "Chariots of Fire". Even Captain America said "there's only one God" in "The Avengers"!!! I do believe there is still an audience, but this is the era of making lots of films geared towards teenagers--comedies, slashers, action. I hope you can find collaborators!
I would also like to say that Oliver's comments saddened me a lot. Sometimes we encounter terrible people spouting religious views, and we can be extremely repulsed by that--just think of how repulsed most of us are by ISIS! But to find ALL religious themes too offensive to listen to is like saying you will never listen to a politician because some are greedy bastards, or you will never respect police officers because some are sociopaths, or you will never trust elementary school teachers because some are pedophiles, or you can never go on another date because you got raped on a date. Please try to stay open-minded. Just because there are rotten apples in the barrel does NOT mean the entire barrel is spoiled. You might believe or not believe, but putting your hands over your ears and refusing to listen to any religious people? Religiously inspired people have built hospitals, sheltered refugees, fed the poor and homeless, campaigned for social justice. Would you refuse to watch a movie about Martin Luther King Jr. because he was a religious man? Religious people can be good or bad: please keep an open mind.
And yet you posted several comments which were not about writing, including the whopper " I find religion to be offensive." Why on Earth did you even enter a discussion space entitled "faith-based filmmakers"? To tell people NOT to write faith-based films? You are keen on PREACHING atheism, but do not want to hear anything else preached. It's VERY sad that you are so anti-religion that you think EVERY possible faith-based theme would be offensive to you. I truly wish you could be exposed to religious people like Mother Theresa who dedicated their lives to helping other human beings, or Quakers who hid runaway slaves in the Underground Railroad. Those are great STORIES, and I hope someday you will be willing to hear them or watch films on them. I am not saying this as a person of rock-hard faith, far from it. Please don't close your mind.
Bill and Alejandra, thank you for the references!!
Stuart, you are right, it is hard to say what family friendly is, as it can be quite subjective from family to family.
We can only tell the truth as we see it. Anybody can appreciate a great story on its own merits, whether or not you share the viewpoint of the characters--if it's a great story. I wanna become the best storyteller I can be. The people who like it will like it and those who won't, won't. And that's okay.
Would love to network! I have nine scripts, the final two have been faith-based...
Is your project a doc, Alle Segretti, or fiction?
What William said. ^^^^
Okay I posted that twice on another thread and it keeps showing up in this thread. what the hell.
Wow, what a thread this has turned out to be. It is quite refreshing that things did veer off just slightly but did not turn into a arguing match like I have seen on social media sites. Thank you all for contributing thus far. And to think, I just asked for a few people to network with, lol.
Re. clean/“rude” comedies. I think each find their audience, and there’s no reason why they can’t co-exist. Some raunchcoms have been doing amazingly well at the box office, but it’s hardly for lack of availability of “clean” comedies. If I’m in the mood for a clean comedy, I’m hardly going to go see a raunchcom just because there wasn’t a clean comedy available at the omniplex. And vice versa. If I prefer my comedies with risqué and schatological humour, I’m not going to go watch a PG flick. Hollywood makes what the audience wants, because they want to make money. If Christian-themed movies were all that profitable, they’d be making more of them. Nobody’s stopping you from making a “clean” comedy. If you have, say, another Groundhog Day in you, go for it!
I’d also like to clear up a misconception that some Christians seem to have about atheists, and that is that we “don’t care” or that we don’t believe in anything. We all have our own moral codes, in many cases arrived at over long periods of working through questions re. morals, God’s existence etc. All the atheists I know (which is a lot) are by and large moral people and upstanding citizens, certainly no less so than the Christians I know. I don’t see myself in opposition to Christian morals as a whole, just to the belief in the existence of God. The Commandments that aren’t about God as such (which unfortunately takes up almost half of them) make sense to me. On the whole, I see religions in part as a codification of human morality that was already arrived at by consensus, and as a part of our society. When atheists, agnostics and generally sort of lapsed Christians are presented with a film with a religious theme in it (in the sense that it tries to promote a specific religion), we can quickly sense that we are being preached to, and that can detract from our enjoyment of a film. A bit like if you’re watching a movie that tries to promote, say, Islam or Scientology. Which isn’t to say that we can’t enjoy a good film ABOUT a person who is religious. For example, I can watch and enjoy movies about, say, Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. I haven't seen The Passion of the Christ yet, but I intend to at some point. But when a film overtly tries to make us think that being a Christian is a better way to be, well, we’d rather watch something else, as you probably would if you watched a movie that, say, tried to overtly promote Scientology. Some entertainment is Christian-based but quite enjoyable, for example the Narnia movies. But I don’t walk away from those thinking that I’ve just been told being Christian is somehow a superior lifestyle. In a way, I do think faith-based films are mostly confined to preaching to the choir, i.e. addressing those who are already on board. There aren’t really any questions you could try to challenge me with in a movie that would cause me to re-think my atheism, since my worldview already has a way of addressing those questions in a way that doesn’t involve God. I could be presented with a new and interesting moral conundrum, but I would simply grapple with them in the context of my own worldview. Having said that, I do think that all good stories tend to have a moral premise, and I’m all in favour of working moral themes into stories (without being moralistic of course).
@Jean-Pierre - re. " I think atheists could sit through a funny movie with religious themes Because atheists don't believe, so they wouldn't care one way or another. They're simply watching a movie." and "Yes, I do think athiests can put aside their entire belief sytem to enjoy a movie. They think religion is fiction anyway, so why not watch a 2 hour, hilarious, but religious based, make believe film. I dont think they would care at all. Yeah, they'd roll their eyes about some stuff, but at the end of the day, if it's funny, I think they'd enjoy it." It's really hard to know what I would do, because it's such a hypothetical: "hilarious but religious based" Could you please name an example of such a film? None springs to mind.
There isn't such a thing. At least I can't think of one. We already discussed that.
I am a Christian who writes screenplays/books, several of which contain Christian messages in the context of stories with premises that are not usually associated with "Christian" films, both in an effort to add thematic meat and both challenge Christians as well as draw in a secular audience and expose them to Christian ideals. Both are YA-orientated stories, one about a good man driven to mad vengeance, only to face the horror of his crimes--and the possibility of forgiveness--through the return to his life of a girl who's life he saved years before. The other is based on a most unique (and Amazon best-selling) YA book series (which obviously I've optioned the rights to) about a teen-age girl who discovers that she's one of a long line of young women (that goes all the way back to a Biblical character) called by God to be vampire slayers and in her case, to free an oppressed community from the vampire clan that dominates it. I'd classify the first as a gothic thriller/dark drama, and the other as a teen/YA action thriller with horror elements. I eagerly attended a panel at last year's American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica that featured a number of the biggest players in Hollywood that specialize in faith-based filmmaking, hoping to find like-minded connections that I could market either of these two projects to. And I did--amongst the other writers and (very) small producers attending who had similarly challenging projects. The faith-based Hollywood establishment represented on the panel, however, appears firmly entrenched exclusively in the "preach to the choir" type film. Those of us with what might be termed "evangelistic" films or "faith-challenging" films were actually lectured by one executive, who told us that we'd "forgotten about a little thing called the Church" and that faith-based films should be made primarily to inspire other Christians to go out and preach rather than as a direct tool to reach out to non-believers. The only more forward-thinking guy on the panel (that included reps from at least two other production companies and a TV network) was the guy from Freestyle Releasing, who is interested almost solely in if he thinks the project will make money or not--but is willing to take chances that big studio distributors might not. The others all used a sort of "litmus test" to decide if they'd consider making the film, including whether pastors, church leadership, Christian media, and para-church organizations would like it. We were told that, if there was doubt, market to secular companies--the film (if you could get it made) could not be marketed as "faith-based." Very discouraging and frustrating… Both are terrific stories and great scripts. My manager, who's not religious at all, still can't understand why no one's picked up the gothic dark drama yet (except perhaps that it's a bigger-budget film). The "slayer" project (which is low budget) I'm just putting the finishing touches on now--we'll test the market soon, but not the faith-based one, unfortunately. Too bad--it would be very challenging and thought-provoking...
Wow! I'm so excited to see other Christians who are writing. I have to say that my early submissions which mentioned anything to do with Christianity were rejected with comments about "preaching," which I wasn't. I did get a request for my film, and am hoping they don't reject it because of mentions of God.
Hi JG; Great topic. I would say my recent script would go in the category of Faith and Family. I am Jewish and had an inspiring idea. I have a FB friend who has two faith based movies made. He's doing very well in this genre.
a lot of new good comments!! veered off for just a moment into the atheist vs Christian debate again, but we brought it back on point. I have to say, Lee, that those are more the type of film that I want to write, themes of moral value and even Christianity with it being what the Christian filmmaking world would call "Christian". I am quite positive the couple of projects I am working I am putting my hands to right now would not be accepted into Christian film festivals, due to the content, but they have been put on my heart to write them because I think they might reach a secular audience -- which is what it's all about when making faith based films, in my opinion. I do feel that Christian films like, "Fireproof", "Courageous", etc. have their place, and are effective in their aim -- to encourage and help struggling Christians. However, I feel I am being called to write to reach an audience that has not been reached yet, If Only One.
thank you to everyone else who is responding as well, and so passionately!! I see a couple more network requests that God had sent my way that I must go respond to now :-)
JG - Nice to know that there's at least one other besides me who's on this track. And I agree with you--those "preaching to the choir" films do have their place. It's just not where I'm at. Best to you, and let's hope both of us can find producers who'll be willing to take the risk of putting a movie with Christian undertones and message through a very secular-orientated genre/plot, etc. out there for everyone to see. And let's be sure to write high enough quality material that they won't have to see it so much as a risk, but as something that will both make them money and be a worthwhile investment.
Not all films about religion or deities are faith based productions.
I'd say that "God's Not Dead" was a Christian message movie that got preachy at times, and aggressively so in the end. That being said it is still more likely to reach a secular audience than most preachy Christian films, just because it was open, honest and giving in the debate portion of the film. Everyone loves a good debate and therefore it is able to appeal to more than just a Christian audience alone, at least in my opinion. and Lee, I would love to read some of your work.
If a movie panders to the religious and does not question anything it's a faith based production, if it doesn't pander to their fragile beliefs and asks questions it's main stream.
Cherie, please clarify. I'm not sure I get what you mean. some of my most favorite passages in the Bible are the ones where the writer had questions and doubts for God, and I think those types of Christian films make the better ones as well. I feel a film can absolutely still be called faith based if it poses questions against, or that challenge the belief system it is written upon.
JG - that's the trick -- how can you tell a faith based story (that creates a conversation) without getting preachy. It's a fine line.
OK George, but even if all Communists are atheists, not all atheists are Communists.
How to tell a faith-based story without getting preachy? Just tell what happened!
Many of my clients from communist countries have a longing for God in their hearts: nothing can change our desire for God except blind ambition, which is lacking among the masses in communist countries.
I think that the question of the debate was about faith related script. Let's put it like that: any kind from docu drama comedy and else.In addition of any religion not necessary christianity but also jewish islamic buddhist and else.And there is also faith related scriptures ;old and new testament coran and else.Also add to that the big questions of God and the believers a nd the seculars.I will say that this types of scripts are innumerable.And the scriptwriter does not need to preach or fight the unbelievers but try to expose thru a story his concept of faith.I took 2 beautiful stories of the old testament and I wrote a modern version.one got to be a finalist of 2014 Creative World Award.I still wait for a producer to make of it a beautiful movie.I have faith but didn't preach anybody.Let's continue into this.
All I'm going to say is the movie "God's Not Dead" made over $110 MILLION at the box office last year. I'm sure many hollywood producers of the $$$$ driven faith took notice. There are many more people of FAITH in this planet, than those who have no faith. I'll leave it at that, for this just like politics is a touchy subject and instead of united US ALL as ARTIST it DIVIDE US and that's not what STAGE 32 is about.
I have three scripts written in this line and more two others prospectus to write In the genres of drama and a musical.
Right here, brother. I've written a feature called "Suing God". You can read it on my page.
nice title, Jaime. could go either way, and therefore it intrigues.
Rafael, are your scripts posted on here?
Jorge, I wouldn't say faith-based movies divide people. People's own closed-off ideas about faith, politics -- you name it -- are what divides people. In fact, I have connected with more people over this post, in the last week, than my entire time here on Stage!!
The Man Who Sued God. Just in case. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0268437/
Jorge, where do you get $110 mil for God's Not Dead? Box Office Mojo shows 62.3. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=godsnotdead.htm Also note that less than 2 mil of that was overseas, suggesting that this movie's appeal was limited to U.S. Christian nationalists. I think this movie did well because it caught fire among U.S. churches, probably a lot of church youth groups went to see it. I'm not suggesting that's an easy thing to do. A similarly themed movie: A Matter of Faith (poor Harry Anderson) was a complete flop. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=matteroffaith.htm
Lets concentrate on believe in God or not and not believing in yourself which is much too large a subject and involves practically all scripts whatsoever And heros and nonheros. Faith script will tell about that believe or non believe in a superior invisible caracter organizing and protecting and punishing humans and watching over our moral or immoral conducts.Or we are alone in this world or somewhere is a presence which influence our behavior or that we fight this influence or we accept it.That's for me what is a faith script.
Yeah, I'm an atheist and I thought The Apostle was an excellent film.
I've written a faith based script. you are welcome to read it! thanks!
I've written a faith-based short and all my screenplays have a religious element to it. I always make sure my Lord is in my writing. Then I always pray for guidance when I send my work out. God bless and always have faith!
Same here Matthew. My favorite and most personal screenplay (posted here) has a faith & moral message.
James I heard it on ET last Friday when they covered Faith films in particular they spoke with Cybill Shepherd's new Faith based film. Hey maybe Nancy O'dell got it wrong, how ever they even said the film only cost $6M. So your figure or there's it's still impressive, I THINK.
I love Cybil and am short on faith these days. Alas!
I'm in the process of writing a faith-based apocalyptic script.
Thanks, Erik. I'll definitely keep that in mind! I'm new to the filmmaking industry. I'm in the scripting and learning stage at the moment. I've been looking at single filming locations online, just like JG posted about on his profile. It's definitely altering the way that I'm writing the book and the film script.
Stori, sounds good!! Rodney, it really is such a challenge to think inside a little single location box!!
JG, It really is. I'm looking into a general area, where all the locations will be regional.
I am bit late in the discussion. I think Faith-based films have to consider the audience. Would it be for the "church-based" or "secular" audiences? I have been offline for some weeks completing (with Jean-Marie) our new screenplay God's Harlot (https://www.stage32.com/profile/363201/Screenplay/Gods-Harlot). It is the story (fictional) behind Rahab of the Old Testament and it is not labelled in the faith-based genre. It is in the vein of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with its action and combat scenes as well with the epic feel of Ben Hur. I dare say if anything , church goers might be the ones not opting to see this film when it's made!
J G, shoot me a line.
While I do not narrow my professional definition to "Christian, faith-based screenwriter" I have written a Christian project and several faith-based screenplays.
@D Marcus. I am trying to send you an email about a query but need you to accept my network request please :-)
Wow! My prayers for this to go forward quickly!
congratulations, Erik!! God is good!!
Holy Moise!we will cross the Mississipi River next friday and arrrive safely to...New York or somewhere else in America or elsewhere perhaps Yemen or Aman or even Jerusalem .Hourrah!!
I'm a faith based screenwriter. Currently finishing my BA in History about the history of Brazilian Christian cinema.
The concept of "Christian Film" makes as much sense as "The War on Terror" - countries can't wage battle against an abstract noun and a can of celluloid can't take communion! What people might mean instead is that they produce "Moralist Films" and try to craft intentional messages into the subtext - or, in even worst examples, the text - of the films, and hope to encourage their audience to see the relevancy and or benefits of the beliefs of the characters, which is usually by extension the filmmakers' own. This is a dubious proposition on two fronts: First, it pigeonholes what a "Christian" movie is by interpreting the sole importance of the aesthetics of cinema on the "content" of the story (i.e., characters, decisions, consequences, etc.) and never on the "form" of the production (form is not just editing and lighting, but also includes the external consequences of the film's exhibition). Second, cinema feeds off our very real need to not be ourselves. To quote a Christian thinker, our condition is "inconstancy, boredom, and anxiety" and film is a greatest quick fix to our condition ever invented! To treat it like its a more meaningful institution (a la religion) will ironically lead an audience back to states of inconstancy, boredom or anxiety. Incidentally, this is why no one remembers their fortune cookie note the next day - it was just something to keep you from saying "What a crappy cookie!"
I hate fortune cookies :-)
A "Christian" film is no more of a pigeon hole than "action" film. I write Christian films not moralist films. I also write action. It's fascinating to me that when I say I write action films I get almost no reaction. When I say I write Christian films some people get very uncomfortable.
I'm a christian filmmaker. There's a pet project of mine right now that I'm not talking about is going to be faith-based. Nice to meet you. :)
I think faith-based films that have to invoke the faith only works for films aimed at the religious. Christ only referenced Scripture with those to whom it was familiar and would matter. Otherwise he saved his preaching for parables. We screenwriters should do the same. The best Christian film is a film a non-Christian can enjoy and never realize they're getting a message until they're walking to their car.
My problem : do" faith based "movies and scripts are only christian faith?Disney movies could be universal faith .by the way many jews were involved in the creations.This definition could help screenwriters as myself to be read more often. We could also produce more faith-based scripts pertaining to jewish.islamic.bouddist religions and make them known to others. Leave the incredible ignorance about the religions of mankind which has create these incredible aggressivity between them. s
"Faith-based" does not mean Christian only. It means faith-based. In this context "faith" is strong belief or trust in someone or something typically religious in nature. J.G. asked specifically about Christian faith-based filmmakers.
ן know that this specific discussion is for "christians only". But could somebody give me an answer about this term when script are demanded such is done in InkTip and without mentioning which faith exactly. Should I try or abandon (as my american script doctor advices me) : "faith based scripts" are always christian she says! not worth trying even!
JG, I'm not a scriptwriter, but I am an aspiring novelist. I am also a Christian by faith and an architect by profession. I'd be glad to connect with you.
Request accepted, Mr. Ward!!
Thanks Erik.Now I know that it means most probably christian faith however with a tiny chance that it could be jewish faith too.So let's send my modern Ruth story and I'l tell you what happened.Cross your and my fingers!
Thanks for your wishes.I also think it's great and my script was finalist at the 2014 Creative World Award .But still I still look for a producer.
Siegal, I agree with Erik. A modern Ruth story could be wonderful. Good luck with your script!
I collaborated on a script where the main character is Cain from the Cain/Abel fable in the Bible - the Mark of Cain is immortality, so he still lives today, 6,000 years after he murdered his brother, seeking redemption - how and why he killed his brother is told in flashbacks, but the majority of the story takes place today, his need for this redemption and his clashes with a Boko Harem type Islamic extremist group and a corrupt African government - simply because several characters come from the Bible, does this mean it's a FAITH, CHRISTIAN or RELIGIOUS based screenplay? It is written in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS vein, in that old style writing where God speaks in a loud, booming voice - it's basically an action film with a hint of TRANSFORMERS and helmed by a Biblical character, but I'm not sure it's a religious/faith movie - it's called GOD AND THE IMMORTAL, but I'm still not certain where to place this story/writing?
The modern version of this tragic biblical story is the movie 'East of Eden".This movie gave me the idea that a biblical story which is always a faith story (everybody believes in God because there He is always around and talking to the heroes) is always an excellent script with a protagonist,antagonist,conflict, dialogue,3 acts.etc.Check it: in all the main biblical stories you will find absolutely what you need for an excellent script A modern story and God or whoever you want as a Big Brother is always around or hidden somewhere.Is it what is called faith? it's simply our human search for the.meaning of our lives.Otherwise we live an absurd and meaningless life.Despear and nothingelse what a pity! A good , light and friendly movie about faith in humanity was "Noah"a tragedy hidden under a comedy which is exactly what the biblical story is all about.In the Bible the hero had such a fright for him, his family and all the creation that when the happy end comes and everybody knows that he will survive the guy Noah,the biblical and original hero ....got completely drunk.How more modern can this be?
I presume by "the modern version" you mean the 1955 movie directed by Elia Kazan and stars James Dean, a very fine movie indeed - would you deem this a faith, Christian or religious story? Not sure how you came to the conclusion Noah was a tragedy hidden as a comedy, nor how you conclude Noah becoming drunk creates a modern parallel - I agree that one can find some excellent inspiration in the Bible re stories with sin, betrayal and a little blood spilt.
When does a biblical story become a modern story?when it is told more or less few thousands years after the original "script"was written .What can we understand we the modern world about these ancient stories?what they have in common with us ,when God is still present or hidden or lost for us.How did this biblical stories survive ?the stories which are written there must have some eternal value for the eternity of mankind.let's search for the hidden code by retelling the story with our modern tools but still let's search the hidden message.Perhaps it' s worth it.A biblical detective story?
I think a story can have biblical content without being Faith- based. It should have a theme of Faith if it is to be called Faith- based. An overall theme of Faith that actually drives the story and characters through the plot points, twists, revelation and conclusion.
I agree with you, Erik. the original stories from the Bible are the greatest stories because the divine, fantastical elements within and throughout. The two films mentioned tanked because they tried to explain things more "rationally", at least in the writer/directors opinions, and thus they took all of the original power away from these stories that have already stood the test of time. The choices put into those films confused me, especially since I thought Hollywood was not about taking risks anymore -- do they even read these scripts before they approve them for production anymore?!!?
I agree with some of your comments, Erik, both Noah and Exodus were pretty ordinary and I enjoyed neither - I love to hear God speak, like in The Ten Commandments and other old films, where if memory serves, God spoke in neither of the current films and messages more via a dream, a very weak option - in the Cain/Abel scenario that I wrote and followed, I asked the question why/what provoked Cain to commit such an act - jealousy because God favoured Abel? His offering not as acceptable as Able's? The Bible would suggest jealousy re being less favoured, I chose it was because of a woman, this created a crime of passion, the woman Cain loved was offered to Abel and this proved too much for Cain and thus his reaction - does this mean I wandered off from the Bible version? I don't think so, it makes more sense to me - I have also introduced Lilith into the story, most people I suspect were not aware she was Adam's first wife, but I think she would have suffered some pain and had her own issues with God. Defies logic? I don't think so! No one knows exactly what The Mark of Cain was, NO ONE, so it is open to interpretation - by becoming immortal as I propose, he cannot die at the hands of another, by becoming immortal his PUNISHMENT is watching his children die, their children die and his line for centuries die - Cain needs the opportunity to REDEEM himself as he must live with the consequences of his actions, which he regrets - that's MY story, the opportunity for redemption and absolution set in a modern world of violence and corruption - made sense to me!
Siegal Annette, I thoroughly enjoyed the East of Eden movie, James Dean was excellent - I love the way Cain and Abel's story was woven into a modern setting - did you know that when John Steinbeck released the book, it was an instant best seller and loved by the public, but not well accepted by the critics - how often do we hear that story re the critics who seem to know better, and now it is regarded as one of the great American books, lol - Mel Gibson was told by "experts" that his Passion of the Christ film couldn't possibly succeed, well, we know the incredible outcome with that movie which I thought was excellent.
Well she's not changing any "facts". And Noah and Exodus were still made despite veering from the popular story.
Haha, it appears you place me in the "don't learn from history" category, well Mel Gibson was chastised by many "religious" leaders that his "version" of Christ's story differs in some important aspects - you're right, no one would give him the money so he used his own - Exodus and Noah were "average" re box office because neither was well made and left much to be desired, not because the story wavered - in fact, if my memory serves, it stuck with the original story too much re wanting to kill his grandchild which really put me off this film - we obviously don't read the same Bible, it is often said that Lilith, not Eve, was Adam's first wife, Cain and Abel also had another brother called Seth, and it is alleged they had sisters as well, otherwise who did Cain and Seth marry? You have every right to believe your version of events, especially your version of Genesis, but for Cain to kill his brother because of jealousy re the offerings does not hold water with me, BUT over which woman he loved and wanted to marry, well that resonates with me - I'm writing a story, not a documentary, and applying my slant/interpretation - I agree with your observation that ALL of Cain's descendants perished in the great flood, the time since, in my story, is Cain's attempt at redemption, to make amends with God, to display an ability to change, his deep regret and sorrow for the pain he has caused, that in time God will forgive - that's my script's message.
Erik, I understand where you're coming from, but I write the movie I wish to see, not one to satisfy a niche market, that's your department - I wish you the same good luck in your own endeavours and I'm pleased you have found your target audience.
For the record, Noah generated $362mill in global sales, Exodus $268mill - lower than expectations, but still not too bad - Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was expected to fail, but grossed $611mill - so much for expert opinion, lol.
Erik good morning and sunday.Let's tell you some serious stuff now after this exciting discussion : the stories in the Bible were written almost all extremely minimalist.They resemble a good synopsis and pitch. but thru thousand years until now "scriptwriters" (midrash single.midrashim plurial) will write absolutely different stories about them .Because, as I wrote previously, they all searched for the hidden message of this "short story" .transforming this original biblical story into a" feature story" .But what is amazing in these "Midrashim"is that they are anonymous and thru the ages each midrash will describe different opinions .They are each taught and learned very seriously to try to understand different POV of the same biblical story. Let's give you the exemple of this murder of Cain(he asked God in one midrash how could he know that fighting can stop forever the life of his brother.He never heard before of "death"of an human being.just like a child who doesn't know that fight can kill) .After that an other midrash asks :the Bible doesn't write why they fought except that Cain was depressed by the fact that God didn't accept his sacrifice.But what was the reason of the fight between the two brothers (and not with God.) this is not written at all in the Bible.So another midrash is going to tell you 3 reasons:.they fought about who is going to possess the Temple.?who is going to marry the unique woman around, their mother Eve?.the third reason proposed by this midrash is :which part of the world are theirs:the whealth of its surface or the health of the underground. What does this midrash says exactly in describing such "strange reasons": the 3 reasons of killing another human being are religion,sexe and power.Another midrash will tell you another opinion. They are all searching for the answer for thousand years.Just as we can continue to have an opinion on this subject and csn write a beautifull modern faith-related scenario. Sorry for this too long didactic exposition.Buy still love each part of your discussion
Annette, you mention mid rash/midrashim, have you read The Urantia Book? It gives incredible detail in the life of Jesus and this version resonates more with me than the Bible which tends to be vague - you have made some interesting observations re Cain/Abel from your midrashim - I like the part where you suggest the reason the two brothers fought is not written in the Bible, I tend to agree with you - I also like the 3 examples given in another mid rash - well, I have my own MIDRASH, one where I explore my own interpretation and is the basis of my script as I see it - Erik suggests it will never sell because I deviate from the perceived "facts" from Genesis that he and his kind adhere to, well, he may be right, but I wrote the story I wanted to tell and if it doesn't sell, so be it - I like your sentiment, Annette, re "we can continue to have an opinion on this subject…." - I agree there was jealousy, but I believe the TRUE motive, one powerful enough to commit murder, emanates from Cain's LOVE of a woman when he thought she was taken away from him and promised to Abel, it was the final straw that pushed him over the edge - only an opinion.
Erik, for what it's worth, I know exactly where you are coming from and respect your point of view - my view differs, so let us agree to disagree, cheers.
Hi Chanel you are exactly what I think a scriptwriter of a faith story should be:an independant interpretator of an ancient and universal story.Be yourself and think that if it happens just now what the message is all about.Faith means for me transmitted and deeply significant for you. and NO ONE ELSE. Eric , thank's for your answer.You have understood me well too. If few people in the field of production of this kind of movies are some friends of yours , what about helping me contact them.I feel that my Ruth 's story is an excellent script reviewed and perfectly translated by an american script doctor(finalist 2014 creative world awards competition) .It can be a transformed into a low budget movie with an important impact not only on religious people but on an audience looking for a deep and positive experience .Because Ruth is an universal woman and her mother -in -law Naomi a perfect modern female heroine.My script is called "Two Women"and could be played by excellent and well known actresses.I'll be very disappointed to let it stay hidden forever in one of my drawers.Tell your friends!
I've been eavesdropping on this discussion and have enjoyed learning from all the viewpoints. Where else but Stage 32 can I find discussions on movies, marketing, and midrashim? I'm not a screenwriter but I love movies. I'm a practicing architect working on my first novel. Although I am a Christian I don't consider my writing to be faith-based from a genre or marketing standpoint. For me the creative process is definitely a walk of faith and learning. I hope the quality shows through even though my novel isn't particularly evangelical. There will be themes of longing, redemption, and restoration which are certainly rooted in my understanding of the scripture. I wish you all well. Carry on!
I consider myself a Unitarian. I believe all should have the freedom to embrace whatever religion they so choose. I do have personal issues with certain rules and limitations of some religions. I probably embrace quite a bit of Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Shinto, Hinduism and Paganism - almost all of the ancient religions, now that I look at it. Most people embrace the religion they grew up in, and especially in dogmatic theologies and in countries/societies that don't separate church from state. I believe in a higher power, based on my personal experiences. I just have a hard time pinning down which one is "the one" - if there is even just "one". They all might truly exist, for all I know. Or not. Or they all might be "one", and every religion that developed since the beginning of religions might be spinning the same string, but just on a bunch of different yoyo's. But I do believe in a higher power, and don't think it's just totally "over" when we depart this life and world. Some religions believe in reincarnation - most notably the Hindus. We'll see, I guess.
Nice sentiment, Bill, you read The Urantia Book?
Chanel, Yes. Dr. Sadler and I worked at the same hospital (many years apart). He was quite an intellectual and visionary. I grew up in Chicago, and admired both his intellect, and his....uh...with embarrasment....his house, which was the headquarters for his foundation. It is quite a beautiful piece of architecture and is still there.
Alex, I know the UU Churches in Las Vegas, Evanston (IL) and Studio City (CA) are pretty accomodating to people of Eastern beliefs, even though there isn't a "God" in Buddhism and Taoism.
Thank you everybody for your remarks in the discussion but please lets leave the enormous subject of what we believe and how ,it is endless.Let's stay concentrated on faith-based script writing which for me is the subject in discussion.If you don't care at all about faith and biblical stories in good as in bad being .empathic as well as antipathic to them but having at least some feeling for these there is no script to write for you of this kind.For me it is essential to tell them as I said before.I change the time and the location but keep the narrative and the main conflict and the prototypes of the main heros.I search for a modern message in this readaptation of the biblical narrative and secret code by reading also a lot what thru the thousand years other tellers.the midrashim.had to say too.It is an extraordinary experience for me of writing but also asking essential and eternal questions.This can be for some of us a niche to explore in movie making . My Ruth and Naomi live in NewYork and in Israel.My Joseph.( the one of the pharaon) lives in Paris.They are very modern indeed but suffer similar conflicts as in the Bible .exciting indeed.
Annette, have you considered uploading your scripts here on S32? It would mean exposure and feedback from interested parties, just a thought.
Thanks for your comment Erik.I'm also planing to write this Esther story located in an extraordinary futurist palace of an extremely rich, not very bright king commanding extraterrest armies and having a wicked and antisemitic counsellor who is dreaming of stealing the magnificent keen from the king and taking his place.Just like in the Bible in Persia long time ago.And who is going to save the kingdom do you think ?right :not the wisest jew but the most beautiful,loving and tricky woman, his niece .And everybody lived in peace forever after(however after few small revenges against the wicked heroes).My idea is to write a tragi-comic script .Anybody interested ?
Bill, I thought Dr. Sadler an impressive man, extremely interesting you worked in the same hospital - The Urantia Book resonates with me, especially the story with Jesus, fills many blanks the Bible failed to fill - if that book is a fake, it is an astonishing piece of fiction - the Sir George Hubert Wilkins often mentioned and associated with Dr. Sadler is from my state of South Australia, very famous explorer, yet, incredibly, almost no one has even heard of him here - why the "with embarrassment" re his house, what am I missing?
Chanel, Chicago has a lot of great history, and I worked or visited a lot of places that had some great people in their halls over the years. I also met a lot of great people through school, work or socially. I am forever grateful for growing up there/living there, and for having the diverse background that I do. I mentioned that visit in an embarrassed kind-of way because I am an architecture buff, and love the different periods of architecture represented here and around the world. I am also a bit of a spirituality/mysticism buff. In the day times, I used to visit significant historical places to take in the actual work of art. At night time, I used to re-visit those same places to connect to the vibes and spirits in those places. I have some serious dualisms, I must admit. Heh-heh.
I have been thinking about this topic alot, since as a Heathen I cringe whenever I see gods misrepresented by filmmakers who don't believe in the mythological material they are mining. As a lover of the Sword and Sorcery genre I would love to do films based on Celtic and Germanic myth cycles, but I understand that making films sent in modern times sends a powerful message that such faiths are present, living traditions, not Justus relics from a distant past. My next project will be more of a documentary still exploration into currently functioning traditional and reconstructionist aboriginal religions after I get my 2016 work wrapped.
YES. But never wrote a faith one.
I just submitted my family and faith script, Emails From Heaven, to several contests. The family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah in the story.
I have a faith based web series that i just started but i cant even get a look at the so called faith based networks im frustrated, that i cant even get a nibble and im ready to quit im very exhausted
Any suggestions on where to go next ?
raising my hand *
Great to see an old thread revived. The uber-talented @LynneLogan in our community just got a great deal with Higher Purpose Entertainment to pen a new faith-based biopic, announced on Deadline: https://www.stage32.com/blog/Success-Story-Success-Story-Biopic-Announce... This started from a connection she made here on Stage 32. We're so happy for her and so proud of her! Keep writing :)
Thanks for sharing this Stage 32 success story, Amanda.
Wow! I haven't checked this thread in ages. Congratulations Amanda!! Thank you all for posting, I will go and check out all links and give my input for sure!!
Hi Hi! I am a Christian writer (aspiring anyway). I do have a faith-based film idea but it's not what I'm working on at the moment. Although one should arguably try to inject some good and avoid pratfalls in whatever they're creating.
Not religious. Guess we can't be pals then.
Jenny Masterton That's an incorrect assumption, I assure you :). I am not religious myself
Derek Reid Would love to hear about your idea. I do not check Stage32 as often as I used to but I will try and get back on with all of this recent interest
I written screenplays in all genres including two faith-based scripts that have won several awards. Both of my stories are period piece dramas that take place in the first century AD.
JG, I'm more of an electic screenwriter, producer and director, but I am a believer and the Faith-Based genre is something I intend to work in. However, I have worked in comedy, drama and horror genres among others. (I don't misrepresent myself.) But, I do appreciate the Faith-Based genre and I have some friends who have made some very successful Faith-Based movies. Feel free to reach out.
I am! I just finished a feature film(faith based). Would love to connect.
J G Blodgett - I'm glad you're coming back into the community. It's more active than ever :)
This is good to hear, Amanda!!
I'm working on a faith-based animated web series. Or at least I was until life put it on hold. I have 5 mini episodes written but no funding or animators. :/
I submitted a script to a producer looking for faith-based, but he told me mine was a Christian script. So now I'm confused.
Good morning! I am a christian but write music in many different forms and styles. You can see my catalogue here! www.rachelwalkertrio.com :-)
I write faith based family action adventure !
Wayne Taylor I am guessing that the producer does not want to have a straight Christian film but one that is influenced by faith-based values. This is where I try to write, as I want to reach a broad audience, ones who may benefit from hearing or seeing something that they have not seen or heard before, or maybe just in a different way than they are used to. Would you say your script falls more into the line of films like "Fireproof" or the like?
Rachel Walker I will certainly check out your profile!! Thanks for reaching out!!
Cherelynn Baker You and I should definitely connect. I am at the end of my first draft of a end-of-times script, with lots of action, which I hope to be the first of a trilogy! Would love to get your opinion on it and possibly collaborate if interested. Drop me a private message!
The script is THE WAY and it's on my logline page with a brief synopsis
I currently have a few faith based scripts in the works. This summer and fall I will focus on a few shorts based on the Eddas. Once I find my footing, I hope to go feature length with a script based on Ulfham's Saga. Earlier this year I set up my group called the Heathen Film Hub because people have been using mythological material for quite a while, and often in a way that is blatantly disrespectful to the Gods. The basic idea is to take back some creative control for believers and hopefully correct some of the popular misconceptions people have about traditional polytheistic religions.
I’ve written one and aspire to make many in the future! Went from acting now to fully immersing myself in the world of creating on all aspects!
Hello J G, not sure how I happen to receive an email alerting me to this discussion but here I am, a faith-based screenwriter.
J G, good question to ask, my goal is to eventually produce a faith based film but a couple faith based screenwriters in the Michigan area I can introduce you to, good dialogue
I have 2 listed. I also have a couple others not listed.
I'm a Christian writer as well. Would love to connect! :)
I am very much a Christian scriptwriter. How can I be of service to you?
That is very much a project by project answer. I have written no Christian screenplays, but I do have characters , or that is an aspect of some of my characters. Like any other aspect to a character it can play a larger or smaller role.
Denzel Washington does a good job of bringing faith into his films in a way that is acceptable to the general population. It's the sort of thing I did when I wrote the novel Shadow Soldier. It is, for the most part, the desire to be faithful, or to be true to that faith, that is the challenge for some characters.
To expand to a larger audience than many of today's faith-based movies focus on modeling the fruit of the Spirit" love, joy, peace, patience. kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These qualities are called fruit of the Spirit in the Bible because they are what we should model when we are led by the Spirit of God. These qualities are not attractive only to Christian audiences. EVERYONE wants to leave a better world for their children and grandchildren. A character that models fruit of the Spirit can experience tremendous conflict in a movie because the world has an ample supply of characteristics the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit. You don't have to have salvation scenes and sermons conveyed to dialogue. You can have a very exciting big adventure with a hero modeling fruit of the Spirit. It would be wise also to show that modeling the fruit of the Spirit is not simple. The hero can make mistakes and at times get discouraged. If you like Denzel Washington, like I do, check this out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P_IKTPx9Ds
David, I watched it, thank you.
I finished my faith-based screenplay last year after doing a Stage 32 script consultation in October. The feedback was excellent, and the suggestions were very helpful. I love the revised version of my screenplay. Now I'm working on where to go from here.
Who did you have a consultation with?
Excellent question. I would interested in that response; because unless things have changed, there was only one faith-based consultant on staff.
Have one script that is that.
I had one of my Christian movies assessed by a faith based website. The story needs some work but they loved my protagonist.
I haven't had the other done as money is always an object. But I've had 3 independent Christian producers look it over. They all think it has great potential.
And now I have an agent. That should be a big plus.
I write faith-based and family-oriented screenplays.
I sold a script made into the movie I Believe (available on Amazon), but I have other scripts that are still waiting for someone to show interest in them. I have paid to have one read by a Stage 32 producer contact, but I have yet to hear back from him. Have you noticed how many Stage 32 producers are looking for horror shows and how few are looking for faith based movies. I would invest in more pitches and such if it didn't seem like I was pitching broccoli to a carnivore. No disrespect for carnivores pitching carnivores, but who wants to produce something family friendly?
I have a script as well but was never able to get any real interest at the time
Damian, all good points, ones I have been making for a while in a different way. Two of my novels are often considered faith-based, but they are not. The main character is a Christian more because of time and place than anything else and some of his conflicts come from doing things that are counter to his faith, but allows him to survive the situation. For me, the internal conflict enhances his character, but solves nothing for him materially, in fact it makes things more difficult. That, for me, is the best way to approach it. I wish more writers concentrated on what faith does internally rather than demonstrating dogma.
Damian, you know of somewhere to post so churches can see the scripts?
David, I like your broccoli/ carnivore comment.
- My agent has found something for me. If all goes well I should have my 1st sale soon. It's a low budget horror so I'm not bragging, but I'm hoping it opens the door for me to something better.
- I have 1 faith based that I think is good and another that has potential. Hoping at least 1 of them is sold and made eventually but the sooner the better in my mind.
David Outten: Linda Perkins: Script consultation was with Brad Wilson (Higher Purpose Entertainment).
David Outten , I Believe featured William McNamara. He's a friend of mine. :)
Faith-based films used to top the box office charts. They had MASSIVE audiences and stared some of Hollywood's budget stars. In Sergeant York, with Gary Cooper, his character Alvin was a violent drunk who got saved, became a conscientious objector in World War I, but after prayer and Bible study, became a Great War hero trying to save his buddies. Movies like Going My Way and The Bells of Saitt Mary also topped the list. In the Sound of Music Maria tells the mother abbess she just wishes to be doing the will of God. I agree with the comment about that seeing the horrors of life simply disappear with a salvation experience does not draw a large audience, though I Can Only Imagine did quite well. What I'd like to see more of in a character who is already a believer living out his faith in the face of great challenge. I'd like to see movies that model God's love in the face of great struggles.
Thank you Damian I will look for the distribution lounge discussion on faith based movies.
Thank you Damian.
I had 1 faith based script assessed by Act One. They did a very good job.
I'm not, but I do sympathise.
I think you have to ask yourself a couple of questions when writing a faith-based screenplay. Who is your audience going to be? Just believers or non-believers as well. You also have to ask yourself, "Am I going to deliver a sermon or tell a story?" Jesus used stories or parables, and I prefer to use the story approach when I write anything faith-based.
David, the only "interactions" I've had with S32's script consultants was with a producer, Kelly Hayes. And yes, Higher Purpose Entertainment is another house one can approach BUT I have not had the pleasure (due to unfortunate circumstances).
Dan Herman, I agree with you and believe the story approach is the best avenue.
Here! @JadonCal all socials and website JadonCal.com :)
Finally am at the outline stage of my faith-based project! For people pitching these, etc. I would personally stick with producers / companies that are in the faith-based space already or advertise as such - at least then you know for sure you're not getting rejected based solely/soul-ly ;) on material content. I have a small and not all-encompassing list just from taking notes on a few recent(ish) faith-based movies I've watched if anyone is interested. Also, I haven't entered https://filmfreeway.com/icffofficial yet (and probably won't finish the script in time for this year's Feb 11th final deadline) but the festival looks quite promising to me! May want to check it out if you have a complete faith-based screenplay or film atm!
Hey, J.G. Everything I write is sprinkled with some type of faith-based element. I market myself as a screenwriter of both family and faith-based drama. I'm actually on a mission where the genre is concerned. I think currently, it's wanting. I hope to contribute to the solution by writing content that's not so didactic but inspirational, edifying, and very ENTERTAINING for anyone who watches. That's the goal. You can check out some of my work samples at https://www.morielrandolph.com/
Some of my stuff is faith-based, some of it not. I write edgy-Christian, A bit more intentional without seeming so.
Right here. Hope all is well.
The historical drama series I am developing, "The New Countess", features a 16th century countess who is, consistent with the time, devoutly Catholic. However, her Catholicism is self-critical and not self-justifying; its a character strength, as I see it.