(Ch. 8) Response Post (due 11.1 at 11:59 pm)

Due Nov. 1 before 11:59 pm  – After reading the articles in Chapter 8 on Faith & Film, What is Indie Film & Backwoods meets Hollywood listen to one of the interviews below (then answer the questions below the interviews):

Mageina Tovah is a film, and TV actress and she’s written, produced, directed and starred in her first indie film “Hux”.

Gary Wheeler is a Christian filmmaker, and he has produced and directed numerous films. Here he talks about his work on War Room.

Response questions:

Answer one of the following – 1. What did you learn about the process of faith-based filmmaking (War Room style) from Gary Wheeler? 2. What was interesting to you about Mageina Tovah and her approach to bringing the film”Hux” to reality.

Answer any two of the following:

  1. What  interested you the most about filmmaker Earl Owensby from the Backwoods meets Hollywood article? Why?
  2. What interested you the most about Faith & Film,? Why?
  3. What interested you the most about independent filmmaking after reading What is Indie Film? Why?
  4. What is the most important connection between the indie film and faith-film process (and market)? Why?

 

 

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20 Comments Add yours

  1. 1. What did you learn about the process of faith-based filmmaking (War Room style) from Gary Wheeler?

    I learned from Gary Wheeler that faith-based films require a thorough understanding of the audience and how that audience can be reached. He said this is one of the greatest things he respects about the Kendricks, and I believe this understanding is the reason that the Kendrick brothers have made such successful films within the Christian community. When they make Christian films, they cannot merely think about making a film; they have to think carefully and thoroughly about the message they want to tell, and the best format/story to get this message across to such a particular audience.

    2. What interested you the most about Faith & Film? Why?

    I found it most interesting that marketing is such a key factor in Christian films. Like the interview said, Christian film companies use direct marketing, reaching out to churches to advertise, going on Christian radio and TV shows, promoting the films, and making their presence known in every Christian venue possible. I have seen so many films, both sacred and secular, that either underutilized marketing, targeted the wrong audience, or barely even marketed at all. In the end, good marketing can take audiences to any film, even small Christian films like “War Room.”

    3. What interested you the most about independent filmmaking after reading What is Indie Film? Why?

    I never fully realized the true meaning of an independent film. I had always associated independent films with being cheaper, lesser known actors and filmmakers, and generally unexciting. However, having read about independent filmmaking and learning of some of the most famous independent films, I have a new appreciation for what Indie film actually is. It turns out that some of my favorite films (Memento, Passion of the Christ, 12 Years a Slave) all were Indie films.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Understand your audience and how to market to them = key to success.

      Before really exploring indie filmmaking, I had the same thoughts.

      Thanks Christian

      Like

  2. Mallory Moore says:

    What did you learn about the process of faith-based filmmaking (War Room style) from Gary Wheeler?
    I learned that faith is integrated into every part of the filmmaking process, and that the whole thing operates very similar to other Christian projects. Local churches help out, and the filmmakers rely on God to work through these churches to meet the needs of the cast and crew while filming. Much like on mission trips and retreats, days on the War Room set began with devotionals and prayer.

    What interested you the most about filmmaker Earl Owensby from the Backwoods meets Hollywood article? Why?
    I was most interested in the paragraph describing his conflict with the MPAA. I don’t really know a lot about this association regarding recent years. Mostly what I’ve read about movie ratings relates to the early days, when movie makers wanted their own association to rate movies so that they could have more freedom with their art form and avoid government censorship. I didn’t realize that the MPAA eventually became discriminatory itself and used its power against independent filmmakers. I think it’s really cool that a film issue got brought to congress and that Owensby got to speak to congress about what he is passionate about.

    What interested you the most about independent filmmaking after reading What is Indie Film? Why?
    I think that the definition of Independent films itself was interesting. I always thought about indie films as that section of DVDs at my local library that were really quirky and usually appealed to counter culture and an artsy audience. I was surprised that films like Django Unchained are technically independent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Yep. Prayer and community worship is a major aspect of success for these projects.

      Most people to think about indie films as low budget or art-house films … but they are much more than that. Thanks Mallory

      Like

  3. jguberman242 says:

    1. What did you learn about the process of faith-based filmmaking (War Room style) from Gary Wheeler?

    I learned about the community aspect of faith-based filmmaking. When you hear about other genres of films being made, you never hear about the community getting involved. Usually production is on a closed-off set or location, and community members aren’t allowed anywhere near it. However, with faith-based filmmaking, the focus is more on creating a message and impacting people, rather than simply entertaining and earning money. Because of this, the community got incredibly involved with “War Room” and the production process. In the podcast, I noticed Gary Wheeler mention how people would come together for devotionals and for prayer, which really helped guide the crew as they completed the film.

    1) What interested you the most about filmmaker Earl Owensby from the Backwoods meets Hollywood article? Why?

    I found it really interesting that he had a case against the MPAA for the rating they gave his film. I never thought of how the MPAA is full of representatives from the larger production companies and how they can treat Indie producers unfairly. I think it’s great that Owensby stood up for himself and all other Indie producers by bringing this injustice into public eye. If he wouldn’t have stood up for himself, he probably wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as he became, and few people would have gone to see his movie because of the MPAA rating it was given.

    3) What interested you the most about independent filmmaking after reading What is Indie Film? Why?

    I never realized how big Indie films were. I recognized so many of the names of films listed in the reading, and I never knew that they were Indie films. I also found it incredibly interesting, and shocking in a way, what I read in the introduction of the reading– Indie films don’t have to be low budget, they don’t have to just be shown in festivals, they don’t have to have an unknown director. I knew some movies I had seen in the past were Indie, but I didn’t know that “Hunger Games,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” etc. were Indie films!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Thanks Jen. Indie filmmaking continues to grow in stature. Even though festival and indie outlets still exist, most everyone has seen a film that has an indie connection.

      The MPAA has been associated with censorship, political leanings and much more (on the negative side). But it does provide guidelines to the audience as well.

      NTMII

      Like

  4. kmanning2 says:

    1. What did you learn about the process of faith-based filmmaking (War Room style) from Gary Wheeler?

    It was so neat to hear Wheeler talk about how he wanted to make an impact on culture (not just Christian culture), and he got a wonderful opportunity to do that through War Room. He talked about the support the movie received through prayer, devotionals, and local church volunteers. It was so neat to listen to a movie about prayer being made in many ways due to prayer and faith. I always think about movies (even faith films) being made because of manpower, technology, and financial support. The process of making War Room exemplifies that there can be even more means of support. It just shows that God can work through anything.

    2. What interested you the most about Faith & Film? Why?

    It was very interesting to learn about the different categories of films within this genre. Before reading this, I knew that not all faith films were alike. Noah is definitely different than Miracles from Heaven. But, I didn’t know that there were subheadings under the faith movie umbrella, like biblical, faith-based, faith-friendly, and hybrids. I was also interested in learning about the process by which each categorical film is made. A biblical film screenwriter goes about his job in a completely different way than a faith-based film screenwriter. Most likely, the biblical film screenwriter would use the Bible as source material, but he/she would many times make major adjustments to appeal to a wider audience. However, a faith-based film screenwriter would use the Bible as a sort of supporting character. The story might not be based off the Biblical text, but there would be many references to it throughout.

    3. What interested you the most about independent filmmaking after reading What is Indie Film? Why?

    Before reading this article, I honestly didn’t know the definition of an indie film. According to chapter 8’s reading “What is the Independent Film,” it is defined as “any motion picture produced with at least 51% financed from sources…other than the U.S. major studios.” I had always thought of indies as obscure films that not many people watch. I thought that independent movies were typically associated with the dramatic genre. Some indie films are like that, but definitely not all. I mean, The Hunger Games, Letters to Juliet, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding are considered indies, and each has enjoyed success. Just out of these three, you have an action/drama/dystopian flick and then two very different romantic comedies. It’s an incredibly wide range. Just because a film isn’t completely attached to a major studio doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth viewing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      The faith-community can find ways to support a film project quite differently from mainstream. It truly does become a team effort with a “mission” in mind.

      Understanding the sub-genres really can assist in the appreciation for the faith-film audience (and why some do and don’t work for the market).

      Great point Kathryn. Indie filmmaking covers every genre. Thanks -NTMII

      Like

  5. alicebyrd20 says:

    What interested me about Tovah’s approach to bringing “Hux” to reality was, for one, her desire to bring a film about autism to life. Right off the bat, that seems to signal to me that she is the type of filmmaker who makes films as an art form, not necessarily as a way to make money or gain fame. Sometimes the best kinds of movies come from directors like Tovah, who are making a film for the desire to bring a particular story to life – not for the glory. Films about autism, or films with autistic characters, aren’t generally these big, blockbuster, box-office hits. I also think it’s really interesting that she wrote, directed AND starred in the film. That seems like taking a LOT of creative control over a project, and sometimes that can be dangerous for a filmmaker. So the fact that she was able to do all three and do them well is a testament to her talent within those realms.
    The Backwoods meets Hollywood article was interesting to me because it kind of makes Owensby’s origins to be this Podunk, small town thing. And yes – Shelby is a small town in the scheme of things – but it’s not like Owensby was totally isolated from the world of film and had a successful career against all odds. He was simply a determined guy, who got into the industry, worked hard, and made good connections that payed off over time. Media like 60 Minutes really like stories that appeal to mass audiences, obviously, so they profiled Owensby and marketed him as this homegrown, plain-folks guy who made it big in the film industry – but that’s a decently normal thing. Regular people, from regular small towns, make it in the movie industry all the time.
    Right off the bat, what interested me most about Faith and Film was the importance of utilizing marketing efficiently so you can reach a target audience. Faith-based films can be tough to market, because not every single moviegoer is going to be interested in that subject. Traditional marketing efforts may not work then, so it becomes a challenge for those professionals to get the word out about the movie by much using more concerted efforts. I also thought it was interesting that the future for faith based films is relatively bright. Not that I expected there to be a decline, I just didn’t assume there would be an increase, even though movies like The War Room and God’s Not Dead enjoyed a popular mainstream reception. To me, it seems like faith based films aren’t always the mega money makers for the studios, so they wouldn’t make as many over a period of time as they would, say, action movies. But depending on shifting attitudes in with audiences and improved marketing to target audiences, the studios will begin to realize that faith based films can be highly successful when done well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. noeltmanning says:

    To me this quote of yours Alice some up the best of any art:” Sometimes the best kinds of movies come from directors like Tovah, who are making a film for the desire to bring a particular story to life – not for the glory.” That is perfect.

    Also I have been in her (Tovah’s) shoes trying to serve multiple roles on a project – very challenging.

    Earl Owensby always found ways to use his “small-town boy” to his advantage.

    I think that there will always be room for the faith-based films, and you’re right, studios will limit the amount of these films they produce, but if the market exists, Hollywood will feed it (or someone else will do it for them). Thanks Alice

    Like

  7. 1. What did you learn about the process of faith-based filmmaking (War Room style) from Gary Wheeler?
    I learned just how much prayer comes into play just while trying to develop a movie. Faith based movies require so much prayer and work that it caught me a little aback. They spend so much time working with prayer just while developing the idea that it made me pause and think about how much i need to pray about things.
    2.What interested you the most about Faith & Film,? Why?
    Faith and the film industry interested me most when i realized just how many films of that type have been done. The number of faith-based, and faith-filled movies that have made it to the big screen and how they have done was interesting to me because of the demografics. Movies like Noah and the recent take on the story of the Exodus added so much to the story to make it as un-biblical as possible was most enraging. However they did force people to look to the actual word of God to see what actually happened there.
    3.What interested you the most about independent filmmaking after reading What is Indie Film? Why?
    I did not realize before reading the article, just how much indie films work with the big name studios. While they are not technically a part of a big studio, a lot of indie films seem to have to work with the big studios in order to gain traction and do well in the box office. Just to what extent the big name companies influence the films (or don’t) was most interesting to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      The power of prayer rings long, true and real for these filmmakers.

      Many of the indies will work with major film companies for the distribution angle.

      Thanks Benjamin

      Like

  8. brittany parker says:

    What did you learn about the process of faith-based filmmaking (War Room style) from Gary Wheeler?

    I learned that in the filmmaking for faith-based film, praying is a very important, and that they pray specifically for the story and they create a strategy for doing so, for all aspects of the filming process.

    What interested you the most about Faith & Film,? Why?

    I have always loved watching Faith-based films, and War Room is definitely one of my favorites. I loved the section of the article that said that it was successful because they know how to reach the target audience on a personal level, which is very important. You must be able to understand them in order to create a film for them, and for it to be successful.

    What interested you the most about independent filmmaking after reading What is Indie Film? Why?

    Like most, I always thought that independent filmmaking is about how much it costs, and what actors were in the film. But, like you read in the article, this is not true. An independent film is a film that is produced financially with at least 51% from any sources besides major studios. I thought this was interesting because I never thought about what was really involved, or what made an independent film just that.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ssevert says:

    What did you learn about the process of faith-based filmmaking (War Room style) from Gary Wheeler?

    A big thing I learned about faith-based film from Gary Wheeler was how important prayer was to make this movie successful. He says “it was only fitting that prayer came in the process.” He talks about how everyday they had a devotion. I wouldn’t imagine this is being a typical movie set. Not only are they working to spread the message of Jesus Christ but living for Jesus while doing it. A group of people all came together and were all working towards the same goal for the same reason. For their love of Jesus Christ.

    What interested you the most about Faith & Film,? Why?

    I thought it was really interesting to hear that producers in the Faith & Film industry are very attune to the wants of their specific demographic. That demographic being the church. A lot of people in this world are searching for encouragement and some light in the dark times and movies like “War Room” and “Miracle’s from Heaven” offer just that. I think it’s interesting to think how quickly a faith film can spread. Once one part of the target is reached it’s like a ripple effect. People tell people, who tell their churches, you take a group, then the youth group, and so on and so forth.

    What interested you the most about independent filmmaking after reading What is Indie Film? Why?

    Before reading this I really didn’t have any understanding of independent film making. Off the top of my head I would associate the word “low budget” with it. So to my surprise, independent films have nothing to do with how much a movie costs to produce! I was shocked to find out that “The Hunger Games” was an independent film. In addition I found it interesting that Independent films productions exceeds that of major studios per year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Morning devotions are pretty awesome for these types of films (and filmmakers) -connecting through Christ for the people of Christ. I love that.

      We can all use this: “encouragement and some light in the dark times ” and the more you spread that light -the more the darkness can be dispelled.

      Indie films -most people feel that same way when thinking about indie – low budget.

      Like

  10. thoyle1 says:

    2. What was interesting to you about Mageina Tovah and her approach to bringing the film”Hux” to reality.

    As I have said before, I have always really admired actors that branch out and do other things such as writing, directing, etc. Mageina Tovah really impressive job in Hux in which she writes, directs, and acts. Another thing that interested me was how she could make a movie about autism, a disease that can be difficult to understand for those without it. She did a great job bringing it to life and using her abilities and resources to inform the world about autism.

    What interested you the most about Faith & Film,? Why?

    I think the thing that interested me the most about Faith & Film is how you have to keep in mind your target audience. Films such as War Room, Fireproof, and Courageous made the majority of their money from church goes and people looking for a faith based film. I am sure those were not the only people to see the film, nor were they meant to be, but the majority were most likely looking for a movie that was set up this way. I always find it interesting and impressive when a movie can do so well when it has a more selective audience like this.

    What interested you the most about independent filmmaking after reading What is Indie Film? Why?

    Something that interested me from this post was how major studios have recognized that independent films can still be so successful, so they have created smaller divisions for financial support and distribution purposes. I think it’s cool to see a movie, especially low budget ones, that turn out to be very successful when many people do not expect them to be. I sometimes like to go to Netflix and watch some of the cheaply made independent films like Sharknado or Rubber that have caught peoples attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Tovah sharing a message about autism through an apocalyptic world through sounds, obsessions, and fears was pretty awesome. Message through a unique form -pretty impressive.

      Faith-based: If you know what your audience wants … deliver it and they will come. To borrow (and adapt) a quote “If you build it they will come.”

      Understanding the impact of the indie market changes everything for Hollywood

      Like

  11. I was surprised to learn from Gary Wheeler about the number of people that are involved in the process of a faith-based film. For example, I was surprised about all of the local church members that gave their time and efforts to the production of “War Room” in Charlotte, as well as the presence of people like Beth Moore. However, it does make sense that such manpower would be helpful compared to the number of crew members that are likely present on a studio-funded film.

    2. Faith and Film interested me because it was nice to understand the distinction between a faith-based film and a Christian film. Meanwhile, I was surprised to hear that films like “Ten Commandments” had received criticism for taking liberties with Biblical text. However, it has been a while since I have seen the film. Also, it makes sense that “Ben Hur” would have criticized as such, as that story has more elements of fiction to begin with.

    3. In this reading, it was interesting to learn what officially clarifies a film as an indie. Though I have heard the term for a long time, I didn’t truly know what it meant. In my mind, I may have loosely associated “indie” with “hipster.” I kind of thought that independent movies were made if they were too daring or risqué for mainstream Hollywood. However, with such popular title like “Hunger Games” under the indie banner, my assumed definition does not add up. It is also a little surprising to learn that indie films can also receive up to 49 percent funding from a major studio. Even based on the fact that a financial requirement is what makes a movie an indie, I might have assumed that they would have to be entirely independent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Thanks Chelsea – Now the original “Ten Commandments” didn’t get the major negative fallout – that was “Exodus: Gods & Kings” & it was the “Ben Hur” remake. Just a clarification

      Like

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