The Geography of Your Hollywood Dream

Where You Live Matters...

I get regular calls and emails from up-and-coming filmmakers and producers who live in places like Des Moines, Omaha, or Albuquerque, and want advice about pitching a TV series or movie idea to Hollywood. Some have even gone to the trouble of filming a entire pilot. Many of you reading this are in a similar position – you have a dream to produce a TV series or movie, but you live somewhere outside of the major media centers of Los Angeles and New York. So what do you do?

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Why You Need a Big Goal

Everybody needs a big goal or a project to work on. It may be your job, but in most cases, it’s something else. Some call it a “hobby,” but to me a hobby is more about relaxation than accomplishment. Retirees often die if they don’t have any more goals. Once they start feeling they can’t contribute, then their lives seem over. Your project should be a passion, something you’re good at doing, something you have a concrete plan to complete, and something that could 

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Will Livestreaming a Worship Service Hurt a Church’s Attendance?

Today, hundreds (probably thousands) of churches today are livestreaming their Sunday services. But in spite of those numbers, there’s still a significant number of pastors worried it will give their members a reason to stay home instead of show up at church. I’ve searched for empirical data on live streaming and its impact on church attendance, and I can’t find any (if you know any studies, please let us know.) But at our media consulting company, Cooke Pictures, we’ve helped numerous churches livestream their services and in every case, it’s been a positive experience. As I’ve shown in other posts,

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Is Christianity Making an Impact in Hollywood?

Here’s a Brief Report from this Last Year

Most Christians think Hollywood is a lost cause. In spite of the growing presence of ministry outreaches to the industry, as well as more Christians than ever working in media and entertainment, it’s easy to see after viewing some movies and television programming, that we’re not making much progress. But before we react from emotions, let’s actually take a look at the role Christianity played in some major movies this past year:

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United Airlines and the Firestorm of Social Media

Is Your Organization Ready for Online Criticism?

For a Christian leader, the recent blow-up at United Airlines should be a teaching moment on the power of social media. You no doubt heard the story about an overbooked flight, and the passenger (who had paid for his ticket and was already seated on the plane) who was physically ejected for another passenger. Right or wrong, the incident was recorded on video and it quickly became the top story in the media. By the next morning, the social media memes had been launched:

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Should Christian Movies Use Profanity?

For some reason, I’ve had a number of questions on this subject recently. I’m not sure why, but a number of very sincere Christian filmmakers seem to be wrestling with the subject, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the blog. There are plenty of filmmakers and critics who will give you a snarky, cynical answer, but the truth is, it’s a question worth answering – particularly if you’re

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Using Gimmicks: Be Careful When Communicating a Message

The dictionary defines “gimmick” as: an ingenious or novel device, scheme or stratagem, especially one designed to attract attention or increase appeal.  This may sound strange, but one of the biggest reasons I work in media ministry today is that growing up, I thought pastors were so embarrassing.  Being a preacher’s kid in the South during the 50s and 60s was tough. Pastors were always doing wacky stuff to attract attention. I remember one pastor who sat perched on a chair atop a three-story-high pole until Sunday attendance hit a certain number. Another one locked himself in the steeple, praying for revival. You may remember pastors who shaved their head if the youth program brought enough visitors. Witnessing to a friend at school was much more difficult when his big question was,

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What You Should Expect From A Church Website

The world of website development has come so far that there’s very little you can’t do online these days. But in spite of the progress – including easy to build websites like Squarespace, Wix, and others – churches, ministries, and nonprofit organizations still struggle getting their websites to accomplish their goals. Sometimes it’s an expectation problem (because after all, they don’t teach website development in seminary or Bible college) and sometimes it’s a lack of good advice. Either way, I decided to create a baseline list of what your website should be able to do. And if it doesn’t, you need to have a serious talk with your in-house webmaster or your outside vendor:

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