Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Industry News--Part 1
Had a good response to yesterday’s post, with quite a few folks requesting Violet Dawn ARCs. The number’s right about what I expected. I still have some ARCs left. We’ll let it sit one more day for any more BGs to chime in, then I’ll announce it on the ACFW loop tomorrow. So if you’re interested and haven’t sent out the e-mail, better jump on it today.
Interesting addendum to this Kanner Lake marketing idea of mine. I thought this up way last year—in time to write something about the blogging into the story of Violet Dawn. At the time I’d never heard of a character blog and believed my idea would be the absolute first. In the interim between thunk-up and announcing, I began to hear little bits about character blogs—I guess mostly for TV. (I don’t watch any TV dramas, so what do I know?) I am highly offended that anybody would steal my idea before I could even go public. Not a doubt in my mind, however, that anybody else’s lame attempts could hold half a shine to Scenes and Beans. After all, S&B’s gonna be written by you.
Now, in no particular order over the next couple of days, some interesting industry news.
From the weekend edition of USA Today—Hollywood Turns to Divine Inspiration.
According to the cover article, studios, inspired by such hits as The Passion of the Christ and Chronicles of Narnia, are looking to produce more “religious-based stories” and are marketing them particularly to the church-going crowd. Producers are pitching to ministers. One studio has created a “faith division” for marketing. Not until the success of Passion did the studios see the light. Twentieth Century Fox even has a new division—Fox Faith. The studio markets DVDs and feature films to pastors nationwide, and offers churches movie trailers, posters and even Bible study guides for home videos such as Hangman’s Curse.
Producer Reuben Cannon “discovered the power of the divine at the box office” when he attended the annual "Woman, Thou Art Loosed" conference. He was astounded to see 60,000 women come each day for the three-day convention. “Rock stars don’t draw . . . that kind of audience,” he said. Cannon ended up producing the film adaptation of T.D. Jakes’ novel, Loosed. He built momentum for this and other films through pitching ministers and private screenings for church members. This is “why people are paying a lot more attention to the mega-pastors,” Cannon said. “When you’ve got thousands of people who listen to you every week . . . you’ve got a powerful voice.”
Director James March said, “Instead of mocking religious people or portraying them as hypocrites, you’re seeing a more straight-up examination of how hard it is to be righteous.”
The article mentions The DaVinci Code movie numerous times, as if it’s part of the faith-based film crowd. Hm. The article adds that Sony Pictures, already bracing for possible backlash over DaVinci, has set up a website, www.thedavincidialogue.com that “essentially distances Sony from the film’s message by presenting counterarguments to the drama. The site features essays by religious scholars about the historical beginning of Christianity and invites readers to chime in.”
Overall, I’m delighted with this new trend. First came the highly successful Christian music market, then fiction, now movies. Terrific! But how do you feel about this “powerful voice” of the “mega-pastors?” Will marketing to churches create a similar kind of gatekeeper we find in the more conservative CBA book buyers? Will churches back a movie that’s relatively Christian, but not totally theologically sound, or without an overt message? Where do you see this all going?