He’s rubbed elbows with Hollywood’s elite, spearheaded a revolution of redemptive values in the entertainment industry and changed the face of films in America – but Movieguide founder Dr. Ted Baehr is also working to help new and aspiring Christian moviemakers get their start in showbiz.
For example, Movieguide presents cash awards each year to beginning screenwriters whose scripts increase the love and understanding of God. Many winners of these Kairos Prizes have received sudden recognition and gotten a jump-start in seeing their films brought to screen.
“Hollywood can be a foreboding place for new writers, especially those yearning to bring faith-based scripts to market,” explains Michael Trent, competition director for the Prizes. “While it may take a minimum of nine years, on a fast track, for scripts to come before the lens, the Kairos Prize Competition has helped launch writing careers for a number of its winners in the five short years that the competition has been in existence.”
And now, Baehr is reaching out in a new way, bringing his decades of experience in the movie industry and the wisdom of Hollywood’s leading Christians directly into the hands of aspiring screenwriters, actors, producers, directors and more through his new book: “How to Succeed in Hollywood (Without Losing Your Soul).”
The book includes interviews with from Hollywood professionals – the brightest and best people of faith in the entertainment industry – describing how they developed their screenwriting, acting, directing, producing and behind-the-scenes interests to make Hollywood and the world a better place.
Baehr explains, “‘How to Succeed in Hollywood’
will show you how to use your God-given and God-ordained gifts and talents to make significant creative contributions to the entertainment world.”
Melissa Caddell attended a four-day scriptwriting class based on the book:
“Learning about the entertainment industry from Dr. Baehr’s years of research and experience was eye-opening, as well as convicting,” Caddell relates. “I was encouraged and equipped to be a part of being a light in Hollywood. We are called to change the world, and Hollywood provides access to the world on a scale like nothing else.”
Trent explains that when the $50,000 Kairos Prizes for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays – made possible with the financial support of the John Templeton Foundation – began, it marked “a turning point for Movieguide, offering a unique platform to actively affect change in the industry from the ground up.”
Some of those impacted by the Prizes include the first winner, David M. Anthony, whose “John, the Revelator” was released as a motion picture through Pure Flix Entertainment last year as “Johnny,” starring Lee Majors; or Rusty Whitener, whose 2009-winning script “Touched” was turned into the book “A Season of Miracles” last year by Kregel Publications and is scheduled to be filmed this summer as a film cast by Mark Fincannon, who also cast the film “The Blind Side”; or Daniel S. Elliott, a winner in 2007, whose first feature film, “Out of Iowa,” is in development with Herschel Weingrod, writer of films such as “Space Jam” and “Kindergarten Cop.”
“Winning a Kairos Prize still opens doors for me five years later,” reports Heather Hughes, who won in 2006 for her script “Coincidental Miracles.” “It has been the one contest that continues to support my career through referrals, introductions and getting my script out to producers. I can’t really say that about any other award.”
“In the world of today,” Trent says, “the mass media strongly affects virtually everyone on the planet. Beyond the realms of entertainment, media reaches into the consciousness of societies across the globe, dramatically impacting not only adults, but, more importantly, our children. It impacts lives. It impacts hope. It impacts the very future that we all hold so dear. Movieguide has recognized this for more than 25 years as it seeks to redeem the values of the media and educate audiences on media wisdom, values and character development.”
Now, through “How to Succeed in Hollywood,” those who haven’t been so fortunate as to win a Kairos Prize can tap into the wisdom and experience of leading industry insiders.
Contributions found exclusively in “How to Succeed in Hollywood” include insights from the following:
- Richard Cook, chairman of Walt Disney Pictures
- Peter Engel, producer of “Last Comic Standing,” “All About Us” and “Saved by the Bell”
- Bill Ewing, former Executive Vice President of Columbia Pictures
- Bill Fay, executive producer of many movies including “Independence Day” and “The Patriot”
- Penelope Foster, co-producer of many movies, including “Operation Dumbo Drop,” “Free Willy” and “Rosewood”
- Don Hahn, producer of many movies including “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”
- Brenda Hampton, writer of many television programs, including “Love Boat,” “Safe Harbor” and “7th Heaven” (creator and executive producer)
- Bruce Johnson, president of Porchlight Entertainment
- Dave, Gary and Joan Johnson, writers and producers of many television programs including “Against the Grain,” “Doc” and “Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye”
- Al Kasha, Academy Award-winning songwriter and composer for many movies and television programs, including “The Poseidon Adventure,” “The Towering Inferno” and “The Rugrats Go Wild!A”
- Ron Maxwell, writer and director of many movies including “Parent Trap II,” “Little Darlings,” “Gettysburg,” and “Gods and Generals”
- Brad Moore, president of Hallmark Hall of Fame
- Bud Paxson, owner of PaxTV
- John Ratzenberger, who voiced every Pixar movie, starred in the hit TV show “Cheers” and is producer of “Made in America”
- Barry Reardon, former president of Distribution for Warner Bros.
- Phil Roman, executive producer of “Garfield,” “Tom and Jerry” and “The Simpsons”
- Andrew Stanton, scriptwriter for “Toy Story,” “Toy Story II,” “Monster’s Inc.” and “Finding Nemo” (which he also directed and produced)
- Chuck Viane, president of Walt Disney Company’s Buena Vista Film Distribution Group
- Randall Wallace, the writer of many movies including “Braveheart,” “Pearl Harbor” and “We Were Soldiers” (which he also directed and produced)
- Frank Yablans, former president of Paramount Pictures.
Stephen Collins, star of “7th Heaven,” said of the book: “‘How to Succeed in Hollywood’ is full of wonderful interviews, tips and research that anyone can put to work. … Written with real-world practicality, here’s a primer on how to break into the movie business while hanging on to your soul.”