Why A Show About Jesus? “The Chosen” Now Released: People are hungry for more quality Christain entertainment. Believe it or not, there’s never been a multi-season show, complete with multiple episodes and seasons about the life of Jesus. Tune in now to learn why this show is already a big hit!
Air Date: 05/03/2019
Guest: Dallas Jenkins and Abigail Thomsen
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always doing that from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.
My name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator, national speaker, and author.
In Nehemiah, it says, “Arise and rebuild the walls that we may no longer be at reproach.”
Just like in those Old Testament nations, where those outer walls determine the strength of your nation, today, the foundation, the principles, the values upon which you build a culture, determines the strength of that nation.
So David said, “We’ve got to bring back those foundational principles that the Founding Fathers put in place, that biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.”
That’s what WallBuilders has been doing for over 25 years.
You can find out more about us at WallBuilders.com, that’s our main website. It’s also a great place to get all kinds of great materials for you and your family to be equipped and inspired, to be good citizens, and to live out that biblical worldview in the culture in which we have been blessed to grow up in and live in today.
Now, normally David is with us here on the program, but today we’ve got a special program. Dallas Jenkins is with us. Dallas is the producer of The Chosen, an amazing new series where you get to see the life of Christ through eyes that you haven’t typically looked through when you studied the life of Christ. We’re super excited about Dallas being with us.
Then later in the program Abigail Thompson will be with us. She’s working on The Chosen team and she’s one of our Patriots Academy grads, so we’re thrilled to get to catch up with her and find out what it’s been like to be a part of this amazing production called The Chosen.
One of the websites I want to send you to is our radio site, WallBuildersLive.com. So not WallBuilders.com, but WallBuildersLive.com. That’s where you get a list of our stations we’re on, over 300 stations across the nation. You can find out which ones are close to you, and you can also download archives of our program. So if you miss some programs over the last few weeks, check those out.
We cover every area of the culture, as I said earlier, so we might have a senator on talking about what’s going on politically, or maybe an attorney that argued before the Supreme Court, or in this case, today, we’re talking about something that’s influencing through media, a very important part of the culture, and we still want to have a biblical, constitutional, and historical perspective even in the area of media.
One of the things we’ve talked about a lot here on WallBuilders Live is the need for good media, good entertainment, television, and movies that are teaching good principles and are high quality. Both of those things are happening with this television program called, The Chosen. They’ve teamed up with VidAngel, and it’s absolutely incredible.
So we are honored today to have Dallas Jenkins with us, the producer of The Chosen. The Chosen is out. You can watch Episode 1 now as a preview for what’s going to come out in November.
The Greatest Crowd Funded Media in History
This is the number one crowdfunded media project in history. Dallas, last time I talked to you, guess was last year, we were working on raising the funds for this. I think your goal at the time was 4 million, you guys hit 10 million from over 16,000 investors. Congrats man. This was phenomenal to watch.
Yeah, it’s been quite a ride. We knew, when we first started the process of crowdfunding this, I thought it was a little bit ridiculous. I didn’t think it was going to work very well. But I was in a position in my life where I was open minded and didn’t have a whole lot to lose, and we ended up raising over ten million dollars, like you said, shattering the crowdfunding records. It was pretty cool.
And just to be clear, right now the first four episodes are available. So yes, the first one is free. But if you go to TheChosen.tv, you can actually get all four episodes, and we’re working on the next one right now.
Oh cool. So you could actually watch all four. I haven’t gotten to watch any yet. I’ve been out of the country the last couple of weeks, and they all released—actually, tonight I’m gathering the family and we were planning to watch episode one. So you can actually get access to the first four immediately.
Seeing Christ Through New Eyes
Yes. As part of our continuing strategy—because again, this wasn’t financed by a big TV network or by a big movie studio, so we’re relying on crowdfunding not only to produce them, but moving forward to be able to do future episodes and seasons. People can back this project, and by doing so they get access to the first four episodes.
So we shot the first four episodes last fall. They’re now available at the website, and we decided to give away episode one for free just so people can give it a test before they commit to anything. But yeah, you can get that. I’m hoping that tonight, when you watch it with your family, you get to watch the first one and you love it, then you want to get all four of them. We make it easy for you to do that.
Well, man, when I watched The Shepherd last year, that was a sort of teaser episode that you did there, about 20 minutes long, I was just blown away. Loved it. Then we got to come out and watch you guys filming last, I think it was November? Which was incredible, just to be on set with you all and watch. It was amazing.
Then just seeing the trailer last week, and sharing that on Facebook, the trailers are amazing.
I can’t wait for tonight.
You guys have taken it to a whole different level. Your partnership with VidAngel has been phenomenal. We are super, super excited about where this has gone and how many people are gonna have the opportunity to not just hear the story of Christ, but actually see it through eyes that we haven’t seen it through before.
Making the Story Relatable
Yeah. And that’s the big thing most movies and miniseries about the life of Christ, not only are they short, meaning 90 minutes to 2 hours, trying to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time, but typically Jesus is, obviously, the main character. Making Jesus the main character—which is great, I’ve loved a lot of the Jesus movies and miniseries that I’ve seen—It’s also hard to identify with the fact that you are seeing the world through the eyes of the sinless Son of God. It is a little bit of a different experience from how we typically watch movies or television, whereas, in this show, Jesus is for sure one of the main characters, but we’re also seeing the world through and connecting with Simon, and Matthew the tax collector, and Nicodemus, and identifying with these characters so that when they do encounter Jesus, we’re seeing it through their eyes, and hopefully—and as we’ve heard from thousands of people who’ve seen it so far, and we’ve really been blessed being impacted in the same way that these people were.
Well, it’s doing incredibly well. We’re gonna take a quick break. Dallas Jenkins, the producer of The Chosen, now available on VidAngel, go to the Chosen.tv to find out more.
We’re gonna take a quick break, we’ll be right back with Dallas Jenkins here on WallBuilders Live.
Comedy and the Constitution at Front Site
Hey friends, Rick Green here. Have you ever wanted to laugh while learning? Would you like to actually have some humor included in your education about the Constitution? Well, that’s what Brad Stine and myself do in what we call Comedy and the Constitution.
We do it all over the country and can bring it to your community. But, we’re doing something we’ve never done before. We’re taking the Comedy and the Constitution Front Site in Nevada, and we’re going to combine it with the Constitutional Defense Program we’ve been doing for a couple of years.
Now, the Constitutional Defense Program is where you actually get some constitution training and some handgun training to you learn how to defend yourself and your family. You’re going to get all of it: the constitutional training; the opportunity to laugh with Brad Stine, God’s comic comedian, and you’re going to the handgun training at Front Site.
This is a one time event happening June 3rd and 4th. There’s still time to sign up; but, space is very limited. So, if you want to be on the range with us, then you’ve got to get signed up right now at RickGreen.com. Find out more; it’s going to be a great event on June 3rd and 4th. So, get signed up today at RickGreen.com.
Seeing What it Was Like
Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Dallas Jenkins, producer of The Chosen, is with us.
Dallas was, over the break, talking about the fact that this is just blowing up. The response is incredible, given from what I’ve seen just on Facebook so far, it’s blowing up. Millions and millions of views on the trailers, and people are super excited. Great reviews. Everybody’s responding incredibly well.
It looks, to me, from just little clips that I’ve seen, you guys not only filmed it super, super professionally, it’s high quality, done incredibly well, you did something that we haven’t seen a lot of in these types of programs. You’ve got humor in there.
You’ve got just a genuineness of what life was probably like, or not probably like, but what, based on your research, it was like.
We’re seeing an element that I don’t think I’ve ever seen on these stories from the time of Christ, where you feel like you’re really back in time going, “These people were like me. They were like us.”
Yeah, that’s really well said, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do.
I think a lot of times, when we read Scripture, and we know that Scripture often is there to tell certain parts of the story. As John said, “If we would have written everything that Jesus did and said, there wouldn’t be enough books to fill it.”
What we do is we say. “Just because Scripture didn’t see fit to include everything doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen and that we can’t learn more about the personalities of these people based on what we can pick up in Scripture.”
Developing Characters Using the Scripture and History
Like you said, we include jokes. We include Simon Peter going home to his wife, and the interactions with his wife that aren’t—obviously we were not surprised that the Gospel writers didn’t see fit to include in Scripture exchanges between Simon Peter and his wife, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.
Now, we’re gonna get into some of that stuff. When you do that, you’re treading on thin ice a little bit because anytime you do something that’s extra biblical, you want to be very, very careful, and we were.
We had biblical experts and historical experts. But there is a lot in Scripture, there is a lot in history, and then there, of course, is a lot in the human condition, what we know about ourselves.
I can write a lot about what I can assume about Simon and his wife’s relationship because we can pick up a lot from Scripture, and because I’m married, I know what married life is like. I think that we can glean a lot of these things, and then what we’ve been finding when we were writing it, and what we found from people who’ve been watching it, is that it worked.
People are experiencing these stories and making the connection between these people two thousand years ago. They’re realizing that they’re human beings, realizing that they had a sense of humor, realizing that they had struggles, realizing that they had the human condition just like we do.
Then that enhances our experience when we’re reading Scripture, and that’s really the whole goal of the show, is ultimately to point people to the actual Scripture.
A Very Popular Tool
I love it. Man, it’s powerful. It’s a tool that has become very popular in what we call faction, where it’s a history story about somebody that did exist, or you use a character that maybe wasn’t real, but there were, for a lot of people, this person just makes it so much more real and more fun to experience.
It just makes it so you can internalize it. I’ve said this with you before, and I don’t know if you take this as a compliment or not, it is meant as a compliment, but it’s that Ben Hur kind of way of looking at it. Ben Hur was the best selling book of the 19th century. There was something about people being able to experience Christ through Ben Hur’s eyes, and in this case you’ve done it with multiple characters. That’s why, I think, people are going to really enjoy every episode. We get to go experience this through someone else.
Well, yeah. But this is a multi season show. So when you watch a show like Downton Abbey, or This Is Us, or Friday Lights or going back as far as the Waltons or whatever, you have multiple characters that you are falling in love with and that you’re getting connected to.
So we’re going to see some of these characters on an ongoing basis, not just in one episode?
I was thinking it was like the shepherd, where you’d have this one person’s viewpoint in that one episode, then you moved to somebody else. We’re gonna get to really get invested in these characters as the season goes along? And then in multiple seasons?
A Great Cast
Absolutely. Think of any multi seasons show that you and your family have loved. There’s multiple characters. You see them in each episode. Sometimes you focus more on one than another, but yeah, this is very much an ensemble cast.
Our main characters are Nicodemus, and Matthew the tax collector, Simon Peter, Jesus, and then there’s a mysterious character that I don’t want to give away the identity of quite yet, it’s all revealed in the episode. These are prominent biblical characters. We chose these characters because of their richness and because of their storylines. Matthew the tax collector, for example, someone who we actually opined that maybe he was on the Asperger’s spectrum. Something I had familiarity with in my family, and even in law and myself.
I’m just giving you a taste of the personality that we give these characters when we see them throughout the course of multiple episodes, and then hopefully, ideally, if the show continues to thrive over the course of many seasons, we’re gonna get to know these characters. We’re going to spend time with them. We’re going to get to spend time with Jesus and the Disciples sitting around a campfire, talking and asking questions, and then just being friends. A lot of those types of things that, throughout our lives as Christians, we thought about, we’ve wondered about, we’ve even made intelligent guesses about based on Scripture and historical context.
That’s what this show is: a collection of those moments.
How You Can Help
Man, I am so excited about this. This is going to be so good.
Okay, before I let you go, let’s talk a little bit of the process of how you guys came about doing this. The fact that it is the most successful crowdfunded media project, is that over? Can people still get involved on the investment side?
Yes. So the investment part, that is currently not taking place. We’re not currently open for investments specifically. That was a period of about six months where we were taking investments, like you said, it wasn’t a donation.
We have about a little over 15,000 investors around the world who now are part owners of this project.
Now, there’s also a ton of people who didn’t have the money to invest. The minimum was 100 dollars, for example.
They said, “We really want to support this project.”
Well, now we’re in the phase where you can back this project at different levels, 30 dollars, 50 dollars, 15 dollars, whatever, but in exchange it’s not like you just have to wait to see it come out.
You can watch the first four episodes if you back the project. You can get the devotional book that we wrote for The Chosen, which is called The Chosen: 40 Days With Jesus. We did a 40 day devotional that’s a really great companion piece to the to the show, and we give you behind the scenes extras.
So we really put together this really cool package, including three months free of VidAngel, which is another cool thing. So it’s a really great deal, and it allows you to support the project for future episodes and seasons.
What is VidAngel?
We wish we could give it to you for free, but we can’t afford to do that, unfortunately, if we want to keep the show going.
The investment side covered the first season, we may open investment in the future, depends on how this goes. But for now, the investment part is over, and now we’re allowing people to back the project if they so choose.
The good news is they get to watch the episodes right now.
Well, I won’t mince words here at all my Christian brothers and sisters out there that want something for free.
Come on! You pay for Breaking Bad, or you pay for whatever else you watch out there. This is well worth giving to and of supporting, and you get VidAngel for free.
Dallas, quick just explanation of what VidAngel is?
This is the tool for being able to watch all kinds of movies and television series and be able to cut out any of the stuff that you don’t want your family to see. We’re big fans and supporters of what VidAngel does. When you do some of these packages, you can actually get a VidAngel package in that as well, and have that for three months.
Yeah, that’s what’s so cool. You said it very well about VidAngel. My family and I use it. There’s certain shows on Netflix, or HBO, or Amazon that aren’t necessarily family friendly, and you can make them family friendly by choosing—and they don’t do the filtering, they allow you to do the filtering—so you can cut out language, or sex, or whatever it is that you don’t want you or your kids to see.
Where Can You Find The Chosen?
They’re also getting into original content, and The Chosen is their big project. When you purchase or back this project, you get these first four episodes, and you get three months of VidAngel for free with that package.
If you already have VidAngel, you’re basically just prepaying for three months by getting the episode.
So it actually evens out to pretty much zero. So yeah, it’s really cool. You can try it, and you don’t have to commit to it, you don’t have to use VidAngel if you don’t want, but it’s a great service, as you’ve experienced and as we’ve experienced, and you get it three months for free, along with the episodes. If you just pay shipping and handling, you get the DVD as well. That comes with it.
So it’s a pretty darn good deal, if I do say so myself. And there’s a lot that you get with it, and I think that’s what people are responding to right now.
- So where do we need to send people if they want to do that? Do they go to TheChosen.tv, or VidAngel.com, or what? What’s the best place to go to right now?
TheChosen.tv. www.TheChosen.tv is where you get this series. You get to watch episode one for free. Once you purchase the episodes or back the project, then you get multiple ways to watch the episodes. Even though it’s all at TheChosen.tv, we give you all the tools that you can watch it on your various devices and how to do that. That’s the central hub for all of this.
Keep this Show on Your Radar
TheChosen.Tv. Dallas, I don’t think we can say it enough, for people that do experience this and love it, sharing this on on Facebook, and Twitter, and letting your friends know about it as well, is vital and is important.
I think this thing needs to be the biggest series ever, and because you guys have gone outside of Hollywood for very, very good reasons, you don’t have the hundreds of millions of dollars they would typically put into marketing. We, as fans and as Christians that love this content, want it to be out there more and more. We can be a part of that as well, even if we’re not an investor, we can be a part of that by simply sharing, just clicking share, making a comment using Facebook, or Twitter, or any of these other tools, just to let people know about it so that they know how great it is and then they can go to the same thing at TheChosen.tv and watch that first episode for free.
That’s a great way for other people to participate as well.
Dallas, I’ve kept you longer than I said I would. May God bless you. I’m so excited to see this coming to fruition. Thanks for having the vision to do it. Thank you guys at VidAngel for coming alongside you and partnering with you to do it, and those 15,000 people that invested.
God bless you all for doing it. Super excited about it, bro.
Oh it’s always great to be with you. We’ll do it again. thanks so much for your support.
Stay with us folks. That was Dallas Jenkins. We’ll be right back with WallBuilders Live.
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment in American history. America is a special and unique nation. The average length for a constitution in other countries is only 17 years. But we’ve had ours for over two centuries. Our 4 percent of the world’s population produces 24 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and every year we produce more inventions and technology than the other 96 percent of the world combined.
In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville of France came to America, traveled the country, and in his famous book, “Democracy in America” reported, “The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional. It may be believed that no Democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one.”
This is the origin of the phrase “American exceptionalism” and affirms that America is unique because of the distinctive ideas on which we’ve been based. Including in inalienable rights, individuals, and limited government, and the importance of religion, and morality. For more information about American exceptionalism go to WallBuilders.com.
Welcome Abigail Thompson
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today. It was awesome to have Dallas Jenkins on, producer of The Chosen, and again, the website, to go TheChosen.tv today. You get that first episode for free. It’s gonna be amazing. I cannot wait to watch it with my family tonight.
Well, with us now on WallBuilders Live is one of our Patriots Academy grads, and she’s actually working for the production team—or the promotion team—for The Chosen. She was actually out there when we got to go on set. She set it up for us to be able to go watch the filming of The Chosen. It was just incredible.
Abigail Thompson is with us.
Thank you for coming on, Abigail!
Thank you so much, Mr. Green! This is so exciting!
Well, I’m excited to have you on the program. I’m super excited for you and what you’re getting to do right now, because you’re actually in the thick of it, getting to influence the culture through the influence of programs like The Chosen.
So, you’re—what are you now, 20 years old? How old are you now?
So at 19 you’re in the arena. You’re not just going to school learning about it, you’re actually out there getting to participate in something as cool as The Chosen.
What is that like?
Being a Light in the Darkness
Oh man, it’s crazy. I’m not in college. I haven’t been to college yet, and people, when I was working on the set as the publicist, that was my first time being on a TV show and a movie production, people would be like, “How old are you?”
“And you’ve never been to college?”
It was a little different, coming from that background, or not having been there. But through the experiences I’ve learned, and opportunities that I’ve had being homeschooled, as well as learning leadership through different programs I’ve been a part of—one of which is Patriots Academy, I felt so equipped.
It was really the opportunity to be a light in darkness because, while we were making a Christian TV show, a lot of the people on the crew working on the set, they do their job amazingly, but that doesn’t mean that they were all Christian.
Having that opportunity to be a light, and be an example, and to really demonstrate what we were recording, what the project we were doing was showing, telling the story of Jesus from the perspective of those that He surrounded Himself with, sinners just like me, just like you, just like those people. None of us are better than the other. The only reason I was out there was because I was saved by the blood of Jesus.
And it was just…it was an incredible opportunity. I’m still working on it.
That’s so cool. I got to tell you, and I’ll tell you on the air, right now on national radio, how proud I am of you and how proud I was to be able to say, “Hey, that’s a Patriots Academy grad right there,” because of your professionalism and the way you sunk your teeth into this with no fear.
You dove into this, and have just done an amazing job. So we are super proud of you.
I’ve been thrilled to get to work with you on some of the promotion and radio stuff. It’s just been great. So thank you for being a great example for your generation, a great example of your generation, and showing people you don’t have to be 50 years old to go make a difference or get engaged. And there’s the fact that you dove in like you did. It has been awesome. So way to go.
I really appreciate it. But again, there’s so many people that have poured into my life, and taught me different things, and taught me professionalism. Even—being at Patriots Academy, and the communication course on how to speak in front of people, and best practices, and things like that, down to being, I think, one of the biggest things I took away from Patriots Academy was the iron sharpening iron sessions, which are not the focus.
Iron Sharpens Iron
It’s not the political side of Patriots Academy, but really the getting down with the older, wiser people, and for them to be able to pour into your life, and to encourage you.
I left Patriots Academy more encouraged to dig into the Word.
So all those things, so many different people praying, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without all those people like you pouring into me. I’m so grateful.
Well, we’re looking forward to having you back at Patriots Academy again this year, and looking forward to the impact you guys are having with The Chosen, and the work you do with with Matthew Farajain, who we love. It’s just awesome to see it happen. You guys are making a big, big difference. I got to tell you, I’m blown away by the numbers. Even watching the views on Facebook just climb through the millions. Really cool.
Yeah. Awesome. So cool.
So cool. I can’t wait to see how many people get into watching the show. Even talking to Dallas, just the fact it is really a multi-season deal, and we’re going to really get to invest in these characters, it’s gonna be so cool. So thank you for what y’all are doing. Thanks for letting our family be a part of it. That was so cool that I got to come out and watch the filming, and actually see it happening in real time, even though it’s freezing out there.
God Has Plans for The Chosen
But, thankfully, you had hot chocolate. So that was a big help.
People are like, “Wait, you live in L.A or something. This is Texas? It’s supposed to be hot here!”
Do you still have filming and whatnot that you’re participating in as well, and helping with coordination on that, or are you done with filming and totally on promotion of the series now?
We’re working on promotion right now, but we are planning to shoot the next four episodes late summer. I am looking forward to going back and making waves again. It’s going to be a blast. So yeah, we’re in the thick of both right now.
Well, you’re doing a great job. The whole team is phenomenal. To see all the records being broken on fundraising is incredible. I just know God’s going to do some amazing things with The Chosen.
I know you’ve got other projects you’re going to be working on as well. But Abigail, we’re super proud of you. Looking forward to seeing you back at Patriots Academy this summer, and just praying for God’s will in your life, His perfect will, that He’ll continue to introduce you to the right people and give you the opportunities to just further His kingdom. Thanks for what you’re doing.
Thank you Mr. Green.
The Chosen. Check It Out!
That was Abigail Thompson. Thanks to Dallas Jenkins for coming on today as well. The website will be easy to get to on WallBuildersLive.com today, or you go straight there at TheChosen.tv. You get to watch the first episode. Anybody can go on right now and you can see that first episode, which is what I’m going to be watching with my family tonight.
Then you can even sign up and get the first four episodes immediately, and as Abigail said, they’re going to start filming on the next four this summer. So, be a part of this incredible movement, and this opportunity for people to see the life of Christ through all of these eyes that we haven’t been able to see Him through. It’s going to be absolutely phenomenal.
Thanks for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.