The Chosen: Telling The Greatest Story in a Multi-Season Series: We”re talking about media and entertainment and the effect they have on the culture. Dallas Jenkins also joins us today to talk about a new Christian film series. We”ll talk about some of the history of Hollywood and whether or not their effect on the culture has always been negative. Are you curious to find out?! Tune in now to learn more!
Air Date:Â 09/04/2018
Guest: Dallas Jenkins
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: Â 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 from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. That intersection of faith in the culture is in every area, by the way, of the culture – not just politics, not just education. It’s entertainment, it’s the pulpit, it’s every single area of the culture.
We’re here with David Barton for the conversation today. He”s America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders. Tim Barton is with us – national speaker and pastor, and president of WallBuilders. My name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator.
Be sure to visit our two websites today – WallBuildersLive.com and WallBuilders.com. WallBuildersLive.com where you’ll find the radio stations across the country where you can hear us, get archives of the radio program there. And then WallBuilders.com where there’s a wealth of resources available to you for you and your family, your church, your community, schools – you name it. All kinds of tools that will help you to get educated, equipped, and inspired, to be the best citizen that you can be and help preserve this freedom for future generations.
So, in terms of the other areas of the culture, one of the ones we hit on every once in a while is media and entertainment. David, Tim, we’ve seen some positive strides in this realm. Obviously, entertainment from the standpoint of Hollywood, and movies, and television, has really separated faith in our culture and done everything to drive faith out of our culture that it possibly can, tear down the family, it just hasn’t been good. I hate to be a– I’m not trying to be a doomsdayer, I’m just saying Hollywood has had a very negative impact in the last 40-50 years. But we’re beginning to take that back. I would like to start– later in the program we”re going to have Dallas Jenkins to talk about some good things happening.
I’d like to start by asking you guys, because some of the things you have there in the library, if Hollywood has always been that way. You have some pretty cool history and artifacts from early Hollywood that seem to say that it had a different influence on the culture than what it’s had the last 40 50 years.
Did Hollywood Use to Have A Different Influence?
So, when you look back at the beginning with motion pictures there’s actually– Â authorities go back and forth over three guys who might have done the first motion picture. Some credit Thomas Edison with that.
The Great Train Robbery.
Yeah. That goes back a ways.
That was his first one that was done.
That was one of the ones, okay.
The first one that Thomas Edison did was the Passion play.
Yeah. It”s really cool. And there’s actually some YouTube clips from back right around or right after the turn of the century. We’re talking old, old, YouTube clips. You look at that and the passion of Christ, and the special effects really are pretty remarkable.
When the angel comes down to speak to Mary and you go, “Wow, this is really cool for like the first motion picture, or what is argued as possibly the first motion picture.” It’s really cool stuff.
Hollywood and Religious Themes
Then as you go through it and look at other things that Hollywood did, so often what they did was pick up religious themes like Ben-Hur. In 1902 Broadway was running Ben-Hur which ran for 20 years. Which is the story of a skeptic who comes to Christ over the course of that movie. And Cecil B. DeMille gets involved and makes a movie in the 20″s on it. Â
You look at so many of those early movies and they were really wholesome, and really pro-family, and pro-faith, etc. As you get even into the 40s it is so pro God and country. You look at so many of the Academy Award winning movies and whether it be It’s A Wonderful Life, which is really a pro family movie. Or would you get into Sergeant York, which is a very much a pro faith and pro country movie. The values were very, very, much reinforcing what the country believed instead of trying to change what the country believes.
So, no question in early Hollywood you really had a difference. We’ve even talked in recent programs on how many guys in Hollywood in World War II actually served in the war. How many of your A list guys were actively involved in defending the country.
That’s just not what you see in Hollywood, generally, today. There are some exceptions, but it’s a whole different culture in Hollywood today from what it had been in previous generations.
So, it definitely, definitely, degraded from there and the left has really kind of took over the industry and the message from, in terms of television and movies has not been good since that time. But there’s beginning to be a turn on that. There’s beginning to be a change.
There”s Beginning to Be A Change
Part of it’s the new media outlets and the ability to have more content produced at a lot less expense. And more and more people are able to put things out. So, we’ve seen a lot more “Christian films” or films with at least Christian values even if they weren’t overtly preaching the gospel. Over the last probably five years or so that’s really, really, increased.
And one of the outlets for that, there has been an organization called VidAngel. There’s been other– Pure Flix, there’s a lot of opportunities for people to get good programming. But VidAngel has teamed up with Dallas Jenkins who is doing a new series called The Chosen. It”s actually going to be the first multi season series on the life of Christ.
It reminds me a little bit of Ben Hur from the idea of seeing these different perspectives of Christ through different eyes. You guys actually even have some of the Ben-Hur artifacts in your library. You’ve got things that people have seen in those movies right there in the library.
Quick break. We’ll come back and talk a little bit about that. Stay with us, folks. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
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Welcome back, thanks for staying with us here on Wall Builders live. Our guest later in the program is going to be Dallas Jenkins. We”re going to be talking about a new series called The Chosen that”s coming out that reminds me a little bit of Ben-Hur, as I was saying as we went to the to the break, because it shows a different perspective of the life of Christ. Looking through some eyes maybe we haven’t looked through before.
But Ben-Hur, some people may not even be familiar, that are listening today, with what Ben-Hur even is. Bestselling novel of the of the 19th century, but not as well known today. But it’s something that had a lot to do with the education of, frankly, our entire nation on the Gospels and on the life of Christ. You guys actually have some of the cool stuff from not only the guy that wrote Ben-Hur, Lew Wallace, but also when the movie was made with Charlton Heston. You”ve got a lot of cool stuff right there in the library where people can learn about Ben-Hur, but tell us a little bit about it, David.
Yeah, Ben-Hur is a story that was written– it’s a book that came out in 1880. Major General Lew Wallace, union general, wrote that book. It was really kind of a parallel to his story. It comes from a skeptic to a believer.
We actually have the handwritten page that he has written describing the chariot race. And in Ben-Hur the movie, that is the highlight of the movie is the big chariot race. It”s kind of a key point in the movie.
So, we’ve got his description of that. We actually have Broadway stuff and went on Broadway in the 19– early 1900s, 1902, thereabouts. We have the first movie script done of it in the 1920s. The big Ben-Hur movie is with Charlton Heston as the key actor in it. We’ve actually got Charlton Heston’s makeup kit from the movie. We also have the uniform, the costume, of the Red chariot driver which is one of the ones competing against Charlton Heston in the movie. We’ve got other artifacts from the movie, a lot of things that were used in background, and scenery, etc.. So, we’ve got a lot of Ben-Hur stuff and it really is a cool story.
At Least Four Different Versions
A couple of years ago, a new version of Ben-Hur came out. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey did Ben-Hur again. So, that’s at least four different versions it”s gone through over the last century or so, last century and a half.
So, it’s a very popular movie that’s been around. It’s worth people seeing and if you haven’t seen it, I’d say watch the 1959 version, the Charlton Heston version, the Academy Award winning version. It is just a phenomenal movie.
And read the book. It just– the book truly is outstanding. Very good read. I”ve actually got all my kids reading through it right now. So, Ben-Hur A Tale Of The Christ, go get the book by Lew Wallace, or download it on kindle, or listen to it. There’s a great Audible version of it as well.
That’s kind of– it’s that perspective of seeing the life of Christ through eyes maybe that we’re not used to looking through. That’s what the guys that are doing The Chosen actually have done a great job of, at least in the first episode that they released, that shows it to you through the eyes of the shepherds.
So, real excited about this series. Dallas Jenkins is going to be with us when we come back from the break to give us kind of an update on how the series is going and when they’re moving in production on their future episodes as well. Stay with us, Dallas Jenkins our guest. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Hi, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders and I want to encourage all the pastors out there with a unique opportunity that we’re presenting it WallBuilders. We’re doing a special tour just for pastors that you can come and learn more about the spiritual heritage of our nation. Not just seeing the sights but understanding the significance of what they are and what they represent.
We get to go to the Capitol at night. Â And we get to see the spiritual heritage of our Founding Fathers, of who we are as a nation, where we came from. We bring in congressman that will tell you about current legislation, about our religious liberties Â and freedom, and what’s going on in Washington, D.C.
If you’re a pastor or if you want to recommend your pastor for this trip, you can go to our website at www.WallBuilders.com. And there’s a link that’s for scheduling. Â If you click on that link there’s a section for pastor”s briefing. There’s more information about the dates, when it’s going, and how it’s going to happen. If you want to know more about our nation, our religious liberties, our freedom, our spiritual heritage, this is a trip you want to be a part of.
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Dallas Jenkins is back with us. And The Chosen is just blowing up. It”s going great, fundraising is going great, and we’re going to get a great series for the entire world out of this. Dallas, good to have you back, brother.
Thanks so much. I always love being on. You guys are great.
Well, man, we had you on, I guess, what, seven-eight months ago when this all started. And you teamed up with VidAngel. So, far you guys are breaking records like crazy. 4 million dollars raised for this incredible series. And the first episode, by the way, The Chosen episode that you were released back in, I guess it was December, it was about Christmas time. Am I reading right – 15 million people have watched this already?
The Reach has Been Significant
Yes. So, we released that–I think that’s what was happening when I left talk to you guys was this episode came out around November-December. And, yeah, it’s now long past 15 million views, it’s been translated into ten languages, played on satellite TV in Iran for over 2 million people. The reach has just been significant, and the comments that people make, and the shares on Facebook have just been extraordinary. Because people are just saying this feels different, it feels necessary and urgent.
As you mentioned, in just about two months we have raised over four million dollars from over 5,000 people. We are now the fourth largest crowd funded project for media, or film and TV of all time and climbing. So, it’s been really cool. I think it’s just a testament to the fact that people want the message of Christ shared around the world in this kind of a format, a multi season show that allows us to really dive deep into the characters and into the stories of Christ.
That’s incredible. Dallas, sometimes I make the mistake of thinking that our listeners have listened to every show we’ve ever done, as they should have, of course. But I know they haven’t. So, for those that didn’t hear the program with you a few months back, give us the vision of this, the idea of actually have any series on Christ. This is the first time anybody’s done this.
Right. So, there’s been movies and miniseries about the life of Christ. There’s never been a multi-season show. So, if you think about the kinds of shows that you typically might binge watch or watch on a weekly basis – everywhere and everything from Downton Abbey, to Breaking Bad, NBC show This Is Us, there’s lots of– all the way back, you think back decades to Little House On The Prairie. Just shows that your family can gather around and watch on a regular basis and you actually can really dig into the characters over the course of multiple seasons.
More Popular Than Ever
That’s actually what’s becoming even more popular today than ever before. My own family, the show’s Stranger Things on Netflix blew up and it”s what everyone was talking about. Even more so than what you traditionally see on television. So, that really hit me last year while I was making The Chosen, which was the pilot episode. It was about the birth of Christ and the perspective of the shepherds. And the response to it was so strong I thought, “This is something that could really work for a multi season show.”
It”s the life of Christ, but told from the perspective of those he touched. So, you’ve got your main characters which are like Simon Peter, and Mary Magdalene, and Nicodemus. You’re really exploring those stories and really digging into what went into their lives. Along with some of the people that Jesus touched on an individual level, like people that he healed. What is it like to really dig into that story and find out what their day life or what their life was like before they encounter Jesus?
The premise is this – if the viewer can experience Jesus through the eyes of those who He directly encountered, then they can be perhaps impacted in the same way. And we believe there’s an opportunity to tell the old, old, story in a fresh way that hasn’t been done before and will allow the impact to be even stronger.
Well, the power is definitely there. That pilot episode about the shepherds, it was incredible. What I loved about it is it just– it reminded me of even like Ben-Hur, even though that’s a fictional character, through the eyes of this fictional character, it still gives us a different angle. It gives us this view of the life of Christ and how He impacted people that we haven’t typically looked through those eyes. And you did that so well with the shepard story. Like you’re saying, the impact this can have on people’s lives, it’s reason you guys are endorsed by so many great leaders in the Christian community right now – Ravi Zacharias, Ann Graham Lotz, the Robertsons, Dr. Alveda King, Dr. Jerri Johnson, the president of NRB. You just go down the list–
Close to the Mark!
And we”ll send links to folks so they can find more there. So, the power of the story and the impact this can have on the world, no question about it. The quality – phenomenal. You really did, I’m serious, that episode was so powerful. I think that’s why it’s been shared so much and so many people have have watched it. So, this idea of doing this on a multi season basis. I love the fact you’re partnering with VidAngel, we love those guys and what they’re doing. Â
Tell us what’s next. I think if read right you guys will go into production this fall once you hit the 4.5 million, so you’re close. We’re pushing up against the the mark.
Right. We’re over 4.2. What we want to do is we want to hit 4.5. Here’s our goal – our ultimate goal is 12 million dollars for the first season which will cover eight million for production, which is a million dollars per episode, so we”re going to do eight episodes. We just really want to give this– we believe the greatest story ever told deserves at least enough support to do it right.
Now, we don’t need the kind of money that you see out of Hollywood whether it’s a show like Game of Thrones, for example, gets 70 million dollars per episode. We don’t need that. We do want to make sure that the quality level of this doesn’t feel like it’s suffering or doesn’t feel like it pales in comparison to what the world is doing.
Because, again, we want to appeal to people around the world. So, right now, as soon as we hit 4.5, we’re going to launch the first four episodes. Which means we’re going to go into production sometime in the next couple of weeks. So, we’re really trying to get to that point. But long term, again, we want to break– it”d be great to break the record, the all time crowdfunding record is 6 million, it”d be nice just to kind of send that statement just to make — just to send a message about about what we can do as a community.
Long Term Goals
But then long term, we want to raise 12 million total for production and marketing of this first season and over 5000 people have been joining so far. So, anyone who’s interested in partnering with us on that, and in just kind of joining the team, and seeing the thing get out to the world, it’s not a donation. I think I talked to you guys about this last time, but it’s not just a donation.
It’s actually an investment. The money that you put into it you can actually get back. And of course, you can put it back into the show if you want and just see it keep growing. But if we also don’t expect and didn’t want to ask people to invest in this project and then have us be the only ones who benefit. We want the show to benefit, we want the investors to benefit. And it’s up to them with what they want to do with it.
But that’s kind of what we’re doing over the next couple of months. We”re hoping to launch production sometime this fall.
Yeah, that”s very cool. I actually just clicked on the link while you were talking TheChosen.TV and I love the way you guys have set up this page. You can actually watch in real time the number of people and the and the donations. It’s at $4,201,225 at this very moment, 5,280 folks that have joined the project. And I’m actually, I love the free enterprise system. So, I love the fact that people can actually donate to a great cause, get this message out there, help get good television and media out there, but also actually be a part owner with you and an investor in this thing. And that’s just a cool aspect of this. So, great chance for people to be a part of it.
We Can”t Expect Hollywood to do it Right
Listen, we can’t expect Hollywood to to tell the most important story of all time and to do it the way that we really want it done.
We can complain about Hollywood all we want, but I don’t expect someone who doesn’t believe these stories to tell the story the perfect way. I think it’s up to us. So, that’s why we’re trying to do this together.
Yeah. Very cool, very cool. Alright, folks, you”ve got to go visit that website, learn more about it, TheChosen.TV. And I guess, Dallas, is there– once you, if you donate, or contribute, or invest, or whatever, I assume, then, you’re on some kind of update list? Can people also get on an update list, an e-mail list of some kind, so they can find out when episodes are coming out and that sort of thing?
Oh yeah. Right now we’re set up so that if you invest that gets you on our update list. But if you want to just stay updated as well, you just go to our Facebook page. So, it’s just The Chosen TV series on Facebook. Just look up The Chosen, it should be easy to find. And that’s a very rapidly growing community as well. We give updates every other day. So, that’s one of the best ways to get it updated as well.
Gotcha. Tons of folks support it. Kirk Cameron says, “I think you’ll love it. It’s beautifully done, captures the spirit–“ goes on, all these testimonials are there on the page.
But, Dallas, we’re just excited about what this can do for the entertainment world and for the church to have good entertainment options. So, thanks for doing it in high quality and thanks for telling the story. Appreciate your time coming on. Lets gets you back soon.
Yeah, thanks so much. And I just want to make sure we’re clear again that the pilot episode they can watch now. It”s free. You can watch it on the website. It’s only 18 minutes long. And even if you don’t invest, just sharing that alone can have a huge impact as it already has.
Great, great, point. Excellent. Alright, Dallas Jenkins, appreciate you being on. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Join The Bartons and Greens In Israel!
Hey Friends! Rick Green here from WallBuilders Live. The WallBuilders team is going to Israel and we’d love to have you go with us. It”s going to be January 28 through February 7th, a Holy Land tour that is the experience of a lifetime.
Just imagine sailing on the Sea of Galilee. Imagine going to the Elah Valley where David slew Goliath and even picking up pebbles from the very brook where he picked up those stones to slay Goliath. We’re going to go to Jericho, the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the pool of Bethesda, and so much more. And you can go with us.
David and Tim Barton, and myself, Rick Green, you”ll just have a great time. The Fellowship’s going to be phenomenal and the Bible is going to come to life right before your eyes. Join us January 28th through February 7th, 2019. But you need to get in and make your reservations now. Check it out at WallBuildersLive.com for this very special trip to the Holy Land.
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us on WallBuildersLive. Thanks to Dallas Jenkins for joining us today as well. Be sure and check out The Chosen. You can actually watch that first episode. It’s available right now. Pretty cool to share with your friends and families as well. 15 million people have watched that thing, guys. That’s a large audience, I would say, in today’s media world..
Yeah, that”s a lot of views for sure and it is very well done. I remember talking about this many months ago, I guess it was last year when this was coming out, this trailer when we had Dallas on the first time. And, Rick, we had seen it and we were very impressed with it. They did a very good job. The cinematography is very well done. We talked about it, right, it’s not one of those kind of B movies or B TV shows where it’s a low budget. No, it really is very, very, engaging, it’s very entertaining, and it’s worth 18 minutes of your time. If you haven’t seen it, go to the website. Check it out.
Seeing Christ From a Different Perspective
Then we can maybe be part of help supporting the program because this really could be something that could help tell that gospel message. As Dallas mentioned, today people are watching series, and they want to binge watch things, and this definitely could be something that, with a very well told story– And “the greatest story ever told” is a label that was associated with one of the tellings of the passion of Christ and the story of the life of Christ.
But having a series telling about it through Peter, Nicodemus, or Mary Magdalene. And it really could be very fun to see these stories unfold and present Christ from a different perspective than the stereotypical image that we get. Even though, obviously, that’s still good, we still want to promote that image, but seeing it from a different perspective, I’m really intrigued and excited for this project to take off.
I think one of the cool things to this project, and Tim, and Rick, you both mentioned the high quality of this thing we’ve already seen. But they’re committed to a million dollars per episode on this thing. There are some Christian films have come out in recent years that didn’t spend a million dollars on the entire film. We’re talking about an episode here. So, the cinematography and other things, it’s really well done. So, this is going to be– I think this could be something that really helps shift the landscape on this particular issue. This is going to be great stuff.
Well, one of the best ways to prepare for the episodes as they’re going to be coming out next year is to go walk in the footsteps of the people that you’re going to be watching in the episodes. You can do that by going with us to Israel next January. It”s a great opportunity to actually see the Bible come to life. So, guys, if you”re going to watch The Chosen later next year, which, I’m assuming if they’re in production this fall we’re probably looking at episodes in the spring and throughout next year as it comes out. But what a cool way to prepare for watching The Chosen and actually go with us to Israel in January.
So be sure to check that out. You can join us on the Holy Land tour. It”s going to be January 28th through February 7th. And it’s available right now at our website. Go to WallBuilders.com and click on the link and you can get those details.
The Chosen: Telling The Greatest Story in a Multi-Season Series
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