SERIES INTRO: Connecting to the Life of God in Hollywood, the Ivy League, and Beyond – Soul-Nourishing Practices in a Soul-Deadening World
“The entertainment industry is no different than any other place with lonely people searching for gladness.” -Emmy Award-winning producer, Kurt Schemper
by Gary David Stratton, PhD • Senior Editor
Kurt Schemper, had just been named Act One’s first ever Emmy Award winner for his work as a producer for Intervention (A&E). Emmy magazine was fascinated not only by Kurt’s connection to Act One and our unique mission in Hollywood, but also in how the Act One community had lived out our faith by rallying the to aid former Act One staffer Rosario Rodriguez after her near-fatal gunshot wound. (Read story here.)
A magazine writer approached me about writing an article highlighting Act One. Kurt and I readily agreed, and director Korey Scott Pollard (Nashville, Rizzoli and Isles, Lie to Me, Monk, House, Grey’s Anatomy) signed on to represent the Act One faculty perspective.
As Kurt, Korey and I prepared for our interviews with Emmy, our conversations turned to how difficult it is to thrive spiritually in Hollywood. (I really have to thank Korey for pushing us to be “really ready” for the interview, and interviewer Libby Slate for being so thoughtful in her approach.)
In the course of the conversations Kurt mentioned that one of his college professors encouraged him to pursue his calling to Hollywood by quoting Frederick Buechner: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Kurt’s response was, “My deep gladness is Jesus. The entertainment industry is no different than any other place with lonely people searching for gladness.”
The idea of finding “deep gladness” in Hollywood really resonated with me, especially as I contemplated what a “soul-deadening” place Hollywood can be for many industry insiders. So in my interview, I told Emmy, “We’ve found that the spirituality taught by Jesus is an ideal starting place for guiding industry professionals on a soul-nourishing spiritual journey.”
That language resonated with Emmy readers as well, and soon opened doors all over Hollywood. Now it leads to this new series entitled, “Soul-nourishing Practices for a Soul-deadening world: Finding the Voice of Your Own Gladness in Hollywood and Beyond.”
My hope is that these posts will help filmmakers and other culture makers find their own “deep gladness” through the soul-nurturing practices Jesus taught his first followers over 20 centuries ago. Not mere religious practices targeted at greater self-righteousness, but spiritual practices targeted at nurturing a deeper connection to God.
Tomorrow, we’ll officially launch the series, but today I thought you might want to read the original Emmy article. (I couldn’t figure out how to post it directly, so you’ll have to download the article as a pdf.) Enjoy!