What defines success?
Bill Reeves, Founder and President of WTA Group, not only asked what defines success at this morning’s general session of the Christian Filmmakers Guild, but shared what he and WTA define as success, especially in the context of Christian film.
Reeves insists you have to have a core principle for your business. Something that defines you. When things go well and there’s great success, something WTA Group wants to know is that the people they’re working with can handle that (whether it’s success or failure). You have to be prepared and have core principles for your business.
Particularly in Christian film, he believes our lives and work should be about both success and significance. That’s where Christian film can depart from the Hollywood’s definition of success, who uses box office receipts as its primary measure.
“We sit at this intersection of faith and commerce,” Reeves noted, encouraging filmmakers to write out what success means to them and to go to scripture to define it. “What does it mean to be in the world and not of it?”
One of the first measures of success Reeves looks for in a project is whether it’s biblically accurate.
“If you are at this Christian Worldview Film Festival and part of your definition of success is not, ‘is it Biblically accurate?’, you’re at the wrong festival.”
Reeves draws from Psalm 2 that says to serve the Lord with reverent fear. That’s at the forefront of everything WTA does.
“We feel such a burden over the content we market. We feel reverent fear!” Reeves acknowledged. “I’m going to have to answer for that.”
So being Biblically accurate is paramount.
“We want to be able to show the world that there’s hope in Christ. That’s part of our definition of success.”
Other measures of success he uses:
- Chasing the Lord by seeking and listening.
- Live a life God would consider worthy.
- Understand failures come and He will uphold you.
He urged filmmakers to seek God with all their heart and pursue the purpose God has laid before them. Admitting that sometimes we’re too nice to each other as Christians, he recommends living in your giftings, and know what you do well and what you don’t do well. He called for the need to be honest – don’t sugar coat the truth. If a film is bad, say so. If there’s an area you’re not good at, find someone who is good at it to make your craft better.
“God wired you in a certain way. God gave every one of us a bent. Depending on how an arrow is bent decides where that arrow goes,” Reeves illustrated.
When someone is happy with their career, it’s because they’ve found something they love. He emphasized the old adage, if you have a job, you’ll work every day of your life, but if you find something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
When you find God’s purpose for you in life, you do it because you love it and find fulfillment in that. That’s what keeps you in a path with the Lord. This also helps you know what you’re not good at so you can find others to complement your weaknesses.
Further measures of success important to Christian filmmakers are:
- People first. Hire world class talent and pay them well.
- Charge people fairly for your services.
- Our job is to reach the masses, but we won’t do it at the expense of individuals along the way.
- Execute well.
- Family First.
- Laugh a little and have fun!
- Dream till it hurts.
The process is a mission field. Everyone you cross paths with is important. He pointed out we mustn’t walk over people in pursuit of our goal. It’s not just about reaching the masses, but sharing Christ with those He puts in our path in every stage of the process.
“It’s your job to minister to them,” Reeves insisted.
When it comes to the quality of Christian film Reeves confessed, “We’re known for having a lot of heart, but not necessarily a lot of art. It’s important to execute well.”
Reeves recognized, “There are a lot of dreamers in this room.”
God has put a calling on each one’s heart and he exhorted each one to pursue it.
Written by Terri Hall