Being A Christian In The Acting Game - Part 2

Published March 10th, 2008 in Personal Advice. By Kirsten Tretbar
 16 Comments »   

People And FaithI hope posting the email excerpts between myself and Bethany and Dee, in Part 1, can help a few other Christian actors and actresses realize that they are not alone. I know there are many Christian film and acting groups in LA. One, I believe, meets at the Hollywood Presbyterian Church. And another meets through the Beverly Hills Episcopalian Church, I think. You can also find out more about Christian filmmakers by going to Ted Baer’s Movieguide Website, or also, The Media Wise Family Website; and you can even volunteer to go and work at the Movieguide Awards every year (considered The Christian Oscars) where you will meet many other like minded people like you!

You will find that if you run into any Christian filmmakers or producers or actors, you really are a part of a special club, and doors will open to you, in a sincere and genuine way. Many of the Christian filmmakers out there don’t flaunt their faith, but you will find many kindhearted messages in all of their work; and even if their message in their work, the overt message, isn’t a Christian one, you may be sure when you read their scripts that they have a redemptive value.

Keep this in mind when reading a script. Do the actions actually help to tell a bigger story that you and your heart can believe in? Will your part show a juxtaposition between good and evil? If so, then take it!

What I always say is this: as an actor or actress, you may yourself have to play sinful or crass people, as part of a bigger message that the TV show or Film is trying to make. Just because you yourself don’t do drugs, or engage in premarital sex, or condone stripping or stealing or any other bad practices, doesn’t mean that you might not be called upon to play a “bad boy or girl” in a production — someone who does drugs or wears skimpy clothes. This is not the same thing as condoning sexism for sexism’s sake. I don’t believe in the sexualization of young women. That’s offensive.

But most often, in the context of a story line for a TV show or Film, these “bad guy” parts are used as a way to tell a redemptive story about change and growth in the character’s life. Choosing not to play this part, because you are a Christian, would be like saying you can’t play the role of Lady M because she inspires her husband to kill someone.

Keep this in mind when reading a script. Do the actions actually help to tell a bigger story that you and your heart can believe in? Will your part show a juxtaposition between good and evil? If so, then take it! Remember: even the Bible had villains. Through the evil in the world, we will come to understand forgiveness and redemption. It’s the eternal hero’s quest, sinning, asking for forgiveness, surrendering to God’s will, and then, being reborn. And it’s a story/plot line not only in the Bible, but also in every good script!

Take charge of your career, and do what feels right to YOU! And don’t give up! Your heart and your gut will always keep you safe, happy, and in control of all that you do. And if you’ve got a strong faith, don’t ever let it slip. It will keep you and uplift you forever as you continue changing the Hollywood film industry from within! God Bless!

16 Comments Add Yours »

 

thanks a whole lot.rading this commentary has so blessed me,especially at a time when i really am confused what to do with my acting talent.God bless you real good.

 
 

I’m posting a public reply to a private email here, because it could help other people facing their own callings…

Dear Titi -

Do not give up! If you love to act, if it’s what you’ve always loved, if you are a born performer, then it is part of your calling, and it’s my feeling that all callings are from God. Through our Artistic callings, we act on what the divine spirit has put us in this world to do.

That being said, I would not recommend just giving everything up to follow this calling. You must have chosen LAW as a way
to perform, in a way. As a barrister (is that what you call it in the UK? — or on the African continent?) — you will use your acting in
so many ways I can not even begin to name them.

What I recommend is to really look, pray, and write about, why you chose law. Why? What injustices do you want to change in the world? What drew you initially to study the laws of the world, and to serve others, and change the world for the better? Power? Social change? Parental expectations? Politics? Education? Love of legal issues? Or did you just fall into it?

There are so many ways that you can combine your love of law, morality, ethics, and I presume, social justice issues, with your love
of film, TV, theater, acting, and dramatic performance. Have you ever thought that as someone in the legal profession, you can use theater to change the world? What I mean is that you could combine both of your talents to make changes in laws, and to help others learn from your life and your story.

Here are a few of my ideas for your life:

You could write your life story — book, film, theater piece, and perform it. You could help other young people perform their stories, and talk about how the laws you grew up with either
protected them, or how they didn’t protect them (that is, the people in their stories in their prospective countries) and ways
the legal and/or political system could help to enhance their lives, if things happened differently. You could get some investors together to help you make a documentary film, or even, a feature film script (fiction), or a play, and you could go around the schools in your home country or in the UK performing these pieces, and lecturing. I love public speaking and teaching because it gives me an outlet to act!

Acting is really just “TRUTH TELLING”. It’s probably why you are also into law, because you care about THE TRUTH — also why you
are probably a deep believer in God! It all comes out of the same need to empathize with others and understand and love other people and cultures.

Acting is about telling the world how we are all the same, and how we all have dreams and hopes, and how much love can change the world and make it a better place! Acting and theater is modern day ritual, it’s a ministry in a way if done right! If you are also a devout Christian, why not try to start a Christian/African acting group, and somehow use your experience with law to influence the stories you tell in a very professional way?
Does that make sense?

Why did you chose Law? Why do you love acting? Why do you love God and having faith in God/Jesus?

If you focus on the positives in your life right now, the WHY, the MEANING, things bigger than just YOU, and your need to be in the spotlight as an actor, and think how your insights, your talents, and your brain, can help influence young people, or even, people in positions of power, then you’ll be getting closer to the answers you seek. I think! I am just speaking from my 42 years of experience being on this earth!

I hope this helps! Being a full time actor is very very hard. Even I couldn’t find a way to truly make a living doing it. So I had to work in TV, in production, as a professor, as an acting teacher, and even, selling furniture, and working in sales jobs at stores for years. You are not the only one who feels called, but
also feels let down by their choices. See the similarities in all you love, and have chosen so far, and look at the bigger picture, and look for the meaning behind all your life so far, and what you’ve learned, and God will help to tie them all together.. Ask god to help you find the connections to all of these things, and you’ll
start feeling more satisfied!

And if you just want to have a bit of fun, take an acting class! You’ll love it and it will help you with your creative outlet!

I hope this helps, and your comments and emails are exactly why I write my blog — to help others, in the middle of the night, when they’re having what I call, “The Dark Night of The Soul”
to find a purpose to all the insanity in their lives. Your comments really lifted me up!

I also want to recommend a book for you which could save your life, as you continue to think why you are alive, and why you long to live a more creative life. The book is called, The Artist’s Way, and it’s written by Julia Cameron, and it’s very spiritual and I think it could change your life!

I would also read Letter’s To a Young Poet, by Ranier Maria Rilke, and start writing about your childhood and your life!

All my gratitude and respect, and I will pray that you find some serenity and also, some conclusions to your questions!

Sincerely,

Kirsten

 
 

kirsten,
please know that you are such a blessing and a source of encouragement.

 
 

All Christians are actors.

 
 

Dear fellow believers:I am praying for revival worldwide and email churches worldwide to pray in Jesus name.I call it Operation Eagle!My name is Jeff Bianchini I have two masters degrees to the Lord’s glory in Chemistry and Divinity.Please pray as the Lord leads for me to find part time acting,humor,voice imitations,singing,magic tricks jobs here in San Antonio Texas.My cell phone is [deleted by moderator for privacy issues] and my home phone number is [deleted by moderator].God Bless you all with Jesus’ Rich Love and never ending mercies.See Ezekiel 34:11-31 for a beautiful commentary on the Good Shepherd.Do you know of any Christian Entertainment Websites?

Love in Him.
Jeff Bianchini

 

Jeff, I noticed your name on a petition from 1988 at Southwestern Baptisti Theol, Seminary…it was a petition to ask the administration to allow the formation of a student pro-life organization on campus. Do you remember this? Thanks David Sweet

 

Hi Guys,
Glad to see that two of you know each other, but let us please keep this discussion about acting, and keep your comments to each other about other subjects private, okay? Hope you understand. Thanks so much for coming to my site - Kirsten :-)

 
 
 
 

Good luck Jeff and we will all be praying for you. My moderator suggested that we delete your private phone numbers. I am sorry, but we can not endorse anyone or any company on this blog, for security purposes, and for the blog to remain neutral. That doesn’t mean you can not talk about yourself or your faith in God. Feel free to do that. If you are interested in Christian websites, I recommend going to Dr. Ted Baehr’s site, movieguilde.org. He is the head of the Christian Film and Television Commission and has been leading the way for Christian filmmakers and actors. His Movieguide Awards, televised each year on PAX, gives out the “Teddy” award, which is considered the Faith Based Oscars, for which I, incidentally, won “Best Documentary” in 2003, for my documentary, ZENITH. Keep praying and keep believing, and don’t forget to take acting classes. Prayer is everything, but you also have to put yourself out there and meet people, and not just from home or from your computer. But then, I’m sure you are already doing so! Thanks for coming to our blog, and keep up your wonderful attitude, spirit, and faith!

 
 

Thanks for that instructive piece of advice, had a sceptical notion about this particular issue. I believe God really wanted me to read this comment.
Acting is another potential in me which I am earger to explore and exploit for the lone Glory of God. But I am not quite motivated since there’s no christian moivie industry that I know in my country…
I get edified by this piece. GOD BLESS you too!

 
 

But first I need to know if it’s God’s will for me to get into acting. You’ve got my Email adress just let me know if you can propose something for me.Stay Blessed in JESUS’ NAME.AMEN!

 
 

Wow reading all of these comments have been truly helpfull. I have been struggling with the LA scene and I have a true passion for acting. I feel like the Lord has called me to be a performer but at the same time I want to act for him and in the right way. So the post and messages helped me to know that there are others out there going through the same things I am . God Bless all of you. Thanks!

Racine Victoria

 
 

Hi I came across this site because my eight year old son is acting. He is part of a small group that is more of a class. He was seen and asked to try out for a high school musical. I made the mistake of not looking at the musical completely before he tried out. Well, he did get a small part but upon viewing the scene on U-tube I felt it inappropriate and turned down the part. He doesn’t even know he got the part. He is away with his Dad. I guess I am wondering if I did the right thing. The musical is Nine and the scene was the song “Be Italian” where a prostitute sings to a group of boys about how to treat women or woo women so to speak. I don’t know if this musical turns out to be redemptive in the end or not. I kinda doubt that it does. The other thing is I was wondering if anyone had advice as to how to handle it with my son? He was so brave and wonderful at the audition.

 

Sorry to take so long to get back to you Kay, I’ve been in a play myself (Streetcar Named Desire) pretty much all Winter, and so have been a bit out of commission - and I plan on writing about that experience in depth once I have some perspective on it….

Now, about your son. I think you did the right thing. Especially since he’s so young - this isn’t really a Christian issue, it’s an age issue. I don’t think I’d want my child, anywhere under the age of about 14, being in that scene. I’ve seen the movie version with Daniel Day Lewis, and it’s okay - not the most redemptive story, more about the director’s past with all the women in his life, and I think his mother had been a prostitute.

Don’t ever feel bad for protecting the innocence of your child - no matter what age they are. I think it’s absolutely fine to have done what you did. Mothers need to take charge of their children’s lives more, and they will learn soon enough about the dark side of life, and once they are older, you can explain to them what a story is about, what their part in it is, and what subjects in plays or films reveal about humanity (including the dark sides of life). I always state, as you have clearly read in my post, that we actors and artists who also have strong faith, need not shy away from being in projects that show the darker even seedier (or in many minds, sinning) side of life. Because as I’ve always said, there is much of that too in the Bible. It’s just a truth about life.

Always follow your gut when it comes to your child’s future. While you can still protect him from the world, do. It’s called being a great mom! I commend you for doing what you did. Placing boundaries around what your child learns about and when, especially if he is so talented at such a young age, is nothing more than good mothering. He will have man opportunities to act in the future. Good job Kay, and forgive yourself, don’t worry, and at some point you can tell him what happened, but it’s okay to protect him from that too at the moment. He is young, and will go far! Especially with such a great mom as you clearly are!

 
 
 

Hi there, my names Matt, I’m 20 and from the UK. I’m a christian and I’m in my first year of drama school training to be an actor. I’ve finally got onto the BA Acting course after being rejected many many times, so I now really feel God has blessed me and wants me to follow this as a career. I have a few questions on what decisions I should take in my career from a christian perspective. Firstly, what are your views on swearing on stage? I have been involved in a lot of plays in the past where I have sworn. However, I think that all of them had a strong message and the swearing made the characters seem more believable which caused the message to have a greater impact. If I believe that the swearing has a purpose and it is not just for the sake of it, then am I sinning?
I also wondered what your views were on taking part in a kiss scene, kissing some one of the same sex on stage and being naked on stage? As It looks like I may be told to do all three after seeing some of the current 3rd year shows lol.
I have been apart of a christian theatre company in the past where we did T.I.E shows with christin based messages. I would love to do that kind of thing for a living but I’m finding it really hard to find christian theatre companies who actually offer paid work, and aren’t borderline amateur dramatics. Do you know of any professional christian theatre companies I could look into? I think I’m going to be working a lot in the secular world in acting but I don’t really want to do anything that God won’t like. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks for your help :)

 

Hi Matt

Just reading your message there - I have been going through the same type of thing myself. … It seems there are not many professional Christian actors out there and its hard to find support. And its lonely. It is good for a Christian to blend with a certain culture up to a point- without compromising who He or she is - and it is then that we know how different we are to the world- when we feel conviction about things that others have no issues or conflict with. I plan to really take these issues to God in a deeper way, get up early and fast, pray and really hear what He is saying. The question is do we have willing hearts to listen- He may empower us to stay where we at and be even better! Or maybe He will show us a different route to what we expected. I have no doubt that He will use our talent in some way- because it is of Him. For me its a scary place to be- I really sense I am in a battle- but it can’t be fought in our own strength. I know that this is months after you posted this message but I will pray for you and hope you will do the same for me. As Christian artists we really need to stick together for love support and prayer. I tend to be a loner but I know now I can’t do this alone. I hope this has been some help to you. This site could be a real blessing- Angela - Ireland

 
 
 

This has been such an eye opener to me, I’ve been getting conflicting ideas if I should or shouldn’t aspire as an actress because of all the crazy stuff that goes on in the world and if this was the right thing to do ( continue acting or not) Now I know to continue strong with God and do what he’s set on my heart to do.