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Be Successful Without Losing Your Faith

DeVon Franklin, the CEO if Franklin Entertainment, shares how to chase secular ambitions with spiritual principles. Read Transcript


Well, if you think you can't be

spiritual in the secular world of Hollywood, listen to this.

Once DeVon Franklin was looking for an internship

and he told the GM of a production company

that he couldn't work on the Sabbath.

You know she told him?

We can work around that.

Was the start of a two decade career in show business

and during that time, DeVon Franklin

has not lost his faith.

Take a look.

NARRATOR: Don Franklin is a prominent producer

in Los Angeles.

He's also a "New York Times" best selling author.

DeVon knows that it's tough to be a Christian in Hollywood.

But he believes our faith should not only thrive in the secular

world, it should transform it.

It's about tapping into who God has already

created you to be and having enough faith

to walk that out, no matter what obstacles you face.

NARRATOR: In his book, "The Hollywood Commandments,"

DeVon reveals secrets from 20 years in the entertainment

business and offers lessons to help

us be wildly successful in whatever

God has called us to do.

Well, DeVon Franklin is with us now

and we welcome him back to the program.

It's good to have you with us again.

Glad to be here, Terry.

Thanks so much.

You've got a great new book.

It's called "The Hollywood Commandments."

Boy, that alone is an intriguing title.

Let me just say.

I bet.

Yeah.

But the subtitle is, "A spiritual guide

to secular success."

And one of the things you say in your book that

is such a controversial statement, you said,

the church didn't teach me how to be successful,

Hollywood did.

What do you mean by that?

You know, what?

I look at the story of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

and think about how they saw God in Babylon.

And they saw what it took to be successful

when they put their faith to work in the most secular

environment on the planet at that time.

And that's what I'm saying when the church didn't teach me

how to be successful, Hollywood did.

I was raised as a Christian but I didn't really

know what it meant until I went to the most secular

environment on the planet, Hollywood,

and honored my faith.

And that's where I saw God show up.

And I learned not just showing the value of faith,

but in secular environments, there's

a lot that we can learn, the value of service,

the value of being great, the value of excellence.

And I think too often, we, as spiritual people,

think that there's nothing forcing secular environments.

But I've learned that that is not true.

I mean--

TERRY MEEUWSEN: Or, we think we have

to bow to something other than what we believe,

in order to get where we want to go.

Completely.

And this is why I wanted to write the book.

"The Hollywood Commandments" is not for people in Hollywood.

It's for everyone, because I've learned

for being in Hollywood for 20 years

the top 10 lessons that can make someone successful.

And when Jesus said, at the time,

we're supposed to be salt and light,

salt does not change its form when

it is on the thing it's supposed to transform.

And so that is what I wanted to show.

That as people of faith, we can be in the environment

that God has called us to be and we

can transform the environment and not have

the environment transform us.

Maybe we're supposed to be in the environment that--

But of course--

--has the greatest need.

That's what I'm saying.

I'm like, as people of faith, we have

to go wherever God has called us.

And not do it in fear but do it in faith,

and know that sometimes we will not

see God operate on his fullest potential

until we put him to work.

And what better way to do that than in a secular environment?

So talk about this for a little bit, though.

Because, you know, there have been

many people over the years, lots of people that I know,

that have a desire to perform, or you're

in the production end of things--

Yeah.

--and they go to Hollywood with the best of intentions.

But in the end, they look more like Hollywood

than Hollywood is looking at them as anything different.

They've conformed.

How have you managed to do all the things you've done

and not fall into that trap?

Matthew 6:33, "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven

and all its righteousness and all these things."

Moments to moment, not even day

to day, that's a moment to moment endeavor.

Yeah.

And that has been my goal.

I have never wanted Hollywood for Hollywood's sake.

I wanted to be in Hollywood to make change.

Hollywood is one of the most inspirational and influential

mediums in the world.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: For sure.

DEVON FRANKLIN: So as a person of faith, as a Christian,

I wanted to be a part of this industry to bring hope,

to bring faith, and to bring God to people.

Some people may never go to a movie theater, but--

I mean, they may never go to the church,

but they're going to go to a movie theater.

They may never tune in to a live stream of a service,

but they're going to watch television.

And so for me, you know, I just said, God, show me your way.

And I believe that we have to know that faith

is going to be the path.

So any time that I've been tempted,

and my greatest temptation is not Hollywood.

You can only be tempted by what you want.

And so my greatest temptation has been ambition.

You know, I want to be great.

I want to do great things.

So I've had to learn how to check my ambition

and seek God's will.

And that's why I wrote "The Hollywood Commandments."

And at the same time, you talk in the book

about the importance of knowing what you want,

of having that goal and having it be the right goal, not just

ambition, not just elevation, but something that matters.

How do you define that?

You define that by knowing your why.

You know, what do you want to do?

And why do you want to do it?

TERRY MEEUWSEN: The why is the key.

Yes.

Yes.

[LAUGHS]

TERRY MEEUWSEN: The why behind the--

Because too often, we never-- we know what we want to do,

but we don't ask the question, well, why?

God, why did you put this desire in my heart?

Why do you want me to do this?

What is going to be the intention?

And how many people can be reached for your glory

if I do it?

That why is so important.

The first commandment of "The Hollywood Commandments"

is, your prayers alone aren't enough.

And so what I mentioned there is that we have to pray

and then we have to get up and prepare

for what we just prayed for.

Why?

Because we know that prayer works and faith without works

is dead.

That means faith with works is alive.

So when I put preparation behind my prayer,

I become unstoppable.

Well, that's really what Pat's been talking about

in talking about the history of CBN,

as we've look back on things today, than just praying

is the first step, but then you've got to take a step.

DEVON FRANKLIN: You've got to take a step.

That's right.

You can pray and say.

You got to pray and go.

And think about this.

We're here, 56 years of CBN.

But think about it, CBN had to go into the secular television

environment with the gospel.

And look at what God has done.

Once we put him on display, wherever we were,

we allow him to get the glory and he does the impossible.

And that's why I wrote the book, was

to show anyone, any walk of life,

you could be stuck in your career,

you could feel complacent, and you could just

feel like, you know what?

You're looking for a boost.

You're looking for God to show up.

I wrote this book to show anyone, wherever you are,

you can be everything God called you to be.

And you can be wildly successful without losing your faith.

Let your little light shine.

You know, yeah, you have been in the film industry

now for a while.

And it seems like there is a real market

for family-based, faith-based films today.

Are you seeing that continue?

DEVON FRANKLIN: Oh, yeah.

I mean, there's a tremendous market

and a tremendous appetite for films that are

uplifting and inspirational.

And what I can tell you is the films

are getting higher quality, bigger budgets, more support.

And as a faith-based filmmaker and having

been a part of some of the biggest faith-based films

that Hollywood has ever seen, I can tell you

that even though we're making strides,

we still need the support of the audience.

You know, I don't want Hollywood to have more faith in our films

than we do.

Exactly.

So I can convince a studio to spend millions of dollars

on a film, but I also need the audience to come and say,

yes, that's what we want.

Every ticket is a vote for more of what you want.

That's a good time to talk about your new movie.

DEVON FRANKLIN: Yes.

[LAUGHTER]

Great segue.

Yes, my new movie, "The Star."

It's an animated film.

It's the first animated faith-based film

since the "Prince of Egypt."

And it is the story of the nativity

but from the animals' point of view.

And it is incredible.

Bo the donkey is the lead character,

and he's the donkey that Mary and Joseph ride to the manger.

And we have an incredible cast, from everyone

from Tyler Perry to Oprah Winfrey

to Tracy Morgan to Kristin Chenoweth

to Gina Rodriguez to Kelly Clarkson.

I mean, Patricia Heaton, Delilah, we

have everyone that came aboard to make this movie what it is.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: I want to mention

that "The Star" opens in theaters on November the 17th,

so star your calendar.

You can find out more by going to cbn.com.

And if you'd like more of DeVon's story, get the book.

It's not just a story, it's wisdom.

It's called "The Hollywood Commandments"

and it's in stores nationwide.

It's a great read.

And I'll help you with your own goals.

God bless you.

DEVON FRANKLIN: Thank you so much.

It's always wonderful to see you.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: Always good to see--

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