CBN.com Mark Koch lived in the Hollywood fast lane. But one day, his successful career came to a dramatic halt. In 1998, Lost in Space became a number one box office hit and made an impressive 300 million dollars worldwide.
As the film’s producer, Mark says the film’s success grew, and so did his ego. But Lost in Space was hugely successful and knocked Titanic out of first.
In a matter of weeks, Mark released a second successful movie called Black Dog. Two back-to-back hits, fed his already inflated ego. April of 1998, Lost in Space came out. And April 1998, Black Dog came out ... two weeks apart—just by fate, so to speak.
"So I had two in the top ten at the same time," remembers Mark of that glory year...
Not only was his ego getting out of control, so was his Hollywood lifestyle. "I partied hard. I worked hard—don’t get me wrong ... I’d be there Monday -- sometimes looking like something the cat drug in. My weekends were hard. I did things I shouldn’t have been doing."
All of his Hollywood success came at a high price. Mark’s family - his wife and four kids were in ruins.
"My wife and I were separated. I get emotional about this. My family was just a mess, and I thought I had all that, because I still had money. And you know, you think you’re at the top, but it was also over. Also all my worldly dreams came true. But yet you’re at the top of this mountain, and you’re looking down," he recalls.
"You’re saying, 'Oh my God, look at all these things that I did to get to where I’m at now.' And what’s up here—what’s really up here? Nothing. You look down, and you see nothing."
While Mark Koch was riding high from his Hollywood success, he says that his most important meeting wasn’t in a studio board room—it was in a church. Mark’s wife Stephanie, a Christian wasn’t ready to give up on her husband. So she and a close friend convinced Mark to go to church.
Mark says it felt like the preacher was talking directly to him, and he had to ask God to change his life.
"So I’ll never forget it -- getting up they have the altar call. You do the Lord’s prayer: 'Father I am a sinner. I give my life to You. Change me. Use me. I accept you as my personal Savior.' I went up there and did that prayer and just felt like, 'Wow.' I felt the relief. It was an amazing experience."
Mark and his family reunited. He asked God to change his life completely, but he never would have imagined what happened next.
All of the money and fame were stripped away. Mark calls it being “run over by a spiritual snowplow.”
"Out of nowhere I started getting law suites. I had 42 million judgments put against me on one particular lawsuit. On Black Dog, two of our stunt men got severely burned. You know, people sued Universal. They sued the studios -- whatever. I had a huge scrap steel business that was making huge monthly income—gone. So National Steel canceled their contract. It was about a four million dollar contract—gone. So, now when you are used to spending 30 to 40 grand a month on your bills and your incomes wiped out, you just see it all coming down."
Mark lost his home, his cars -- everything. Even finding money for food was a challenge.
"I’m broke, my families broke.
So we literally sat down and rolled quarters. I remember it. I did things like that to feed—to get McDonald’s—to get the meal for the day," he says.
Mark couldn’t get a job anywhere. He couldn’t even get a low level position because of his reputation as a successful Hollywood producer. Fiinally, he took a job as a used-car salesman.
"But it was at the point where I was down—rolling quarters for McDonald’s where I said, 'Lord, You gotta help me—ya gotta help me.' "
Mark says God started working in his heart, but it was a long process.
"I had a lot of pride. I had a lot of ego. You know the old story—ego stands for 'excluding God out.' So the best lesson that I learned is to appreciate the things that God blesses you with, but also not to take advantage of them and think that you did it," he says.
Over the past 10 years, Mark has learned to follow God’s plan for his life and has found success in his marriage, his family, and his business. And now, he is about to release another major film.
"I always said to myself, I will never get back in the film business—never. And you know ... never say never, of course."
His family movie, The Perfect Game is based on a true story. Currently in production, the film is scheduled to release in August of 2008. Mark thanks God daily for his new found success.
"First I am thankful for my wife. I’m thankful for my children. I’m thankful for my health. I’m now thankful for my financial success. Each day without Christ in your life is a wasted day. It’s nothing—it means nothing. It doesn’t matter about your financial success. It doesn’t matter what you have—your worldly things—nothing. You have nothing without Christ."
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