DeVon Franklin: He’s Produced by Faith
- Tuesday, May 24, 2011
“Look at your life as a movie,” advises Hollywood executive DeVon Franklin. “Look at it as one of the greatest stories ever being told.”
Author of the recent Howard Books release, Produced by Faith: Enjoy Real Success without Losing Your True Self, the Vice President of Production for Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Entertainment) is also, interestingly enough, a pastor on the weekends, travelling from Los Angeles to Oakland at least once a month to preach at Wings of Love Maranatha Ministries where he is an ordained elder.
As one of the youngest individuals in the movie-making industry to hold a VP of Production title, Franklin knew from a very young age that film was his future. The middle child of three boys and the son of a single mom, he grew up mostly fatherless as his dad had a drinking problem and was absentee for most of Franklin’s early years.
When his father died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the young age of 36, Franklin says he turned to church, television (he was a huge fan of The Cosby Show) and the movies, which quickly became his therapy and piqued his interest. How did it all work? Where did the stories come from? And who was making it all happen?
Franklin started to find out by first interning with Handprint Entertainment and then with Overbrook Entertainment (Academy Award nominee Will Smith’s production company) where he soon became James Lassiter’s second assistant. He was dedicated and a hard worker, so he expected to zoom up the career ladder to junior executive within a year or so. When that didn’t happen, Franklin questioned God’s timing and his direction along the career path.
But the waiting was definitely key, Franklin now says, as he takes a look back and details this time period of trusting God and other lessons learned in his career in Produced by Faith. I spoke with the multi-hyphenate recently and asked him more about what he wants to share from his time working in Hollywood and how other professionals—whether just starting out or already seasoned—can be encouraged by his journey in their career paths as well.
You’ve described your book as containing an “urgent message.” Why do you consider what you have to say in Produced by Faith as such?
Because of where we are in the world and what’s going on in the economy on a global scale. I also think it’s what’s going on with this younger generation. This younger generation especially is losing hope, losing the value of seeing what’s important about faith, and so I feel like this message of not compromising just using your faith to find success and what all that entails redefines success. I think it’s timely. You know I’m very concerned about kind of where the culture is going and people are not seeing the importance and the power in holding to their faith, and so I really feel like it’s a timely message and one that I just had to get out not just in a book form, but you know I’ve been going everywhere on a publicity and a marketing standpoint in order to get this message to as many people as possible, because I believe there’s a need for it and I want to help people.
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