Missionaries in Hollywood: Evangelizing through Film

In Industry News and Interviews by John LaCrosse

The following article is part of a reflection from the “Hollywood Mentor Series.” Through the Hollywood Mentor Series, students in JPCatholic’s MBA in Film Producing program meet and network with a variety of top executives and professionals in all sectors of the film industry in Los Angeles. MBA graduate Tyler Carlos shares the lessons he learned from these meetings:

Our last session of the Hollywood Mentor Series was with Matt Meeks, the Chief Digital Officer of the LA Archdiocese Communications Office. The goal of the LA Archdiocese is “to transform the way the global church communicates, starting in Los Angeles.”

Meeks delved into the research the office has done on the life of Catholics, not only in the Los Angeles area, but also in the world. He discussed the “Catholic Life Cycle,” and how it pertains to us as young professionals. Meeks explained that as young Catholics in the film industry, we are basically in a missionary discipleship to impact the culture for Christ. We will undoubtedly face rejection and failure due to our Catholic faith. However, if prayer and heart are connected, then we are where we need to be. Meeks encouraged us to pursue what we are passionate about, for we do not know what is around the corner. Prayer, he says, is our greatest tool.

As Meeks continued his presentation, he had three pieces of advice to impart on us. His first piece of advice was: “Open as many doors as possible and pray which ones to walk through.” He encouraged us to not be afraid to pitch crazy ideas and reach out to companies we want to work for. The worst thing someone can tell us is “no,” but we must be the ones to try opening doors. We don’t have to walk through an open door, but we can’t walk through a closed door.

The second piece of advice Meeks gave was: “Follow what you’re passionate about, but in that passion, be open to many things.” Being open to God’s will is the only way to follow it. Our ambitions and passions may lead us somewhere that we never expected, but we must be open to going into the unknown.

Meeks’ third and final piece of advice was: “Try and do a lot of things. Every year or two, you should be showing movement.” Many of the professionals we met during the Hollywood Mentor Series made a point to say that we will have many different jobs as we journey our way through Hollywood. And while there may come a time when we stay at a job for a long period of time, he recommended that we should be moving up regularly for the first 10 years of our careers.

As our final session of the Hollywood Mentor Series came to an end, Meeks reiterated the need for good storytelling. There is a need of telling stories for the church around the world, and it is our call to tell these stories. No matter where this industry leads us, we must be ones to tell good stories, for we are disciples of Christ. We are His missionaries in Hollywood, bringing His words and His stories to the world. If we fulfill our personal missions, then we will be fulfilling the mission of John Paul the Great Catholic University, our now-Alma Mater: “Impacting the culture for Christ.”

— By Tyler Carlos, 2016 JPCatholic Graduate —