Christians in Hollywood: Advice from a Film Company CEO

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(Pictured: Origin Entertainment is set to release a film on Mother Teresa titled I Thirst, that focuses on her early days in Calcutta and her struggle to create a worldwide movement to help the poorest of the poor. Other projects for Origin Entertainment include the films Fatima and Mary.)

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 get the opportunity to 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:

“We have too many human beings and not enough human doings.” This was the message from Dick Lyles, CEO of Origin Entertainment, a Catholic production company determined to create powerful films centered on Christian themes.

Lyles has lived by this mantra his entire life. Born in Colorado, Lyles is a Vietnam veteran and has been married to his wife for 47 years. He has worked for several large and successful businesses, and has even written many successful books, including The One Minute Managers.

One of the first things Lyles told us is that he is able to look himself in the mirror and be proud of what he sees. He considers this one of the greatest accomplishments of his life, after facing many ethical challenges during the war, in his marriage, and in his business. We are living in an anti-Christian era, not a post-Christian era, he says, and if you’re going to be authentic to who you are, you will be challenged. Lyles says as young, Christian filmmakers, we must decide now if we will be up to the challenge.

Lyles then moved on to professional advice about working in the film industry as a Christian. He said while searching for jobs, we must decide what we want to do with our lives and gifts. We also must know what we are looking for in a job. Lyles explained that human beings are goal seekers by nature, and our work should encourage us to fulfill our goals.

He then urged us to prepare ourselves for years in humble apprenticeship. Lyles said we will have to pay our dues in the film industry, because everyone starts at the bottom, and works their way up. No one is going to just hand us accomplishments. He said it’s also important for us to know what we are working for and why we are working. The why is, perhaps, the most important part, because that is what will continue to push us in the hard times. As goal seekers, we must have a goal that will make us continue the work.

As we are paying our dues, Lyles suggested that we continue to think of things that will make us more viable as professionals. He said we should go into a job thinking, or perhaps knowing, that we will eventually get another job, and that each job will offer different people and experiences from which to learn.

While explaining the importance of time management, Lyles shared that with 24 hours in a day, if we sleep for 8 hours, then work for another 8, then we have an extra 8 hours to do good work. Lyles says this is how he found success. When he shows people his resume, many people are shocked to see how much he has done in his life. They ask him how he could possibly have done so much. His answer is simple. He doesn’t waste his time.

Lyles’ final point was on the hard times he had mentioned earlier. His advice to us during these hard times is to ask ourselves one question: “Where is God at work in this?” If we can find God’s hand in the hard times, then we can continue along the path that will let us look in the mirror and be proud of what we see. Lyles said we must look at our lives as ones of fulfillment and contribution, because “We have too many human beings and not enough human doings,” We must not just “be.” We must “do.”

— By Tyler Carlos, 2016 JPCatholic Graduate —