November 18, 2013
Build the platform; launch the payload.
Sounds like NASA talk, doesn’t it? It isn’t rocket science: the reason you build a launch platform is to put something into space.
Last Thursday/Friday, I was in Vancouver (Canada), speaking at the Entrepreneurial Leaders Conference (go to site for info). The focus of the event was to equip, connect and inspire Christian entrepreneurial leaders. The Master’s Program in Canada was one of the sponsors; I was there to help my Canadian colleague, Chris Hornibrook, to expose leaders north of the border to TMP.
The main speakers included business school profs, notable Canadian business icons… and two imports from the U.S: me, and Mark Burnett. One of those needed no introduction.
Survivor. The Apprentice. Shark Tank. The Voice. Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader. People’s Choice Awards. When you’ve made your mark in Hollywood as an Executive Producer with a portfolio of multi-season network hits, doors open and iPhone photos digitize the moment – everywhere you go. What was Mark Burnett doing at a Christian business leaders’ event in Vancouver?
The emphases were compelling; the fast-pitch speakers addressed the leadership challenge found in both Career, and Calling. Being the innovative risk taker – the classic distinction of entrepreneurship – is the natural pursuit of these unique champions, whether going for market share in the commercial arena, or pursuing “fruit that will last” on behalf of the Kingdom.
Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel), were both on the program in Vancouver. Their contribution was not theoretical; their journey fit the bill, perfectly.
Years of professional pursuit and achievement in broadcast entertainment have this dynamic couple at the level achieved by few: they meet the metrics of success. They’ve also created a strong marriage, founded on a common personal faith in the Lord Jesus. Their entertainment products have been G/PG rated, allowing them to maintain integrity in the work that bears their names. But, was doing their career in a Christian manner enough to satisfy their appetite for Eternity?
Burnett gave a powerful picture of the risk they embraced when – together – they exposed their vision for The Bible, bringing the story of the Scriptures into a 10-hour miniseries, designed to introduce people who are biblically illiterate to the greatest story ever told. Both Mark and Roma used the C-Word – Calling – to describe their drive for that production.
Turned-down by the networks, they took the concept to the History Channel and got the go-ahead. A budget of $20 million; filming in Morocco; the challenge of compressing thousands of years and hundreds of stories – from 66 books – into a cogent handling of the inspired text: would it fly, with the fickle television audience?
The Bible became the number one new series on cable television in 2013; it has now been seen by over 100 million viewers. According to 20th Century Fox, The Bible ranks as the top mini-series event – ever – in the first week of release.
They overshot the footage for the New Testament story of Jesus, and had to leave much of what they created from the Gospels out of The Bible because of the time constraints. What do you do with too much of Jesus unseen by the audience?
Well… you push your chips back to the center of the table and take another risk: Son of God – the movie – will come to theaters in late February (click here for information). Distributed by 20th Century Fox, the success of The Bible has the potential to make Son of God even more powerful than The Passion of the Christ was, ten years before. What if people could meet Jesus at a theater?
Build your platform, in your career. For many, that will allow you to find – and, exploit – a Calling that brings even greater meaning and purpose to your marketplace pursuits. From Apprentice to the Master; from Carpenter to Messiah: there are great examples to challenge your thinking…