LOS ANGELES — As a senior executive in the film industry and a man of faith, DeVon Franklin knows all too well the challenges of working in Hollywood and maintaining a high moral standard by not reducing one’s values in return for a chance at career advancement. Over the past 15 years Franklin worked his way up the corporate ladder, from Overbrook Entertainment intern to Senior Vice President at Columbia Pictures through hard work, fervent prayer and integrity. He addressed a packed room of aspiring actors, directors and producers at the Artist Resource Center in North Hollywood to make one thing very clear: You don’t have to compromise who you are to get where you’re going!
“Don’t want the job so bad that you compromise who God is to get it,” said Franklin. “The bible says do not be weary in well doing because you will reap a harvest in due season, if you don’t give up.”
Franklin noted that many times people of faith who desire to be in the entertainment industry have all the knowledge of God they need to succeed but lack proficiency in the industry once they land the job. During his own internship process, Franklin made it a point to “study to show thyself approved” by understanding the film industry and researching who the key players were at every production company and studio. Then, when Franklin had an opportunity to be in front of someone who could give him information to advance his career, he knew specifically what to ask to maximize the moment.
“We pray ‘Lord, green light my career,’ but we don’t want the preparation,” said Franklin. “In life, so much of what you need to get to the next level is in the preparation.”
While waiting on the opportunity for advancement, Franklin emphasizes the importance of being of service in your current position. He contends that though your title may not qualify you to be a resource, you can always be of service by making the boss’ life easier.
“When you serve somebody and do it with excellence, it will set you apart,” said Franklin, who made it a point to display a level of energy and enthusiasm in the workplace, even as an intern making coffee runs and lunch deliveries. “God wants to use you where you are to prepare you for where he is going to take you.”
Referencing his book, “Produced By Faith,” Franklin also shared how life and the pursuit of one’s career goals are much like the production of a movie. There is always a director, stars of the film, and a budget. Franklin said the person of faith will allow God to be the director of their movie; the stars are you, God and whomever you allow to play a leading role; and the budget is your humility, faithfulness and sacrifice.
“God is saying in order for me to green light your movie, you have to be faithful,” said Franklin. “Commit yourself to serving God first with your gifts and he’ll do the rest!”
ARC Executive Director Toure’ Roberts stood in agreement with Franklin as he acknowledged that he also experienced an increase in favor when he yielded his life to God’s plan rather than his own ideas of success.
“Deuteronomy 8:18 states that God has given you the ability to create wealth, and I know God has great plans for your life once you commit to the vision and the process,” said Roberts. “DeVon’s message is a challenge to remain focused and diligent while going through the preparation season. The race is not given to the swift, but to those who will endure.”
About the Artist Resource Center
The Artist Resource Center (ARC), located at 11039 McCormick Street in North Hollywood, offers free workshops and master classes taught by renowned executives in the entertainment industry. Past speakers have included casting directors Robi Reed, Lori Openden and Phaedra Harris, screenwriter Michael Elliot, music executive Chris Anokute, television executive Austyn Biggers, and actor Harry Lennix.
Additionally, the ARC features a 6-station computer lab where guests may sign-in to use the latest software for film editing, music editing, web building, script writing and graphic design. Visitors may also utilize a creative suite, film finishing lab, conference room, and a main area equipped to host special events, training workshops, and artistic development modules. The ARC is available for rent at reduced rates in order to allow artists to complete their projects and host meetings without traditional financial burdens associated with the creative process.