A number of individuals were interviewed for the article "Media and Ministry: Staying in Focus," in the Summer 2011 issue of Inside ASI magazine. Unfortunately, there wasn't room to include all of their thoughts and perspectives. Here's more of what they had to say:
Adventist Frontier Missions
"Hire someone well-versed in telling a compelling story via video, someone able to capture the emotions and other elements in difficult situations. Prepare a script/storyboard ahead of time, but be flexible in the field. Make sure you have the time to edit the film; otherwise, farm it out. It takes many hours (and possibly even days) just to produce a minute of finalized story."
"Sometimes a production studio is much more valuable than trying to produce your product in-house. Although initially more expensive, the project will be done in a timely and professional manner, and you will have a worthy product showing for several months before an in-house project is complete. Additionally, you are free to work on other important projects."
I did some figuring on how much it costs us to reach one individual on the topic of the Sabbath. The Seventh Day series has been produced in 12 languages. It's being broadcast in a number of other countries. The South American Division produced 400,000 sets in Spanish and Portuguese. There are probably 2 million pieces of the various parts [of the series] out there. It came down to about 20 cents per person to introduce them to the Sabbath or some part of Sabbath history."
"We get calls fairly regularly from people who have seen the series for the first time, maybe in the local public library."
"My advice for young people [interested in media] is to get experience wherever you can. The majority of our media majors coming out of school aren't focused on doing Christian media. They're being taught by secular teachers who tell them they're never going to make it unless they go to Hollywood. It has more to do with what you want to do and finding a way to do it. Having the vision in the first place. Knowing that you want to work for God."
The Conscientious Objector:
A Documentary on the Life of Desmond Doss
"Jesus Christ was our greatest role model. He was a storyteller, and He told human interest stories. People identify with universal themes that God Himself set up. He is the ultimate artist. He's the white light, and we are the prism through which the light comes out in different shades because we're all unique."
"It's possible to do a lot of damange when someone says, 'Let's go and tell a bunch of stories.' God gifted certain people in the Bible as artists and craftsmen, and I think that's still true today. Unfortunately, we don't take the arts seriously, including the art of storytelling or message marketing. There hasn't been a lot of attention paid to effective branding and message marketing for outreach. I never dreamed I'd become so involved with that niche, but that's what has happened. In the commercial world, a lot of ads are directed by filmmakers because they're storytellers. They tell stories well, and they tell them in a way that fits a certain business model. It should be the same with outreach. It should be done well and in a way that really resonates with people. It's a matter of higher standards, Biblical principles, Matthew 25. It requires both creative and critical thinking."
Director of Promotions & Music
"Currently, we are finishing up the production Help in Daily Living, which we recently filmed in March and April. We have also started a new project called God So Loved the World, which will cover the main points of our doctrinal beliefs in a series of four productions. Nearly the whole production process occurs right here on campus, other than the filming itself. Almost all the music we play is arranged by our own students and then recorded by our recording orchestra and choir using our own studio equipment. The soundtrack is edited by our sound engineer with the help of the students, and then it is filmed by our own staff wtih all the students. We do all the video editing right here onsite as well. Afterwards, we send the finished product to a major distributor for reproduction and distribution.... Based on the positive feedback we have received from all over the world concerning Steps to Christ in Song, we do feel it has been worth the time, effort, resources and money required to produce it."
North American Division of
"There's a statistic that 60 to 70 percent of young people are never away from their social media for more than half an hour a day. We are living in a different age, not the 60s, 70s or 80s. There are new modes of communicating, and we are foolish to think we shouldn't get involved. While traditional media will continue to move on in one form or another, social media is something we can't avoid [as a tool] any longer."
Little Light Studios
"We don't seem to make up people's minds for them but ultimately to equip them with information so they can make better decisions, prosper and be in good health."
"When considering whether to undertake a film or video project: 1) Ask who is your target audience. It's easy to say everyone, but the fact is, a project that may appeal to a baby boomer audience will not necessarily be relevant or appealing to the twenty-something crowd. 2) Ask what is the most creative way to convey what you are trying to produce. Think outside the box. Don't bind yourself to what's already been done. Push the envelope. 3) Keep a humble heart. 4) Lastly, but most importantly, remember that God is the ultimate director, and His Word is the ultimate script. Period."
"Some weaknesses we see in current Adventist media presence are: 1) It's not relevant or appealing to the 15 to 13 age demographic. 2) There are not enough young people involved. 3) There is no place for young people to work in this field [within the context of the church]."
"People are reading less and spending more time in front of their TVs or computers. We really need to reach them where they're at."
"If you present someone with a book that is designed and laid out in an attractive way and that is of high quality, people are more likely to commit to reading it. It's the same with video. People have choices. They decide with the buttons on their remotes. If we're going to represent Christ, we should be producing the best programs, not the worst."
"When I travel, I can hold up a book and nothing happens. But if I start showing an mp4 file on my iPad, suddenly I'm surrounded by a group of 40 people trying to watch over my shoulder. It doesn't matter where I go."
"Fifteen years ago, I was convinced that we needed to get people unhooked from [the media]. But they've gotten more hooked. And I realize we need to go where they are. The ways people are communicating are changing. Media is like holding out the chocolate or carob bar and getting them to take a bite. But media can't replace personal touch. Ultimately it must lead to personal contact. The personal element is definitely becoming the end segment of relationships. More and more people would rather initially commnicate through electronic media with someone they don't know. You have to establish an element of trust before they want to communicate with you face-to-face, one-on-one, really communicate, connect."
Asian Aid USA
"When it came to media, we made the decision that we had to invest in quality production to sort of break through the clatter and to reflect the true story. It was expensive, but the investment has been a cornerstone for our marketing plan that has paid off."
"We are currently working in conjunction with Southern Adventist University to do a research project. The project will probably have two parts: 1) researching the Asian Aid brand, and 2) researching how to reach the larger audience we're not currently reaching."
"There's more to the marketing mix than simply having the right creative. You have to get the right time slot and have a marketing and business plan that will determine your strategy. I think media management is the issue. New media is the real challenge. How do you reach those who aren't watching 3ABN or Hope Channel? No one really knows."