What Does A Hollywood Producer Do? (And, I'm Giving Away A Book I Can't Put Down!)

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Like most of you, I wear quite a few different hats. One of my favorites is that of producer. People often ask me what it’s like to wear the producer hat and what exactly it is that producers in Hollywood do, so I thought I would share a little bit about that today since I don’t talk about it very often!

I became a producer by choice and Providence and largely in part because I married a man who was married to Hollywood before he tied the knot with me.

My husband, Guy, is passionate about everything to do with TV and Feature Films. It’s in his soul. So naturally, that rubbed off on me. As an English major and former literature teacher, nothing gets my motor running more than an epic story. It became a natural decision to put our heads together and form a production company. Long story short, it became clear that being partners in marriage and partners in parenting would set us for success as partners in our life’s work as well.

You can read more about those details here in this post from Heather MacFadyen at God Centered Mom!

We started our company, Storehouse Media Group, about three years ago and hit the ground running creating shows that we wanted to watch and that we felt would have a wide appeal to audiences while also honoring God and inspiring others.  We feel sort of like unsponsored missionaries so we aren’t shy about pleading with anyone and everyone who will partner with us in prayer to be a force for Truth and the love of God in Hollywood!

Leslie Leyland Fields and Amber Lia

So what does it mean to be a producer? What do we actually do?

Producers, produce! That’s what we do. We take an idea and see it through to the end, overseeing every detail of how a TV show or film comes together. It involves hundreds of talented people who excel in what they do whether its scouting for a perfect location to film or working on contracts to make certain every “t” is crossed.  Producers are visionaries and detail-oriented leaders. They persuade people to team with them and make sure that every person, place, and thing fits under the umbrella of the vision and purpose of each project. Good producers are great with people, studious decision-makers, and careful at negotiating.

Here’s an example of one of our 20 or so projects currently in development:

Some years ago now, I was introduced to a brilliant best-selling writer, Tricia Goyer, who had dozens of novels under her belt.  We talked on the phone and instantly hit it off.

Eventually, that led to gaining the options--temporary rights to develop, sell, produce, and distribute a project based on existing material-in this case, about 15 of her novels!  The bonus for me and Guy is that we also gained dear friends in Tricia and John!  We consider them family!

John and Tricia Goyer

I’ll skip about 2,000 other steps between that process and the fun part-attaching an amazing writing team to develop a one hour family and faith-friendly drama around Tricia’s Big Sky book series. Guy and I knew that we wanted to work with some celebrated writers who understood the faith audience. Enter, Brian Bird (Hallmark’s When Calls The Heart, Captive) and John Wierick (When Calls The Heart, Step by Step).  These guys are some of the best writers in the industry and they too have become fast friends!

Brian, John, Guy, and Amber

After nearly a year of writing, notes, adjustments, meetings, and pitches (meetings where we present our projects) to major studios, we were able to attach both Sony Pictures Television and Walden Media to produce the show with us! That means they are willing to put up financing and all the weight of their award-winning experience and vast resources to make this show happen. That's a big deal and we couldn't be more excited that they also see the vision and widespread potential for this show!

At this stage, we are meeting with the heads of Sony and Walden to fine tune our presentation of Big Sky so that we can pitch it to networks-the gatekeepers of what goes on air and into your homes! This past week, we had a brainstorming session that involved 8 executives and writers! Guy and I thrive on the energy and collaboration that happens at these sessions!

Meanwhile, we have begun to think about casting and are starting to make lists of names that include our favorites for the many roles this show will offer-this is the really fun part!  Because music is a central aspect of this show, we listen to musicians and go backstage to meet them at concerts. Also the fun part.

Once a show is picked up by a network, we hit the ground running to audition cast, approve locations, manage budgets, evaluate costuming, tweak scripts, talk to marketing gurus, and eat too much craft services food.

The flip side of the coin is that you can work for years to develop a show and have it die a sad and painful death in the blink of an eye for any number of factors. And that is why I am constantly asking YOU all to pray!!

I’ll go ahead and beg you to do so now. I’ll wait. :)

We will be setting meetings for Big Sky over the summer months, so keep the prayers coming!

Meanwhile, the amazing Tricia Goyer continues to faithfully pump out new books every year. In July, her newest book, Prayers That Changed History becomes available! I got my hands on a copy early and even though it’s for the kids, I CAN’T PUT IT DOWN! It’s becoming a favorite!

Prayers That Changed History

AND, I am giving away a copy to one of YOU!!  Who wants it?

Just leave a comment and tell me which of Tricia’s books is your favorite, or tell me a little bit about the reading habits of your family-or even your prayers for me and my husband as we seek to spread the light of Truth in Hollywood, and I will enter your name in the contest!

I’ll draw a name randomly on Sunday, July 5th and notify the winner on my Mother Of Knights Facebook Page on Monday morning! Good luck! Don't forget to share this post with your friends who would be willing to pray for us!

WINNER! There were so many entries that I decided to pick TWO! Congratulations to Loraine N. and Sara Merry! You both are our WINNERS! I have emailed them both and will wait a few days for a response, otherwise, we will choose a new name. Hope you enjoy the book, Ladies!!

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This List Is Changing Our Family's Lives, Why You Should Make One Too!

 

This List Is Changing Our Family's Lives, Why You Should Make One Too

Ever feel like you were created for MORE in your life?

Is there a personal area of your life that you feel is stagnant and that you are not living up to your God-given potential?

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to take your family on a missions trip together-building houses for the poor in Mexico or digging jiggers out of the feet of Ugandan children?

What would be your dream vacation or your ideal staycation?

Are there some God-sized dreams you have always imagined for your life that you think may remain dreams instead of reality? I sure did.

As a planner, I tend to put many of my ideas and thoughts into action, but they sometimes lack purpose and drive. My boys are growing up quickly and I am beginning to realize that if we want to live the full life that God has given us and live up to our potential, then we need to be intentional about it. I don't want to ignore the Holy Spirit's leading in my life either and I wonder how many times I have missed out on blessings because I simply didn't act on those promptings.

My husband and I recently began compiling a personal and family life goal list after reading Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker.

I love lists in general.  I even had custom stickers with lists and little check mark boxes made to fit into my daily planner! But still, I wanted to be more in tune with the desires that God has put on our hearts and writing them down has become both a vibrant prayer request list and a way for us to move towards achieving some of our God-given desires and goals.

The categories are broad, ranging from “fun” activities to ministry goals. Like Batterson says in his book, we prioritize them according to our means and through God’s leading, so giving a car to someone in need may very well trump a trip to Atlantis!

I want to share just some of the items on our list to inspire you. As Guy and I wrote these out, we prayed over them and continue to do so as we add more or make adjustments but we can already see the impact that compiling a family life goal list is having on our spiritual lives. And some of the items are stretching us in BIG ways, so we have to be prepared to step out of our comfort zones!

Two days after I wrote down my goal of speaking at an entertainment industry event on a guest panel, I was invited to do just that. Sure enough, that event happened this week, and I believe that God was honored by what I had to share with the audience. Even though it challenged me and was a little scary, I felt the confidence to say “yes” because I knew that God has placed the desire on my heart and then opened the door for me to walk through.

One of Guy’s personal goals was to compete in some form of a race or mud run twice a year. When we came across a discount on a local mud run last month, we signed him up and cheered him on as he completed his first grueling race! In this situation too, there was good reason to back out. The day of the event fell on the same day as a fun activity I planned to attend with some girlfriends-a rarity for me. Even though Guy encouraged me to go, I knew that this life goal was more important. It was an easy decision for me to pass on my activity so I could support my husband’s goals.

Although we just started compiling this list this year, we already have plans in place and are working towards many of these goals so that they can become reality. We feel strongly that God places desires on our hearts and though we are always willing to yield and adjust our thinking to the Lord’s plans, we are dreaming big because we have faith that God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly beyond all we could ask or imagine!

“and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Epehsians 3:19-21)

There is something about thinking through, praying through, and then following through that makes all the difference!

I hope you will consider compiling your own life goal list and pray over what God might have in store for your life and for your family. Here are a handful of the life goals that Guy and I have compiled. Some of them have already been achieved or are ongoing on a yearly basis:

(G=Guy, A=Amber)

FAMILY GOALS:

Take each child on a mission’s trip.

Build a beach cottage.

Take each of the boys on a 12-year-old covenant trip. (G)

Foster a sport or instrument for each boy.

Live for a year abroad in Europe with our kids. Twice.

Give each child a pet when they enter first grade.

Bring our kids on set for every project we produce.

Use our home as the hub for building friendships and showing hospitality to school and church families at least once a month.

Create new family traditions for the holidays.

 

INFLUENCE GOALS:

Let missionaries use our home.

Make Feature Films consistently.

Make TV shows that break season records.

Abolish foster care-through a local TV show nationwide.

Host a massive banquet with all the bells and whistles for the homeless.

Give away a car to a young person in need.

Speak on anger at workshops.(A)

Be nominated for an Emmy.

Be nominated for an Academy Award.

Dedicate 1-2 bedrooms in our custom built home for a person/family in need.            

Publish multiple books. (A)

Take orphans to the beach.

Participate in an industry Q&A together. (G&A)- DONE

Host and plan a retreat by the beach for women. (A)

Speak to a group of single women/girls about marriage. (G&A)

Teach a class at The Master’s College. (A)

Start an internship for college grads going into faith entertainment.

Reach 1 million followers on social media. (A)

Be a filmmaker/TV producer consistently for the rest of my life. (G)

Host a summer camp for inner city kids.

Create a recreation center for homeless kids with an emphasis on the arts. (G)

Foster/Adopt children-possibly classmates of our kids who will need a home.

 

EXPERIENTIAL GOALS:

Take our grandchildren to Disneyland.

Have high tea in London with 3 or 4 of my best girlfriends. (A)

Go horseback riding as a family.

Take a catamaran/sailing trip with the boys.

Go snowboarding as a family.

Take my future DIL’s on a trip to Kleinfeld’s in NY to buy their wedding veils/shoes etc and use it as a time to tie heart strings. (A)

Attend a Broadway play as a family.

Go on Dancing With The Stars. (A)

Take an epic family portrait.

Host a Lia family reunion on a cruise.

Be room mom for one year for each boy.(A)

Send Amber on a week-long spa trip. (G)

Ride the train to Santa Barbara and go to the zoo as a family.

 

PHYSICAL GOALS:

Bike across Iowa farmland. (G)

Lose 40 lbs by age 41. (A) UPDATE: I have a year and 6 months to do this but as of 7/31/15, I'm down 12lbs! Yay!

Participate in 2 adventure races per year. (G) UPDATE: Guy has completed 1 of 2 as of 7/15!

Learn jazz drums. (G)

Go ice climbing. (G)

Run/Walk/Hike 3-5 times a week with our dog, Rosey. (A) UPDATE: Reality? 5-7 days a week!

 

FINANCIAL GOALS:

Pay for the boys’ honeymoons.

Tithe more than 10% every month of our lives.

Donate 10,000 plus to Children’s Hospital L.A.

Leave an inheritance for our kids.

Provide down payments for each of the boys’ homes.

Be debt free by age 60.

Give away a majority of our income to the poor.

 

TRAVEL GOALS:

Visit ancestors/heritage in Sweden.

Visit ancestors/heritage in Italy.

Visit ancestors/heritage in Ireland.

Take the family on a 3 day white water rafting/camping trip.

Take family to Atlantis Resort.

Take a family Disney cruise.

Spend a family Thanksgiving at the bottom of The Grand Canyon.

Stay at Ahwanee Hotel in Yosemite with family.

Take a family vacation on a dude ranch.

Sierra hike with the boys.

Take boys on a tour of the South.

Take boys to Iguazu Falls, Argentina where we got engaged.

Take a family sailing trip to the BVI’s.

Take an anniversary barge trip through France. (G&A)

Take our kids on safari.

Visit Prince Edward Island.

 

YOUR TURN! What are some of your life goals? What goals have you already achieved?

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