Huntington, Ind.— Are there any Christians left in Hollywood? In today’s society in which the entertainment industry strongly helps shape our culture’s worldview, many people may wonder that very question. Through the LA Film Studies Center (LAFSC), associated with the Council of Christian colleges and Universities, Huntington College junior Jedidiah Hutchison learned the answer to that question first hand.
Hutchison, a theatre-performance major from Benton, Maine, spent his fall semester studying at LAFSC and interning at the WB Television Network. He spent ten credit hours in courses designed to expose students to the many academic disciplines of the industry and to encourage their critical and reflective thinking on what it means to be a Christian in the field. Hutchison spent six credit hours in an internship, working for the head of casting at the WB Television Network, which produces shows such as Dawson’s Creek, Buffy-Vampire Slayer, Angel, and more. Hutchison spent between 20-24 hours a week in his internship at the WB.
“My experience allowed me to learn what it really takes to succeed in the business and how great the competition is,” said Hutchison, who has spent time on- and off-stage in the HC theatre department, working construction for different productions as well as fine-tuning his skills in the spotlight. “It’s such a culturally different place and a huge mission field – people all over the world are touched by Hollywood.”
Hutchison’s responsibilities at the WB lied within what he called the “grunt work.” He copied many résumé’s, filed thousands of headshots, escorted perspective actors to meetings with the head of casting and attended casting meetings every Monday morning.
LAFSC, a one-semester concentrated film school of about 40 students from all over the country, helped prepare Hutchison for his internship with the WB Television Network.
“LAFSC prepared me extraordinarily well for my internship,” commented Hutchison. “They told me all the necessities such as: ‘Don’t talk to executives unless they talk to you first’ and ‘Don’t think you’re Spielberg, or even the guy who should clean his shoes.’ Basically, they told me to stay humble, reminding me that I’m there to serve the boss and make him or her look good. And most importantly, they told me to serve with everything I have and not take anything personally.”
Some of Hutchinson’s greatest highlights included being on the “inside” of Hollywood life. He was able to experience different cultures that LA provided and spent time talking with and eating lunch with the head of casting and casting directors of a major studio.
“Making the five-minute student films at LAFSC every week and then viewing them was probably the best highlight,” said Hutchison. “It’s a great sense of accomplishment to have your work shown and have people like it.”
Through Hutchison’s internship experience, he realized that there are Christians in Hollywood, spread throughout different productions and roles, but that the influence of Christianity is still greatly needed.
“Billy Graham videos are great for those who watch them, but I will guarantee that more people have seen The Matrix than any Christian movie,” concluded Hutchison. “This is where Christians interested in entertainment should be. We need people working to do movies that don’t preach to the choir, but preach to those who need the message.”
Huntington College is comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 50 academic concentrations. Huntington College is a member of the Council of Christian colleges and Universities. US News and World Report ranks Huntington among the best in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in Huntington, Indiana.
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