Filmmaker shares how biggest failure led to record-breaking TV show about Jesus and His followers
DALLAS– Dallas Jenkins, creator of “The Chosen,” a new multi-season TV show on the life of Jesus, reveals how God spoke to him about creating the new record-breaking series during a difficult season in his Hollywood career.
“What's interesting about 'The Chosen' is that I didn't even really know that I wanted to put it out there until it was given to me,” Jenkins told The Christian Post during a visit to the set of “The Chosen” in December.
At the top of the year “The Chosen” became the No. 1 crowdfunded media project in “history,” raising over $10 million from over 16,000 investors who want to see the multi-series made.
Jenkins, son of Jerry B. Jenkins, the writer behind the popular “Left Behind” franchise, has been in the film making business himself for almost two decades. It was one of his Hollywood bombs, however, that inspired him to venture into the new inspiring series.
“This project was actually birthed out of one of my biggest career failures. Last year, early in 2018. I had done a feature film that didn't do well at the box office to the point where I had many movies lined up to do and then they all kind of went aside [because] the movie didn't do well,” Jenkins revealed.
After Hollywood disappointment, Jenkins’ wife felt God impress on her heart, the story in the Bible of the loaves and the fishes, and the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5000. The couple then dove into the scriptures to look for which stories can be found in all four of the gospels accounts and then God confirmed the word to Jenkins on social media.
"We were praying about it and talking about it and we noticed that for the first time, even though we've been believers our whole lives, one of the things we noticed about that story that we hadn't noticed before, was how God used the people around Him, How Jesus used the people around Him in that story, to do all the things they didn't need Him for,” he explained. “For example, he said, 'Go find food,' they went and found food that brought it to Him. He multiplied it, 'now go distribute it to the people,' He could have, of course, just magically had loaves and fishes appear in everyone's laps, but He still used human beings to do the things that they didn't need Him for, so that the only thing left to do was a miracle.”
Jenkins shared that after their study, he stayed up to figure out what he could have done better with his movie and at four o'clock in the morning someone sent him a Facebook message,
"I was on my computer, working to analyze what went wrong with my project and I get a Facebook message out of the blue from someone that I've never met but who was [one of my] Facebook friends,” Jenkins said. “He just Facebook messaged me and says, 'Remember, your job is not to feed the 5000. It's only to provide the loaves and fish.'”
"I honestly thought for a second that maybe there was a camera on my computer that was showing what our conversations have been all day. And I said to him, ‘why did you tell me that?’ And he said, ‘I don't know, God just really wanted me to tell you that.’ So that moment changed my life," he continued.
That morning, the premise of The Chosen was born. He thought about a short film he produced for his church called “The Shepherd” which is about the birth of Christ from the perspective of the shepherds. He continued the idea by creating a TV show about the life of Christ from the perspective of those around Him.
“We call it, 'telling the old story but in a fresh way,'” Jenkins told CP. “When the idea was offered to use [The Shepherd] to raise crowdfunding for this series, I laughed. And I thought, ‘That's ridiculous. That'll never work.’ But I was in that place in my life where I was thinking, it's not my job to feed the 5,000. It's only to provide two loaves and the fish. And so what we're doing right now… everyone's bringing their loaves and fishes.”
“The Shepherd was viewed over 20 million times around the world and translated in many languages. That made way for The Chosen to earn the title of the No.1 crowdfunded media project in history.”
The hardworking filmmaker has now made the first four episodes of the series and says he is doing it all unto God.
"I'm trying to justify the faith of those who invested in this project and I'm also trying to, of course, please my Savior, and make sure that we're doing this project for Him,” Jenkins testified. “So where we're at now is a product of a career failure and a realization that all I can do is bring my loaves and fishes, it's not my job to feed the 5,000, however He wants to do that is up to Him.”
When asked what he would consider “a success” after such a failure, Jenkins maintained that as long as his family is taken care of the only goal he has is to please God.
"I can genuinely say this, I know it's not just a platitude, I genuinely want this show to make Jesus known. I want people to know Jesus better after watching the show. If that happens, that’s success,” Jenkins concluded. I genuinely have gotten to a place in my career and in my life [where] like I said, it's not my job to feed the 5,000.”
“The rest is all a bonus. I'm just here and I want to finish strong. I want to hear, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ I want people to know Jesus better after seeing the show,” Jenkins ended.
Episode One of “The Chosen” is available now to stream at TheChosen.tv. The Chosen Productions in partnership with distributor VidAngel are providing Episodes 1– 4 to own now, for more information visit the website.