Franklin: In order to affect culture, you have to be a part of culture. One of the things that God has been doing in my story is to help break down the barriers that sometimes we as Christians put around Hollywood. I was taught, "Hey, Sodom and Gomorrah, you can't go there and keep your faith." I was like, "Well, I believe God is calling me to this industry, and the industry is an industry that impacts the world. So what better way to impact the world than to be a part of an industry that can do that?" My hope and prayer is that we won't put a stigma on the industry, but that we would look at it the way that maybe God looks at it, as another avenue to reach and help people.
CP: In what ways are you specifically encouraging Christians to get more involved in Hollywood and the film industry?
Franklin: I encourage and counsel Christian filmmakers all the time. The thing that I say is, "At the end of the day, become great at what you do." Whether you're writing scripts, whether you want to direct films, whether you're producing movies, become great. It's so, so important to become a master of your craft. Study it, learn it, absorb it, know how to write great screenplays, get into a screenwriting class, look at books that can help you write better, become a great director, study the greatest directors ever in school. It's so important … the better control you have over the art form, the better art you will make. I really try to drive this home with as many young Christian filmmakers that I come across.
CP: Any final thoughts on Heaven Is for Real as it opens this week?
Franklin: I'm just excited about it, really praying everyone goes to see it. I can't wait to see the response and reaction. I've screened it already for a number of audiences around the country and the response has been incredible. So I'm just praying and believing that it's the same response once it comes out.
Correction: April 17, 2014.
An article on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, reported that DeVon Franklin is 44 years old. He is 35.
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Read more CP coverage of Heaven Is for Real,' in theaters Wednesday, April 16: