'We Want to Spread the Word': The Chosen's Writer-Director's Goal - Introduce the Authentic Jesus to the World
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The Chosen is the first-ever multi-season television series about the life of Jesus and its popularity continues to increase among viewers.
Distributed through VidAngel Studios, the series is the largest crowdfunded media project in history. Last year, more than 75,000 people contributed $10 million toward Season 1. Later, more than 125,000 donors gave the same amount for the production of Season 2.
The creators of the series are now in the process of crowdfunding to produce Season 3.
The show's writer and director, Dallas Jenkins recently spoke with radio host Delilah Rene during her popular podcast Love Someone with Delilah about the project.
During the discussion, Jenkins explained that creating The Chosen has been a "life-changing experience" for everyone involved.
"I feel fortunate just to be a part of it," he said. "God clearly has something to say and I feel like He has something He wants communicated to the world right now and I'm just trying to do my best to steward it and it's been really cool to see."
He noted that The Chosen puts the Bible into a context that is portrayed as human and a little more real to the viewer.
Delilah said she was hooked on the series from the beginning and with each episode, the series continues to get better.
However, Jenkins said he doesn't feel that he's become a better storyteller with each episode, rather it's the uniqueness of the show that is making it so successful.
"We're doing something that's really unique. There's never been a multi-season show about the life of Christ," he told Delilah. "And one of the things about multi-season shows that I think is really great and has served us really well for this story is that in a movie or mini-series, when you're trying to tell the story of Jesus, you have a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time.
"So you don't get the characterizations. You don't fall in love with certain character's journeys. It's just Jesus goes from miracle to miracle, Bible verse to Bible verse, and you're not really emotional engaged in each incident," Jenkins continued.
"Whereas with The Chosen, because we have the time to introduce you to these people and we're not rushed ... we really get to take our time. It's not that the episodes are getting better and better," the writer-director explained. "It's that you know these people more and more. Then when you really get to know them and fall in love with them, you'd be happy to watch them read the phone book.
"In each episode, the more you know them the more impactful each of these moments are," Jenkins continued. "That's what has been so cool and unique about the show is that we're doing it in a multi-season format that gives us the time to explore each of these stories to their fullest extent."
Delilah also pointed out that she's noticed the chemistry between the actors.
"You can tell there is genuine love, respect, humor ... you can't fake that," she said. "I don't care how good of writers and directors you have. You can not fake the tenderness that has developed and it's a beautiful thing to watch and to be a part of."
Jenkins also revealed the cast and crew members have become a family in many ways since the show began.
"At least half, if not more of the cast and crew are believers. They range from atheist to agnostic to journeying in their faith to believers ... we have the whole spectrum," he noted. "But we're all united by the desire to make a really great show as much as possible and to see the impact that it's having has been life-altering for everyone involved. Because we're part of something that is bigger than we are, I think we all feel lucky and humbled to be a part of it. I think that does contribute to it."
Jenkins also explained that The Chosen was created during a difficult time in his career.
"This show was birthed from failure," he said. "I had just had a big career failure. My movie had bombed at the box office. I went from a director with a bright future to a director with no future within a span of just a couple of hours. I ended up pouring myself into a short film for my church's Christmas Eve service that was filmed on my friend's farm in Illinois.
"That little short film I did about the birth of Christ is the catalyst the 'proof of concept' that ultimately went out on social media and generated over $10 million from 19,000 people from around the world who crowdfunded Season 1," the writer-director recalled.
"I became available to what I think God was really calling me to do. I think, even for me personally, God was waiting for me to be broken. He was waiting for me to be surrendered. He was waiting for me to truly believe it's not my job to feed the 5,000 ... it's only to provide the loaves and fish. And I didn't truly believe that. I was trying to control everything," he acknowledged.
Lastly, Jenkins noted that he doesn't have any expectations of how many people will watch the show, rather he wants to continue doing what God has called him to do.
"We know that it's in every country in the world," he said. "We've heard from people in countries like Iran and China. We said because the app is free and accessible they could have an experience with the Scriptures that have driven them close to the Bible.
"My goal is to introduce the authentic Jesus to the world," he explained. "The way we phrase it is that we want to introduce the authentic Jesus to a billion people, but the billion people goal is more like a representation of the fact that we want people to spread the Word."
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