But first, I should provide some background.
Over the last decade, I have been a writer (and sometimes editor) for Hollywood Jesus. Basically, that position meant that I would work my normal job during the day, but pull a Clark Kent once in a while and run off to appointments in the 90210 area code and nearby areas. Of course, that allowed me to meet and interview some really incredible people and have an insider scoop on what was coming out of Hollywood (before you ask, I haven’t seen the new Star Wars film).
At the same time, Hollywood Jesus was undergoing a behind-the-scenes transformation that had been in the works for a number of years. While I had an idea what was going to happen, I just continued doing what I had done all along—reading, reviewing, and asking questions to people who were playing a role (in one way or another) for making Christianity known to the rest of the world.
February 15th of this year brought an official notification that the long anticipated changes were going to finally happen. At this point, I needed to consider and pray about what the next step was. The answer came sooner than I planned.
Less than a week later, I was at Kohl’s with my family shopping for kids’ clothes. Suddenly, my phone started vibrating as if it was possessed. But it wasn’t a phone call. Instead, a number of writers from a Facebook group I was a part of were chatting. It seemed that they wanted to create a new site that embraced a vision that integrated faith, dialogue, and discussion–and they were working on what it should be called. The ideas were flowing fast and furious and my phone was paying the price as a result. So while the rest of the family was trying on clothes in the dressing room, I added some ideas while trying to control my laughter at the comments (note: it didn’t work).
The group seemed to be enamored with the word screen, so I played with the idea a bit. Suddenly, I remembered an issue regarding the computer maker Lenovo that was currently making headlines. It seems they were in trouble for secretly adding an adware program called Superfish to their lower-priced computers. What if we kept the screen idea and added ‘fish’ to the end of it? I thought. Quickly, I pulled out my phone and wrote, “Screenfish (as opposed to Superfish),” adding later that screen=movies and fish=faith (think of the early Christian symbol plastered on the backs of cars even today). A few of the folks liked the idea, but I wasn’t able to continue the conversation due to my phone battery going to zero. The next night, I whipped up a quick logo idea and before we knew it, the idea was born.
Of course, there was a lot of behind the scenes work that would take place, but it’s almost time to fully unveil the curtain on ScreenFish. You can sign up for the newsletter at screenfish.net right now if you’d like.
Please note that I’m not calling my time with Hollywood Jesus non-beneficial. Far from it. I learned so much from the opportunity that it cannot be adequately written about–how to interview, how to look at pop culture through a different lens (take a look at the book Eyes Wide Open by William Romanowski), how to dialogue with people about Jesus instead of browbeating them with the Bible, and how to rock a fedora like founder David Bruce did. But there is a time to step away, and that time is now.
I hope you’ll join me on this new journey—and become a part of the discussion. The internet is a great place to acquire information, but it’s also a great place to talk about issues and topics (trolls notwithstanding).
Faith and film are always intertwined. Come be a part of the unraveling process!