~ CFDb Interviews S. David Acuff
= > How long have you been the Editor for Wired4Film.com?
I launched Wired4Film.com in January 2009. The year before, I had gotten estimates from various web developers to build a website. They ranged from $2500 to $Ridiculous! Then I discovered that some of the proposals those tapioca brains sent me were nothing more than WordPress Templates and Premium Themes. So, I was ordering a donkey jawbone from Amazon.com to go all Old Testament Sampson on them the day my favorite Premium Theme (Revolution Church Theme) was offered for free! In a burst of inspiration – some would say desperation – I decided to do it myself.
And that’s the story of how I became a web developer. After that, it was just a matter of appointing myself Editor-in-Chief, Illustrious Potentate and Dictator-for-Life. I mean, if you’ve seen “Social Network” you’ve pretty much seen my story. Minus the 500 million friends and the Billions of dollars and the revenge and the hedonism and the Success parts.
= > What is the purpose of Wired4Film.com?
I’m a filmmaker and life-long film student. Love to hear how people made their movies. Directors specifically. How they chose a particular look, a certain actor or script, how they wove their story together…what worked and especially what didn’t work and why. It’s all fascinating to me. And I’ve got a teacher’s heart. So the stuff I learn, I want to pass along to others. Hide it under a bushel, Annelie? No! I’m gonna let it shine, is what my Bible says. I wanted to create a website for filmmakers by filmmakers. I want Directors to go interview their favorite Directors. I want Producers to go interview their favorite Producers. I want Actors to go interview their favorite Waiters. Haha. I kid, I kid. (I don’t want them to spit in my food!)
Anyway, I was inspired by an excellent filmmaker named Peter Bogdanovich (“What’s Up, Doc”, “Paper Moon”) who had done a similar thing in his book “Who the Devil Made It” where he interviewed legendary filmmakers and asked the greatest questions because he himself was a filmmaker. So, not the “what are the stars wearing” fluffery like Entertainment Weekly, but the meaty “what lens did you use” stuff like American Cinematographer. And he became a notable filmmaker in his own rite because of sitting at the feet of the Masters like John Ford, Howard Hawks and Orson Welles.
I’m also a Christian — ever since the Lord saved me from a horrible, backslidden, rotten sinners life at the age of 6. Oh the diabolical things I could do with Go-gurt. Anyway, I have the passion for telling stories that are on God’s heart. Honestly, truthfully, I think Christian Filmmakers have missed the mark. I don’t think we’ve quite discovered what is on God’s heart.
Does God really want another Left Behind, end-times movie? I don’t know. Does God want another Life of Jesus drama? Maybe. Jesus in 3D could be awesome, I guess. Does God want another Tyler Perry Madea movie? Definitely. I have a feeling Madea makes the Holy Spirit laugh til milk comes out his nose. But do you know the best Christian Film of the past few years? The Blind Side. Academy-award winning. And it was not a Christian film. It wasn’t made by Christians. It was a well told, well crafted story about this Christian family making a difference in their world. By the way, the best salvation scene I’ve ever seen was in La Amistad when one slave told another the salvation story through bible pictures. Powerful and moving.
What is the purpose of Wired4Film? To find out why the secular world is telling our stories better than we are. To increase our craftsmanship and levels of excellence. To train and equip. And of course to have a lot of fun along the way and rock the boat as often as possible.
= > What is the most popular page on your website?
Do you remember Frank Peretti’s awesome book “This Present Darkness?” If you do, then you know that since the mid-80s we’ve been hearing rumors that it was in some level of production, but it never surfaced. Now, I have a friend who is essentially the Andrew Stanton (Pixar dude) of CBN. He’s an animator named John J. Schafer. He did some research on where that film has been the past 20 years and out of that came this heavily trafficked article “This Present Darkness: The Film that almost was” (http://www.wired4film.com/inside/2009/07/this-present-darkness-the-film-that-almost-was/).
Also, there are a lot of budding writers out there, people all the time trying to send me their scripts and of the hundreds that have come my way, I’ve read exactly none of them. It’s actually a legal issue with reading unsolicited scripts that I don’t want to deal with at this stage in the game. But being a budding not-so-young screenwriter myself, any time I find someone looking for scripts, I post something. Like there was an article I wrote called “These People Need Your Script, Play, Short Story, TV Pilot, etc” (http://www.wired4film.com/inside/2010/02/these-people-need-your-script-play-short-story-tv-pilot-etc/) That got a boat-load of hits along the way.
And the Trailers Page (http://www.wired4film.com/inside/trailers/) is consistently popular because people want to see what’s out there. What’s coming down the pipeline.
= > What type of people tend to visit your website?
My Mom. She’s very complimentary on the whole thing. Every article. So there’s that. But beyond that, the most feedback I’ve gotten is from people with scripts to sell, books they’ve written or the “greatest film idea ever!” Good people just trying to get connected in the Christian Film Industry. Writers that want to sell a property. Actors that want to act. I mean, I’m pretty sure that Steven Spielberg and George Clooney and Harvey Weinstein are regular Wired4Film’ers but I’ve got zero evidence to back that up. But sometimes I see a George Clooney interview and he’s got that sparkle in his eye and I know that I know that he’s probably just read one of my funny articles.
According to Google Analytics, I’ve also got a reader in Yemen. So there’s that. I’m very popular among the Yemenese and people who are my Mother.
= > What is the ultimate vision for Wired4film.com?
Very simply, I want to facilitate great films. I want to find out how they were made. I want to talk about them. I want to inspire others to make more and I eventually want to fund our own slate of films. I mean, enough just talking about it, let’s actually MAKE a movie! See, there’s a quote that I throw around a lot: “Those who tell the stories, shape the culture.” I got that from Aleister Crowley who was at best a Dark Arts Magician and at worst case, a Satanist. But that makes the words that much more important. Because, if the BAD guys know that the stories we tell are going to change our world, then the good guys need to get a clue, too.
In an age when we’re still preaching from a pulpit every Sunday morning, we’re missing an audience who has moved on to a new church…a church called the Movie Theater. In our Christian Community we love a good African Missionary. We’ll line up Prayer support, write checks, throw Pot-luck dinners, invite them to speak in our churches, watch their slide shows, become Pen Pals with our kids and their kids. They are the heroes. But when it comes to Hollywood, most Christians are praying it will drop off into the ocean.
Most Christians see Hollywood as Sodom and Gomorrah. They’re just waiting for God to send Archangel Michael to atomic knee drop the whole city in to the sea. But what if God sees it differently? What if God sees Hollywood as Ninevah. And perhaps, just perhaps, he’s wanting to send some Missionaries, disguised as filmmakers, into Hollywood to spark a revival?
= > Does Wired4Film.com have a blog page?
We don’t have a blog page per se…we ARE a blog page. I call it a blog-a-zine because I like to make up words and verbify things. But, basically there are 3 sections: we have W4F EXCLUSIVES which are Interviews and stories on Filmmakers and their work. Then we have an EDITORIALS section which is more bloggy in nature, discussing any old thing that catches our attention. Then at the bottom is all the other HEADLINE grabbing stuff we post, kind of the catch-all. People can SUBSCRIBE to get updates anytime we update the site, and there are twitter feeds on the right with a whole bunch of under-140 character newsy bits. We’ve also got a Wired4Film Facebook Page which people can not LOVE, but they can at least LIKE us. So we encourage that.
= > Does Wired4Film.com need help with content?
The short answer of course is, “Oh Please God Yes!!” We’ve developed some relationships with industry gurus like Phil Cooke, Cloud 10 Pictures, and others who will pop in from time to time with awesome articles and input. We’re talking with others websites like Faithbasedfilm.com about partnering on some ideas. But I’d like much, much more of that happening. I’ve long been looking for other “reporters” to sic on the Christian film industry and be our eyes and ears on the ground. But that’s difficult because it’s all on a volunteer basis right now. And ‘volunteer’ comes from the Greek root which means “sweat for free”. Or something like that.
= > Is Wired4Film.com doing any hiring?
I can not WAIT until we begin hiring. I’ll be the first in line to hire myself! That is if I can pass my own background check. Otherwise, I won’t fire me, I’ll quit!
But somewhere out there are two things we need to go to the next level. One, is a WordPress Guru with BuddyPress experience. If I’m Hans Solo (and I am VERY solo at this point) then I need my Wookie, my Chewbacca to help keep this ship in the air, and to take us into an exciting future. Also, there’s an Eduardo out there. Facebook started with Zuckerberg the programmer and Eduardo the business whiz. I need an Eduardo to handle issues of licensing, advertising, incorporation, contracts, etc.
Beyond that I need prayer. LOTS of prayer. I need people uplifting the site and its potential impact and bringing it before God’s throne regularly.
I also need film tips. I run on information. I run on news scoops. If you’ve got Christian film news or rumors, I need to know about it. I need to know YESTERDAY. And I need partners like Christian Film Data Base to help carry the load because no one site is going to do it all. This industry is really in its infancy. Last month we had 4 or 5 Christian films in the Theater. That is awesome! What an opportunity.
I appreciate what you guys are doing! Keep up the good work!