Becoming a World Leader in Christian Entertainment with Michael Scott
Pure Flix CEO Michael Scott joins Ray to talk about his early interest in media, how Pure Flix nearly failed before it started and the importance of impact over personal ambition.
As managing partner and CEO of Pure Flix, Michael Scott has produced more than 40 movies worldwide and has helped the company become the largest faith and family movie production and distributor in the world.
The son of a pastor, Scott began his career as a professional photographer, eventually producing national advertising spots and print work for all the major auto manufacturers.
In 2005, he, Russell Wolfe, and David A. R. White founded Pure Flix. After a string of successful theatrical releases, Scott in 2015 helped launch PureFlix.com, a subscription-video on demand service that provides consumers streaming faith and family entertainment. By 2017, PureFlix.com has become the largest streaming service of its kind in the country.
“Once you’re praying, and the Word’s inside you, you can then be a reflection of that out to the community.”
“Ambition is great, but don’t lose sight of the Creator.”
“What are you doing to proclaim your faith to the world?”
1. Have the right people around you.
2. Do everything you can then leave it in God’s hands.
3. Be in the Word of God daily.
4. You constantly need to be learning and pushing yourself.
As faith-based leaders in the marketplace, we face a real and ongoing tension of leading, working, and living with an eternal perspective. All while needing to produce tangible results in the here and now.
Join us at the Annual Truth At Work Conference on November 8th, 2019, as Michael Scott and other national thought leaders equip us with best practices for integrating faith and work.
Ray: Well, hello everyone, this is Ray Hilbert and I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith and this is the program where we love to bridge that gap, where we talk about the intersection of faith, life, and business. I get a chance to travel the country and interview some of the most amazing Christ followers who are in business and in leadership, business owners, entrepreneurs, CEOs, presidents, the occasional actor and athlete. But those who are in really high profile, very important positions of leadership. I am in Scottsdale, Arizona and I am at the headquarters of Pure Flix and I have as my guest, the CEO of Pure Flix, Mr. Michael Scott. Michael, welcome to Bottom Line Faith.
Michael: Well, thank you so much for having me on Ray, it’s an honor.
Ray: I have been looking forward to this for years, I have not only been a subscriber to Pure Flix, but just about every project that comes out in the theaters that has your name on it I try to go to whether it’s God’s Not Dead or Unplanned, Unbroken, Woodlawn, all those stories. I hope you’re going to really walk us through the story of Pure Flix today, but also your own faith in your own journey. Can we do that today?
Michael: Absolutely, it sounds great. I’m looking forward to it.
Ray: Fantastic. We’re going to get to the business side and those sorts of things, but give our audience a little bit of understanding of you, your background, you’ve got a very interesting background. Tell us about you.
Michael: Well, I always like to tell the story going way back when I was a kid, I literally grew up in the church. I slept under the pew, on the pew, over the pew. My dad was a pastor and so a small church had about 100 people in Minnesota and then he went on to run a Bible school and pastor as well. So I always knew that community, everything, what it was about, what it represented. And it really, for me, it strengthened my faith as a kid and really built me into it. And I always wanted to find ways to use what I felt, gifts that God has given me, use them for the kingdom, but I didn’t know how to do that. So my original journey is I went to school, got a degree in actually photography, film and photography and then I also got a degree in theology and I have a bunch of classes in cultural anthropology. I was confused when I was doing my education, clearly how they all mixed together maybe I figured it out, but I actually got out and wasn’t sure how to blend those two. So I got involved in doing commercials and national print campaigns.
So we did commercials for probably all the different auto manufacturers from Lexus to Nissan to Toyota to everywhere, Mercedes. We did big print campaigns that appeared in all the national magazines to commercials that were cured on the super bowl. Probably even remember the Yolk Hero, Taco Bell commercial, I did a bunch of those with the dogs and everything like that. But I always really wanted to find a way to take my background and say, “How does that work together with… how can I use it to actually serve the kingdom of God?” And I’ll never forget in 99, it was 98/99 my brother came to me and he was studying to be a stockbroker and he went on a short term mission trip, we had traveled quite extensively as a kid on mission trips and everything like that, we on this one and God spoke to him and said, “Go into the world and preach the gospel, it’s all I got.” And he says, “I’m dropping out of school. I’m doing everything and I want to go preach the gospel.”
And he did that. Went to 20 countries with a friend of his and came back and said, “This is what I’m called to,” and he says, “But I’m going to film everything because we want to inspire a new generation for missions.” I said, “Great.” He started sending me back that footage and it was incredible footage in the middle of Tibet sharing the gospel to North Korea, to Iraq, Afghanistan to in the jungles in Africa, they were attacked by lions and just an incredible thing. I said, “This would make an incredible TV show.” And we actually sat down, edited it, and we turned it into a show called Travel the Road. Maybe some of your viewers have seen it back in 2003 it became one of the number one Christian television shows. It’s aired in over 200 countries now, and it’s still going today. My brother’s still preaching the gospel all over the world. He’s been to more than 150 countries now.
But from that, what I saw was the power of media. I knew what it could do to sell a taco, a car or some product, but what I saw was we saw people, thousands, tens of thousands of people say, “I’m interested in missions, I want to give to missions, I want to go on missions, I want to do what they were doing,” and we were able to connect them with different groups and everything and going to make a huge difference. And that really showed me how I could take this media background and marry it together with my faith. And that’s when after that we’d done that for a while, we launched Pure Flix in 05.
Ray: That is powerful. I did not know that part of the story just the inspiration through God using your brother and his obedience and then seeing the film and all that’s incredible. So take a minute. Most of our listeners or viewers here at Bottom Line Faith, I’m sure are familiar with Pure Flix, certainly your subscribers, because we are on the Pure Flix platform as well. But not everybody’s probably familiar with what all Pure Flix does, who you are… I want to hear the story of how it began in just a moment, but walk us through the company, Pure Flix.
Michael: So Pure Flix is a… we produce and distribute faith and family movies, primarily faith movies or Christian movies, movies that have a Christian theme to them, Biblical principles, a message whether it’s about forgiveness, salvation, whatever it might be. One of the important things we have, not only do we create, that means we develop the projects, we then produce them physically, make the movies, and then after they’re finishing, we distribute them through theaters, through DVD, blue Ray, through television. We have an international arm that distributes them internationally to sell them in probably over 140 countries around the world.
So we do all of those aspects because what we quickly realized is you can make an incredible movie product, TV show, whatever it might be, but you got to have a way to get it to the masses. And so we realized that we needed both those sides, the creative and the distribution. So inside Pure Flix, we do both those aspects. We have an entire team that is servicing the distribution and entire team that servicing the creation of it. In addition to that, we knew that there were a lot of creators out there, producers, directors that had great product. We also wanted to help get their message out as well, so we acquire film or TV shows or whatever and then we distribute them out. So we produce, we acquire and we distribute all of those things.
One of the big things also besides taking movies out and other things is we launched the Pure Flix platform, PureFlix.com which is very similar to a Netflix, any device, anytime, anywhere, as much as you want to watch. We have over 10,000 pieces of content up there that you can get. So it’s another Avenue that we can reach out through.
Ray: Okay. I’d like to learn a little bit more about the business side, right? So walk us through how a project goes from film to production to distribution. What’s the business side that a commoner like me wouldn’t know or understand?
Michael: I think one of the things is you got the creation of the film, but even before the creation, before you start making the film, we’re also at the same time laying out how is this film going to be distributed? Who is the audience? Where do we think we can sell it? Is this a theatrical movie? Is this a direct to TV movie? Is it a direct to DVD movie? Whatever it might be. So you kind of lay out those things in the plan and then as you’re making the film, you begin to market that film on production, letting people know it’s coming, getting the excitement more, the diehard fans will interact and then once it’s completed, you usually go on a full on kind of assault into the marketing for a three to six month period that is leading up to the theatrical release if it is a theatrical movie, which are usually the biggest movies with the widest distribution, those movies, then we’ll go to the theaters.
Typically our movies, we book them nationwide, that means we work with every theatrical chain out there from the small independence to the Regals and the AMCs and all of them. It goes into the theater, we book that into the theater and then the economics of it, most of the way how it works is you own a theater, I own the movie or the distributor is distributing the movie, we typically, there’s some sort of revenue split 50-50 where we split the revenue for the theater and the project and that happens after it goes to the theater it’s a 90 day window for the movie in the theaters that they have and then it goes to DVD, blue Ray, digital download, all of those sorts of things. That’s another 120 days. And then after 120 days it starts to appear on your Netflixes, your HBOs, your Amazon’s, whatever it might be, and that’s kind of the life chain through it. And then it goes to free television such as cable or network television.
The same thing happens in the international market. Our team goes out and sells at what they call film markets. There’s about eight or 10 of them a year around the world, it’s kind of like a free market for movies. Everybody brings all their movies from big studio movies to small independent movies and the buyers are there and the sellers are there and each one is representing typically a country and they’ll buy either all the rights or a group of rights for that country and then we’ll sell them the project and then they’ll take that film and distribute it through that territory or country. And the same sort of chain from theatrical to DVD and on down happens as well with each international country as it goes through.
Ray: So are there individual investors that studios will go pitch or is it big corporate money? How are these films get funded on the front end?
Michael: It’s like the Wild Wild West sometimes so there are… some of the studios, they’re bigger tent poles that they’re certain about that they know they’ll fund all themselves and smaller films sometimes it’ll be a combination of a studio and independent investors or institutions that may fund it and the studio is always a big fan of sharing those equity pieces. They’ll take a piece, several people will take a piece to an individual investor that may say… there’s projects we’ve been involved where we’ve had 20 or 30 investors involved in a single film that has put together the equity to do that. One of the things that’s interesting about our industry, Hollywood or even in our case we’re addicted to tax credits. So across the country and across the world, individual States or countries have tax incentives and typically those tax incentives run 25 to 35% of your budget.
So basically you spend a dollar, you get a quarter back or 35 cents back. And so that’s significant as well. So you’ll see Hollywood sometimes gravitate. Right now everybody’s in Georgia and Atlanta shooting because they have a really great tax incentive. And as long as that’s there, Hollywood will say, the circus will move to the next city or state that has a better incentive. And you’ll see that it used to be Louisiana and then it went to Georgia, and then who knows where.
Ray: Nashville is big right now, right?
Michael: Nashville. Well, it was in Michigan for a while. So it’s kind of like, I call it the traveling circus.
Ray: Fantastic. Okay. So that’s very helpful. Thank you. That really I think certainly gives me and our audience an idea and understand on the business side how projects come to fruition and end up in our right viewing site, right? But you weren’t always the CEO of Pure Flix and this company didn’t always exist. There’s an interesting story about just how this company came to be and how you came to be in this role. Why don’t you tell us about that?
Michael: So Pure Flix was launched in 05 primarily to make movies, and we did a lot between 05 and 010 we did a lot of smaller movies, which would be considered direct video back in the day. Now most people aren’t so much as buying videos, although I do find this is just a little side note, I’m shocked at the number of people that still buy DVDs. It can single handedly still be the largest revenue source even above a Box Office receipts.
Ray: Oh, no kidding.
Michael: And I’m shocked, we’ll sell hundreds of thousands or millions of copies of DVD, I’m like, who is still buying these? Who has a DVD player? But it’s still a big thing. So we did a lot of what I call direct to video type, smaller movies in the beginning. And what we quickly realized after making a few of them that if you’re going to be in the movie business, you’ve got to have a for sure way that you can distribute these. So we immediately after we actually had done a deal with a studio that ended up going bankrupt and owed us a lot of money and long story short, never paid us any of it. And we quickly realized at that point we better be in the distribution to get our movies out as well. So we started building the distribution apparatus and the people and everything so that when we knew we made a product, we knew what was going to land, how we’re going to distribute it, all those things.
So in the beginning, that’s really how it started. But those beginning years were tough. Making smaller, independent movies is not an easy thing. You’re raising money from investors, you’re trying to make it all work. And I’ll never forget in, this was probably 2007, we needed to capitalize the company further. As many small companies you’re always looking for the capitalization to make it go and we were kind of at the last and we went to pitch an investor. We went, gave the pitch, all of those things and the guy looked at us and he said, “I know your projections and all this is wonderful, but you’ve never done it you three guys together, do you think this will really work? Blah blah,” I kind of left and I’m like, this is not going to work. And I’ll never forget, we’re sitting at El Torito Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles and we’re thinking, man, how are we going to do this? And we all looked at each other and we realized really none of us had any money. And so everybody took out of their pocket-
Ray: Is this fresh off the pitch for the
Michael: Yeah, this is fresh off the pitch. And everybody took out their money, threw it on the table, I think collectively we had like $10 between us. So we shared the free chips and salsa, I think we shared a drink that we split three way between us and one dish, like an appetizer. And literally we realized this was the last supper. And we’re sitting there thinking, man, what are we going to do? What is this going to be? Long story short, we made it through that and that investor ended up coming in and capitalizing the company, which was an incredible thing. And she’s been a great partner with us, Liz Travis through the years. We’re grateful to her for all that she’s done. That’s one of those God moments where you realize you can do everything you can, but you got to leave it in God’s hands and let him see where he takes it and that was one of those moments that that happened.
Ray: Was that really the true birth of Pure Flix, that story? Is that-
Michael: I think so. I mean, we did some small movies, but that’s where it really started to get going and then we really started to expand the distribution, do more movies, and then we started taking on other people’s movies, which was great. And probably by 2009 or 10 we were distributing up to 20, 25 movies a year into the marketplace, which was great. And started building out a nice catalog and really get them going. So that really helped for sure.
Ray: And so where would Pure Flix fit in the Christian space, the faith-based space? Is it the largest in the space?
Michael: Probably one of the largest in the space for sure. The Kendricks brothers who you’ve probably seen many of their movies from War Room to Courageous and others and their latest one Overcomer, They have a great presence as well. The Erwin brothers, I’ve done movies with them from Woodlawn and other ones that we’ve worked with them on and so they’ve had a great thing and they’re now working as well in this thing. So I’m always a big fan in this business of we need more creators, more people creating incredible content because you see the amount of content coming out of Hollywood and we need more of it coming from this side that has Biblical values, principles, faith in it, and really pointing people towards the Lord.
Ray: Amen to that. And so obviously we have folks who are going to be watching this, listeners who are our Pure Flix subscribers, but for the rest of our Bottom Line Faith audience, if they’re interested in learning about how to become a customer on this digital platform, what’s the best way for them to check out?
Michael: Yeah, the biggest thing in 2015 we started the Pure Flix digital or PureFlix.com and we have over 10,000 pieces of content and you can watch as much as you want, anytime, anywhere, any place on any device. And so I kind of call it the Christian Netflix in a way and it’s got some incredible stuff up there from movies, television, spiritual growth material, great kids’ content, a variety of things for you and your family to watch and to-
Ray: A lot in the homeschool space, right?
Michael: Correct. We even have stuff for the homeschoolers and everything like that. So we’ve got a little of everything so I think it’s entertaining. You’ll find some of our big theatrical movies up there, not only ours, but we also, we’re aggregating from all the people, like the content creators to try and bring you the best selection of product out there. And it’s a safe place where you can consume, you don’t have to worry about your kids stumbling on something that kind of a thing.
And we always talk about our kids, the truth is what are we watching too? What are we stumbling on? This is a place where you can consume knowing that you’re not going to run into something that’s not Biblically.
Ray: Yeah, that’s fantastic. So PureFlix.com our family loves it, we’re regular consumers, and to your point, it’s a safe place and you’re always going to get an uplifting message, right? And we all need… and that’s what we’re even here at Bottom Line Faith is just being an encouragement to leaders in the marketplace. Okay, so thank you for the background, the formation of the company who you are, what you do, I’d like to hear more now about some of the lessons you have learned. Let’s get to know Michael a little bit better. As you look back over the course of your career, what would you say is maybe the biggest mistake you’ve made and what did God teach you in that process?
Michael: Boy, this is challenging I’ve made a lot of mistakes, that’s how I learn. I think one of the biggest mistakes that we probably made is not… When you jump into a business like this, we probably weren’t prepared for how difficult it was.
Ray: I can imagine.
Michael: What I realized is the amount of capital it takes to create great projects and every time, like many businesses, this is interesting, if I was making an iPhone, I make an incredible iPhone, I know it costs me $500 to make that iPhone and then I sell it to you for 550 or 600 I know I can repeat that step and it’s very easy. When you make a film and you make ongoing films, I design an iPhone or a film in this case, it costs me millions of dollars to create and now I take it to market and I’ve marketed, done my best and everything like that and I hope the consumers come out and we make more than what we do. But I can’t duplicate that. Now I have to go out and redesign the iPhone, a whole new film and go to the same thing. So that business is very difficult. It’s like drilling for oil in a way, you can drill many holes, you don’t know where the oil is going to be down there. And I think early on in 2007 and eight as I was telling the story earlier, I think the biggest mistake was not understanding the capital requirements of what this business took to do.
And I think for several years we were probably under-capitalized to able to get to where we needed to and probably didn’t spend enough time specifically on the capital fronts as we did on the creative fronts and the business parts and the business is always changing, so you got to be constantly doing it. And so I feel like even after we got that initial money that I told you about in 2008 we sat back a little bit on our laurels and what I mean by that is we went and created content and did all these things, but we didn’t stay after the capital raising.
Ray: Staying ahead of the game.
Michael: And well, that came back to haunt us a year or two later and so what I realized now you got to have a full on assault in the capital markets as well to be able to make sure that you got the funding for the next project, the next things that you want to do to continue to build.
Ray: Yeah. And to that point on average, what’s the, like in baseball, if you’re a 300 hitter over the 20 year career, you’re in hall of fame, in this industry, what percentage of the projects are profitable and what percentage, I mean, it’s a risk, every one of them is a risk.
Michael: Right. I think this business is a grand slam business so you’re trying to hit the long ball and the long ball then takes care of the ones that didn’t work as well, right? And so if you had five projects, one might be profitable, two okay, two marginal breakeven and then maybe two, that-
Michael: Stink. And so that’s how to think. So nobody knows, I always tell people, every producer comes to my office and says, “This is the film. It’s going to make $100 million. I know it. I’ve seen it.” I hear that all the time and the truth is until you get it to market and really get it in front of people and see where it’s at, it’s hard to predict the exact results of it. And that’s why you see Hollywood mitigating with big IP books and other things to try and mitigate because awareness is one of the key factors of getting people out to movie. Do I actually want to see this? Do I know what this is about? Do I recognize the actors? Do I recognize the story? Does it have some sort of strong marketing hook?
Ray: Yeah, absolutely. So the mistake was not fully understanding the amount of capital that it was going to take. And there’s an old saying in business that you can go a long time without profits, you just can’t go very long without cash.
Michael: That is true. That is a very true thing. So that is a very true statement. I like that. I’m going to use that.
Ray: And I didn’t invent it, so you didn’t have to give me a credit, I just repeat it. At this point in your career, let’s say you’ve been in this role for a decade now, right? Roughly a little over a decade.
Michael: 14 years, yes.
Ray: 14 years, right? So let’s say somebody is listening or watching this conversation and they’re either early on in their venture, maybe launching a new project, launching a new product, whatever, maybe even a new company, how would you encourage them based on the lesson that you learned, what would you say to them in this whole vein around capital and understanding, really understanding what it’s going to take to succeed?
Michael: I think the most important thing is obviously you want to be capitalized, right? That’s the thing, and everybody says that it’s an easy statement to make, oh, I need money, I’d love to have enough to do whatever I’m doing in the business. But you really got to have a strong plan and the right people on board to help you with that capital. And I would say that they always say your vision and what you’re going out to do capital will follow that vision if it’s well laid out and well-planned. But I think also having the right individuals that can help you get that capital is really key as well. So surround yourself with the right people.
Ray: Yeah. Very good. Okay, so we know that Pure Flix is in the Christian content business, right? What are some biblical principles that you as CEO at Pure Flix that you try to really focus in on as you lead this company in this organization, trying to shape culture, trying to actually influence the world, but what are those biblical principles that you hold on to, Michael, as the leader here at Pure Flix?
Michael: Well, there’s a lot we do externally, but maybe let me just first talk about internally. We’re a big supporter of prayer and praying for our business, our employees, our people, our customers, the people we’re going to reach with our product. So every morning we have prayer dedicated 10 to 15 minutes, not a long time, but we set that aside to make sure that we’re set up right for the day. We’re focused on our goals and what we’re doing. Because at the end of the day, yes, you need to make profits and yes, you need to be sustainable, but why and what are we doing this for? Because all that’s going to burn off in the end and we’re going to heaven or down to hell. And so what are we doing for it? And we need to be first in line up there with our heavenly father in what we’re doing, so we think that starts with prayer.
We also, I’m a big fan of my favorite scripture verse Romans 10:17 faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God. And so every Wednesday we have a Bible study that we get together and you just got together for worship Wednesday and we study the word, talk about it, have different speakers or a lot of people internally also lead it as well. And we think that is important as well, that you got to be constantly hearing the word coming because those things get inside you. Then once that stuff is inside you, once you’re praying and the words inside you, you can then be a reflection of that out to the community.
And I think it’s really hard in today’s society for companies to do that and you have to take a bold stance and sometimes that can be costly. I know a lot of CEOs and people that have worked in companies but in the end I think it’s worth the cost.
Ray: Absolutely. So prayer in the word corporate worship as an organization and yeah, I had the chance this is a Wednesday of filming and this conversation I got a chance to be a part of that, it’s fantastic. What are the challenges in your leadership role as it relates to your faith? Where do you find those struggle points of actually living out your faith and falling into maybe the ways of the world? I have them as a leader, I know most of us do, what’s that struggle for you?
Michael: We have the morning prayer and we have the worship Wednesdays and stuff like that. Biggest challenge for me personally is carving out enough time to be in the word every day myself, that quiet time. And I’ll not sit here and say, oh, how I do it seven days a week, it’s perfect. That’s probably my biggest struggle is doing that time. And sometimes you come home at night or you don’t want to get up early in the morning to do something and it can slip and then it can slip two or three days and then you’re like, what am I doing here? And so I think for me that’s the biggest challenge for me. And I think I can tell when you haven’t been doing that, you can see the results of that in just your mindset, how you’re acting, how you sometimes even treating people, all of those different things play a role and I always believe you’re drawing closer to God or further away. So you’re not just sitting still, you’re going one way or the other and which way are you going? And the hope would be that we’re drawing closer to the Lord versus further away.
Ray: Yeah, absolutely. I love it. Well, kind of want to transition into the last section of the conversation, usually I talk about advice and input and things, but before I do that, I’m going to ask you a curve ball question, does anything to mind during a project, the filming product that just like wow, if the world knew this happened, that was really God’s anointing. Does anything at all? I mean I didn’t prep you on that question.
Michael: No. So I think this is interesting. I’m going to tell this kind of people ask a question all the time, is everybody on your sets a Christian? And my immediate response is no. And they’re even talking about the crew or the actors because I’m a firm believer that we can be as much as a film is going to touch somebody, the same people, God doesn’t call us just to hang out with Christians, calls us to share and see the fruits of what we’re doing and everything like that, share it with the world.
And so that mix of individuals that are and aren’t really creates all sorts of opportunities. So we were talking earlier about Brian Bosworth. He’s in a couple of our movies, he was in Do You Believe the big theatrical movie, but before Do You Believe he was in a movie with my partner called Revelation Road and he played the bad guy, motorcycle gang guy that was this and wasn’t a Christian or anything like that, he was the Bos from this thing. Went and did the movie, had a good time on it. After the movie was over, he said, “Saw the movie.” He goes, “I’d really like to take that out on the road and show that.” And I said, “Okay.” He goes, “I’m going to be showing it in casinos all over the place.” And I’m thinking a Christian movie in a casino.
And I’m like, and this guy is not really a Christian at all and he’s taken our movie to the casinos. And I’m thinking, I don’t know how and I said, “You know what? Go ahead and do it. If people want to come see it, why not?” So the Bos went out on the road and he started showing this movie in casinos around the country and they had little theaters and Bos would be there and everybody would come out and watch the movie and all this type of thing. And one night the Bos was there and he would answer questions at the end like a question and answer like from almost kind of like a premiere, you’d have the cast up there, something like that. It’s the Bos out there on the road by himself showing this movie.
And the movie was kind of an end times rapture movie, but it had themes of faith and forgiveness and salvation and all this type of stuff. And there was a pastor in the audience one night that at the casino, I said, “Well wait, what was the pastor doing in the casino?”
Ray: He is evangelizing.
Michael: Yes, exactly. But we’ll talk about that later but there was… and he asked a question to the Bos and says, “What does this mean to you and what does this mean to your life?” And the Bos paused and he goes, “I don’t know.” And that pastor went up to him afterwards and said, “Do you want to know what it means?” And he led them to the Lord.
Ray: Oh my. Right there.
Michael: And so from that the Bos became Christian, now the boss is passionate about his faith. He’s out on the road speaking, he’s been in multiple movies we’ve done and it totally turned around his life. So what I always say is you never know who the movie is going to touch, whether its behind the camera an actor or a crew member or in front of the camera. And one of the things I would say this that I’ve learned, the power of media is powerful. Our movies have been seen by over 500 million people around the world. And I think it’s a form that we can get the word of God out there in incredible ways and engage people. There’s nothing like someone sitting down for two hours and being engaged by a message as a captive audience member and soaking in something that is biblical. And so I think it’s an incredible way to do it and we’ve heard stories and stories like that from all over. So that’s just one example.
Ray: And I wish we had time for more, but thank you. That’s perfect. That’s beautiful. And I remember him playing football and all that and gosh, that’s a powerful story. I didn’t know how he came to Christ, but I knew that he had come to Christ and he’s been in several projects.
Michael: Yeah, several projects. Do You Believe is one of my favorite.
Ray: It’s a great movie.
Michael: And if you haven’t seen that one Bos is in it as well. But that’s one of my favorites, a kind of call it the Christian crash if you remember crash won the Oscar years ago, it’s like eight 10 storylines that all come together in a culmination in the end and it’s really powerful.
Ray: And yet the $6 million.
Michael: That’s right, in it, Ted McGinley, Cybill Shepherd.
Ray: Mira Sorvino.
Michael: Mira Sorvino, Sean Aston. Yeah, we had a bunch of people.
Ray: Great cast, great cast. What advice, if you could go back to the 20 year old Michael and sit down across the table from yourself, what advice would you give the 20 year old you?
Michael: I would say that’s… you know what I think for me is I think that one of the things when you’re 20 you think you know everything. And I think for me there was a lot of things I didn’t know. I realize today that everyday I know less and less.
Ray: That’s so true. Yes.
Michael: And you constantly need to be learning and pushing yourself for better. And I think when I say learning, acquiring more knowledge, learning about the business and other things I’ve been there. And I would also say in my early 20s it was all about career and everything that was driving to try and get my own business. I always had my own business even when I was in high school. And what I would say to the 20 year old is having those businesses and all of that is wonderful but make sure you’re not forgetting your relationship with God as number one. I never had one of those testimonies where I fell away or did X and Y, but I think you can drift or become lukewarm by getting into the world and what does it say about lukewarm as you know, spits you out and things like that. And so I think it’s a fine line I think for a while there, while I was finding my way, I think you become very lukewarm. And that was not a healthy thing and it took a while until 2005 I think before I really found that calling within Pure Flix to get the things. And so be careful in your early 20s, ambition is great, but don’t lose sight of the creator.
Ray: Yeah, that’s great advice. That’s great advice. Well Michael, those who are regular listeners or viewers of our program here at Bottom Line Faith, they know that my last question is what I call my 423, in Proverbs 4:23 Solomon writes, “To above all else, guard our heart for from it flows all of life.” And so I’d like you to kind of fill in the blank as we wind down our conversation here. Let’s imagine you have a chance to gather your family, your friends, your loved one, and it’s your last day on earth. I want you to fill in the blank above all else. What would you say?
Michael: It’s all about the Lord and the kingdom of what’s to come because what we do down here, ultimately, all the stuff, the wealth, the things, the cars, everything, as I get older, I realize that’s not going to mean anything in the end. So you get a better car, you get a better house, does that make you happier? No. But if you’re seeing lives transformed, that’s the thing. So above all else I would say is what are you doing to proclaim your faith to the world? And are you a living example of that faith or are you a hypocrite? That’s a tough question because I’ve been on probably both sides of the trade on different things, I’m sure we’ve all been in our lives at different things, but we got to be constantly be pushing ourselves towards the Lord because if not, you’re pushing yourself to the I always hear so often, well is this okay? Is that okay? Can I do this? And we’re always trying to push how close can we get to the edge without going over the edge?
Well, I can tell you what, eventually you’re just going to fall over and you’re going to know you went over the edge, right? But if you’re pushing yourself away from that edge and towards God, then you’re not going to have to ask yourself those questions, is this okay? Is that okay? And really, once you get more in tune with the Lord on this side, what I’ve learned is it really starts to flow out of you. You’re able to share your faith effectively. You’re able to represent the Lord effectively and people are drawn to that. And that’s a thing that I think you refine your whole life. So above all else, put God first.
Ray: I love it. I can’t thank you enough for our time today. It’s been a blessing getting to know you, but learning more about Pure Flix and literally how you’re influencing the world for Christ through media. Thank you for what you’re doing.
Michael: Thank you so much. I appreciate you having me on Ray.
Ray: Well folks, what an amazing conversation we’ve had with Michael Scott here at Pure Flix and I want to encourage you as we’ve talked about, if you’re not a subscriber and he’s not paying me to say this, I am a subscriber, I’m encouraging you to go PureFlix.com sign up, it’s the best 11 bucks a month you’ll ever spend for you and your family. That’s nourishment for your soul. And even as important, I believe it’s important for us as followers of Christ to support other companies and organizations that are propagating the gospel globally as is Pure Flix. And that’s what we’re really here to do at Bottom Line Faith is to encourage you as a follower of Christ in business and in your leadership that God has given you that platform.
He doesn’t want us to be one way at church on Sunday and another way in our homes and another way in the marketplace. He’s calling us as leaders to live out our faith in all areas of life, and we hope that our conversation today with Michael here at Pure Flix is going to help you do just that. Hey, listen, the best thing you could do here at Bottom Line Faith is go online and as you’ve listened to this, give a recommendation to it. Give a review on it. That’s how we enhance the exposure to the program, that’s how more people learn about it, the more positive reviews we get, the more we get exposed online, and so that’s what we’re trying to ask you to do here at Bottom Line Faith. Until next time, I am your host, Ray Hilbert, encouraging you to live out your faith every day in the marketplace. God bless and see you soon.