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Mark Joseph Tells His Extraordinary Story

January 16th, 2007 by Paul Martin

As a consultant to the president of Walden Media between 2001-2005, he played an important role in the development and marketing of a number of films like The Chronicles of Narnia, Ray, Holes, Amazing Grace, I Am David, Joshua, Because of Winn Dixie and several others. In 2004 Mr. Joseph put that experience to work as producer on two short films, Cupid and The Bridge, which he co-produced with producer Ralph Winter (X-Men, Fantastic Four) Currently, Mr. Joseph is developing five film projects, The Crusader, Sensei, In His Image, Amakusa and Starmen. He is also a co-founder of the Damah Film Festival.

Joseph was also asked about Hollywood filmmaking today.

“Hollywood is essentially bankrupt of ideas for films. You know the best they can do is re-make seventies sitcoms ? that’s what’s happening. ‘Let’s go remake Bewitched and The Bad News Bears and Americans are saying ‘what do I want to watch that for ?’ I can watch that on Nick at night I don’t need to see a bad copy of it. It’s ironic. I think of it as there being this Christian basement ? you know you open the basement door and there are these incredible stories down there that haven’t been told because Christians thought movies were evil so you open up the basement and there’s the Chronicles of Narnia just sitting in the corner gathering dust and there’s The Lord Of The Rings and there’s the End of The Spear and these incredible stories that have been sitting holding in the basement. It’s time to start telling those stories.”

Joseph told Wooding he was involved with The Chronicles of Narnia.

“I worked for Walden Media for four and a half years, (and) made the first outreach to Disney, to my friend Rick Dempsey, a VP over there, and he got permission from Dick Cook (studio head) and we began to build support for the eventual partnership. From day one, I felt that it had to be Disney. Success has a million fathers and failure is an orphan, but I consider Rick to be one of Narnia’s fathers. I read the first draft of the first script and wrote an 8-page memo ? let’s just say it had a lot of room for improvement ? but it got much better as time progressed. Then George Barna and I did preview screenings the day before it opened for groups across the country so from beginning to end it was an incredible journey to be a part of that and see it blossom before my very eyes.”

Wooding concluded the interview by asking : “Maybe somebody’s listening who really is talented and they’ve got acting talent or music talent, they’re believers, they’re a little bit terrified to get involved with the world. What advice would you like to give them?”

“If you’re going to do it make sure that you know what you believe and you’re not going to be moved, that no amount of money or fame or various things the world can dangle in front of you are going to change you, because I’ve seen Hollywood change people. I got my first job when I was fourteen, although it wasn’t in Hollywood, as an actor in commercials and I remember my very first job we were shooting a commercial and the director did take one and there were seven of us young models and he said take five everybody go take a shower and we’ll come back and shoot again. And they all literally got in the shower together. And I thought, ‘boy this is what my life’s going to be like if I get into this world : I’m going to be invited to take showers with hot models.’ And I realized I had to make a decision there (and then) what I was going to do faced with those situations. I think you have to be prepared for those kinds of circumstances. I also learned something else that was helpful in that nobody can force you to do anything if you don’t feel comfortable in a scene or whatever it is ? you just have to learn to say no.”

Mark Joseph runs MJM Entertainment group whose websites can be found on the WWW at : www.mjmgroup.com and www.markjoseph.com

[Read the rest at Journal Cretien]