News - Where the Fish Are Biting: Alumnus Finds Success in Hollywood

Where the Fish Are Biting: Alumnus Finds Success in Hollywood

by Rachel Heston-Davis Where the Fish Are Biting: Alumnus Finds Success in Hollywood

The Woodsman,” a feature film directed, written, scored and edited by alumnus Paul Leach, was accepted into the Buffalo International Film Festival.

 With its emphasis on themes of redemption, this film showcases Leach’s determination to achieve excellence in his craft, and his belief that “ministry begins in your immediate vicinity.”

Leach doesn’t consider himself a “Christian film” creator, but his faith guides every screenplay he writes. Leach says that when it comes to reaching others with messages about God, many Christians have their own idea of what to say and how to make others listen. In contrast, Leach says, Jesus “saw where the fish were biting,” meaning he saw the areas of people’s lives that already captured their attention and worked with them there.

For Leach, that means entering the already-booming film industry and crafting positive messages. He wrote the premise of “The Woodsman” based on a careful consideration of what his target audience wanted, and how he could deliver the story they wanted with a message that mattered.

His bait is the marketable genre. “Within that, I put a hook, which is the real message behind it.”

With “The Woodsman,” Leach explored the possibilities of redemption after past mistakes, and also wrote a positive portrayal of fatherhood.

Every aspect of filmmaking is ministry to Leach, even the atmosphere on set. While many movie sets are awash with negativity and complaining from cast and crew, Leach sets an intentional tone of positivity, support and love, telling cast members he cares about them as people and is praying for them throughout the duration of filming.

Much of his success comes down to plain old hard work. Leach started in Hollywood as a screen and stage actor and moved into film production later, so creating “The Woodsman” required learning many technical skills he didn’t understand before. Leach believes technicality and functionality are as important as creativity. The difference between people who dream of creating and people who actually create is a willingness to learn the nuts and bolts. Anyone can chase their dream, he says. “It’s a matter of whether you’re willing to put in the work.”

This story was published on June 01, 2016

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