Things I Wrote Down
Things I Said Out Loud
Is independent filmmaking impossible?

Is independent filmmaking impossible?

Yes. But here's why we should still do it. The Karen Kingsbury case study.

I like to follow the work of other creatives. Observe them up close and from afar. So I’ve been fascinated by the release of author Karen Kingsbury’s new film Someone Like You.

Disclosure: I haven’t read her books, but more than 25 million other people have (she has massive New York Times bestsellers).

So I’m a new admirer. I discovered her podcast and learned about her work in detail as the story of her new film came to my attention.

What’s fascinating is that she started her own production company so that she could tell the story herself, the way she wanted it to be told. This was, in part, because studios didn’t want to pick it up and financiers weren’t all that interested.

So, with her husband, she invested the $2 million in savings they had to start their production house and make the film. The film will be in theatres for 10 days (it doesn’t have distribution from a traditional film distributor) and then they’ll see where it goes.

It’s a big financial risk. And I’m cheering her on!

Kingsbury and the film have had huge placements in major media outlets to promo the movie, like The New York Times, Fox News Sunday, Forbes and CBN. And, thematically, the story which features an IVF plot line hits at a time when the reproductive procedure is a hot topic in the US news.

This, of course, is an outside-looking-in summary of the process, what I’ve gleaned through interviews and articles.

But let’s quickly review the facts:

  • A popular, tested storyteller with huge credibility is making a film

  • She has more than 25 million books in circulation

  • To tell the story she wanted on film, she had to do it all herself and independently fund it

  • It’s a huge financial risk

  • They have great media coverage but no guarantees

  • The jury is out as to whether they’ll turn a profit

Want to make movies now?

If you’re an independent creative, these facts may sober you. Look how tough commercial success can be, especially in such a highly collaborative medium like film.

I think what won me over to Karen Kingsbury and made me a new fan, was how she views her creativity as an outworking of her faith. She’s not playing it safe, but venturing into new territory that she believes God is inviting her into.

And it affirms a view that I hold that creativity is an offering and a journey of faith.

Here’s a quote from Kingsbury that really stood out to me as she talked about the financial and creative risk that she made with her husband to invest in the film. Here’s how they counted the cost:

“What if the world ends on day 20 of our 25 day shoot, is this a good use of $2 million dollars? (Which is very low budget but is all of our savings)…. We decided as long as we are bing the love and light and feet and hands of Jesus, to these people, the 50 people in our cast and crew, then the answer is Yes. Because God’s in control of whether it makes it to the screen.… You never know where things go. You have to hold it loosely and say, “Okay Lord, who did it touch along the way?”

~ From Karen Kingsbury’s interview with Francine Rivers “What in the World is Christian Fiction?”

Takeaways as you walk out your own creative path

If you’re reading this post and asking How is it possible for me if an established writer like Karen Kingsbury faces such headwinds? then, like me, I hope you’re challenged, inspired, daunted, sobered, fascinated encouraged.

And that you walk away with an appreciation for the risks creatives take. That you continue to count the cost of the walk of creativity and faith.

And that you continue to pick up your pen, or brush or guitar and create. The world needs your art. It’s an interesting, challenging road.

As you create and walk out your faith, who will you touch along the way?

Ten Silver Coins by Andrew Kooman

Speaking of walking out the creative path, I released Chapter 6 in Book One of my adventure series Ten Silver Coins today. You can read the chapters free week-over-week at

Read for free

Things I Wrote Down
Things I Said Out Loud
A podcast where creativity and faith collide, featuring original content and unique conversations with critically acclaimed writer and producer Andrew Kooman.